France/ 6. Financing of culture  

6.1 Short overview

Due to the wide diversity of the sources available and the differences between the modes of calculation that are used, the figures and data on the financing of culture in France are given here for informative and indicative purposes.

The main sources used are:

  • Loi de finances intiale 2016, Ministry of Culture and Communication
  • Effort financier de l'État dans le domaine de la culture et de la communication, Annex to the State Finance Bill for 2016
  • Chiffres clés 2016, DEPS, Ministry of Culture and Communication:
  • Jean-Cédric Delvainquière, François Tugores, Nicolas Laroche, Benoît Jourdan, Les dépenses culturelles des collectivités territoriales en 2010, Culture-Chiffres n° 2014-3;
  • Le mécénat d'entreprise en France, a biennial survey from l'ADMICAL-Carrefour du mécénat d'entreprise 

State financing

In 2016, the State expense in the domain of culture and communication reaches 7,3 billion EUR:

  • 2.9 billion EUR for culture and research
  • 3,9 billion EUR for public broadcasting
  • 0,5 billion EUR for press, radio diversity, book and cultural industries

Among these expenses, the budget of the Ministry of Culture and Communication represents 3,4 billion EUR.

The funds allocated to the "advance account for public broadcasting" (compte d'avances sur l'audiovisuel public) are not taken into account in the comparative presentation of the expenditure of the Ministry of Culture (see  chapter 6.2). These funds, 3,8 billion EUR in 2016, are advanced to the public broadcasting institutions which reimburse them to the State once they have collected the audiovisual licence fees (redevance audiovisuelle) that households are due to pay every year.

If we add this fund to the direct State expenditure for Culture and Communication (including all Ministries), the expenditure represents around 11 billion EUR. When adding the fiscal expenditure and allocated taxes, the overall State expenditure for Culture and Communication reaches 13 billion EUR, so a slight increase compared to 2015.

Territorial authorities

The study on the cultural expenditure of territorial authorities in 2010 indicated a total of around 7.6 billion EUR of consolidated expenditure, that is after deducing the transfers or subsidies between the different levels of territorial authority proceeding from cross financing:

  • communes (municipalities) of more than 10 000 inhabitants: 4.55 billion EUR;
  • inter-communal groupings (EPCI) : 988 billion EUR;
  • départements (counties): 1.4 billion EUR; and
  • regions: 691 million EUR.

Thus, 76% of territorial cultural expenditure is allocated at communal level (communes + EPCI).

A survey of the Association of French Regions indicates that the cultural expenditure of the regions in 2012 reached 706 million EUR (cf. http://www.arf.asso.fr/observatoire-des-politiques-regionales/observatoire-des-politiques-regionales-autres).

From 2006 to 2010, territorial cultural expenditure increased by almost 10%, i.e. an annual increase of 2.3% in mainland France. More or less keeping pace with inflation (+1.4% per year), the volume of the communes' cultural expenditure has remained fairly static, whereas the number of inter-communal groupings active in the cultural sphere increased and their cultural expenditure increased by 6% per year. Cultural expenditure for the départements and the regions has continued slightly above inflation for the départements (+1.8% per year) and more significantly so for the regions (+ 4.5% per year) which is mostly down to strong growth at the start of the period. The drive to promote culture within départements and regions then diminished due to a strong increase in total expenditure, linked to transfers of competency.

Private expenditure

The main part of private expenditure on culture is household expenditure. It is estimated to have been around 22,3 billion EUR in 2014. The expenditure on related services and goods (devices, material, subscription, etc.) reached 20 billion EUR in 2014 (representing 1,8% of total expenditure).

Private expenditure also encompasses cultural corporate sponsorship: around 500 million EUR in 2015 (see chapter 6.3). Firms also contribute to financing culture and communication with their publicity and advertising expenses, which reached 7,4 billion EUR in 2014, so a 6% decrease compared to 2014: nearly 2.68 billion EUR for the press, 3.22 billion EUR for television, 726 million EUR for radio, 81 million EUR for cinema and 656 million EUR for the internet.

The exportation of cultural goods reached 2.6 billion EUR in 2014 (books, press, phonograms, videos, sheet music and instruments, artefacts…). The receipts from the transfer of rights of French film for exportation abroad (for cinema, TV and video), including films in coproduction, reached 194 million EUR in 2014. The theatre entrances for French film abroad represented 685 million EUR.


Chapter published: 18-05-2017


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