Digital rollout dependent on distributor action: Atlab

By Simon de Bruyn

The transition from film to digital projection in cinemas might be wholly dependent on the extent to which distributors get behind the technology, Atlab sales and marketing manager Ben Wilson told delegates at the Independent Cinemas Association of Australia conference on Wednesday.

Speaking as part of a panel on digital cinema chaired by ICAA general manager Mark Sarfaty, Wilson said the transition to the new format would require strong support from distributors due to the fact that exhibitors aren’t pressed by a commercial need to change.

‘Film projection is a long-lived beast and if the progress [towards] digital cinema stalls now all those film projectors will still be there in five years,’ he said.

‘Aside from 3D features, which exhibitors are very happy to bring in because of box office potential, the exhibitors aren’t the ones pushing for the rollout of digital. The rollout depends on who is driving digital cinema and distributors need to get involved.’

The cost associated with distributing film prints is immense, as the money spent on producing prints and transporting them to cinemas needs to be recouped before box office profits can be realised.

This session was the last in the intense two day conference for independent exhibitors from all over Australia, which covered hot topics such as piracy enforcement, the development of 4K D-Cinema, marketing, cinema advertising and point of sale advice.

ICAA also welcomed Jim C. Williams, the senior vice president and chief technology officer for the Motion Picture Association of America, as their gala dinner speaker to further elaborate on how technology is being used to fight movie theft.