BFI Player to be revamped thanks to a donation of £1m

BFI Open Cinemas
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The BFI’s streaming service BFI Player is to be upgraded and rebranded as BFI+, thanks to a donation to the Institute.

You pay a modest monthly sum to access the BFI Player streaming service, which is competing in a field that you could comfortably describe as ‘saturated’. Still, it’s a place where you can get the kind of films you’re unlikely to find on the likes of Netflix and Disney+. Furthermore, it looks like it’s about to get better.

Thanks to a donation from the Uggla Family Foundation to the tune of £1m, the BFI will be investing in what’s described as a ‘transformation’ of the service. BFI Player will also be rebranded as BFI+.

One small aside: if the Uggla Family Foundation wants to help some independent film magazines and a website that’s doing its damnedest to avoid clickbait and SEO-driven crap, then I’m happy to buy the coffee.

Back to the BFI. It’s issued a statement declaring that “this cornerstone funding will help the BFI to become digital-first and transform the public’s access to film, television and the moving image, underpinned by its commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion”.

The work is underway too on increasing the availability of the platform, and to introduce a wider range of short and feature films. Any profits from BFI+ will then be directed towards the BFI’s charitable work (and presumably initiatives such as open cinema).

The plan is for improvements to gradually go live throughout the year, pending the launch of the finished new BFI+ in 2025. But this sounds like it’s going to be incremental too, so benefits will be felt over the coming months.

Lots to chew on here, and at a point where streaming services are cutting away stuff that doesn’t do the numbers, it’s refreshing that there are some going in the other direction.

More news on the rollout of BFI+ as we hear it. You can find out more about the Uggla Family Foundation on its website.

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