Sky Movies chief urges distribution change

The director of Sky Movies has called for the delay between when a film is released in cinemas and subsequently made available on other platforms to be reduced.

Ian Lewis said film distribution methods needed to change more quickly to discourage people from watching titles illegally using the internet.

Currently the "window" between a film's cinema release and appearance on DVD or pay television is about four months.

"One of the things we collectively do that restricts us is the very strict window structure," said Lewis. "There is no rhyme nor reason why those windows exist in the format they do. Up until the last year or so they have been rigidly adhered to, though every now and then they move forward and develop.

"I don't think anyone could turn around and say it means they optimise their marketing money. Any studio or independent distributor will have spent a certain amount of money on marketing their film when it goes into theatres, and then when it goes to DVD.

"We'll spend money, and then even later one of the terrestrials might spend money. It is a very inefficient means of making people aware of the film."

Lewis said Sky's experiments in the area - a handful of films have aired early under specific agreements with distributors - had been successful, drawing more viewers than otherwise expected.