Scotland's Indie Movie Theaters Team With Distrify for Online Streaming Service
LONDON – Two of Scotland's premiere independent movie venues, the Glasgow Film Theater (GFT) and Edinburgh's Filmhouse, have teamed with online movie distribution and marketing platform Distrify to push movies out on a curated streaming service.
The independent cinemas will be the first venues in the U.K. to work together to make available a specially selected online film program.
Each movie house will host a new online viewing platform on its website – the GFT Player and the Filmhouse Player.
The players will be available as part of an innovative trial, supported by a £90,000 ($145,000) grant from Nesta’s Digital R&D Fund, Scotland.
The Digital Research and Development Fund for Arts and Culture, Scotland is a partnership between Creative Scotland, Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and Nesta to support arts and cultural organizations across Scotland who want to work with digital technologies to expand their audience reach and engagement and/or explore new business models.
This project has been devised so that the two movie houses – each play a big part as host venues in their respective city's annual film festivals -- can reach beyond their walls and engage with audiences in other areas.
Films will be available to stream 24/7 and can be watched on computers, tablets and mobiles anywhere in the U.K. or Ireland. Streaming prices will start at £3.49 ($5.62) with the service going live online from November.
The online players will carry fresh releases -- available to stream alongside their screenings in the cinema -- such as music documentary Sound it Out and Japanese comedy-drama Rent-a-Cat alongside "favorite" films that audiences may have missed on the big screen like the enjoyable French comedy The Women on the 6th Floor.
Both Sound It Out and Rent-A-Cat unspooled during this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival.
GFT head of cinemas Allison Gardner said: "Our reasons for pioneering the curated program online model are two-fold. There are an ever-growing number of films available to us and with our screens already working very hard, we needed to find a way to ensure that audiences are not missing out on the great films that we can offer them. Secondly, not everyone has access to cinemas like the GFT and the Filmhouse, or indeed time to go to the cinema when it suits them."
Filmhouse chief Rod White added: "The Player gives us the opportunity to provide an extra screen – open all hours – showing films that we would not otherwise have the room to screen, or audiences simply couldn’t make it along to, or may have missed on the big screen."
Teaming with Distrify will allow both cinemas to utilize digital technology to research best practice in broadening total audience figures.
Distrify COO Andy Green said: "Audiences are finding films they want online and we want to offer cinema tickets as well as VOD, the idea is that a choice increases sales of both. Adding the curatorial voice of GFT and Filmhouse creates trust for an audience and adds an extra revenue stream for the cinemas."