The Czech Republic's Doc Air is the only online distributor in Central and Eastern Europe specialising in documentary features. Users can stream the video or download either DivX or DVD files to their computers. The service currently offers 150 titles and has 30-50 downloads a day at roughly $1.46 (EUR1) apiece.
In Hungary, distributor Budapest Film launched a VoD platform in June 2007 called Filmklik which allows users to download films to their computers. Numbers for the service are modest, but the company is reaching out to audiences by creating online sidebars to Hungarian Film Week and to Unifrance's Paris Screenings offshoot in Budapest.
With German partner A Company Consulting & Licensing, Filmklik plans this year to launch affiliates in the Baltics, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. The new network of local operators will offer all films acquired by the Eastern European Acquisition Pool, a film and licence trading company for Eastern Europe.Theodore Schwinke
Owned by: France Telecom
Operates in: France (24/24 Video), Spain, Poland and the UK.
How it works: Delivers VoD to viewers with a broadband digital TV package or a broadband internet package.
What it offers: Films from MGM, Disney-ABC International Television, Gaumont Studio, Diaphana, Wild Side, Filmax and more.
Original approach: 24/24 Video Service offers a range of films once a week for a 24-hour rental period.
Number of subscribers: 1.1 million in France
Owned by: Sogecable and Telefonica
Operates in: Spain
What is it' Trio Plus combines Sogecable's satellite TV service Digital Plus with Telefonica's telephony and broadband services.
Key deals: Provides US studio and independent titles to 50% of the Spanish market that Telefonica Iptv service Imagenio does not reach.
Original approach: The two owners join client bases on VoD deals with the studios.
Number of subscribers: As of June 2007, Digital Plus had 2 million subscribers.
Owned by: ONO
Operates in: Spain
How it works: OJO TV is the VoD service of cable TV operator ONO.
What it offers: ONO has VoD pacts with Universal, Buena Vista, Paramount, Fox and Warner Bros to show new and library titles, as well as selling films from Spain's Manga, Filmax and Notro and a wide selection of international titles (including from Latin America and Eastern Europe). Aside from films, OJO also offers sport, documentaries, TV series and concert footage.
Original approach: "Users can watch two different films through VoD at the same time in their house," says ONO's Estefania Somoza.
Number of subscribers: 960,000
Owned by: Deutsche Telekom
Operates in: Germany (Videoload)
What is it' VoD through T-Home Entertain on a set-top box and on the internet site Videoload.
Key deals: Warner Bros, Sony Pictures, Universal, Senator Ent't, and more.
Original approach: Triple play, which includes calls, internet and TV.
Number of subscribers: An average 130,000 films accessed per month in Germany.
SKY MOVIES/SKY BOX OFFICE
Owned by: BSkyB
Operates in: UK and Ireland
What is it' A multi-platform offering that includes both VoD and SVoD (subscribers) via the BSkyB digital satellite and broadband service.
What it offers: Output deals with all major studios for both digital and PC offering. Sky Box Office digital service offers up to 20 films at any time. Sky's push-VoD Anytime service supplies both standard and high-definition films. Sky's film offering via PC consists of around 500 films available to download at no extra cost to Sky Movies subscribers, plus 200 films within the SBO World transactional service, many of which are not available anywhere else in the UK.
Original approach: Original content from Sky Movies production department, including behind-the-scenes specials, news round-up shows etc.
Number of subscribers: 8.8 million
Virgin Media (VoD)
Owned by: Virgin Media
Operates in: UK
What is it' VoD through Virgin Media's cable network.
What it offers: Virgin Media has more than 4,300 hours of content available on demand, including 500 films provided by FilmFlex, covering all major studios. They also offer content from the BBC, Channel 4, Bravo, Living and others.
Original approach: Virgin Media Television offers a wide range of products through VoD.
Number of subscribers: 3.4 million
Owned by: Tiscali UK
Operates in: UK (Italian roll-out imminent)
What is it' A digital (PVR) TV service for the UK.
What it offers: A full range of digital channels including Setanta and Sky Movies. Tiscali also has a history of providing independent titles, including the 2006 multi-platform release of Michael Winterbottom's The Road To Guantanamo and the forthcoming release of British comedy January 2nd.
Original approach: Tiscali+ provides additional features to the existing set-top box. Its library of on-demand content includes more than 1,000 movies.
Number of subscribers: 60,000
Owned by: British Telecom
What is it' BT Vision offers VoD content on a set top-box through broadband internet.
What it offers: Vision provides a choice of entertainment with no compulsory subscriptions giving the customer the power to select what to watch and when. Currently has deals with Disney-ABC International Television, Warner Bros, Channel 4, DreamWorks, Paramount, Momentum, Universal, Turner Broadcasting, Lionsgate and more.
Original approach: Hard-drive recorder in the set-top box which allows you to pause live television and record programmes two weeks in advance. Comes automatically with freeview.
Number of subscribers: 150,000
Owned by: Swisscom
Operates in: Italy
How it works; Fastweb is a telecoms company with subscribers to its Iptv service, technology is high-speed broadband.
What it offers: Normal subscription rates are $30 (EUR20) per month plus upgrades for premium content. Consumers choose between analogue channels (RAI, Mediaset and LA7), Sky Italia's satellite content (at the same price as Sky), free digital terrestrial television content, LA7 premium content, plus Fastweb's Iptv content (VoD of movies, documentaries and more). Has deals with 20th Century Fox, Universal, Sony, MGM, Turner, Disney, Medusa, LA7, Mediaset, Rai.
Original approach: In 2003, Fastweb was the first company in the world to offer Iptv on an Adsl line, a platform they developed in-house.
Number of Subscribers: 1.3 million
Owned by: Telefonica
Operates in: Spain
How it works: Delivers VoD to viewers through its broadband TV service.
What it offers: More than 300 films, with first-run titles from the majors - The Walt Disney Co, Warner Bros, Paramount and most indies. About 30% of Telefonica clients buy pay-per-view and VoD products.
Original approach: Imagenio allows the viewer to switch from dubbed Spanish versions to original-language versions. A system that can read the user's hand gestures to change channel without using a remote control is in development
Number of subscribers: 450,925 clients (as of June 2007)
Maximising Digital Rights Values conference
March 18 (www.digitalrightsconference.co.uk)
Want to create revenue from multiple distribution channels' Screen's London conference will address the digital future of audiovisual content distribution. The keynote speaker is Ian Lewis, director of Sky Movies and Sky Box Office.