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ROME – Italy’s motion picture association ANICA is launching its own Video-On-Demand service for movies intended as a tool to fight the country’s rampant piracy plague and also to stimulate online distribution now stalled by the country’s low broadband penetration and speed.

Called Anica On Demand, the platform is a three-way partnership between ANICA and Italy’s top local movie website Mymovies.it, which boasts 400,000 unique visitors a day, and digital media outfit Cross Advertising Network.

The streaming service’s initial content offer is a measly 350 titles, about 8 percent of which are current. Slightly less than half the pics, which range from Matthew Vaughn’s raunchy “Kick-Ass” to Italo auteur Nanni Moretti’s refined “We Have a Pope,” are currently Italian. But as it grows, the idea is for the new Italo VOD platform to be primarily for Italian movies, and to also pave the way for other online VOD players.

“We see other VOD services in the field as companions, not competitors,” Tozzi said.

Local distributors on board include Rai Cinema, Eagle Pictures, BIM, Lucky Red, Istituto Luce, and Fandango.

Talks are also underway with Universal and Warner Bros to join.

Conspicuously absent from Anica on Demand is Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset/Medusa, which recently launched its own VOD streaming service, called Infinity, which has 5,000 titles and just pacted with mobile operator Vodaphone. Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Italia paybox is expected to soon launch an Italo VOD service called River.

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