Cinedigm Digital Cinema Corp. (NASDAQ: CIDM), in conjunction with the National Association of Theatre Owners' (NATO) Cinema Buying Group (CBG), today announced it has now signed over 3,000 independent CBG screens for conversion to digital cinema. Cinedigm is the digital cinema integrator partner for the CBG, a buying program for NATO's independent theatre operators in the United States and Canada and is responsible for deploying nearly 40% of all digital cinema screens in North America.
“NATO and the CBG congratulate Cinedigm on the momentous 3,000 screen milestone,” said John Fithian, President of National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO). "Cinedigm’s efforts and leadership have brought all the benefits of digital cinema to the local communities these theatres serve and we are tremendously proud of the outcome.”
The transition from 35mm film projection, which has been used for 110 years, to digital projection systems is a worldwide motion picture industry effort and the costs to deploy this new technology are covered primarily through the payment of virtual print fees (VPF) from studios to implementation companies. Cinedigm's Digital Cinema division facilitates funding, installation and operations support, along with ongoing VPF administration, for the company's digital cinema rollout plans. Cinedigm has signed long-term VPF agreements with all the major studios and interim agreements with over one hundred independent distributors.
“When we implemented the virtual print fee program nearly eight years ago, our goal was to help convert as many theatres as possible – both large and small – to digital cinema. We are so proud that Cinedigm has delivered on that promise and is without question the number one choice for exhibitors to entrust with their digital cinema program,” said Gary Loffredo, President of Digital Cinema & General Counsel, Cinedigm.
The Elkader Cinema, a historic movie theatre in a town of less than 1500 people, is a perfect example of a theatre not left behind by Cinedigm. Built in 1941, closed down in 1993 and vacant for 10 years, the Elkader Cinema's present owners Lee and Diane Akin, refurbished it, complete with original marquee, with a volunteer group and some community grants. Cinedigm helped the Akins, self-financiers and CBG members to keep the theatre open as the industry transformed to digital.
To date, Cinedigm has signed 180 Cinema Buying Group exhibitors representing roughly 3,000 screens. The company has converted CBG theatres in 22 states throughout North America including Alaska, Florida, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Wisconsin, Wyoming, British Columbia, Quebec, and Newfoundland.
Cinedigm digital theatres are fully networked, turnkey systems, simple and cost-efficient to operate.