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Sébastien Périoche • Eurocinema CEO

The distribution of European films in the United States

Sébastien Périoche  • Eurocinema CEO

Cineuropa: What does Eurocinema offers its viewers?
Sébastien Périoche: We give viewers a few things. Film buffs are given an opportunity to see European box office films that do not necessarily make it to mainstream theatres in the US. These movies are not readily available for DVD rental either.

We give ex-pats a chance to see movies from "back home". All our movies are in the original language with English subtitles, which is also perfect for foreign-language students. Film students also benefit from Eurocinema titles because so many of our US filmmakers – Scorsese, Tarantino and so forth – are and have been influenced by European filmmakers.

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What are your target and age groups?
We target adventurous television viewers, people looking for more than what is "usually" offered on North American TV. They tend to be at the upper end of the educational spectrum and income levels. However, the service appeals to various age groups in general.

Is there an audience for European cinema in the States, especially for theatrical distribution?
There is. This is the reason Eurocinema exists. But it is getting harder for European and foreign releases to find "screens" for their films. The number of independent arthouse theatres is shrinking and though some theatre chains like AMC and Regal do set aside some screens for foreign releases, they typically limit them to the films distributed by the biggest distributors, such as Sony Classics, Lionsgate, Weinstein, etc. Therefore, Eurocinema is the perfect alternative for seeing current European movies and a great outlet for European directors to showcase their work.

What is your business model?
[It] is pretty simple, typical to a retail model. Eurocinema provides foreign film content to cable and satellite operators (shelf space) and then the cable ops and Eurocinema split the revenue.

What are the VoD trends in the States?
The use of VoD is increasing among TV networks, movies studios and so forth. It has been reported that VoD is now the distribution venue for independent and foreign films in North America. Many are doing day-and-date releases both for theatrical and VoD release. Viewers are getting used to it, the views are now in the billions, granted mostly free VoD, and this growth ahs been relatively recent, over the past few years. Sixty million households will be VoD-enabled in the US by 2011 and buy rates are increasing.

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