Catalan audiovisual industry aims to avoid collapse

Sector representatives ask Parliament to approve a new digital levy after Spain’s Constitutional Court overturned Catalan audiovisual tax earlier this month

Representatives from the audiovisual sector (by ACN)
Representatives from the audiovisual sector (by ACN) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

July 28, 2017 07:14 PM

Representatives of the audiovisual industry in Catalonia have asked the Catalan Parliament to show bravery and courage in passing a new digital media levy after the Spanish Constitutional Court struck down the Catalan audiovisual tax earlier this month. The industry is also calling on politicians to keep to the budgets and financial endowments set aside for the sector to avoid a collapse of the audiovisual industry. The tax, approved by the Catalan Government in 2014, was aimed at promoting the Catalan audiovisual sector and helping spread digital culture. The audiovisual industry is now at risk, according to representatives of the sector, who gathered on Friday morning to find solutions.  

The president of the Catalan Cinema Academy, Isona Passola, showed her concern about the current situation of the Catalan audiovisual industry, and she appealed to the authorities to defend the sector. Passola also said that until the authorities come up with a new levy, “all the half-done projects and those to come should not get stuck.” “There should be financial support provided, and if they don’t, the audiovisual industry will collapse,” she predicted, adding that “a country cannot do without its audiovisual industry, because that is what we show to the world.”

The president of the Federation of Producers’ Associations (PROA), Raimon Masllorenç, said that it is sad to see the sector politicized and suggested that the Catalan tax was overturned “for political reasons”. He thus encouraged the Catalan Parliament to work on a new levy almost identical to the one Catalonia already had, which was more or less a clone of those in other European countries.

Meanwhile, Passola stressed that she originally thought “they would copy this model in Madrid, as this tax doesn’t exist in Spain; whereas Germany, Italy, France have it.” Yet, instead of copying the initiative, “the Constitutional Court prohibits it,” she said.

The Catalan Minister of Culture Lluís Puig has already promised that the government will maintain the financial contributions to the culture sector to compensate for the Constitutional Court’s ruling against the audiovisual tax in Catalonia. The Constitutional Court overturned the tax after the Spanish government complained that it created a dual tax by clashing with the existing sales tax.

The president of the Actors and Professional Directors Association of Catalonia, Àlex Casanovas, stressed that a levy made it possible to hire a lot a people from the Catalan audiovisual industry. The actor expressed concern about the situation and said that it could lead to cultural workers “not getting paid”.

The Catalan audiovisual sector is made up of 2,235 companies that provide around 14,000 jobs. The industry has a turnover of 1.66 billion euros with an added gross value of 540 million euros.