04 Apr 2011
The Digitization Fund And The Television Film Fund
The objectives and bases of the Austrian Digitization Fund are derived from the intentions of the eEurope 2005 Action Plan, which aims to accelerate the transition to digital television. The fund supports projects which upgrade and reinforce all broadcasting transmission platforms as a special part of communications infrastructure, especially in light of the central role of broadcasting in modern democratic societies. Grants from the Austrian Digitization Fund are awarded according to technology-neutral criteria with due attention to all transmission means and platforms for digital broadcasting. From 2005 onward, the fund will be endowed with EUR 6.75 million annually from Austrian broadcasting fees which are collected together with ORF programming fees but generally allocated to the federal budget.
The FERNSEHFONDS AUSTRIA (i.e. Austrian Television Fund) was established within the Austrian Regulatory Authority for Broadcasting and Telecommunications (RTR) by an amendment to the KommAustria Act (KOG) as of January 1, 2004. RTR administers the fund and receives EUR 13.5 million from the fees collected in accordance with § 3 Par. 1 of the Austrian Broadcasting Fees Act (RGG). These funds were previously allocated to the federal budget. RTR is responsible for investing the funds and awarding grants for the purpose of promoting television productions.
Grants can be awarded to cover a maximum of 20 percent of reasonable overall production costs. Grant limits vary by genre, with television series being eligible for grants up to EUR 120,000 per episode, television films up to EUR 700,000 and TV documentaries up to EUR 200,000. The grants are awarded in the form of non-repayable subsidies. Independent producers and production companies with the appropriate professional qualifications are eligible to apply for grants.
The Fund is intended to make a contribution to improving the quality of television production and the capacity of the Austrian film industry, as well as reinforcing Austria as a media location and ensuring the diversity of the cultural landscape. In addition, the grants are also intended to contribute to the strengthening of the audiovisual sector in Europe.
RTR worked out guidelines for grants from the FERNSEHFONDS AUSTRIA which were approved by the European Commission till December 31, 2004 - see decision C(2003)4634 fin (state aid no. N 512/2003). These guidelines were evaluated and modified by RTR in 2006, and approved by the European Commission on June 28, 2007 - see decision C(2007)3215 (state aid no. N 168/2007). They became effective retroactive to July 1, 2007 and will remain in force until June 30, 2013 at the latest.
Award decisions are made by the managing director of RTR with due attention to the objectives of the Fund and to the comments of the review board, which consists of five members with years of experience in the film industry. The members of the review board work on a voluntary basis.
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