The French have a special relationship with cinema, which they invented: they see a lot of theatrical releases (over 200 million visitors in 2011); they produce a very great number of them (over 200 in 2011); they export them; they come from everywhere to shoot in France; and it is in France that the world’s largest film festival is held, which is also the world’s number one market.

The French are producing mostly auteur works and comedies, with a French Touch spirit: make people laugh at our differences (regional, social, cultural), in order to tolerate them more easily, and sometimes, also, crazy films, like the Artist, a tribute to Hollywood who could not fail to be appreciated by Americans. And even now, blockbuster movies and political films. Not to mention television series, music videos, commercials ordered by the television channels and advertising agencies.

In total, this industry is the second worldwide, despite the limited size of the francophone market, thanks to a very original model, negating the basic principles of a competitive economy, promoting the production and distribution of French films, financed by all taxpayers, and organizing a clever chronology of release, first in theaters, then on DVD and in various television networks, encrypted and unencrypted.

But is this sustainable? For talent, no one can predict, it is unpredictable. Regarding the model of production, this is really a source of concern.

In fact, the economics of cinema is changing, as that of music has changed. Access is now increasingly easy, from various channels of television to the IPAD, consoles and phones, with streaming and downloading, legal or not. In music, the majors, hardened on their success, are dead or agonizing, for not anticipating these changes, for not seeking new products, new distribution models.

The film industry felt itself to be immune from this development. First because, unlike music, film offer different feelings in a cinema auditorium than on a nomad device. Secondly, because the effectiveness of the barriers put in place gives it a feeling of invincibility.

The music industry had the same feeling, granting the same privileges to French music, which have not been enough. Similarly, for cinema: attempts such as Hadopi or Acta will not prevent, in the end, the downloading or watching in streaming of movies and of the most recent series.

Of course, it may attempt to delay its decline by demanding punitive measures. This will not be enough: streaming is irresistible.

This will require the reinvention of a method of financing, based on the authorization of the download, considered as a subscription, to be financed by a levy on all actors in the chain of distribution, from access providers to producers of nomad device.

Only movies that will give truly unique feelings in the theatres will resist, such as 3D movies. With the tripling of the number of francophones in the future, the French market for audiovisual products can look forward to a prosperous future.

Will it dare? Hard to believe, when we see it pat itself on the back, without thinking about its future, entirely in the hands of a few, very talented for most, but with none finding it beneficial to anticipate future changes.

Is it easier to reform in period of growth than in period of crisis?

In France, the issue is not specific to cinema.