The International Union of Cinemas (UNIC), the European trade body representing cinema associations and key operators from across 36 territories, has today set out its position regarding media reports around the proposed ‘Screening Room’ initiative.
The vast majority of UNIC members will view the ‘Screening Room’ proposal with great concern. The model as outlined seems to offer little benefit to cinema operators and their distribution partners, while representing significant potential risks.
While it is of course up to each operator to agree terms around a film release with partners in film distribution, UNIC maintains that the exclusive theatrical release of a new film helps create unparalleled levels of audience awareness and ultimately benefits its performance across all platforms, including VOD.
All the evidence we have shows that exclusive offers work very well in digital markets and that they help to maintain audiences’ desire for high quality content. It is also known that online piracy has a hugely destructive impact on every stage of the film value chain.
We are therefore very concerned about a model that might result in a proliferation of high-quality copyright-infringing films online during the theatrical release and beyond. The risk here is not just to cinema operators but to everyone contributing to the wider film ecology.
The past decade has shown that disruptive interventions such as the ‘Screening Room’ do not always yield the greatest commercial or societal benefits; the music sector is a good example of this.
Operators across Europe will strive to continue to offer high quality and exclusive cinematic experiences at an affordable cost to audiences from all ages and all walks of life.
About The International Union of Cinemas (UNIC)
UNIC – the International Union of Cinemas – represents the interests of cinema trade associations and cinema operators covering 36 countries in Europe and in neighbouring regions.
UNIC’s website hosts a range of reports and data concerning the business of film distribution and cinema exhibition in Europe (http://www.unic-cinemas.org).