Canada’s Imavision Plans French Language Download-to-Own Service

Little House on the Prairie Melissa Gilbert

Looking to stay one step ahead of iTunes in Canada, shows to be offered include the Little House on the Prairie and Goldorak series.

TORONTO – Canadian DVD distributor Imavision is betting Canadians would rather own their favorite movie or TV show, than rent.

So the Montreal-based company has unveiled plans to launch a French language digital platform offering consumers the chance to download-to-own catalogue titles.

“There’s a need for that platform since there’s no one else specializing in francophone product,” Imavision CEO Pierre Paquet said as he looks to stay one step ahead of iTunes Canada.

“It will be one of the best places to go to find programming that people want to download or screen,” he added.

The digital platform is aimed at French-speaking Canada and eventually French-language international markets.

Paquet said Imavision also has plans to allow real-time streaming of its content, similar to Netflix Canada as that U.S.-based player slowly boosts its French language offering to Canadians.

Imavision recently signed a licensing agreement with Toei Animation for the Canadian DVD, TV and digital rights to the classic Goldorak series, and another agreement for the English and French DVD and digital distribution rights to the Bomb Girls drama from Muse Entertainment.

The home entertainment distributor, whose other top titles include Little House on the Prairie and Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple series, is the latest Canadian player to respond to slowing DVD sales by forging deals with content producers for digital direct sales on a revenue share basis.

And geo-gating will allow Imavision to sell product solely into the Canadian market, or just Quebec.

Paquet said he has deals with American and European producers to sell their product digitally, whether the content is nostalgia, TV shows, movies, documentaries or kids fare.