Initiative is part of European Commission’s media chronology experiment.

Wild Bunch has kicked off its Speed Bunch media chronology experiment with the simultaneous VOD release of Ken Loach’s Spirit of ‘45 in five European territories.

Under the initiative, the documentary was released on VOD in France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Belgium on Friday via iTunes, local VOD services and Wild Bunch’s French digital distributor FilmoTV.

The film also opened simultaneously or quasi-simultaneously in theatres in Spain, Italy and Belgium via Wild Bunch’s subsidiaries Vertigo and BIM and long-time collaborator Cineart.

Date-and-date releases are against the law in Germany and France where strict media chronology laws stipulate at least a four-month gap between a theatrical and VOD release.

Wild Bunch said the operation had been “strictly within legal regulations.”

The documentary was released by Paris-based production house and occasional distributor Why Not Productions in France in May and has gone straight to VOD in Germany.

“The aim of the experiment is to test the impact of the simultaneous, coordinated release of European works in several markets using new ways of distribution and innovative promotion techniques,” Wild Bunch said in a statement.

The company plans to study the documentary’s performance to assess the impact of releasing it simultaneously in Spain, Italy and Belgium on VOD and in theatres.

Speed Bunch was one of three European film industry consortia to win European Commission funding in 2012 to support trials of simultaneous multiplatform releases.

Run by Wild Bunch, it incorporates subsidiaries Wild Bunch Distribution, Wild Side, Filmonline, Elle Driver, Wild Bunch Distribution, BIM and Vertigo.

The other two consortia comprise Artificial Eye’s EDAD, involving Poland’s Gutek Films, France’s Rezo Films, Germany’s The Match Factory, Spain’s Golem and Benelux’s Cineart, and the Tide Experiment, a joint venture between sales agents Fandango, Goldcrest, Urban Distribution and Wide as well as 30 members of distributors body Europa Distribution.