Net Gains: Film on Four

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The Independent Culture
www.channel4.com

When Channel 4 launched its new subscription channel, FilmFour, it had a fantastic opportunity to develop, from scratch, a complementary website. And it's done a fantastic job as well. Film websites are thick on the ground these days, and it's easy to fall into the trap of producing something oozing thickly with the latest Hollywood gossip, a few listings and not much else. But today's film consumers are more sophisticated than that and expect something with a bit more substance. This is something the channel's website manages to supply, with a series of essays and interviews with film-makers.

FilmFour's policy of running themed seasons ties in perfectly with the website. The site is currently featuring a David Cronenberg (Crash, Naked Lunch, Videodrome and Scanners) interview, based on an upcoming short series of Cronenberg films. It also has a RealVideo interview with the controversial Canadian director.

The site will inevitably be of limited value to people who haven't yet subscribed to the film channel but FilmFour is planning a free four-day preview over the Easter weekend when all satellite, cable and digital customers will be able to sample its output. Convergence may be some way off yet, but it is a lot nearer than we think.

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