The Utopia Group has appointed Ymagis to help with the Group’s phased conversion of all its cinemas to digital projection. The conversion process will start this year in the Group cinemas in Luxembourg, France, Belgium and the Netherlands, continuing into 2011 with the aim of completing the network’s digitisation by the end of 2011.
This decision is part of the development strategy of the Utopia Group, one of the very first European groups to embark on switching to digital. Utopia has been a key player at a European level in considerations related to digitisation and its decision is the outcome of research undertaken over several years on different economic models for financing the digital conversion. Utopia’s undertaking reflects the progress seen in the development of these economic models in Europe, which now allow the great majority of cinema owners to switch to digital under satisfactory economic conditions.
Nico Simon, Utopia’s CEO, said: “We were among the first in Europe to go down the path of digital cinema, so for the Utopia Group the digital roll‐out across our cinemas is not really a new adventure. We are now starting on the logical next step, finalising the forward‐looking options we have been taking for some time. In Ymagis, we are certain that we have found a true partner to help us during this essential phase which is vital for the development not just of cinemas, but of the entire sector.
We felt that the financial and operating model developed with Ymagis was best suited both to our own needs and those of the sector as a whole, being flexible and open to the wide variety of types of cinemas and distributors that exist.”
Meanwhile, Jean Mizrahi, Chief Executive of Ymagis, said: “We are really delighted that Utopia has chosen us to support the entire Group’s conversion to digital projection over the next couple of years. We are aware of the importance of this choice, which is proof of the trust shown in us by one of the pioneers of digital cinema in Europe. This agreement will also boost our presence in all countries where Utopia has cinemas, as well as reinforcing our involvement in cinemas committed to a policy of demanding programming which gives European cinema its rightful place.”