By Jemima Kiss: UK film buffs will be able to access a bespoke online search tool from today that will give cinema and TV listings, DVD, Blu-ray and download options for 34,000 films. The £1 million FindAnyFilm project has been developed by the UK Film Council over the past seven months and claims to be the first service of its kind to combine listings for multiple formats and links to retails sites and legal download services. It also includes more than 5,000 film trailers and an alerts service to notify users when titles are released in new formats.
The Film Council’s head of distribution and exhibitions, Peter Buckingham, said the project had two aims. “We’d like to get people to watch a wide range of films and not be dominated by Hollywood,” he said, adding that the site indexes films in French, Cantonese, Hindi, Arabic and Japanese as well as English. “Secondly, we want to make sure the film industry doesn’t suffer the same problems the music industry had getting value in the digital world, specifically dealing with downloads. There’s nothing out there doing exactly what we’re doing.”
Buckingham said the site doesn’t compete with Amazon’s IMDB service because it aggregates data on cinema showings which is much more complex to compile. Many cinemas only decide on Mondays what will show on Fridays, so the site needs to be continually updated. “The idea came as part of an osmosis from the other stuff that’s out there,” said Buckingham. “Consumers can be confused by the [release] windows for films and it can be hard to find out when films are being released, so that’s a big driver for the whole site.” He said the site is the first part of the UK Film Council’s wider strategy to increase access to films and information through social media, and that the site is powered by a complex and unique database of film information.
That data, said technical manager David Dawson-Pick, is the key to developing the site further, building out new applications that will allow multiple access points. “We’ve tried to keep this launch version of the site simple and pared the features back. It’s a Google (NSDQ: GOOG) search for film.” Dawson-Pick said half of the £1m budget is being spent on search engine optimisation, Google AdWords and behavioural marketing.
As well as an iPhone application that could allow users to search for film showings by their location and a Facebook application that could involve film recommendations, also on the roadmap is to build in reviews and user feedback. Dawson-Pick said an API will also be rolled out that will allow developers to build applications around this unique and rich data set. “We’ll be thinking carefully about the best way of doing that.”
This article originally appeared in Â© Guardian News & Media Ltd..