To a large extent, the trend of content providers delivering multiscreen access direct to the consumer over the Internet has passed by the movie industry. Not so in the UK, where independent cinema owner Curzon is blazing a trail with day-and-date home and theater delivery.
I spoke with Bill Scott, Chief Operating Officer of Easel TV, about Curzon’s revolutionary approach to movie distribution at the Copenhagen FutureTV conference. Easel TV is a software company enabling the delivery of video to multiple screens and is the key technology provider to Curzon for this project. The company specializes in creating seamless end-to-end experiences that seek to get the best out of television, and the serendipity of discovery through the power of suggestion.
Curzon owns a chain of art-house movie theaters in the UK. Independent movies are a vibrant business in which the company continues to invest. For example, it has just renovated theaters in Bloomsbury and Victoria in London and opened a new one in Canterbury. Recognizing the possibilities of direct digital distribution, the company decided to bring a virtual theater experience to consumers in their home.
Curzon decided to go one step further with digital distribution then simply providing access to library titles in home. Curzon owns the complete value chain for some of the films it distributes. For these the company decided to make them available in the home on the same day they are released in the theaters (so called day-and-date.)
Mr. Scott explained that the objective was to make the experience across multiple devices as unified as possible. For example, when a customer logs on to the service she can start watching on one device and pickup from where she left off on another screen. The interface also uses the power of recommendations to boost electronic sales of movies. Users can watch trailers of recommended titles and buy them directly through the interface.
I asked Mr. Scott if Curzon was concerned about cannibalizing movie ticket sales. He said that Curzon provides a premium viewing environment in theater very conducive to a special “night out” experience. For those that can’t make it to the theater or don’t live near one, there is Curzon Home Theater.
Chapter One: About Easel TV (00:35)
Chapter Two: Curzon Home Cinema (1:50)
Chapter Three: The multiscreen home theater experience (2:50)
Chapter Four: On cannibalizing ticket sales (4:45)
You can see a video which shows the Curzon Home Cinema interface created by Easel TV here.