Eurocinema Set to Launch VOD Channel

Sep 19, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Foreign-language film service Eurocinema, whose movies have been available to 2.5 million video-on-demand homes on a per-film basis since 2004, is prepping to launch next month as a stand-alone on-demand channel with a handful of small cable operators.

Since 2004, Eurocinema’s foreign films have been listed along with other movies in the movie category on most VOD interfaces. Come mid-October, the service gets its own button or link on the interface, making it easier for consumers to seek out the content. In the new iteration, Eurocinema will be available on current operators, including Charter, RCN, Mediacom and Bresnan, and on new partners Bend, Blueridge and Seren.

The films will be offered as part of a hosted, two-hour programming block that will include the centerpiece film, a short film relevant to the feature and content akin to DVD extras, such as director interviews or host commentary. The initial launch will include six blocks. Four more blocks will be added in November, bringing the service to 20 hours. Each block costs $3.99. Eurocinema will be distributed by VOD aggregator TVN.

Sebastien Perioche, chairman and CEO of Eurocinema, said the change will make the service easier to find and use.

“We have gotten very good feedback from consumers and operators,” he said. “Cable operators look at Eurocinema as a service they don’t have and something that is new and not repackaged.”

Eurocinema is programmed specifically for VOD and since it’s transaction-based, the business model is clear, which can be a benefit in a climate where thorny financial model challenges still surround free VOD.

While foreign films attract a niche audience, Mr. Perioche pointed to the success of foreign films in the United States in 2004, including Oscar-nominated “Motorcycle Diaries” and “Maria Full of Grace” that performed well at the box office.

In its initial incarnation, Eurocinema will include 12 hours of European and international films, such as 2002 Cannes Film Festival Winner “My Mother’s Smile,” Italian film “Kaputt Mundi”” starring popular Italian film actress Monica Bellucci, classic Russian film “Nostalgia,” and the French film “Stand-by,” based on the same story as “The Terminal,” which starred Tom Hanks.

Eurocinema will market the service locally in Landmark theaters, film festivals and other venues that hypertarget the film lover.