Trib. Milano n. 418 del 02.07.2007
We shall be meeting in a new environment: we are in fact grateful to Detlef Rossmann, President of AG Kino, and for some months now at the head of the international arthouse cinema federation, for having facilitated the running of a joint event - AG Kino, CICAE and MEDIA Salles – a true meeting point for European cinema exhibition.
On this occasion MEDIA Salles will be presenting the “European Cinema Yearbook 2007 - final edition”, which analyzes cinema-going in 34 European countries over a period of 18 years, starting in 1989, and provides the first advance information on the whole of Europe in 2007. Complete with a thorough comparison of 21 international markets, with figures on the spread of multiplexes and megaplexes in Europe updated at 31 October 2007 and with an overview of digital screens throughout the world, this study confirms its importance as a basic tool for understanding an industry like the exhibition industry that is increasingly sensitive to technological, economic and social evolution. The Berlin Festival, with its traditionally open attitude towards dialogue and exchange with the rest of the world has been and continues to be the ideal context for MEDIA Salles to present the “Final Edition” of the Yearbook.
I should also like to invite you to the presentation of our training course on digital technology and, even better, to take part in it. DigiTraining Plus 2008 will give exhibitors throughout Europe tools for understanding the evolution of projection in the field of digital cinema and the implications both for the industry and for audiences. Now in its fifth edition, the course will make it possible to analyze, compare and try out the new technologies of digital projection and will be held in what is now emerging as the European capital of this new way of presenting cinema: London (from 9 to 13 April).
Information and formation: these are the tools that MEDIA Salles focuses on with the support of the European Union’s MEDIA Programme and the Italian Government, in order to promote the development of European cinema, its business enterprises and its talents.
The agreement between Apple and Fox, rumours of which had been heard at the end of December, with an official announcement at MacWorld in mid-January, does not seem to have caused US exhibitors concern. Online rental of movies is a fairly “mobile” state of affairs where there is a new player for every old one - Wal-Mart - that leaves the scene. “We exhibitors are not worried about the result of negotiations between Fox and Apple,” we are told by Patrick Corcoran, Director of Media & Research for Nato, the US professional association, “because there are no signs that this agreement will threaten the practice followed up to the present, which has guaranteed theatres a period of exclusive viewing rights. A new player has simply appeared on the on-demand video market.” There are no official windows in the United States, established either by agreements between categories or, much less, by law. The interval between theatrical release and those following, which at present lasts 4 months, is the result of what John Fithian, President of NATO, defines “a business model that has worked and continues to work well, and by ‘well’ we mean in the interests of the whole production line, including the authors.” These rules of play also seem to have been accepted by Steve Jobs who, in his eagerly awaited keynote speech at MacWorld 2008, specified that the new iTunes Movie Rentals service will make it possible to download to your own computer or even to an iPod or iPhone, films that have been available on DVD for 30 days. Another safety clause to protect the distinctive characteristics of the DVD is the 30/24 rule: whoever downloads a film from iTunes has 30 days to start watching it but, once viewing has commenced, the images disappear after 24 hours. It is for this precise reason that Steve Jobs, who has also taken into account those who might wish to see the film on a larger screen, perhaps in company, by inventing a system for downloading films directly onto the TV (Apple TV of course) without the intervention of the computer, is accused of having proposed a formula that is not particularly user-friendly. There are, therefore, those who hope that the 30/24 rule will soon change to a 30/48 or even to a 30/72. Moreover, it will not have escaped the attention of the Apple boss that, if he wants to do business with Fox and the other studios negotiating, he will have to confront the well-tried business model that keeps an eye on the interests of the various players – new and old – making a profit from the cinema industry.
The Italian version of this article was published in the “Giornale dello Spettacolo” dated 25 January 2008.
La Scala on Big Screens in the United States
At this stage there is plenty of evidence for the fact that opera can be considered one of the juiciest “alternative contents” for film theatres in the digital era (see for example DGT online Informer 26/07). We talk about this to Giovanni Cozzi, one of the founders of Emerging Pictures, a company that has launched a circuit of cinemas and cultural centres in the United States which, thanks to the new technologies, places its stakes on the diversification of offer.
Your company is the inventor of the initiative
“Italy’s Best Opera”: how did this project come into
being and how is it being run?
What were the reactions of audiences to these
performances which, unlike those of the Metropolitan for example, are
not shown live?
What can you tell us about audiences and their motives?
