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France’s CNC seeking to suspend VOD window rules as Coronavirus closes cinemas

France’s Centre National du Cinéma (CNC) is looking to suspend the country’s stringent video-on-demand windowing rules because of the restrictions on movement introduced in the country to counter the Coronavirus threat.

The measures, introduced by President Emmanuel Macron this week, mean that all cinemas will be closed for the foreseeable future.

According to financial daily Les Echos, the CNC is looking at two different scenarios concerning recent and upcoming releases respectively.

In the case of films that have been released in cinemas recently, where the law currently prevents them from being made available online for four months from the first Wednesday after their theatrical release, the organisation wants to see emergency legislation enacted to lift the ban on online distribution.

Films that are due to be released in the near future meanwhile, could be distributed via VOD directly, without a cinematic release.

However, legislation to remove the restriction on moving existing releases to VOD could be controversial. Producers and distributors are likely to be concerned with the impact of the closure of cinemas on the exploitation of their movies, while at the same time having reservations about the lifting of rules that they support.