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Mixed reaction to EC's VOD experiment

European exhibitors have complained about the lack of consultation with cinemas during the research.

European exhibitors have given a mixed reception to the European Commission’s “New approaches for greater diversity of cinema in Europe,” the multiplatform releasing experiment whose results were announced in Cannes this week.

Some have complained about the lack of consultation with cinemas during the research.

Nine films were released by three groups (EDAD coordinated by Curzon Film World), Speed Bunch (coordinated by Wild Bunch), and TIDE (L’ARP and Societé des Auteurs-Réalisateurs-Producteurs).

They went out in 15 territories and included 39 day and date or quasi day and date releases. Results were very soft.

“Making films available on VOD does not lead to a very large number of transactions (purchase or rental). In a given territory they total a few hundred and represent, on average, about 20% of the theatrical admissions in the territory,” the report itself acknowledged. 

Nico Simon, president of Europa Cinemas, said that some of the detail in the report was not fully accurate. “The figures are not significant to draw any conclusions [from] and some might not be accurate,” Simon told ScreenDaily.

“We are very frustrated that the whole exhibition sector was not consulted or involved.”

Simon said that Europa Cinemas was not in favour of day and date releasing but still insisted the organication could have provided useful input for the experiment.

Emmanuel Joly, principal administrator European Commission DG Education and Culture, defended the experiment.

“The figures are not big in terms of numbers, it is clear, so we don’t draw any conclusions from such an experience,” Joly admitted. He insisted there was “some consultation”.

A second wave of experiments, receiving a further €2m of public support, will start in June.

This will involve the International Film Festival Rotterdam, EuroVOD (a grouping of European VOD platforms) and Spider (Speed Bunch and Tide combined). This time round, exhibitors are expected to be more closely consulted. 

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