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“For me, while such ‘exclusive’ periods may be important to finance some films, or get the most out of them, rigid and uniform rules can make it harder for the sector to capture digital benefits. This lack of flexibility troubles me. Because, in fact, different outlets for films – cinemas, TV, DVD, online – all have their strengths, and each can respond to different consumer needs,” said Kroes in a message timed to coincide with the Berlin film festival.
Kroes said she believed some films would be better served by being made available online earlier, particularly low-budget and niche films. She said there was evidence from the US that the release of titles on video-on-demand before their theatrical release could create buzz and increase the overall return to a movie’s producers.
Kroes said she did not “want to impose anything on the industry” and that she saw cinemas as “important parts of our communities and cultural lives” but said many in the industry were “just as frustrated as I am by the existing lack of flexibility, the opportunities we are missing, and the damage to the goals of cinema overall”.