Early View Article - Understanding Film Co‐Production in the Era of Globalization: A Value Chain Approach

Understanding Film Co‐Production in the Era of Globalization: A Value Chain Approach

The film industry is closely linked to the nation’s culture and economy. With globalization, however, it has become more engaged in international operations through film co‐production. Paradoxically, this instrument emerged as a type of discriminatory measure as well as reflected growing interest in regionalism, notably among European countries facing the dominance of US films. To strengthen this scheme, state subsidies have been widely offered, which has led to it being positively adopted in Europe and beyond. Given this political context, the double‐facet of co‐production should be carefully understood when this scheme is implemented to promote the film industry. In this regard, it is important to understand clearly how co‐production functions and crucially its real impact on the film industry. This paper reveals that in contrast to the common perception, co‐production leads easily to cultural paucity, rather than cultural diversity across various aspects. Additionally, subsidies to promote co‐production distort it further and make it easier to be exploited. Therefore, such a consideration should be taken into account when redesigning the co‐production scheme if governments wish to help promote the national film industry and cultural diversity in the era of globalization.

Policy Implications

  • In contrast to the common belief that co‐production regimes help globalization and cultural diversity in film industry, notable examples have shown that it has often been used as a discriminatory measure and has led to cultural paucity.
  • Policy makers need to be aware that the provision of subsidies to promote co‐production can distort the market and will often be easily exploited by various players in the film industry. Only by recognizing the negative outcome from past efforts in this regard will governments be able to truly help promote their country’s film industry and strengthen further cultural diversity in the era of globalization.
  • When applying a co‐production regime, governments should focus on fostering a business‐friendly environment where the film industry and its companies can optimize both domestic and international business functions. This will help provide a healthy competitive environment instead of regulating the private sector through a co‐production regime.
  • By encouraging business to concentrate on producing attractive films, governments can ensure they have a more sustainable model to recoup production costs and maximize their profits. The benefits are more positive than when business seeks subsidies for co‐production and thus becomes dependent on the state instead of focusing on the tastes of the film‐going audience.


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