Date set for Film4's free-to-air debut

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Channel 4's rebranded movie service, Film4, will make its free-to-air debut at 9pm on Sunday July 23 with a showing of Sophia Coppola's Oscar-winning drama Lost in Translation.

The channel, which was launched for subscribers in 1998, has secured carriage on all major digital television platforms, including BSkyB's Freesat and Freeview, where it will replace the paid-for FilmFour (which ceases transmission on July 19) and join Channel 4, More4 and E4.

To coincide with its relaunch, the movie service will have a new look but continue with its editorial policy of mixing popular features with less familiar ones. Six films will be shown each day between 3pm and 3am, and they will include recent, classic, cult and independent releases, with one in every four hailing from the UK.

Channel 4 estimates that Film4 will reach 18m households by the end of this year and that advertising revenues will soon exceed subscription income generated from subscribers.

Channel 4 director of TV Kevin Lygo said: "Channel 4's unrivalled reputation in film is built on almost a quarter of a century of showing and making quality films. We've made a significant contribution to broadening audience tastes and remain a major financier and producer of films and a showcase for the best of British and international cinema.

He added: "Film4 will continue to act as an editor of choice for its viewers, selecting its schedules on the basis of quality as well as box office appeal and helping the audience get under the skin of the film industry. Increasing Film4's distribution and making it freely available will help maintain and protect Channel 4's stake in British film for the next 25 years."

Lovelace Consulting  |  06.07.2006

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