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IRIS 2010-1:Extra

Slovakia

Public Aid for the Digitalisation of Cinemas

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Jana Markechova

Markechova Law Office, Bratislava

As of 2010 there are approximately 200 cinemas in Slovakia but only 11 have been digitised, mostly from private sources. Only 7 % of the cinemas are run by private companies, the rest is under the management of cities.

In line with the Slovak Act No. 516/2008 Coll. a new fund has been created to gather finances which shall contribute to the purchase of projecting equipment. According to section 2 of the Act, among other tasks the new Audiovisual Fund (“Fund”) shall:

- create material conditions for the development of audiovisual culture and industry by granting financial resources for the renovation and development of the technological basis used for production and distribution of audiovisual works and for the realisation of public performances in the area of audiovisual culture;

- govern the administration of specific types of contributions.

On 15 December 2009 the Fund published a statement regarding the “Public Consultation on Opportunities and Challenges for European Cinema in the Digital Era” of the European Commission. The Fund declares that it is aware of the fact that certain types of cinemas in Slovakia are endangered due to the costs for the transition to the digital format. It acknowledges the right to granting aid for the digitalisation of cinemas from public sources within the framework of the existing rules for State aid and the Commission’s announcement. The Fund sees one of its tasks in creating basic conditions in accordance with the Commission’s announcement. At this time public consultations are taking place in Slovakia. They concern a.o. a survey on the present state of Slovak cinemas, the potential effects and the actual options for their digitalisation according to the criteria agreed by the Fund.

The programme No. 4 of the Fund’s Support Structure for the year 2010 concerns the support of technological development projects. The deadline for applications in this programme is presumed to be 1 September 2010. The primary aim of the programme is the modernisation of cinemas and the digitalisation is an implicit part of this modernisation. A precondition for the realisation of such projects is the participation of the local self-government authorities because cinemas are part of the local culture.

References
Stanovisko Audiovizuálneho fondu k verejnej konzultácii otvorenej Európskou komisiou „Konzultácia o príležitostiach a výzvach pre európske kiná v digitálnej ére“ SK
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=12275
 
  Statement of Audiovisual Fund from December 15, 2009 regarding the Public Consultation Opened by the European Commission “Public Consultation on Opportunities and Challenges for European Cinema in the Digital Era” approved by a decree of the Audiovisual Fund