The British Film Institute has announced its own online movie-streaming service to give fans of cinema a mixture of free and paid-for content.
Launched during a London press event hosted by Greg Dyke - BFI chair and current chairman of the Football Association- the BFI Player will be available from 9 October and will offer more than 1,000 items of content, including independent and specialised films, behind-the-scenes footage, and others ranging from contemporary to Edwardian images.
Approximately 60 per cent of the content will be free to watch, the rest pay-per-view. Hundreds of feature films will be available during the launch period and the organisation claims that its player will "go further than current VOD platforms by offering deep exploration and understanding of film content".
All content will be presented in HD quality and the platform will "evolve and grow" over the coming months. Phase 2 of the BFI Player will launch in 2014.
Seven different collections will be available initially:
- BFI London Film Festival Presents will include red carpet action, talent interviews and behind-the-scenes access to the festival,
- Backed by the BFI will offer a collection of contemporary British films,
- Gothic: The Dark Heart of Film and Edwardian Britain will present respective specialist content,
- Sight & Sound Selects will show iconic film classics picked by the magazine.
- Cult Cinema: the Flipside of British cinema will offer what it says on the tin. And Inside Film will present documentaries and interviews.
"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 by ensuring that as many people as possible across the UK get access to great films," said Dyke.
"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."
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