AAM to Digitize more than 500 Screens in The Netherlands

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Thu, 04/28/2011 - 20:00 -- Nick Dager

Arts Alliance Media has announced that it has reached a deal with exhibitors and distributors in The Netherlands to transition the Dutch film industry to digital cinema. Under the agreement more than 500 screens across the country from small art-house venues to larger chains’ cinemas will be converted to digital. Cinema Digitaal is a not-for-profit organisation formed by the Dutch Association of Cinema Exhibitors (NVB) the Association of Film Distributors (NVF) and EYE Film Institute Netherlands. Operating as a central management entity Cinema Digitaal is in control of the digitization project ensuring support for all exhibitors during the switchover. The scheme is partly funded by the Dutch government through a grant from PRIMA (Project Implementation ICT Agenda) and the Netherlands Film Fund (Nederlands Fonds voor de Film) and aims at digitizing the majority of the country’s cinema screens. All independents and circuits with the exception of Pathe Euroscoop and Utopolis are part of Cinema Digitaal. The rollout will be based on the VPF model with AAM managing collection and administration of VPF payments. Under the deal Arts Alliance Media will be the scheme’s exclusive integrator – providing installing and maintaining the equipment as well as providing VPF financing. AAM has VPF deals in place with five Hollywood studios and is in negotiations with the 14 member independent distributors of the NVF to sign up to VPF agreements to finance the rollout. Ron Sterk managing director of the NVB and managing director of Cinema Digitaal said “This agreement is the result of sector wide effort to achieve a fast efficient transition to digital cinema. We are very happy that all cinemas multiplexes and art-house will be able to benefit from the advantages of digital projection.” Michael Lambrechtsen managing director of the NVF said “Through this scheme distributors will secure their area of distribution for the widest possible range of both art-house and mainstream titles in the Netherlands. Arts Alliance Media CEO Howard Kiedaisch said “Arts Alliance Media has always tried to make digital cinema deals that work for every exhibitor and the Cinema Digitaal initiative is a ground-breaking way of the industry working together and we’re delighted to be a part of it. The model of the industry leading the switch to digital itself is one we hope will be replicated in other territories.” Giovanni Dolci Arts Alliance Media’s strategy & business development executive added “It’s very exciting to see distributors and exhibitors cooperating to achieve a joint solution which will allow the whole country to benefit from digital cinema. The NVB and NVF have both worked hard to reach this agreement and we’re thrilled that they have chosen AAM to implement the rollout. This will be a great real-life example of how the VPF model can be viable for many different exhibitors.” All the participating cinemas will have DCI-compliant digital projection equipment supplied and installed by Arts Alliance Media which will also be upgradeable to 3D and satellite. The rollout is expected to begin during spring 2011.