Digital cinema player Christie eyes India; signs multiplexes

Mumbai: Global digital cinema leader Christie has signed an exclusive contract with Scrabble Entertainment to supply 200 Christie DLP Cinema projectors for India’s largest single digital cinema deployment.

The first Indian exhibitor to sign up for the deployment plan is PVR Cinemas. With a total of 103 screens across India, the circuit spans major cities including New Delhi, Lucknow, Indore, Bangalore and Mumbai, among others. As part of the agreement, PVR will commit to converting all new theatres with Christie CP2000 digital cinema projectors.

Apart from PVR Cinemas, others who have signed up include Fame Cinemas, INOX and Cinemax.

Previously dominated by film and E-cinema, Scrabble Entertainment has embarked on the country’s most massive Digital Cinema deployment by being the first company to deploy systems designed to be DCI compliant in India. Scrabble Entertainment will act as an intermediary between content owners including major studios and independent distributors – and the exhibitor.

Under a Virtual Print Fee (VPF) business model, Scrabble Entertainment will finance the exhibitors’ transition to digital by collecting a negotiated "virtual print fee" from movie distributors. Scrabble Entertainment has already secured commitments from studios in India to provide JPEG 2000 content, and major exhibition circuits for the roll-out. As part of the deployment plan, Scrabble Entertainment forecasts to install a total of 1,750 projectors over the next five years, at an average of 350 projectors per year.

"Christie has been a reliable brand in the cinema industry for many years. Its proven global success in Digital Cinema has further instilled confidence in us to select Christie exclusively for this massive deployment. Traditionally, India has opted for e-cinema due to its low cost of deployment. Now, we can help cinemas leverage Digital Cinema technology at an affordable cost, while providing the ultimate experience for moviegoers – be it Hollywood or local movies," says Scrabble Entertainment CEO Ranjit Thakur.

"We’ve been using Christie film projectors in our theatres for many years. Over the years, the projectors have provided excellent results in terms of consistency and reliability, which speaks to the quality of the technology. This deployment plan is a natural progression for us to move to the next level together with Christie. By taking the leap to digital, we hope to trigger a domino effect for the local cinema industry and to enhance the cinematic experience for our patrons," adds PVR Cinemas CEO Amitabh Vardhan.

"India has a constant flow of content produced by Bollywood, yet, has a relatively low screen count. With a huge movie-going community, the country has enormous room to support explosive growth in Digital Cinema. With our global success in Digital Cinema, we have the experience to help our partners as the momentum picks up across the country. It is a privilege to be selected by SE and PVR Cinemas for this monumental roll-out and we look forward to a successful long term relationship," says Christie Asia Pacific vice president of sales Lin Yu.

In India, D-Cinema has been dominated by UFO Moviez, which touched a 1000 screen mark recently across the country. Other players in the space include Real Image and E-City Ventures.

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