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Foxtel Partners With Aussie Theater Chain for PVOD

6 Sep, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Bryan Brown in "Australia Day"

Australian pay-TV operator Foxtel is partnering with Dendy Cinemas and Icon Film Distribution to offer new independent and international movies in the home one week after their box office debut on Dendy Direct and Foxtel Store.

While financial terms of the arrangement between theater owners, digital distributors and content creators were not disclosed, the new business model is intended to create a more sustainable distribution strategy for niche feature and documentary films.

Through the summer, the Aussie box office is off 5.3% compared to the same period in 2016, including down more than 35% in July and August.

PVOD proponents contend growth and consumer adoption of digital distribution provides a significant opportunity for on-demand delivery to add incremental value to the content ecosystem for filmmakers, exhibitors and consumers, while maintaining theatrical exhibition as the “gold standard.”

“We are always looking to make our cinema program compelling and eclectic. The initiative allows us to screen films for our patrons that would otherwise not be available,” Eddie Tamir, owner of Classic, Lido, Cameo Cinemas, said in a statement.

The initial PVOD movie is Australia Day, starring Bryan Brown, a co-production for Foxtel and Icon Film Distribution, which will be released in cinemas Sept. 21 and then one week later on the Foxtel Store and Dendy Direct Sept. 27.

It remains to be seen the reaction of other Aussie theater operators to PVOD. In the United States, attempts by major studios (Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox) to roll out PVOD have been met by stiff resistance from theater operators. How long that resistance continues following a 20.5% average weekly box office decline in August through Sept. 3 remains to be seen.

About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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