[PT] Contingency measures to support film and audiovisual

IRIS 2020-5:1/11

Helena Sousa

Communication and Society Research Centre, University of Minho

On 23 March 2020, the Minister for Culture, Graça Fonseca, publicly announced contingency measures to support the arts, including the film and audiovisual sector. In an official message, Graça Fonseca stated that the more general emergency measures announced by the Prime Minister, António Costa, on the previous day were bound to have a transversal impact on all sectors and that they did apply to the cultural sector. To assist in clarifying all issues related to the applicability of these general measures to the arts and cultural sector, the ministry has prepared a website designed to inform cultural agents and an email (cultura.covid19@mc.gov.pt) for requests for further clarification of policies and implementation mechanisms.

The site (see references) has two main sections: one to support artists and a second one to support artistic structures/companies. In these two main sections, both artistic and cultural agents are informed about how general contingency measures can be applied to the artistic and cultural field. The section specific to artists has three different sub-sections: Arts Support Line, Independent worker and Employee. The section for the support of companies is divided into three different areas: Arts Support Line, Rescheduling and Cancellation of Shows, and Transversal Support. The measures are multiple and diversified, ranging from payment of cancelled events to support for parents/guardians who must stay at home to look after children up to 12 years old. More specific measures for the film and audiovisual sector were announced by the Cinema and Audiovisual Institute (Instituto do Cinema e Audiovisual – ICA).

The ICA website also provides updated information on the new measures and it has created a helpdesk to respond to doubts regarding the preparation of candidacies and the development of ongoing projects. According to the information available on the website, it is possible to extend the contractual terms of all ICA-supported programmes and projects. The ICA is also prepared to pay half (50%) of the value of contracts relating to the beginning of shooting, before it starts, even if proof of expenses cannot be provided. The ICA has introduced changes to the regulations pertaining to its film and audiovisual support programmes in order to simplify procedures and to make production and distribution more flexible. New rules are being updated on a regular basis.

Considering the role of the Public Service Broascaster Rádio e Televisão de Portugal (RTP) in independent audiovisual productiron, a pack of measures was also launched. According to the RTP, the supporting measures represent an additional effort with respect to recent investments in the various genres of independent production: cinema, telefilms, fiction, documentaries, as well as the performing arts, music, theatre and dance. The main measures and initiatives are the following:

• The safeguard of hundreds of contracts for employees and service providers in the most varied areas related to content: support for programmes, design of formats, research papers, screenwriters, commentators, presenters, etc.

• Timelier payment terms for cash settlement in the various productions already delivered or for short-term delivery.

• Improved payment conditions for cinema, fiction and documentary projects that have already been approved in content consultations and that will go on to be produced: a 25% advance at the beginning of production, 25% at the end of production and 50% with final delivery. In the fields of music and the performing arts, advances may reach up to 50%.

• Reinforced investment in the coming weeks to acquire stock content from independent producers and the rights to interpret performing arts - for display on RTP channels and antennas, including on digital platforms.

• Launch of a cycle of concerts via the web, working and negotiating with artists/agents -  for exhibition on the RTP's digital platforms.

• The realisation of a new edition of the content consultation in April for the presentation of projects by producers.

• Particular emphasis, throughout the year, on the programming of nationally-produced content on channels, antennas and digital platforms.

The RTP states that these initiatives may be extended, depending on the evolution of the sector and the general economic situation. The Portuguese Media Confederation (Confederação Portuguesa dos Meios de Comunicação Social – CPMCS) is also in dialogue with the government in an attempt to get an agreement for extraordinary support for media companies. Negotiations are not in the public domain.


  • Web: Medidas Extraordinárias De Apoio Às Artes, Ministério da Cultura
  • http://www.culturacovid19.gov.pt/
  • Web: Extraordinary Measures to Support the Arts, Ministry of Culture

  • RTP launches support package for independent audiovisual production, ICA

This article has been published in IRIS Legal Observations of the European Audiovisual Observatory.