A unique public-private partnership will enable the collective transition from analogue to digital technology in the Dutch film screening and distribution circuit. The Foundation for Digitising Dutch Cinema (Stichting Digitalisering Nederlandse Cinema), founded by the Dutch Exhibitors Association (Nederlandse Vereniging van Bioscoopexploitanten, NVB), the Dutch Film Distributors' Association (Nederlandse Vereniging van Filmdistributeurs, NVF) and EYE Film Institute Netherlands, will realise the digitalisation of all Dutch cinemas and film theatres within two years.
The total cost for this project: €38 million. Minister Halbe Zijlstra from the Dutch Ministry of Education, Cultural Affairs and Science has approved a contribution to the project from the Netherlands Film Fund (Nederlands Fonds voor de Film). In addition, the Dutch government is supporting the project via a national IT implementation programme (Programma Implementatie Agenda ICT-beleid; PRIMA). The government’s 14% share in the project – primarily aimed at supporting non-commercial film theatres – makes the digitalisation of the Dutch screening circuit possible. The first digital projectors are expected to be installed in January 2011. By mid-2012, the transition to digital cinema in the Netherlands will be realized.
It took less than 1 year to draw up the project’s business plan, based on a virtual fee model, and to secure the project’s financing. The project’s collaborative organization and approach will guarantee a wide offering of films for a broad audience. Furthermore, the close-knit screening circuit of Dutch cinemas and film theatres will be safeguarded and, thanks to collective agreements, the costs for individual screening venues will be lowered. The collective approach to public-private partnership is currently unique in Europe. At present there are 242 cinemas with 751 screens, of which 201 are already equipped with 2 K projectors.
Digital innovation offers opportunities for the film sector to grow by being able to respond creatively and quickly to audiences’ demands for the newest (Dutch) films as well as films released in the (recent) past. In addition, film theatres will become more attractive for organizations in sectors such as education, health care, business and government as venues for presentations and meetings. In the near future, these venues can expand their offerings to include (live) concerts, opera, theatre productions or football matches. These developments broaden the cultural and social function of cinemas and film theatres.