Trib. Milano n. 418 del 02.07.2007
International Edition No. 74 - year 6 - 3 July 2011
From the eighth edition
of the course
Helsinki and Tallinn
- daily update -
Not One Less: the title of Zhang Yimou’s film well expresses the objective of Cinema Digitaal, the initiative launched in the Netherlands to allow all the nation’s screens to migrate to digital, on the basis of a mixture of resources: the exhibitors’ own funds, VPF and public financing. This was presented to the DigiTraining Plus course by Ron Sterk, Director of NVB, the organization representing Dutch exhibitors.
In the same spirit as Cinema Digitaal, but starting out from different conditions and modes of operation is Digital Funding Partnership, promoted by the CEA, the English exhibitors’ association. Although the United Kingdom was actually a pioneer of digitalization, thanks to public intervention, and several large groups have recently opted to proceed towards the new technologies – factors that have brought the number of digital projectors up to 1,408 – there are still many independent exhibitors who did not take part in the transition. DFP was created to meet their demands and manage the conversion to the new technology collectively. This means negotiating VPF for all the members (400 screens in 130 cinemas, both commercial and art-house, belonging to around 100 different exhibitors) and reducing the risks that may threaten theatres failing to reach the minimum quota of new film releases foreseen for accessing financing (around 16 a year).
DPF’s objective is for around 75%-80% of the costs of digitalization to be covered by VPF, whilst the rest is paid by the exhibitor. The British system – unlike the Dutch - does not have any public resources available. “What we have done in the UK may be a point of reference for other countries, too. VPF is not a perfect system but it’s certainly the best of the possible options.” This was the comment by Steve Perrin, who directs Digital Funding Partnership on behalf of the CEA.
The fact that migration to digital is no longer a possibility but an unchangeable reality also emerged from the talk by John Fithian, President of Nato, the association that unites U.S. exhibitors. “The chance to benefit from VPF will not last forever: my advice is not to postpone the decision.”