Thursday, October 04, 2012

BPN 1612: Dutch movie screening 100% digital

All 301 movie theatres and cinemas in the Netherlands are equipped with digital projection equipment since 12 September. No less than 730 (of which 373 with 3D facilities) of the total of 795 cinema screens in the Netherlands were ready for digital reception thanks to e project Cinema Digitaal (Digital Cinema). The Pathé cinema chain, Utopolis, Euro Coop and some independent theatres digitized independently. Digital Cinema is a unique public-private digitization program initiated by the Dutch Association of Cinema Operators (NVB), the Dutch Association of Film Distributors (NVF) and the EYE Film Institute Netherlands. This collaboration made collective transition from analogue to digital possible and prevented the forced closure of small movie theatres and cinemas.

The technological transition in the cinema industry requires a high investment for many movie operators, which would have been financially unfeasible individually. In Digital Cinema the scale of digitization is based on the principle of solidarity between commercial cinemas and movie theatres. So now the cultural agenda of national and international movies can be kept. And new opportunities can be explored such as the special soccer ball viewings. During the European Soccer Championships 2012 many games were distributed to theatres and cinemas. Also a well known musical duo ayed in a theatre and the show was streamed to 55 cinemas, filled with fans.  

The first installation took place on July 20, 2011. The transition period has lasted 14 months. The total cost of the Digital Cinema project is € 39 million. The film distributors active in the Netherlands - 20 independents and 6 American major studios – bore the bulk of the cost (70%) of the Digital Cinema project. These consisted of the one-time replacement of 35mm projectors and the savings they realize now producing celluloid film prints not more is needed. Digital Cinema was co-financed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation (€ 3,000,000 from the Programme Implementation Agenda ICT-Bellied/PRIMA) and Dutch Film Fund (€ 2 million). The total film sector in the Netherlands invested in short period over € 55 million in the digitization.

Due to the project Digital Cinema of the Dutch cinema industry, celluloid film (35mm film) has virtually disappeared from the cinema from 12 September 2012 onwards.
The Dutch fim industry

Last year the Dutch movie industry offered employment to 20.000 people through 8.000 companies. In the past four years the turn-over of the Dutch movie industry has risen 80 per cent. In a recent study by SEO it was concluded that there is a relationship between the showing of Dutch movies and the number of people visiting cinemas. The cuts in production budgets announced by the Dutch
Film Fund and Public Broadcasting companies will reduce the production volume by one third, according to the report.

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