Global Vision Networks, a company based in Sydney Australia and International Datacasting Corporation, (TSX:IDC), today announced the inauguration of a pilot network for the distribution of live and ‘as live’ content to cinemas across Asia. The Pilot will deliver cinema quality, live material to screens in over 10 cities including Mumbai, Manila, Bangkok and Tokyo. Agreements are already in place with exhibitors in Chennai, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Currently distributers face real barriers to the delivery of live content to cinemas in Asia. With no common platform for reaching the region, distributors must deal with the difficulty and expense of arranging individual signals for each country. This inefficiency means that commercial success has been a long way off for alternate content in Asia.
The Pilot will address this by establishing a single, pan Asian distribution platform so distributers anyplace in the world can reach exhibitors all across the region. This one step is expected to spark rapid growth in the satellite enabling of cinemas in Asia because for the first time it will be cost effective to deliver live content to cinemas in Asia. While the same system may be used for delivery of feature films, the fragmented nature of the market will preclude this for a number of years.
Not surprisingly, the distributors are strongly behind the pilot and expect to see the number of screens increase quickly as content begins to flow. Distributers are using the Pilot to trial a variety of content types, marketing and price points. There are already three events scheduled for September with a further 10 awaiting confirmation over the remainder of the year.
Global Vision has been providing satellite solutions in Asia Pacific region since 1992. With such a large land mass and so widely differing peoples, cultures and regulatory environments, satellite operations across the region can be daunting. The company is now using its ability to integrate uplink, space segment, installation and ongoing management to assist the conversion to digital cinema in the region.
"The Pilot is going to short cut the development of satellite enabled digital cinema in Asia," said Adrian McCarten, Operations Manager Global Vision. McCarten has been instrumental in the development of satellite solutions for cinemas in Asia and Australia. "We have seen an explosion of interest in accessing Asian screens since we started talking to distributers earlier this year. The key has been the establishment of a single delivery path for the entire region. From our gateway in Hong Kong we are going live on screens anyplace in the region. The same feed gets the content into a ‘sub network’ in Australia and New Zealand and soon in India as well. This means that distributers can reach Jakarta and Seoul as easily as London and New York."
Global Vision is using IDC’s high performance SFX4104 Pro Video multimedia satellite receivers for the pilot project. The SFX4104, part of the Pro Cinema line of products, features dual carrier operation for simultaneous delivery of DCP files and live events. The SFX 4104, can decode both MPEG2 and MPEG 4 AVC ( H.264) HD video and is enabled for future upgrade using Sensio ™ technology for live 3D alternate content.
"This pilot across Asia marks another step forward for IDC as we continue with our strategy of providing the advanced technology solutions needed for the international digital cinema market. With such a large geographic region to cover, IDC’s proven technology for the distribution of both DCP files and live events is a logical choice for this project," said Ron Clifton, IDC President and CEO.
The Pilot will have four screens in India alone. "We have in excess of 10,000 screens across India and the conversion to digital is only now beginning," said Siddharth Lulla, General Manager, Global Vision India. "Equipping these locations to receive live from satellite will create a new market as the regional cinemas are able to screen high quality live content for the first time. This pilot is just the start."