Berlin competition title Julia is to be released simultaneously in the UK in cinemas and on Sky television. Chelsea Films and Sky will open Erick Zonca and Camille Natta's film in theatres and to 9 million Sky subscribers via Sky Box Office (SBO) on December 5.

Plenty of other titles have had multi-platform releases. In the UK, Michael Winterbottom's The Road To Guantanamo was shown on Channel 4 on March 9, 2006 and the following day it was released in cinemas, on DVD and online.

The Wind That Shakes The Barley also had a multi-platform release in 2007, with Channel 4 broadcasting the film during its UK theatrical release. And earlier this year, in July, CSNY Deja Vu went out in cinemas and on VoD platforms.

Chelsea Films (part of The Curzon Artificial Eye Group) and Sky have experience of a multi-platform release. They released Fatih Akin's German-language The Edge Of Heaven in cinemas and on SBO in February this year.

The trend raises questions about release windows, not least given the angry response from the UK's Cinema Exhibitors' Association (CEA) to Revolver Entertainment's plans to release low-budget horror Mum & Dad day-and-date on Boxing Day.

"I know they (the CEA) were nervous when we first released Edge Of Heaven," says Philip Knatchbull, CEO of Curzon Artificial Eye. "Our policy is that we aren't trying to collapse windows. I'm a pioneer of experimenting with different habits to encourage movie-going.

"We're trying to establish the principle that public cinema and home cinemas are the same for certain films; the idea of home cinema and public cinema working together to benefit consumers."

Knatchbull argues that Revolver's approach is very different to the one taken by Chelsea and Sky.

"We're working from a completely different model. They're looking at breaking down all windows. We're not breaking the windows, we are treating Sky Box Office as an extension of public cinema, the charging rate is the same."

He explains that when Julia stops playing in the cinemas, Sky will stop showing the film and it will screen in the normal pay-per-view window, three months later.

Phil Clapp, chief executive of the CEA, said he has not had a chance to make members aware of the multi-platform release of Julia but he said members would make their own decision.

"It's very much down to each individual member. Each release will be viewed on its merits. Exhibitors will take a view on whether to show it to their audiences or not and will judge the impact it will have."

The release windows argument is one that will not go away. Knatchbull believes there may be a justification for a simultaneous release across all platforms. Such a release might be suitable for "small, independent films that would otherwise find it hard to reach audiences, lower-budget films that would find it hard to break out through a traditional release."

While Clapp agrees each release should be viewed on its merits, he says: "The fact remains that the CEA membership has serious concerns about multi-platform releases and the various attempts to shrink the release window."

It remains to be seen how members reconcile these concerns with the distributors' release strategies for both Mum & Dad and Julia.