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The EU wants to ensure that more films are available online at the same time as they begin running in cinemas.

Christopher Futcher/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Ever turn on your television to find the same tired line-up of last season's movies available to watch? Or been disappointed about how it takes weeks for a movie to arrive on-demand?

While cinemas have always enjoyed privileged status when it comes to being the first to screen movies, the European Commission wants to level the playing field for digital outlets by encouraging the same day release of films across platforms.

The EU executive said on Tuesday that the digital era means having a rethink about how films are distributed to audiences, and it was launching a €2-million ($2.6-million CDN) pilot project to support the release of 20 art-house films outside cinemas.

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The films span 10 different European countries, and the Commission will evaluate the benefit of their simultaneous release in cinemas, on television, through video-on-demand and the internet.

The Commission said that independent film producers might be able to earn more on their films if they were able to release through multiple platforms at the same.

"The film industry in the United States is increasingly adapting to new models of distribution," said European Commissioner for Education and Culture Androulla Vassiliou.

"It is essential that Europe also tests all the possibilities to see how we can ensure diversity and profitability in a competitive market," she said.

The films have not been selected yet, and the Commission said that the costs of the two-year project include promotion.

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