Reg. Trib. Milano n. 418 del 02.07.2007
Direttore responsabile: Elisabetta Brunella

  International Edition No. 36 - year 3
9 May 2008 - Europe Day


Dear readers,
it is not by coincidence that this newsletter is reaching you today, on Europe Day. So much time has gone by since that 9 May 1950, when the declaration by the French Minister Schuman laid the foundations for what was to become the European Union, and yet the building of Europe as a communal home for an increasing number of citizens still requires a good deal of energy in the most varied of sectors.
We, too, at MEDIA Salles, thanks to the support of the MEDIA Programme and the Italian Government, are part of this undertaking, in that very special field of the cinema, which is simultaneously an economic activity and an expression of culture.
Our initiatives in these few weeks, which the issue you are reading focuses on, mean to contribute, from the special perspective of the cinema, to reaching the objectives of the EU as it is today. On the DigiTraining Plus course, which has just been concluded in London and which was devoted to the new technologies for distribution and projection, the keywords were in fact knowledge and innovation; its objective is to provide professional players in the cinema industry, particularly exhibitors, with the tools for operating in a context that is increasingly competitive and sensitive to technological evolution. The event MEDIA Salles is taking part in during the Cannes Festival, thanks to their collaboration with “Schermi di Qualità”, places the emphasis on films as the vehicles of cultural and economic exchange between European countries. The first international presentation of the Italian circuit which, on the strength of its almost 700 screens, places European films in the limelight, and the traditional appointment on La Croisette, in which MEDIA Salles informs journalists and representatives of the industry and institutions on the trends in cinema-going, join forces to give visibility to Europe’s cinemas and productions.

In the hope of meeting you in Cannes on 20 May at the Espace Italia, I hope you will enjoy your reading.

Jens Rykaer
President of MEDIA Salles
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by Laura Carniel

The way in which movie theatres communicate their offer to the public is now widely recognized as being a vital element for their competitive success and exhibitors pay increasing attention to the image the public has of their cinema. “Communication” is thus becoming one of the key words in the world of digital cinema. Communicating digital screening is not just about making known a technological innovation but also about offering a whole new viewing experience. Exhibitors are becoming increasingly aware that technology is not an end in itself and on its own is insufficient to create a competitive edge. What the public is told and, above all, how it is told is therefore becoming of fundamental importance: it is not enough to have a good product and new technology; you must know how to communicate this in a distinct and appealing way.
What are the mechanisms to concentrate on? The means of cinematographic promotion remain more or less the same, whilst what changes is the message: less focus on films and the cinema’s promotional offers and more on technological innovation and the quality of the digital image. And when it comes to digital screening it is precisely the quality that becomes the hub around which the exhibitor’s work rotates: digital technology is taken on board because it offers better quality of projection, becoming a “pledge of quality” to the public and the vehicle of a unique experience in theatrical viewing.

The Italian scenario
This is the main result to emerge from the first research carried out in Italy on the digitalization of movie theatres. Arising out of collaboration with the MEDIA Salles association, the research, which covers the whole country, had a dual objective. From the exhibitors’ point of view, to examine the impact of digital technology on the distinguishing features of the offer, on the company’s main business results and on the modes and tools used in the field of promotion. From the spectators’ point of view, to analyze their perceptions and attitudes in relation to digital screening and its impact on the overall cinema viewing experience.
Following 2005, which recorded a considerable increase in the numbers of the country’s digital cinemas, the Italian scenario appears to have been somewhat static over the past few years, slowed down by two main problems: the huge costs of adopting and maintaining the technology and the scarcity of titles distributed in digital format on the Italian market.
The results of the research show that only a small number of exhibitors manage to obtain public financing for the adoption of digital technology (47.4% of exhibitors state that they bought the equipment themselves). For most of them, it appears that it is difficult or impossible for them to update their offer technologically.

