New HD Streaming Service for NZ Movies UPDATED

The New Zealand Film Commission has confirmed its new video on demand platform, Films On Demand, will include titles that can be not only streamed in HD but also downloaded and purchased.

Issues applying the DRM software to some of the HD files stopped the NZFC from offering some of its signature movies in HD as soon as the site went live Saturday.

But these are being sorted and HD streaming should be an option by mid-July.

The iPad app should be ready around the same time and users will be able to download HD titles to keep as well as stream to rent.

Eventually, all NZFC titles will be downloadable or streamable in HD.

That’s great news if you’ve been waiting for a Blu-ray release of Utu Redux, which remains only tentative (apparently a DVD/Blu-ray of Geoff Murphy’s puhoi western, above, is in the works but no word on when it will go on sale).

Presumably it will cost marginally more to watch NZFC movies in HD, with SD pricing on the platform ranging from $1.99 for shorts like The Six Dollar Fifty Man to $4.99 for all the movies except Utu, which costs a steep $6.99.

Here’s the official press release:

The New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) has launched its new online on-demand platform, Films On Demand.

New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) CEO, Dave Gibson, announced today the launch of the NZFC Films On Demand platform, an online streaming service that will give New Zealand audiences greater access to New Zealand films wherever and whenever they want to watch them.

Launched to coincide with the Cannes Film Festival, curated selections and event programming will be a feature of the platform, which goes live with a selection of thirteen feature and six short films including Cannes classics Vigil, The Navigator, Kitchen Sink, The Six Dollar Fifty Man, Night Shift, and The Singing Trophy.

The player is showcasing Angel at my Table (pictured above), directed by Jane Campion, winner of the 1993 Palme d’Or for The Piano, and this year’s president of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival.

“The Films On Demand platform signals an important moment for New Zealand film – it not only makes our films more accessible to New Zealand audiences, but also offers new distribution possibilities to our filmmakers,” Gibson says.

“We want all New Zealand films – past, present and future – to reach as many people as possible and the Films On Demand platform is a key part of this ambition.”

Last year, the NZFC began a two year initiative to digitise films in its library that were only available to view on 35mm print.

As this work progresses these films, as well as the more recent and current films the NZFC invests in, will eventually be added to the Films on Demand catalogue.

The platform will continue to evolve with a purchase and download ability to be added alongside the existing rental function.

Currently films can only be viewed within New Zealand but other countries will be added.

Apps are being developed for iOS, Android, Desktop and Smart TV’s with the aim of allowing customers to watch their purchases on multiple devices.

“Traditional viewing methods have changed immensely in recent years and audiences are increasingly gravitating towards the online space – we recognised the need to move with that trend and take advantage of new technology to bring New Zealand films to the widest audience possible,”  NZFC marketing manager Jasmin McSweeney says. 

The underlying technology of the platform was developed by Hamilton-based company Indiereign.

Indiereign is one of only a handful of companies around the world certified in Google’s Digital Rights Management technology.

This means, they can securely deliver films to consumers while minimising piracy and protecting New Zealand filmmakers’ content.

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