Spain announces milestone $1.9bn audiovisual sector investment plan

Pedro Sánchez targets “sustainable, richer and more fruitful ecosystem”.

By Elisabet Cabeza 25 Mar 2021

Spain announces milestone $1.9bn audiovisual sector investment plan
Money Heist via Netflix

Spanish prime minster Pedro Sánchez has announced a $1.9bn (€1.603bn) investment plan for the local film industry from 2021-2025 to increase production, attract international investment and talent, and strengthen the presence of Spanish productions in the international markets.

In a presentation at the Doré Cinema in Madrid to members of the Spanish government and 60 industry professionals ranging from producers to directors and technicians, Sánchez said the Spain, Audiovisual Hub investment plan was designed to “build a sustainable, richer and more fruitful ecosystem” in the sector.

The prime minister said “the audiovisual industry is key in terms of employment and economy [according to the ministry of culture it accounts for 3.2% of Spain’s gross domestic product] as well as our cultural identity and international projection”.

The plan is designed to support film and TV production, digital platforms, video games, animation, and special effects.

The scope of its ambition is reflected not only in the amount earmarked for the industry, but by the involvement of various key government departments, such as the ministry of economy, which film professionals have wanted for a long time.

In terms of local production, the government strategy is designed to increase the number of productions by 30% over the next four years, taking into account the benefits for Spain of being able to access the Latin American market with productions shot in Spanish.

According to information provided by the government Spain ranks sixth in Europe in terms of the number of productions and sits behind Germany, France, the UK, the Netherlands, and Italy.

Spain, Audiovisual Hub comprises four strategies. Some $284m (€240m) is allocated for the digital transition of production companies and the gathering of audience data, and support for an international presence for Spanish productions and companies as well as help for international companies in Spain. Information and assistance for both will be handled by the new Spain Audiovisual Hub Bureau.

The second part of the investment plan is by far the biggest, with $1.57bn (€1.33bn) being allocated to modify the tax incentive apparatus. The goal is to ease access to financing, broaden project eligibility, create new lines of public support to the industry, and narrow the gender gap.

For international shoots, the tax rebate is currently 30% for the first million euros of deductible expenses, and 25% for the rest of the expenses in Spain. There are bigger incentives in territories like the Canary Islands (with a tax rebate of 50%) and Navarra (with a 35% tax credit).

Netflix opened its European Production Hub in the outskirts of Madrid in 2019 and the final season of local hit Money Heist (La Casa de Papel, pictured) is expected later this year.

The third component will allocate $17.7m (€15m), overseen by the ministries of education and industry, to adapt and promote studies to meet the needs of the industry.

The final portion of $21.3m (€18m) will be used to simplify and eliminate bureaucratic hurdles that complicate international shoots.

This article originally appeared on sister site ScreenDaily.

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