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Amazon Prime Video Talks European Co-Production


A co-production session at the Munich International Film Festival yielded insight into Prime Video’s strategy in Europe and saw a hopeful update from the German Film Fund on a hugely anticipated 30% tax incentive for film and TV.

Dennis Maly, Head of Business Affairs at Amazon Studios in Germany, told an industry crowd there are ways for traditional broadcasters and the streamer to work together.

“We are working on different models — there is a flexibility — so I can encourage anyone from the networks in the audience,” he said. “There are ways that we can share costs and risks and have productions with a higher value.”

Maly said linear networks are often concerned about partnering with streamers on projects that could launch or end up on another platform after hefty financial commitments on their part. However, he claimed, “That is not the case, at least for the very limited amount of data we have, which has shown a very different a curve on our end… [The productions] also worked for the linear broadcaster.”

Maly pointed to Amazon data in Spain, where the streamer works with Mediaset – “we are basically the de-facto catch-up service for Mediaset,” he said. He also mentioned projects in France such as Escort Boys, which launched on Prime before hitting free-to-air on TF1.

Streamers can fully fund, of course, and Amazon does not want to share the cost or upside of shows it counts as “brand defining” such as its current mega-hit Maxton Hall. The sticking point with partnerships between traditional broadcasters and streamers is often around the linear players’ own catch-up and streaming services, Maly said, adding that the models for Amazon include the broadcaster airing the first season of a program free-to-air just before the streamer airs a second or subsequent season.

 Catching a tax break?

The introduction of a tax incentive for film and high-end TV would be a major boost for the German business, which faces competition from a swath of other European countries that offer generous breaks. Getting a new media law approved has, however, proceeded slowly, but Jolinde Sawahn, Project Manager at the German Motion Picture Fund offered a hopeful update.

The Ministry of Finance will submit a draft of the law covering the incentive next week, she said, which will need parliamentary, federal state and European Union approval. It would provide an international boost to the German biz. “That will be the best advantage that we can get through our automatic funding system because we can level the playing field to other neighboring countries,” Sawahn said.

The hope is for a 30% incentive without a cap on total spend, meaning it is not first-come, first-served.

David Kehrl, Head of Acquisition and International Co-Production, Constantin Film, cautioned that rates can go up when incentives are introduced, but noted that people want to come and film in Germany: “Specifically with bigger budget and international productions with high-end talent, who I think would love to shoot in Munich or Berlin, then that’s going to be an advantage.”

The prevailing mood was one of cautious optimism: “I cannot promise you that we have a huge tax incentive scheme next year, but maybe we will be a few steps further,” Sawahn said.

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