Can the ticket price be considered an added attraction
in this programme?
What is Emerging Pictures’ role with regard
to the movie theatres?
In academic studies of business and modes of business communication the challenges to cinematographic communication arising from the adoption of digital technology are considered with a cautious attitude but also with great interest.
The cautiousness is linked to an awareness that the paths of development, affirmation and wide-scale spread of the new information and communications technologies (including digital), which in the recent past have underpinned the appearance and evolution of the new and net economies, are characterised by far quicker timing compared to the time involved for the needs, expectations and competences of the potential target users to mature. This has regarded and continues to regard the application of digital technology to television, which has recently seen the development of a wide-ranging debate in Italy both on the advisability of improving television viewing offered by digital cable and on its potential spread in the medium term. The slow penetration of this technology in Italy is, in fact, demonstrating that there is more need for caution than ever when it is a question of such radical innovations, capable of making an impact on the cultural dimensions of a country and on its capacity for technological modernisation.
The great interest is connected to the considerable potential for competitive differentiation and gain in spectator loyalty, both offered as examples for the adoption by movie theatres of digital projection systems.
Advance News of DigiTraining Plus 2008
European Cinemas Experiencing
The course will also offer:
Now in its fifth edition, DigiTraining
Plus moves this year to the United Kingdom, the European market that has
proved to be most dynamic up to the present in adopting digital screening.
DigiTraining Plus 2008 will open with a
talk by Dave Monk, EDCF:
Curzon Cinemas: the technical aspects
of digital projection
Kino Cinemas: how to create and manage
a “digital only” cinema,
starting with the Curzon Soho, scheduled for 10 April, arriving at the Odeon Surrey Quays, a thorough tour through the various types of cinemas that have already adopted digital, with the chance to see 3D digital images for yourself, including a selection of the European productions distributed in digital format.
As well as:
The course will begin on 9 April 2008 at 3 p.m. at the Ibis London Euston Hotel in St Pancras (3 Cardington Street - NW1 2LW - London) and will close on 13 April at 11 a.m. at the same address.
Deadline for application: 3 March 2008
News from Russia
2008 Russia started out with 31 screens equipped for digital projection,
located in 27 complexes. The baptism of the new technology had taken place
in November 2006 at the Zanievski Cascade cinema in St. Petersburg. Immediately
afterwards digital became available to audiences in Moscow and is now
also in other important places, from Togliattigrad and Samara, in the
Volga region, up to Vladivostok on the Sea of Japan.
News from the world of 3D
There is often talk of new business enterprises and the innovative professions that the advent of digital technology brings with it. One example is Volfoni, the company founded in France on the initiative of Thierry Henkinet, which responds to the need to equip digital movie theatres for 3D projection. Exhibitors who do not wish to face the expense of buying more equipment, in addition to the digital projector and server, can hire it from Volfoni. In a short space of time they are supplied with the special active 3D glasses with liquid crystals made by NuVision, whilst in the projection booth an infra-red transmission system is installed and the necessary calibrations are made. This system foresees a practical and economic system for cleaning the glasses which avoids the exhibitor having to install washing equipment (each spectator receives an anti-bacteria wipe) and supplies a short 3D film explaining how to use the glasses. Volfoni has been chosen as the supplier both for prestigious festivals, such as Cannes, Venice and Turin, and by various exhibitors in France and Belgium, including Europalaces and CGR. Amongst the events that will linger in the memory of movie fans is the projection of Nightmare before Christmas at the 2007 Venice Festival, with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp in the audience. One film that will shortly be distributed in cinemas equipped by Volfoni is U2 3D, whilst Fly me to the Moon, the keenly awaited production in nWawe 3D computer graphics, by the Belgian Ben Stassen, is on programmes in Belgium at this very moment, in an advance release with respect to the rest of the world.
From theory to practice
In our “Women in Digital Cinemas”
column, a researcher into business communications tells us that it is
not sufficient for a cinema wishing to gain a competitive edge thanks
to digital technology to simply install the equipment. Instead, it is
a question of making potential audiences aware of the advantages that
can derive from this innovation in terms of an overall cinema experience.
Some people who believe that the digital transition means far more than
a change in the way images get onto the screen are the companies that
announced the new “Digitalfie” initiative at IDIFF 2008.
New MEDIA Salles offices
On 30 June 2007 MEDIA Salles relocated
its offices to the Milan headquarters of Agis, Italy’s entertainment