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Offering “Haram” by text message

Press Release   •   Aug 14, 2015 12:00 BST

Moviemaker Ulrik Imtiaz Rolfsen has grown tired of pirate copies and expensive film experiences and is therefore making his latest release, “Haram”, available for rent by text message to coincide with its appearance at the Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund.

‘For me this is quite simply about providing an alternative to pirate copies that means that people can afford to choose legal products. Movie rental by text message makes it possible to cut out the expensive middlemen and offer a great film experience at a price everyone can live with,’says Rolfsen.

Rolfsen has consciously set a low price for the film - just NOK 21 will be added to your mobile bill if you rent the movie. After VAT and the fees associated with the text message, Rolfsen’s company, Curry Film, makes NOK 8,50 per view.

‘It’s not much money, but hopefully enough for this to work. I believe simple, inexpensive movie rental via text message will make watching films by honest means more attractive to the public,’says Rolfsen.

‘When Rolfsen got in touch to find out what options there existed for offering movie rental by text message, we thought it was a great initiative. Telenor has worked for many years to find solutions for legal digital distribution of music, film and literature. The best way to end illegal distribution is for rightsholders to find new ways to distribute their content,’ says Berit Svendsen, CEO of Telenor Norway.

The demand for films and TV series has exploded in recent years.

‘The interest in great content has never been greater. This year alone we have seen video traffic on our fixed broadband network increase by 53 per cent. I think Rolfsen is showing that it is possible to develop innovative business models in a digital market for the movie business,’says Svendsen.

The film is a thriller about taboo subjects such as honour killings and forced marriages. Elias Ali, who makes his debut in the feature film Haram, has been nominated in the Best Actor category at this year’s Norwegian International Film Festival in Haugesund, which kicks off this weekend.

‘I feel that the demand from people who want to rent or buy the movie is significant, but I have consciously not released it on DVD or Blu-ray, because in my view these formats are practically dead. I hope that this method of film distribution will mean that people who have not seen the movie at the cinema, or who did not want to be seen at a cinema due to the film’s contents, will now have the opportunity to watch it,’says Rolfsen.

‘I’m looking forward to trying out movie rental by text message, and will carry on looking for new opportunities to reach my audience. The craving for great content is huge, but the willingness to pay is obviously weakened when most things can be obtained virtually for free. This means that we as moviemakers must dare to use new methods and not price ourselves out of the battle for viewers,’says Rolfsen.

Movie rental by text message
Payment by text message is an established service and most people have paid for parking, used directory inquiries or voted for their favourite reality TV participant using text messages. Some operators have already begun to offer text messaging as a payment method for movie rental, but Rolfsen will in all likelihood be the first to offer a current Norwegian feature film direct to mobile phones across the country.

You can access the film by entering your phone number at haramfilm.no. You will then recieve a text message with a password that gives you access to the film. The film costs NOK 21 and will be charged to your mobile bill. The movie can then be streamed in the usual way via the Internet during a defined period. If you do not wish to rent the movie by text message, or are unable to, then it can also be rented using a credit card or PayPal.

The company that offers payment by text message is called Strex and is owned by Telenor, TeliaSonera and Tele2.

About Telenor Norway

Telenor Norway is the biggest supplier of mobile and network services.

We deliever services within telephony, broadband and cable TV  through our mobile and fixed network all over Norway. We also sell our services to other telecom operators in Norway.

We have 4200 employees diveded over 30 workplaces all over Norway included Svalbard.