The BFI announces new online movie-streaming service

The British Film Institute (BFI) today announces plans to launch its own online movie-streaming service, offering a mix of free and paid-for viewing, all presented in HD quality.

BFI Chair Greg Dyke unveiled the BFI Player at a London press event earlier today, saying: "The launch of the BFI Player is a defining moment in the BFI’s 80 year history -- it will unlock the past, present and future of British film and, most importantly, offers a new deal for UK audiences to get great films out to as many people as possible across the UK. I’m really excited about the BFI Player’s potential. The BFI is pivotal to identifying great films and nurturing and giving a voice to great filmmakers in the UK and now offers a platform to take these stories out to whole new audiences".

Launching to coincide with the BFI London Film Festival, the service will be available nationwide from 9 October and offer a mix of free (approx. 60 percent) and pay-per-view (approx. 40 percent) content including hundreds of films.

The BFI Player will launch with seven different channels, or "collections":

  • London Film Festival Presents; exclusive red carpet action, talent interviews and special behind the scenes access to the UK’s most important film festival.
  • Backed by the BFI; the best of British cinema -- a showcase of some of the finest films, many funded by the BFI Film Fund.
  • Edwardian Britain; for the first time ever all 28 hours of the extraordinary films of pioneering filmmakers Sagar Mitchell and James Kenyon, c.1900 -- 1912.
  • GOTHIC: The Dark Heart of Film; The BFI’s blockbuster project featuring four compelling themes Monstrous, The Dark Arts, Haunted and Love is a Devil.
  • Cult Cinema; a passport to an exciting and surprising world of cult British cinema from the BFI’s Flipside DVD label.
  • Inside Film; films about filmmaking for filmmakers and all those who love cinema.
  • Sight and Sound Selects (from the magazine's Greatest Film poll); a growing selection of the best films of all time.
  • Enabling distributors, empowering filmmakers.

The BFI will be making Clio Barnard’s debut feature, The Selfish Giant, available to watch on the player on the same day as its UK theatrical release (25 October). The newly restored The Epic of Everest (1924) will be available to view on the same day as its premiere at the BFI London Film festival too (18 October).

Edward Humphrey, BFI Director of Digital said: "Audience behavior has shifted to embrace digital platforms, now the BFI Player gives us a foundation from which we can support a digital future for film lovers and bring the story of film to a truly national audience. The UK film industry leads the world in digital innovation and we hope the BFI Player will quickly become an essential element in the distribution models of tomorrow".

The BFI says the new player will evolve and grow as new partners and increasing content come on board over the coming months. Phase 2 of the BFI Player is set to launch in early 2014.

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