As several hundred delegates today prepared to depart TV France International’s annual sales market Le Rendez-Vous in picturesque Biarritz, the organization released industry stats for 2006. They paint a less-than-rosy picture for France’s largest programming export – animation. The genre’s international sales were down 6.1% last year to US$58.3 million.
French animation distributors experienced significant sales drops in the UK (down 32.6%) and North America (37.6%), in particular. Latin America proved to be a bright light, with animation exports to the region shooting up by 21.6% last year. In general, TV France’s year-end report cites stiff competition in the global sector as the chief reason for the downturn.
French co-productions didn’t fare much better. The value of French-initiated animation co-pros dropped by 18.8%, while foreign investment in French animation was down 48.6%. However, French-majority co-pros were up by 30.4%, boosted by new financing options including regional subsidies and tax credits. In all, animation co-pros accounted for 423 hours of programming last year, bringing in US$20 million in foreign capital.