FNE Innovation: Virtual Cinema Platform Picl

    Anke van Diejen and Noortje van de Sande Anke van Diejen and Noortje van de Sande

    Film New Europe continues to invite leaders of innovative AV projects to share their projects directly with its readers. Today, our guests are Anke van Diejen and Noortje van de Sande, owners of the PR, marketing and distribution company Herrie Film & TV. They write about the Virtual Cinema platform for independent cinemas picl.nl, which has now grown to be the art house platform in the Netherlands. Picl is funded by the Creative Europe – MEDIA Programme.

    The Start

    Picl was set up by us in March 2017. After an initial pilot year, during which technology was tested and research was carried out into the feasibility of the platform, we felt we were ready to start this unique solidarity and participative platform.

    With Picl, art house cinemas are able to offer their local audiences a personal, hand-picked selection of new films for home viewing through a virtual cinema portal: picl.nl.

    Reaching out

    Picl offers premium content for a premium price and a percentage of each sale goes to the cinemas. This does not replace the experience of seeing a film in the cinema, it’s rather an extension for cinemas reaching out to film enthusiasts with busy lives or who aren’t able to visit the cinema for various reasons, for example during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Not one size fits all

    Picl works from the idea that there is no ‘one size fits all’ consumer. There is a big appetite for films in cinemas. Independent cinemas, with their culturally diverse programming, are the flagship platform and natural home for quality films. These are still the places where most art house films develop a life and accumulate cultural and economic value. But the reality is that not all film lovers visit the cinema and not every film benefits from the same release.

    At Picl we offer rights holders and cinemas the possibility to hybridly connect with their audiences and to work with tailor made windowing for their films. It simply means: look what is the best release strategy for each film in order to reach as many film lovers as possible.


    As we set up a participative platform, working hand-in-hand with the entire Dutch film chain, we have the unique opportunity to connect off- and online marketing data and to support cinemas as well as rights holders to reach out to a broad and diverse audience of cinemagoers and homeviewers. In the coming years we will focus on this connection and stimulate homeviewers to visit cinemas and cinema-goers to see even more films in addition at home.

    The pandemic

    In the last few months we've absolutely proved to be of crucial importance. Contrary to other players in the cultural sector in the Netherlands, independent cinemas were fully digitalised because of their collaboration with Picl and thus were able to automatically shift to a full online offer, being able to not only keep connecting to their audiences, but also have a business model in place.

    Numbers of views on Picl.nl have increased dramatically and more and more films are being released online as virtual cinema through Picl.


    The strength of Picl is the local approach, knowing and working closely with the local market. Picl International can help set up a similar system with the right local partners. Different from other more technical providers, we offer industry and marketing insights that not only can help set up a platform, but actually help attract filmlovers.

    About the authors

    After careers in cinemas, film festivals, broadcasters and film producers, Anke van Diejen and Noortje van de Sande have been the owners of the PR, marketing and distribution agency Herrie Film & TV since 2005. The agency focuses on outspoken films, special documentaires and high-profile tv productions.

    In 2016 they started the Virtual Cinema platform for independent cinemas picl.nl, which has now grown to be the art house platform in the Netherlands.