Japanese major studio Shochiku has announced the launch of a video-on-demand (VoD) service which will stream movies from its library of over 2,000 titles. Dubbed 'Shochiku Online', the service will launch on May 21.

Approximately 200 titles are scheduled to become available in the first year, with 10 to 20 titles added each month. Initial offerings will include classics such as Yasujiro Ozu's Late Spring, Keisuke Kinoshita's Twenty-Four Eyes and titles from the Tora-san franchise.

Users can view single titles for $3.50 (Y367) for a period of seven days or pay a monthly subscription of $10 (Y1,050). Membership privileges may include movie premiere access, ticket discounts and studio set visits.

Shochiku stated its intention to take advantage of Japan 's growing rate of fibre optic internet connections, with titles streamed at 1Mbps and 3Mbps. The site will also include SNS user community functions.

Shochiku aims to sign up 100,000 members and achieve sales of $9.6m (Y1bn) over the next five years. The service will be managed by Shochiku subsidiary Eisei Gekijo, the studio's movie and TV drama pay channel.

Along with Kadokawa, Shochiku has invested heavily in internet content distribution. Previous ventures include Dogado, a $4.5m partnership established between Shochiku and Mitsui & Co in mid-2006. Dogado offered simultaneous preview screenings of recent feature film Clearness via mobile phones and broadband internet in early February prior to its theatrical release - a first in the industry.