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Anne Thompson’s column this week in the Hollywood Reporter is essential reading for anyone interested in the future of specialty film distribution. She interviews folks like IFC’s Jonathan Sehring and Picturehouse’s Dennis O’Connor about what she says is the inevitable collapse of the theatrical/home video/pay cable distribution window system.

IFC’s Sehring, whose IFC Center opens this week in New York, is particularly forthright:

“While he has no plans to ‘expand beyond one facility,’ says Sehring, he sees other changes ahead. ‘We’re going to alter our business plans over the next six to eight months. We feel strongly about video-on-demand as a future. As we shorten the window between DVD and theatrical, you’re going to see some sort of mixture and blend of VOD.’

“As Sehring sees it, ‘When films open theatrically, they get national press attention for the first two to three weeks, and then move to B and C markets two to four months down the line. Aside from releasing on DVD earlier, we can take advantage of new technology on our cable channels via satellite and experiment with VOD day-and-date a week or two after the opening.'”

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