Today sees the launch of the Sony Movie Channel in the UK. It got me thinking about the possibility of every major distributor having their own film channel. It would call into question the dominance of packages like Sky Movies. Currently, there are only a few film channels available without the Sky Movies package, most notably Film4 and TCM. Disney offer a host of channels, although their Disney CineMagic requires a subscription. If other major distributors follow Sony’s lead, it would change how people view films on television. There would still be a need for ‘premier’ channels, as it would be unlikely that a distributor channel would show its own films on television that soon after theatrical release.
Futhermore, the main television channels would also still show films and feature terrestrial television premiers of new movies. Nevertheless, more non-subscription film channels would offer the television viewer more choice. And given the proliferation of streaming and online viewing services, new film channels would surely increase the viewership of films on television.
If every major distributor follows Sony’s example, what can we expect these new channels to show? I pondered what delights may be on offer…
Sony Movie Channel launches on 3rd May 2012. The very first film screened will be Woody Allen’s fantastic Manhattan Murder Mystery. The channel will be screening films from the last three decades, so not quite the full back catalogue of Sony Pictures. If they choose to extend this remit, the channel could screen some fantastic films. At their best Sony have distributed classics such as It Happened One Night and Ghostbusters. They are also responsible for Jack and Jill.
20th Century Fox
The television side of the Fox corporation is alive and kicking, particularly in America. If Twentieth Century Fox had their own movie channel, audiences could expect such delights as Star Wars and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Also on offer would be Big Momma’s House and its sequels.
One of the major film companies of the Golden Age of Hollywood, Paramount have a rich back catalogue. A Paramount movie channel could offer some of the finest films ever made, including Double Indemnity and Rear Window. The channel could also screen No Strings Attached.
Celebrating their 100th anniversary this week, Universal also have a tremendous array of films to populate a hypothetical movie channel with. Viewers could look forward to tuning in to Bride of Frankenstein and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. 2004’s Wimbledon may not attract quite the same viewing figures.
Famed for their crime films in the 1930s and 1940s, and their box office-dominating recent franchises, a Warner Bros move channel could feature a cornucopia of classic films. Films as diverse as The Maltese Falcon and The Dark Knight could be aired, but so could 2011’s New Year’s Eve.
Sony Movie Channel launches on Thursday 3rd May 2012 in the UK, on Sky channel 323.