Cinedigm Digital Cinema Corp. (NASDAQ: CIDM) and Independent Cinemas Association of Australia (“ICAA”) today announced the ICAA-Cinedigm Virtual Print Fee (“VPF”) program that will assist independent cinemas in Australia and New Zealand convert from 35mm projection systems to full DCI-compliant digital equipment.
The VPF program in Australia and New Zealand has thus far secured five (5) major studios each to a separately negotiated non-exclusive VPF agreement. The five major studios include The Walt Disney Studios' Motion Pictures International (“Disney”), Twentieth Century Fox International Corporation (“Fox”), Paramount Pictures Australia Pty (“Paramount”), Sony Pictures Releasing International Corporation (“Sony”), and Universal Pictures International Australasia Pty Ltd (“Universal”). Additionally, Cinedigm and ICAA are in final negotiations with Warner Bros. Pictures International (“Warner Bros.”), Roadshow Films Pty Ltd (“Roadshow”), and several independent distributors across Australia and New Zealand, including member distributors of the Australian Independent Distributors Association (“AIDA”).
“This is a very significant announcement. The signing of each of these agreements shows the commitment of these Hollywood studios to each separately support the capacity of independent cinemas to convert their projection systems to digital technology,” said Adrianne Pecotic, CEO of ICAA and ICAA Services Pty Ltd. “It rewards the dedication, loyalty and patience of ICAA members who have made this program possible and who are investing in the digital future of local cinema in towns and regions all across Australia and New Zealand.”
The ICAA-Cinedigm Virtual Print Fee program has been made possible jointly by ICAA Services Pty Limited and Cinedigm Digital Cinema Australia Pty Limited working together to enable independent cinemas to transition to full digital technology.
“As the largest integrator of VPF agreements in the world, Cinedigm congratulates the studios and ICAA exhibitor members on this significant milestone,” said Chris McGurk, Chairman and CEO of Cinedigm. “We look forward to working with ICAA to help independent exhibitors across Australia and New Zealand deploy and benefit from the enormous opportunities provided by digital cinema systems.”
The transition from 35mm film projection to digital projection systems is a worldwide motion picture industry effort and the costs to deploy this new technology are subsidized through contributions in the form of VPFs from distributors to digital cinema integrator companies. In the US and Canada, Cinedigm has deployed more than 11,700 screens, has signed long-term VPF agreements with all the major studios and interim agreements with over one hundred independent distributors, and provides ongoing VPF administration. In addition to the ICAA program, the company is expanding internationally with deployment deals announced in the Caribbean islands and software deals announced in Brazil, UK, and Ireland.
Ms. Pecotic said that digital conversion and DCI compliance are amongst the most significant investment decisions cinema owners will make in the exhibition business. “Independent cinemas include many small and regional businesses all over Australia and New Zealand that would not otherwise be able to afford the expense of converting from 35mm projection systems or have access to the technical know-how and support that is available through the supporting ICAA Network Operations Centre.” said Ms Pecotic.
Pecotic continued, “ICAA has invested significantly to provide our members with everything they need to navigate the digital conversion from equipment at project pricing, expert advice on installation and operational issues, and access to VPF agreements and specialist software. In view of the increasing pace of change in projected availability of 35mm stock, ICAA and Cinedigm have agreed with distributors that the ICAA Cinedigm VPF program will be open to all independent cinemas across Australia and New Zealand, subject to the terms and conditions under each VPF agreement, – not just ICAA member cinemas.”
The ICAA Services Network Operations Centre (“ICAA NOC”) has been established on a not for profit basis by ICAA Services Pty Limited to integrate with Cinedigm and the Cinedigm software systems to provide the monitoring and reporting requirements of the VPF program. “ICAA is delighted to confirm that the ICAA NOC now has 220 screens connected with their operators accessing the technical know-how and back up of the NOC’s dedicated staff,” Ms. Pecotic said.
For further information on how to participate in the ICAA-Cinedigm VPF program please contact Pauline Negline firstname.lastname@example.org
and +61 2 9858 1179
. About ICAA:
The Independent Cinema Association of Australia (ICAA) is the cinema association of record for Australian independent cinemas with a membership ranging from single screens in rural areas through to metropolitan multiplex circuits. ICAA has members in every state and territory in Australia representing nearly 540 screens across 143 cinema locations. An historic governance agreement between ICAA and the New Zealand Motion Picture Association (NZMPEA) brings shared representation to more than 650 member screens in Australia and New Zealand. ICAA established ICAA Services Pty Limited as a wholly owned subsidiary to jointly establish with Cinedigm a VPF program the ICAA Services Network Operations Centre to enable the smooth transition to digital for all ICAA and NZMPEA members and other independent exhibitors in the region.