Execs from Curzon and Magnolia Pictures discussed digital models at the Rome Film Festival.

Online film distribution today came under the spotlight on The Business Street, the industry side of the Rome Film Festival.

The conference, entitled The Era of Digital Distribution: New Models of Distribution and Enjoyment, tackled the ongoing changes around viewing and promoting film online.

The first session was introduced by the general manager of the Fondazione Cinema per Roma, Lamberto Mancini and included a discussion moderated by Alain Modot (Media Consulting Group), with speakers Von W. Johnson (VJA Consulting), Erik Lambert (The Silverlining Project) and John Von Thaden (Magnolia Pictures).

The panel said the prospect of a VoD window before theatrical is no longer a threat to the cinema – as many tend to fear – but can act as a promotional tool for the film.

Day-and-date distribution was also said to have its advantages, taking films to viewers in more geographically disadvantaged areas.

MEDIA exec Emmanuel Joly presented a report that highlighted the €2m allocated by the European Union to support simultaneous release on different platforms. The goal is to test a simultaneous regional and multi-platform release in a bid to boost audiences, promote cultural diversity and circulation of films throughout Europe, and fight piracy.

Ross Fitzsimons, who developed and launched Curzon on Demand in the UK, said the needs of the viewer are paramount but attention must also be paid to the quality of the offer.

He highlighted that Curzon offers an integrated, simultaneous distribution system across various windows, which also acts as a marketing and promotion tool.

“The client can see the film wherever and whenever they want: this is not a threat to the movie theatre but support to create awareness that the film exists,” he added.