Technological innovation or cinema viewing experience?
In addition, the research shows the tendency of Italian exhibitors to consider functional and technological features as being central to the differentiation of the cinemaís offer, to the detriment of factors related more to the spectatorís overall experience and entertainment. The attention paid nowadays, especially in America and in general in multiplexes or megaplexes, to the added value of the leisure-experience and entertainment of spectators has no real counterpart on the Italian scenario, either amongst theatres or amongst audiences at digital screenings, who do not seem to attribute any particular importance to these side features of the theatreís offer.
Greater attention should nonetheless be devoted to the spectator, who must be accompanied in all phases of his contact with the cinema and its offer. In connection with this it is of vital importance for the theatre to offer the digital spectator an experience that is as involving and as unique as possible, exploiting not so much peripheral aspects linked to social relations, leisure, differentiation of the entertainment offer (e.g. localization of the movie theatre in a context of entertainment, close to pubs, restaurants, disco clubs, etc.), but rather those related to the aesthetic experience connected to the superior and incomparable quality of digital viewing and the overall experience, including the many additional services that allow theatres to assume a truly distinctive position in the minds of their audiences (e.g. services related to access, availability, provision of information, merchandising).

Communicating digital screening: the importance of the medium and the message
As regards the communicative aspect of the cinemaís offer, generally indicated by exhibitors as a very important factor in increasing the theatreís competitive edge, this assumes a special nature when applied to the field of digital screening. Apart from the classical means of promotion, websites seem to be particularly widespread (used by 78.9% of respondents); however, if we look at the media that make most impact on the public, we discover that websites are amongst the media least used by spectators as a source of information on digital screenings (only used in 14.9% of cases).
Instead, it can be seen that the lionís share derives from commercials screened in non-digital cinemas (advertising in cinemas is identified by as many as 32.7% of spectators as their source of information on digital screenings).

(Click here to read the whole article)

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For the first time a comprehensive research on digitalization in the Italian cinemas

The first research on the digitalization of Italian cinemas has been carried out by Laura Carniel as part of her graduation thesis on “Digital Cinema: the role of communication between technological innovation and the cinema-going experience”. Supervised by Professor Rossella Gambetti of the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, the research followed a dual path of investigation involving both exhibitors and audiences:

  • The research involving exhibitors was carried out by issuing online or telephonic structured questionnaires with closed or semi-closed answers, taking into consideration the whole panorama of Italian exhibition companies equipped with digital and electronic projection technology (40 exhibitors, i.e. all the Italian cinemas fitted with DLP Cinema projectors and those belonging to the Microcinema and Digima circuits). The number of digital screens represented by the respondents in this study, which covers a total of 46 digital screens, amounts to 67.6% of the total number of the country’s digital and electronic screens (in particular 32 screens with DLP Cinema technology are represented and 14 electronic theatres );
  • The audience survey was addressed to a sample of spectators at the Arcadia cinema in Melzo, who were directly contacted on Sunday 27 January 2008, giving a total of 101 respondents.

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Sara Crimeni
Digima, Italy

When Elisabetta Brunella of MEDIA Salles asked me to write an article about Digital Cinema, from my point of view and what my sensations were, the first words that came to mind were transition and opening of a new era. Working in this sector, we have the clear sensation that, after many years of “technological stagnation”, something of great importance is about to happen in Italian cinemas, thanks to the evolution in the equipment, the working methods and the way we are now considering these new movie theatres.

They are the same sensations and changes that encouraged me to take up this challenge of working with Digima, a company active in the electronic and digital cinema field since 2005, which has the objective of advancing film and theatrical shows (lyrics, theatre, concerts, dance) in digital movie cinemas or halls such as municipalities and cultural communities. Digima has created and patented a technological platform for the booking, transmission and final projection in movie houses via high-speed internet access and has made arrangements with Italian distributors to provide the digital contents.

Collaborating as sales manager with the dynamic team at Digima, my primary objective is to advertise the Digima brand, make its image known throughout Italy and expand its network of digital cinemas. There are many tools I use to accomplish this, which can be summed up as follows:

  • Direct meetings with the target audience for demonstration of the Digima system
  • Management of marketing and communication of the Digima brand through direct market campaigns, coordination with the press and management of the content on Digima’s portal
  • Organization of events and informative meetings with exhibitors, distributors and producers.

