Japan indies may get J:COM VOD boost

Small screen releases may overlap with cinema window

TOKYO – The struggling domestic independent sector may get a lift from plans by My-theater to offer films still on theatrical release on a VOD basis through leading cable provider Jupiter Communications from April.

The online movie info and ticketing portal, My-theater, a group company of advertising giant Dentsu, has been delivering a similar service through Activa Corp since February.

According to local media reports, initial plans are to acquire one movie per month, mainly independent productions, which can be viewed by J:COM’s 2 million-plus VOD users, for around 1,200 yen ($13.35). This is just below the average price for movie tickets, but those for independent films often cost more.

While the bigger studios have reservations about broadcasting films online during theatrical releases, the dwindling number of arthouse cinemas and specialist distributors makes it more attractive for independents that might otherwise struggle to reach audiences outside the major cities.

A spokesperson for J:COM declined to provide further details as there has been no official announcement from either company yet.
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