Cinema meets VOD

Picl is the online screening room for arthouse cinemas. Bringing your arthouse cinema into your living room.

With Picl, arthouse cinemas are able to offer their local audiences a personal, hand-picked selection of new films for home viewing through Video on Demand. In their own online screening rooms, via Picl.

Picl allows arthouse cinemas to offer a selection from their programme to home audiences, right from the premiere, at a premium price. This does not replace the experience of seeing a film in the cinema – rather, it’s a handy extra service specially for film enthusiasts with busy lives. Bringing larger and younger audiences to European arthouse films and documentaries by offering these films both offline and online through the most natural, trusted platform that already exists for these films: the cinema.

The independent cinema: the flagship platform for arthouse films
Independent cinemas, with their culturally diverse programming, are the flagship platform for and natural home of quality films. These are still the places where most arthouse films develop a life and accumulate cultural and economic value.

The Netherlands has a fantastic network of independent cinemas, which in recent years have achieved the status of high-value palaces for the viewing of quality films. With state-of-the-art equipment, trendy cafés and professional staff.

The challenge
Nevertheless, more and more arthouse films and documentaries are having a hard time finding an audience. An overabundance of titles is increasing competition for the limited attention of audiences. Competition in cinemas is intense, and once films leave the cinema they have to compete with the overabundant offer on the large VOD platforms. If they get a VOD release at all.

So the question is: how can we expand the existing, successful brand of high-quality, independent cinemas into an online environment that corresponds to both the wishes of the busy consumer and the possibilities that exist within the film industry?

The numbers
Within the Netherlands, more than 2.8 million people visit these cinemas each year, generating 21.2 million Euros in box-office sales (in 2016).
Research in the Netherlands has revealed that 91% of the people who are interested in arthouse cinema also watch these movies at home. 57% of them use paid online services to watch movies. In addition, 63% of people with an interest in arthouse films don’t go to a cinema as often as they would like, for a variety of reasons: they don’t have enough time, they can’t get a babysitter, or they can’t make it at the times the film is screening. This makes the potential of an additional audience considerably. (source: Stichting Filmonderzoek desk research 2016)

Find more information on research and results here.

The start
Picl was set up in March 2017 by Anke van Diejen and Noortje van de Sande of PR, marketing and distribution company Herrie Film & TV. An initial pilot year, during which the technology was tested and research carried out into the feasibility of the platform, proved that both consumers and the industry are enthusiastic.

And it works.
Picl is the only service of its kind in the world. Together with 18 independent cinemas and more than 26 distributors and film festivals, we offer new film premieres every week at a premium price of €8,50.(numbers from January 2018)

Broader audiences
One of the challenges faced by independent cinemas today is to interest younger audiences in visiting the cinema. Picl is reaching younger and broader audiences, visitors are returning to the cinemas and finding their own, local cinemas online.
In addition, modern consumers have become accustomed to watching films where and when it’s convenient for them – right from the moment the film is released. If they cannot find it legally, they will search for other (illegal) ways.

Furthermore, for the first time independent cinemas are now managing to retain a section of their audience that before would often have drifted away (people aged 30-45 years, often busy new parents) – instead of losing these customers to Netflix. This provides independent cinemas with the answer to a crucial question: how can I tailor the service I am offering to the wishes of my audience.

The power of communication
The secret to Picl’s success is cooperation. Picl is fully integrated into all communications by the independent cinemas (websites, newsletters, in-house, social channels) and is adopted into campaigns by the distributors. In addition, Picl itself responds to umbrella campaigns that focus on retargeting.

The cinema experience remains key
Even though we believe in the unsurpassed cinema experience on the big screen, there’s no doubt that the rise of the digital market and online availability of films is having a significant impact on the entire value chain for films – including the cinemas. Cinemas can play a significant role in unlocking independent films and documentaries to a loyal, well-targeted audience. Instead of creating yet another VOD platform vying to reach a new audience, we are giving cinemas a tool with which they can deliver the best European films straight to their core target groups.

Picl offers these films a real, high-profile opportunity to reach audiences, and in doing so strengthens the position of the cinemas by offering them an innovative online tool which is a natural extension of their value chain.

Additional revenue
As film-lovers, we believe – like the independent cinemas which work with us – in the power of the cinema experience. Nothing beats an evening of communal dreaming in the dark. Picl is an alternative for people who, for whatever reason, cannot get to the cinema. Research has shown that Picl users are supplementary to, and do not replace, regular cinema visits. What’s more, Picl is actually generating additional turnover for these independent cinemas. This is also reflected by the figures. After the cinema release comes to an end, the Picl views keep on going, significantly extending the life of the film. The films, the consumers, the cinemas and the rights-holders: everyone benefits.

International partners of Picl:
Kino on Demand (Germany)
La Toile (France)
Nettkino (Norway)

See also:

Picl is a project of Stichting Nederlandse Filmpromotie, initiated by Herrie Film & TV. For more information contact Anke van Diejen ( or Noortje van de Sande (

Picl is supported by Creative Europe, Nederlands Film Fonds and EYE Film Institute.