Satellite delivery to revolutionise distribution of films to cinemas

Cinemas in Australia and New Zealand are being offered technology which will deliver digital copies of films, trailers and commercials via satellite.

The Cinecastar system is being touted as cheaper than the current method of shipping content around the country via couriers.

Ipstar Australa has tested the equipment at 12 locations in Australia and New Zealand, including ones operated by Hoyts and Wallis Cinemas.

“This is a significant step into the 21st Century on the distribution of DCP (digital cinema package) material and will especially benefit cinemas in regional areas whose freight bills for DCP drives can be many thousands of dollars,” Independent Cinemas Australia president Scott Seddon tells IF.

The content is delivered via the Thaicom 4 satellite with the Kencast technology which has been used by the Digital Cinema Distribution Coalition (DCDC) since 2013 to deliver content to 2,700 North American cinemas every week.

Ipstar Australia and New Zealand sales director Phil Cross said: “We are happy to announce that we have now entered into agreements with sufficient distribution partners to push the roll-out into top gear.”

Cross tells IF he is confident of signing deals with the 50 cinema locations needed to make the service viable by next month.

The satellite dish, client server and storage and installation will be provided by Cinecastar. The exhibitor will pay a small drop fee for each feature.

Cinecastar has partnered with Silver Trak Digital to manage all operational aspects in Australia including validation, ingestion of movies into the Cinecastar system and DCP HDD (hard disc drive) distribution during the transition phase to satellite distribution and service continuity.

Cross added: “The process will be quite cash flow positive for the vast majority of cinemas in Australia and New Zealand.”