Virgin_17The French industrial group is setting up a movie acquisition and co-production subsidiary. Bolloré Media will invest €3 million ($3.8 million) in the company. Called Direct Cinéma, the new division will buy or co-produce between 6 and 10 films each year. Budgets will be between €2-8 million.

Direct Cinéma will supply the group’s two digital-terrestrial TV channels, Direct 8 and Virgin 17. The Virgin channel mainly shows music videos, while Direct 8 tries to stand out by being mostly live (in French the word “direct” means “live”).

Franck Priot of Film France tells me that he is not surprised that Direct 8 and Virgin 17 want to show original movies. Currently they only show films that have already wended their way through various French pay-TV channels and free-to-air networks

Before French independent producers start uncorking the Pernod, it’s sobering to remember what tiny viewing figures these DTT channels have. They get around 200,000 viewers for programmes compared to between 3-5 million for the big terrestrial channels.