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Singapore —Mar 11, 2003

GDC Tech to retrofit 400 Indian cinemas, digitise feature films

In a unique high-tech venture, a Singapore firm has won a multi-million dollar deal to retrofit India's movie theatres with digital projectors. The company will also convert Indian-made feature films into a digital format that will save thousands of dollars per movie in distribution costs.

The firm is GDC Technology Ltd, part of the Global Digital Creations Holdings Group. It was set up in 2000 by former Nanyang Technological University professor Man-Nang Chong, who is now based in Hong Kong.

GDC will retrofit 400 movie theatres across India by April 2004. The first theatre, in Mumbai, will start operating under the new format - the first in India - by the end of this month. To do this, GDC has set up a joint venture with Adlabs Films, India's largest motion picture processing lab. Adlabs is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange.

'Our target is to retrofit 1,500 e-cinemas in India by 2007,' GDC Technology's Singapore-based head of marketing, Benjamin Ng, told BT. 'A 35mm movie reprint would cost more than US$1,000. Our technology would cut that cost to a fraction of the amount, especially in the long run.'

Retrofitting the cinema will involve GDC installing its digital film server and digital projector in the theatre. 'The feature film itself will be stored in a high-capacity disk drive double the size of a cigarette packet,' said Mr Ng. 'This will be couriered to the cinema. Once the movie's run has ended, another digital pack will be couriered and the old made obsolete. The entire movie will be digitally encrypted, so it will be impossible for pirates to copy it.'

Mr Ng would not say how much it will cost to retrofit a cinema hall. Industry sources said it may range from US$80,000 to more than US$125,000 depending upon the size of the hall, acoustics and other factors. If it averages US$100,000, the retrofitting exercise for 400 theatres alone would mean gross revenues of US$40 million.

Adlabs' managing director Manmohan Shetty said: 'E-cinema is the way to go in India because the movie industry in India itself is unique. We're planning to offer through various distributors one digital movie a week. This would be a tremendous business opportunity for the cinema operators and a real treat to the movie audience.'

As for movie producers, they send a master copy of the movie to the firm to convert to a digital format. 'Our telecine facility will digitise it using GDC's Digital Super Realism Film Agile Encoder to code, encrypt and package high-resolution files on hard disk drives,' Dr Chong said.

'The digital release or print can be produced almost without human intervention within 24 hours.' It costs about US$50,000 to digitise a full-feature movie. India has about 10,000 cinema theatres and is the world's most prolific producer of feature films at 1,000 a year. However, very few prints are made in the first week of the movie's release. This encourages piracy. The digital distribution method will solve the distribution and piracy problem.

GDC Technology Limited Contacts:
Media Contact:   Tony Adamson

GDC Technology Limited
Unit 1-7, 20th Floor, Kodak House II, 
39 Healthy Street East, North Point, Hong Kong 
Tel: + 852 2507 9555    Fax:+852 2579 1131
Logo: GDC Technology Limited About GDC Technology Limited: GDC Technology Limited (‘GDC’) is a leading digital cinema solutions provider. GDC develops, manufactures and sells media servers, content storage systems, theatre management systems and network operations center software for the global cinema industry. GDC is a licensee of the DTS:X object-based immersive sound technology from DTS, Inc. for the development of its media servers.  In addition, GDC also provides a suite of digital cinema products and services, including integrated projection systems, 3D products, projector lamps and silver screens. GDC Digital Cinema Network Limited, a GDC subsidiary, manages VPF for over 6,300 theatre screens and with more than 650 studios or motion picture distributors worldwide. GDC Technology Limited Directory page GDC Technology Limited Web Site
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