I believe itís extremely important to hold these encounters/events with exhibitors, in which the transitional phase mentioned above can inevitably be a phase of confusion with much information provided, not all of which is correct. It is for this reason that we have decided to organize a Road Show Digima in Italy, for all of 2008 (roughly 2 stages per month) in which, with the help of experts in the sector and direct experience with exhibitors, we will spread the technical information and concepts clearly and comprehensively.

(Click here to read the whole article)

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Cannes Film Festival 2008: European films and European cinemas in the forefront

In 2007-2008, over 6 million tickets were sold for Italian and European quality films in cinemas belonging to “Schermi di Qualità” (Quality Screens), the initiative by AGIS – the Italian General Association for Showbusiness – supported by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs - General Directorship for the Cinema and by ARCUS SpA.

The first presentation on the international scene of the results of “Schermi di Qualità” will take place at Cannes Film Festival,
Tuesday 20 May, from 2.30 pm to 4 pm
Espace Italia, Palais Stéphanie
and will be accompanied by a taste of Italian specialities.

“Schermi di Qualità”, which gives Italian spectators the chance to come into contact with quality European films, are to be found all over the country, both in large cities and in small towns, in every Region, in single- and multi-screen cinemas and multiplexes. To provide motivation for the films having a longer and more prestigious stay on the screens, the Exhibitors’ Associations, ANEC, ACEC and FICE, belonging to the AGIS, thanks to the support of the Ministry, have proposed an economic incentive for cinemas willing to commit themselves on a regular basis. 687 screens have become part of the scheme, bringing in the majority of spectators for quality European films, both those with a high box-office (Elizabeth - The Golden Age, Le grain et le mulet, Irina Palm, La Môme) and niche productions (Le ferie di Licu, Salvador Puig Antich, Les amours d'Astrée et de Céladon, Goodbye Bafana etc.).

On behalf of the Committee of Schermi di Qualità, Paolo Protti, Vice-president of AGIS, will outline the results. The Ministry of Cultural Affairs will be represented by the General Directorship for the Cinema.

The presentation will allow producers and distributors of European quality films to gain a better knowledge of the network of Italian exhibition companies that promotes their products, with a view to planning joint initiatives for the future also.

On this occasion MEDIA Salles will take up the traditional appointment with the international cinema community on La Croisette, by presenting the latest figures on cinema-going in Europe in 2007.

Those who are interested in participating at the event, to which an invitation is required, are requested to contact us at the following email address:

To contact MEDIA Salles during the Cannes Film Festival:
cell: +39 349 2699141
+39 335 7225475
+39 349 2699348

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“DigiTraining Plus
– European Cinemas Experiencing New Technologies”

45 participants from 14 different countries took part in the “DigiTraining Plus – European Cinemas Experiencing New Technologies” course, organized by MEDIA Salles between 9 and 13 April. The new element in 2008 was the venue: after four editions in Belgium, this time it was the turn of the United Kingdom, the European country with the highest number of digital screens: almost 300.
Gaining a better knowledge of the objectives and ways of public funding that have fostered this development and becoming acquainted with significant private initiatives were some of the course objectives. The programme included visits to cinemas which, like the Curzon Soho and the Kino Digital in Hawkhurst (the latter fitted exclusively with digital projectors), are counting on the new technologies to broaden their offer to the public, backing European films and emerging film-making in particular.

The daily press releases of the “DigiTraining Plus 2008” Course are the DGT online informer from no. 31 to no. 35 of 2008; you can reach them directly from the menu on the left side of this page.

