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London—Feb 26, 2005

UK Film Council Selects Arts Alliance Digital Cinema to Manage World's First Large Scale Digital Screen Network

Arts Alliance Digital Cinema (AADC), the pioneer provider of digital cinema services, has been selected by the UK Film Council to install and run the world's first digital screen network, a core part of the UK Film Council's strategy for improving access to specialised film and broadening the range of films available to audiences throughout the UK.

In a contract worth around £11.5 million, Arts Alliance Digital Cinema will provide a network of up to 250 screens throughout the UK. Each cinema will guarantee a minimum number of specialised (arthouse/foreign language) film shows a week in return for the equipment. This separate competitive process is currently nearing completion. It is anticipated that the winning cinemas will be announced in May, with the first installations occurring in the autumn of this year and the final installation around 18 months later.

The agreement with AADC runs for the period of the installation/rollout plus 4 years. It covers installation, training, servicing, warranties and upgrades for the lifetime of the contract. In addition, under the terms of the contract, AADC will, if and when required, create digital cinema masters for specialised film content, and when requested load onto disks, deliver to the cinema and supply the security keys for the cinema to play out the film all at a pre-agreed price.

Distributors with a specialised film can therefore use the digital screen network at a competitive price to distribute films to cinemas in digital format. Once it is provided with a high definition or uncompressed 2K version of the film, AADC will compress and encrypt film to create digital distribution versions. The cost of this compares extremely favourably to the current cost of 35mm film (which for specialised film can be circa £1,500 a print) which is currently a significant barrier to specialised films being seen in more cinemas.

"Access to specialised film is currently restricted across the UK. Although a genuine variety of films is available in central London and a few other metropolitan areas, the choice for many outside these areas remains limited, and the Digital Screen Network will improve access for audiences across the UK," said Pete Buckingham, head of Distribution and Exhibition at the UK Film Council. "We're delighted to be working with Arts Alliance Digital Cinema to improve access for UK cinema audiences."

Arts Alliance Digital Cinema will work with its suppliers to procure, integrate, install and manage equipment in cinemas. Christie Digital Systems and NEC (supported by Digital Projection Ltd) will supply 2K DLP Cinema(tm) Projectors while QuVIS will supply servers. Cinema staff will also be trained and supported and AADC will work with Impact Marcom, Sound Associates, The Metropolitan Film School and the BKSTS to provide these services.

"The UKFC is using a ground-breaking way to give cinema-goers the widest choice of films at their local cinemas," said Fiona Deans, associate director, Arts Alliance Digital Cinema. "We're thrilled to work with them on the world's first large-scale deployment of digital cinema."

AADC was selected in a competitive bid governed by the EU supplies directive. Every full-time licensed cinema is eligible to apply to join the scheme.

Logo: Arts Alliance Media About Arts Alliance Media: Arts Alliance Media (AAM) is the global leader in digital cinema software and services. It offers a wide range of software solutions to exhibitors which allow them to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and grow revenues, and improve the cinematic experience for their customers.  Its software touches over 25,000 digital screens globally, while AAM’s network operations centre (NOC) supports several thousand screens. Clients include Cinépolis, Wanda, Hoyts and Odeon UCI.  AAM’s latest offering is Thunderstorm – a unique online marketplace for cinema where exhibitors can browse the latest technologies to enable them to increase revenues and improve customer interaction. Arts Alliance Media Directory page Arts Alliance Media Web Site About UK Film Council : The UK Film Council's Distribution and Exhibition Department is investing £18 million in a range of projects to widen the opportunity for people to see a broader range of films across the UK. Initiatives include: up to £13 million for the first ever digital screen network across the UK; £1.5 million to date towards the release of specialised films (such as Goodbye Lenin!, The Motorcycle Diaries, The Station Agent and The House of Flying Daggers) through supporting Prints and Advertising costs; funding for the installation of subtitling and audio-description equipment at more than 78 cinemas across the UK; funding towards equipping film clubs and local film societies, community groups and mobile film exhibitors with high quality DVD-based digital projection equipment. UK Film Council Directory page
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