Stealing from another country is rude, and stealing from your own country is dumb. In a move looking to preserve the virtue of our cinema consumption habits, INCAA (National Institute for Cinema and Audiovisual Arts) and satellite company ArSat have signed an agreement to work on a new video-on-demand service likened similar to industry giant Netflix.
The platform will offer films from INCAA’s Argentine cinema archive to its subscribers for an undetermined price, but according to a recent statement, will be assuredly popular and affordable.
INCAA, who will deal with rights to the films, will also manage the platform’s graphic design and communication strategy, leaving ArSat responsible for commercial operations, as well as developing and managing the platform and its storage and streaming facilities.
This move sees INCAA building on its track record of creating a financially stable and creatively fertile environment for the increasingly successful Argentine film industry. The company is a film underwriter, funded by the Cultural Ministry of the Argentine Nation, whose main remit has been to fund and regulate established Argentine production companies. It is also responsible for the “Espacios INCAA” project, which looked to reinvigorate cinema culture after heavy censorship during the late 70s by developing a collection of over 50 cinemas across the country, whose cheaply ticketed billings lean heavily towards national productions.
Testament to their success is Buenos Aires’ Cine Gaumont- for a solid night of porteño entertainment head to the palatial cinema in Congressional Plaza for the newest critically-acclaimed Argentine releases, screening for just 8 pesos, and conveniently placed next door to a late-night cheap Italian diner (those looking to resist independent cinema’s transfer to an increasingly mainstream media platform through bloody-minded cinema attendance need not apply; you won’t get a decent view with your head so far up your own ass).
Digital rights restrictions and geo-blocking features will mean that most films on the platform will be available only in Argentina, subject to future international negotiations as the platform (hopefully) expands. It’s a limitation, but it’s one that honors the company’s support of Argentine talent; the rights remain with the film’s creator and not with INCAA or the new video platform, and combining this with the facility of a multi-device on-demand service will hopefully mean that people people will increasingly access Argentine cinema through a medium which supports those in the Argentine cinema industry. The idea is infinitely preferable to tracking down the pirate-copy merchants in thirty degree heat, or scrabbling through the pop-up/CAPTCHA/proceed-to-video masquerade required for illegal online streaming. Plus, it means the film-makers are also automatically included in what will become a digital archive of Argentina’s audiovisual heritage (and let’s all remember, archiving is officially sexy now).
Basically, it seems that the new video-on-demand online format, with its capacity for widespread accessibility at low cost to the user, is one that lends itself to INCAA’s ethos of the cultivation and dissemination of Argentine culture regardless of location or income, so this new collaboration is a smart move. Its exclusive focus on Argentine content means that it seems set to provide a cleaner, home-grown complement to PopcornTime, the shady porteño brother of Netflix that is becoming a major threat to legitimate on-demand video services, but whose popularity here is an encouraging example for similar video-on-demand services.
No news yet on when the service will be available, but until then, gather your spare change, grab some pizza, and head to their INCAA cinemas for some outrageously cheap opulence.