French VOD site UniversCine going live

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PARIS -- French video-on-demand Web site UniversCine is set to launch Wednesday, the company announced Tuesday at a Paris press conference.

The site, www.universcine.com, will offer more than 250 independently produced films at a cost of €4.99 ($6.77) for 48-hours of unlimited viewing.

Films include works from such directors asAmos Gitai, Arnaud Desplechin, Pedro Almodovar, Tonie Marshall and Rachid Bouchareb. The Web site will be updated weekly with recent releases and the company hopes to make 500 titles available by the end of the first half of 2007, 700 by year's end and close to 2,000 films over the next two years.

Universcine was created in 2001 by a group of independent producers and distributors in order to create an efficient VOD service for the Internet release of their movies.

UniversCine's goal is "to transmit and broadcast cinematographic culture, experiment with a new means of distribution and consumption of the films, and examine content, audiences and the means of renewing the relationship between the public and independent cinema," the group said.

Why Not Prods., Rezo Films, Maia Films and Agat Films are among the current members, with Pyramide Distribution, Haut et Court Distribution, Ad Vitam and Les Films du Kiosque set to join in the coming months.
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