Thomson Secures Hollywood Studio Support for Digital Cinema Rollout
Technicolor has been a trusted service provider to Hollywood for many years and their expertise in both film and digital cinema is unmatched in the industry, said Chris Cookson, president, Warner Bros. Technical Operations & cto, Warner Bros. Ent. We are excited to pursue the next phase of the long-awaited rollout of digital cinema.
We are impressed with the thoroughness of the Technicolor Digital Cinema business plan and are very interested in exploring the future role it could play for the studios, exhibitors and the moviegoing public, said David Tuckerman, president, New Line Cinema distribution. We look forward to being a part of this venture as Technicolor initiates its digital cinema rollout early next year.
Bob and Harvey Weinstein, co-chairmen of The Weinstein Co., jointly said, The development of digital cinema and the broad-based industry support for the Technicolor Digital Cinema plan is good news for filmmakers as it will expand our creative flexibility and exhibition options. We have selected Thomson to be our partner in film, post-production and DVD services and we look forward to finalizing our digital cinema agreement in time for the initial deployment.
Under the business model for the digital cinema rollout, the studios will continue to book films directly with exhibitors, and if a booked screen is equipped with a Technicolor Digital Cinema system, the studio will pay Thomson a virtual print fee for usage of the digital equipment. Current estimates of the total cost of installed digital cinema systems are in the $90,000-100,000 range per screen.
The business model has been structured to allow the rollout to be financed from a variety of sources, including equipment vendors and financial partners. With todays agreements in place, Thomson can now focus on sourcing the optimal financing structure for this rollout.
This announcement comes shortly after the publication of the Digital Cinema Initiatives LLC (DCI) industry specifications for digital cinema. The Technicolor Digital Cinema plan will be technology agnostic, allowing both exhibitors and studios to benefit from the best available technology, including both 2K and 4K projection.
This plan provides an industry-wide digital cinema framework addressing all aspects of the much-anticipated digital cinema rollout: full output long-term content commitments by multiple Hollywood film studios; the widespread deployment of digital projection systems with exhibitors, and a broad industry commitment for the installation, operation and financing of those systems through a proven, experienced service provider.
By launching a program with a plan to convert at least 15,000 screens in the United States and Canada, Thomson further believes it will have the scale to support all interested exhibitors in a move to digital cinema, from large chains through independents. In response to exhibitor and studio requests, Thomson will start its rollout with a beta test to prove DCI equipment operates in a commercial environment at the very high level, which all parties require.
Todays announcement demonstrates Thomsons commitment to enabling the transition to digital forms of distribution for its customers. Thomson will manage revenues flow from both physical/analog environment as of today (print fees and distribution charges), and from the digital cinema environment (virtual print fees and distribution charges). Thomson estimates that the opportunities from the market for digital cinema services are at least as great as from todays $1.5 billion global film print and distribution market.
Thomson (www.thomson.net) provides services, systems and technology to help its Media & Ent. clients content creators, content distributors and users of its technology realize their business goals and optimize their performance in a rapidly changing technology environment. The Group is the preferred partner to the Media & Ent. Industries through its Technicolor, Grass Valley, RCA and Thomson brands.