Relaunching today in the UK is Film 4’s own VOD supply page, Film 4OD. As well as offering films that Film 4 have made themselves, there’s a heap of bigger studio pictures and a lot of the first films I wandered across were relatively new releases – Shutter Island, Date Night, the new Nightmare on Elm Street, ahead of their TV screenings.
Pricing appears to have been influenced by the films’ own studios and distributors – Elm Street is £3.95, for example, while Shutter Island is £3.99.
I’m told that there’s some films on there for as little as 50p, but I’ve yet to find one. Sifting through the Great British Directors “seasons” I’m finding eleven films priced between £1.99 for A Bridge Too Far to £3.00 for Tony Scott’s Deja Vu. Can’t you buy them both on disc for about the same price?
It didn’t take too much digging to find some tempting offers, though, with Bong Joon-Ho’s Mother and Giorgos Lanthimos’ Dogtooth each priced at £.3.75. To see them is to want them on Blu-ray, but perhaps you haven’t seen them, and perhaps you won’t – for whatever reason – sign up to Lovefilm. In that case, £3.75 really isn’t too bad a price.
But I think subscription packages will soon crush all pay-per-view, and if Film4OD survives, its pricing model will inevitably change.
When SeeSaw launched it was offering, for free, Boy A – a film I first saw when it premiered on Channel 4. Boy A now appears to have disappeared, and it’s not apparent on Film4OD either. I think a stable archive that remains accessible is going to be of great importance to whichever VOD services become popular.
The bottom line, though, is that the UK needs Netflix, their variety of streaming options and their huge library – and it needs it now.