Service takes window on firstrun titles

MADRID — Pan-European film group Studiocanal and Lovefilm, the European online film and TV subscription service, have inked an exclusive long-term deal for the U.K. and Germany.

The deal gives British and German Lovefilm members access to new and library titles from Studiocanal for an exclusive 12-month window.

First titles available in U.K. and Germany to Lovefilm clients who subscribe to its streaming subscription service include Liam Neeson starrer “Unknown” and “Source Code,” with Jake Gyllenhaal.

Among future films to be fed into the deal is “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” Studiocanal’s biggest hit to date in the U.K., and the Guillermo del Toro-produced “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark.”

Studiocanal-owned U.K. distributor Optimum Releasing, which was recently rebranded Studiocanal, inked a volume deal in May with Lovefilm for more than 30 first-run titles on Optimum’s 2009-10 theatrical slate.

The new pact ups the ante, extending the Studiocanal-Lovefilm entente to Germany, and giving Lovefilm streaming rights in the U.K and Germany to a certain number of movies in Studiocanal’s more than 5,000 film title catalog.

The deal encompasses Studiocanal library movies such as “The Pianist,” “Apocalypse Now” and “Mulholland Drive.”

As with Lovefilm deals in the past year with U.K. indie distributors Optimum, Momentum, Icon and eOne, the new pact will make films exclusively available for streaming on Lovefilm in U.K. and Germany during their pay TV window, generating substantial new sources of revenue for Studiocanal in the U.K where most indie distributors encounter extreme difficulties selling titles to pay TV operator BSkyB.

Lovefilm will also partner with Studiocanal to support Studiocanal’s U.K. and German productions from early stages of production with online marketing and promotion.

The deal does not cover France. There, given the strength of Gaul’s IPTV market, Studiocanal sells VOD rights to multiple platforms on a non-exclusive basis.

Adam Dawtrey contributed to this article.

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