More about the GFT Player

GFT Player logo web2

The GFT Player was originally a six-month pilot project, in collaboration with Edinburgh’s Filmhouse and video-on-demand providers Distrify, supported by NESTA’s Digital R&D Fund, Scotland.

GFT and Filmhouse joined forces with Distrify to offer online streamings of curated films. In a pioneering move, we were the first cinemas in the UK to work together to make available a specially selected online film programme.

Each cinema hosts an online viewing platform on their website – the GFT Player and the Filmhouse Player. The Players were made available as part of an innovative trial, supported by a £90,000 grant from Nesta’s Digital R&D Fund, Scotland. The Digital Research and Development Fund for Arts and Culture, Scotland is a partnership between Creative Scotland, Arts & Humanities Research Council and Nesta to support arts and cultural organisations across Scotland who want to work with digital technologies to expand their audience reach and engagement and/or explore new business models. This project was devised so that GFT and Filmhouse can reach beyond our walls and engage with audiences in other areas, with those who cannot visit in person and with people who have an interest in curated cinema with a Scottish, UK and international focus. 

Allison Gardner, Head of Cinemas at GFT and Rod White, Head of Filmhouse, said at the time of launch, ‘Our reasons for pioneering the curated programme online model are two-fold. There are an ever-growing number of films available to us and with our screens already working very hard, we needed to find a way to ensure that great films were not missing out on the exposure we can give them. Secondly, not everyone has access to cinemas like GFT and Filmhouse, or indeed time to go to the cinema when it suits them. The Player gives us the opportunity to provide an extra screen – open all hours – showing films that we would not otherwise have the room to screen, or audiences simply couldn’t make it along to, or may have missed on the big screen.’      

Teaming up with video-on-demand providers Distrify was key to the success of this project. This allowed both cinemas to utilise digital technology to research best practice in broadening total audience figures. Analysis of digital metrics will offer valuable information on geographic location of audiences, the routes to purchase and the relationship between Theatrical and Home Entertainment. Sharing this data with rights holders will then inform and improve future relationships between exhibitors and distributors.

A unique feature of the Distrify Player is that anyone can embed it on their website or on their Facebook page or Twitter feed, thereby extending the reach of each cinema and broadening our audiences. An affiliate’s share of 10% is available to anyone who shares the film in this way, creating an exciting and original way of sharing and talking about film. You can find out more about the affiliate scheme here.

While Nesta’s Digital R&D Fund offers an excellent opportunity to launch the Players and undertake valuable research, both cinemas hope to gain further funding to be able to extend the project beyond the initial trial period and offer the Players to audiences on a more permanent basis.