UKFC putting cash behind digital plan

Will contribute as much as $1.5 mil from its fund

LONDON -- The U.K. Film Council plans to pump as much as £1 million ($1.5 million) into the digital dream here, pledging to support the creation of a new cashpool. The council will contribute to an initiative established by the government's Technology Strategy Board to create a $7.3 million fund.

The UKFC cash will go toward supporting "new business models and services that maximize revenue streams for content creators and rights-holders, while putting access to film firmly in the mainstream."

The fund will be open to companies operating businesses in which movies and technology meet, such as rights management banners.

The council pledge indicates a belief that all things digital are increasingly important as it will be diverting some of its lottery funded cash to fuel the drive. The move will see as much as £1 million allocated from the council's existing distribution and exhibition fund.

The fund also will look for innovative projects that allow audiences to discover film in new ways in the digital era.

"As the U.K. film industry moves into the digital age, it is essential that issues such as rights revenue and ensuring access to content are revisited," council distribution and exhibition chief Pete Buckingham said. "New business models that work in the digital world are needed to ensure that audiences continue to have the widest possible access and that content creators and rights holders work in an environment that recognizes the value of content."