European Union support for the audiovisual sector is based on the considerable experience acquired during the implementation of the MEDIA I, MEDIA II, MEDIA Plus and MEDIA — Training programmes (4). These Programmes set up to support the European audiovisual industry have proven their impact on the development of the industry since 1991, as has emerged clearly in the evaluation of these programmes.
Due to its specificities, the audiovisual sector has always suffered from structural fragility and under-capitalization; the financial crisis made it even more difficult for producers of audiovisual content to access bank credits.
The preparatory action ‘Growth and Audiovisual: i2i Audiovisual’, which supplemented the MEDIA Plus and MEDIA — Training programmes, marked a stage in implementing the policy of EU support of SMEs in the audiovisual sector. It was intended specifically to provide a remedy for the problems of access to funding by directly supporting financial costs related to bank loans, insurance and completion bonds. The evaluation of ‘Growth and Audiovisual: i2i Audiovisual’ confirmed the relevance and effectiveness of the action, and the continuation of EU action along these lines was recommended with the caveat that it should be more closely geared towards the specific needs of the sector.