Dutch independent cinemas to go digital with Arts Alliance Media

MUMBAI: Arts Alliance Media has reached an exclusive agreement with the Amsterdam Booking Company B.V. (ABC), a buying group representing Dutch independent cinemas, to supply and integrate digital cinema in 68 screens within 20 cinemas across the Netherlands. The deal also covers the installation of a professional satellite network for the transmission of live events and encrypted content.

The ABC roll-out will start immediately in order to equip screens for 11 February Dutch release of Disney’s 3-D film, "Bolt". Consequently, this will be the first wide 3-D release in the Netherlands.

 Screens in Heerenveen, Heerlen, Schagen, Spijkenisse, Venray, Weert and Zutphen will be installed with digital cinema and 3D systems in time for "Bolt". Other upcoming 2009 3-D movies for the ABC rollout will include "Monsters vs. Aliens" (Dreamworks/Paramount), "Up" (Pixar/Disney), "Ice Age 3"(Twentieth Century Fox), "Planet 51" (Sony Pictures), "Toy Story 3D" (Pixar/Disney) and "Avatar" (Twentieth Century Fox). Digital 3-D screens generate higher box office than standard screens.

Under the conditions of the agreement, AAM will create a fully integrated DCI-compliant digital cinema and satellite network within the ABC group of cinemas. The agreement requires AAM to procure, service and maintain all digital cinema systems deployed, including projectors and servers, central storage servers and a Theatre Management System.

ABC and AAM have jointly selected Christie projectors and Doremi servers for the deployment. FTT Filmtronics will carry out the installations and provide maintenance and local support. The satellite equipment will be provided by Arqiva Satellite and Media. See below for full list of cinemas in the ABC digital cinema rollout.

 ABC owner Paul Visser said, "We see clearly what the future of cinema is going to be – digital, 3-D and live events. AAM is the best partner to make that happen and enable us to be the first widespread movers in the Netherlands."

AAM Chief Executive Officer Howard Kiedaisch said, "We are honoured to have been chosen by ABC for this highly significant deployment. Our commitment is to help all cinemas convert to digital, regardless of size or location and having ABC on board proves that our program works for independents as well as big chains."

Amsterdam Booking Company programs cinemas throughout the Netherlands and has a market share of 10% in the Dutch market. ABC also advises the connected cinemas on marketing, management and future development. The cinemas share information with each other which leads to synergy. ABC has extensive knowledge of the distribution side of the business.

To date, AAM has a European footprint of 420 installed and operated digital cinema screens in the UK, France, Spain and Norway. The company is currently completing the 400-screen rollout in France’s Circuit George Raymond (CGR Cinémas). AAM was the first digital cinema provider in Europe to sign VPF-based deployment agreements with studios and exhibitors.