Dutch platform Picl secures revenues for cinemas and festivals during lockdown
- The streaming platform, which has been organising day-and-date releases since 2017, now covers almost 90% of independent Dutch cinemas and has sold ten times more tickets than last month
The interest shown by Dutch independent cinemas in the streaming platform Picl, which has been organising day-and-date releases since it was founded in 2017, has exploded in the last two weeks due to the coronavirus and the consequent shutdown of movie theatres. The number of participating cinemas grew from 23 to 31, with a few more currently on the waiting list. Picl now covers almost 90% of independent Dutch cinemas and has sold ten times as many tickets as it did last month.
Anke van Diejen, who founded Picl together with Noortje van de Sande, says: “We always knew there was a demand for day-and-date releases. Research has shown that people often do not get to see arthouse films, either because there is no cinema nearby playing the film, the features are already out of circulation, or the films are screening at times when people can’t make it. Cinemas were a bit hesitant to join up at first, afraid we would cannibalise theatrical screenings, but after a very positive pilot run in 2017, over 20 cinemas joined us in the first two years.”
The platform’s content is curated by cinema programmers and festivals. Before the crisis, titles screening through Picl always went hand in hand with theatrical releases. After the closure of Dutch cinemas on 15 March, however, Picl started talking to several distributors, navigating the options of exclusive online releases. Zoe Wittock’s Jumbo [+see also:
interview: Zoé Wittock
film profile] (released on 26 March by Gusto Entertainment) and La Llorona [+see also:
interview: Jayro Bustamante
film profile] by Jayro Bustamante (release by Cinéart set for 7 May) are now the first two titles to have been released exclusively on Picl.
“We have been using Picl from the beginning," says Pepijn Kuyper, managing director of the LantarenVenster cinema in Rotterdam. "During this difficult time of crisis, it gives us the possibility to stay in touch with our audiences and to offer them the high-quality content that they are used to, but at home. Picl fully cooperates with the local cinemas in terms of content and contributions. I’d like to explore the next steps with Picl for an even more extensive online-offline combination so that the public is served to the max with unique content.”
Picl's current line-up includes titles such as Les Misérables [+see also:
interview: Ladj Ly
film profile], Portrait of a Lady on Fire [+see also:
interview: Céline Sciamma
film profile], A Rainy Day in New York and For Sama [+see also:
interview: Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts
film profile]. Meanwhile, the first festival to turn to Picl to facilitate an online version was Movies that Matter in The Hague, which was set to take place from 20-28 March and instead streamed part of its programme on the platform.
Picl works in the following way: viewers buy their tickets through their local cinemas and festivals, and then get to see the films in online screening rooms that are directly linked to arthouse theatres and festivals. Tickets cost €8.50 and give 48-hour access to the film, with revenues divided between cinemas and the respective rights owners.
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