EXCLUSIVE: Leading media agencies Getty, AP and Reuters held impromptu talks with the Venice Film Festival yesterday over “unprecedented” new restrictions on them at red carpets and in press conferences.
We understand the agencies have been left frustrated by new broadcast regulations which limit the footage they’re able to use from the red carpet to 90 seconds and their ability to film at press conferences at all.
The agencies, which perform a vital function at festivals, have been told by organizers that the restrictions are down to “new laws”, but the companies claim they were not made aware of the stipulations beforehand which have put them at a distinct disadvantage and may put their future attendance on the Lido in doubt. The festival declined to comment when we reached out.
The changes have come to light soon after the festival signed a new agreement with Italian broadcaster Rai (including increased red carpet and press conference access). Rai sat in on the meeting with the agencies yesterday morning, along with Venice Film Festival Director General Andrea Del Mercato, and one lawyer.
We got wind of the frustrations earlier this week. When we reached out to one of the agencies, a journalist across the discussions told us: “We’re shocked. We’ve been coming here for more than 10 years and this is the first time it has come up. It hasn’t happened at any other major festival. It’s a form of censorship. How are we supposed to tell the story of a press conference in 90 seconds from pool footage? We’re aware that there were discussions over the summer with the European Broadcasting Union about potential changes but there was no communication about changes to us on the ground.”
One agency told us the festival recommended they buy more footage from Rai, something that they’ve never had to do in the past.
The changes have led the agencies to question their place at the festival, where their footage has been used by hundreds of international broadcasters for years.
“It negates our reason to be here,” one of the agencies told us. “All our partners are confused. We’re being contacted by clients who are frustrated about the lack of footage they’re getting from us. We are in consultation with our lawyers about our next steps.”
There could also be a more direct knock-on effect for films and talent. “One senior communications executive told us that if their talent and films are getting limited exposure on Venice red carpets and press conferences then going forward they would need to hold separate, independent press conferences elsewhere on the Lido.”
We have also reached out to the European Broadcasting Union, which acts as a go-between in negotiations between agencies, broadcasters and festivals.
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