European films opt for digital

The “DigiTraining Plus 2008” course (London, 9 – 13 April 2008) was an important opportunity not only for gaining information on new developments in technologies for digital cinema, but also for experiencing the quality of screening and the entity of the European offer of films in digital format. In this respect, the course participants were able, thanks to XDC, to watch some extracts from successful European movies during their visit to the Kino Digital in Hawkhurst, Kent. In particular, they were shown:

- Solstorm, by Leif Lindblom, Sweden
- Morgan Pålsson – Världsreporter, by Fredrik Boklund, Sweden
- El Orfanato, by Juan Antonio Bayona, Spain
- Arn: Tempelriddaren, by Peter Flinth, Sweden
- Sous les Bombes, by Philippe Aractingi, France, Lebanon, United   Kingdom, Belgium
- Timboektoe, by Dave Schram, Netherlands

These are just some of the European films distributed internationally in digital format too, which proves that European cinema intends playing an active role in the digital shift.
The course participants were also able to watch the entire screening of the film U23D at the BFI Imax in London and the documentary Shine a Light, by Martin Scorsese, in digital format, at the Odeon Surrey Quays.

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Enrico di Mambro, AGIS - ANEC, ha scritto sul Giornale dello Spettacolo un articolo sulla sua partecipazione al corso "DigiTraining Plus 2008". Per leggerlo cliccare qui

From the training offer of the MEDIA Programme

CICAE, the International Confederation of Art Cinemas, is organizing the fifth edition of its training Course “ART CINEMA = ACTION + MANAGEMENT” (Venice, 25 August – 3 September 2008), open to young European art cinema exhibitors. The objective of the course is to pass on to younger generations the necessary competences for managing a cinema devoted to quality films. Thanks to the variety of practical activities, meetings and groupwork, the Course means to be a point of reference for young exhibitors who wish to successfully undertake a hard but at the same time fascinating job, on the market of quality cinema and European films which is getting everyday more vulnerable.

For further information and enrolment, please log on to the CICAE website at:
The deadline for enrolment is 1 June 2008.

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The workshop “DIGITAL CONTENT DISTRIBUTION: Legal, Regulatory and Commercial Developments in New Media”, organised by EPI, will take place on 24 Sptember 2008. It will provide essential knowledge and the basic tools to help media business adapt to capitalise on new developments in digital distribution. The focus is not only on how traditional content can be exploited in new media but also how to fund and create content specifically for digital distribution.

Among the main topics
- Digital copyright and related rights
- Licensing of digital content
- Who is buying and selling?
- Commercial models

For further information and enrolment, please log on to the Erich Pommer Institut website at:

My Brother is an Only Child – an international and digital success

After obtaining good audiences and reviews in Italy, My Brother is an Only Child, Daniele Lucchetti’s latest film, also came to UK screens on 4 April 2008, distributed by Revolver Entertainment, winning immediate success with the best weekend average per screen in its first week of programming and a box-office amounting to £80,000.
This successful full-length feature film has also been released in digital format and has been screened in 12 cinemas in the London area alone in its first week on the screens. This mode of distribution is proof of growing interest in the scheme launched by the UK Film Council which, using resources from the National Lottery, has favoured the real shift to digital as regards both distribution and exhibition. In this sense the United Kingdom distinguishes itself from the rest of Europe, as has been highlighted by the course “DigiTraining Plus 2008”, organized by MEDIA Salles in London from 9 to 13 April. In his talk, Alex Stolz, representing the UK Film Council, explained the project Digital Screen Network to participants and stressed the opportunities for diversifying offer that derive from it. In the strategy adopted by the UK Film Council, digital aims to give greater visibility to independent productions, the so-called “speciality” area, a category that includes foreign-language and art-house films.

Have a look at Alex Stolz’s presentation here

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New MEDIA Salles offices

On 30 June 2007 MEDIA Salles relocated its offices to the Milan headquarters of Agis, Italy’s entertainment industry association.
Our new address is:

MEDIA Salles
c/o Agis Lombarda
Piazza Luigi di Savoia, 24
I-20124 Milano
Tel. +39 02 6739781 Direct line +39 02 67397823
Fax +39 02 6690410