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Allocine unveils TV channel plans

Company inks deals with Gaumont, Warner, Pathe

Paris-based film and TV news website Allocine unveiled its game plan for its new Allocine TV channel Tuesday.

Web, available on seven digital satellite, cable and DSL nets in Gaul, has library deals with Gaumont, Warner Bros., Pathe, Wild Side and Bac.

With a format like a film club, Allocine will program classic films four times a week in primetime, as well as film news and analysis talkshows. Its programming includes Stanley Donen’s “Singin’ in the Rain,” Federico Fellini’s “La dolce vita,” Rene Clair’s “Le dernier milliardaire” and William Keighley’s “The Master of Ballantrae.”

Films will be presented by Allocine journos or a public figure, and each evening will begin with a Tex Avery short.

“Our idea is not to compete with other channels by acquiring recent films; what we want is to showcase French and international film heritage,” explained Allocine’s head of video services Alain Le Diberder, who said half the films will be shown in their original language with the rest subtitled.Allocine’s prexy Gregoire Lassalle added: “Only 10% of library films circulate in France. What’s the point of spending so much money to digitize films if no one ever gets a chance to see them?”

With an annual budget of up to Euros 8 million ($11 million), Allocine’s TV channel can reach up to 35 million viewers, and should become financially viable within the next three years thanks to ad revenues, said Lassalle.

As Allocine’s TV channel is labeled as a generalist TV network by the CSA, France’s media authority, it must invest a small percentage of its annual revenue in the acquisition and co-production of films as well as TV shows focusing on films.

Lassalle said he would consider launching Allocine on DTT as well, although there was no immediate plan to do so.

The exec said the company was also studying opportunities to set up TV operations in Russia, Turkey and China.

Created by Lassalle in 1993, Allocine operates local versions of the website in Canada, Brazil, the U.K., Germany, Turkey, China, Spain and Russia, and will expand into Mexico, Argentina, Portugal, Italy, Australia and the Middle East by December 2012.

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