Reg. Trib. Milano n. 418 del 02.07.2007
Direttore responsabile: Elisabetta Brunella

  International Edition No. 48 - year 4 - 28 July 2009


Dear readers,
the latest figures on digital cinema installations in Europe can be characterized by the phrase: “slowly but surely”. Even though the majority of markets are hesitant, the perspective is clear. Driven by 3D and a wish to be forerunners, even some small operators have been urged to do it their own way without waiting for an overall national (business) plan. From a political point of view this is maybe not too smart as it might leave the impression that (even) small cinemas can manage this huge investment on their own. On the other hand it is understandable that some operators lose patience while organizations battle it out with distributors, potential public funds and film institutions. The view is that especially small cinemas have a need to “stand out”, to make offers that the general audience cannot refuse.
In this context MEDIA Salles feels a powerful need to provide a service to cinemas by giving information and hands-on courses in the digital field. After two consecutive and highly appreciated editions in London, we plan to organize the next training course on digital cinema in Helsinki in February 2010. There is a strong political wish in Finland to push the new technology forward and a pot of money has been put up by the Film Institute as feed money. The “DigiTraining Plus 2010” course will again highlight the financial issues and hopefully bring new solutions to the table – crisis or no crisis.

Jens Rykaer
President of MEDIA Salles

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Ksenya Leontyeva
Senior Analyst, Nevafilm Research

I took up the post of analyst at the Nevafilm Company in the middle of 2006; and that year saw the beginning of the digital era in Russian cinema exhibition.
The first permanent commercial digital screen was opened on 26 October 2006 in Saint Petersburg: it was situated in Zanevsky Kaskad cinema and equipped by the Nevafilm Cinemas department. For several years previously our company had been making great efforts to prepare this event: from explanations about what DC is (we opened a website up to the equipping of the first temporary digital screens (even with 1.3K resolution) as far back as 2003–2004 in Moscow. So, I was very proud to join Nevafilm during such an important moment.
As I am a researcher, first of all I am in charge of monitoring the Russian cinema exhibition market: we count the number of 35mm and digital screens in the country. I also keep in touch with the exhibitors and record their successes and difficulties. In addition, our research department supplies advice and draws up analytic reports about the current situation in the Russian exhibition market in the pages of our quarterly magazine Cinemascope, which I publish as chief editor, and at our site (
I am very glad to be a part of the Nevafilm Company, which promotes the deployment of digital cinema in Russia (not only with the help of the research and equipment departments, but also by means of the digital cinema laboratory and distribution of alternative content). Sometimes I regret that the time of 35mm copies is coming to an end: it was a very romantic epoch. However the new digital age must be no less interesting than the age of 35mm and will bring boundless opportunities for the creative work of cinematographers.

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"Open Doors" meeting – an occasion to know more about the "DigiTraining Plus" course

The “Open Doors” meeting took place in Warsaw on 22 April 2009. This gathering was organized by the MEDIA Desk Poland to present the EU MEDIA Programme’s training initiatives all over Europe, covering every aspect of the cinema chain.
In the session devoted to digital cinema, the “DigiTraining Plus” course was introduced, with a presentation which focused on how the course deals with the specific aspects of this new technology, in the context of film projection.
Alicja Grawon, a participant at the 2009 edition of the course, shared her experience with those who attended the meeting, giving an overview of the course and answering some questions on the approach used during the course to explain what digital cinema is, what kind of added value it brings to the cinema industry, the importance of alternative content, the European market prospects for the digital distribution of a movie, statistics on digital cinema in Poland and other European countries. She also answered practical questions about the accommodation, the course fees etc.
Many young film makers visited the ”Open Doors” meeting, learning from lectures and workshops about screen writing and film development. According to Alicja Grawon, the session on digital cinema and the "DigiTraining Plus" course was particularly successful: "it was an exceptional presentation due to the rising interest among the participants, which was fuelled by their lack of knowledge about digital cinema". Approximately 40 participants took part in discussions evaluating the new technology issues, ranging from basic questions to high level problems where technical issues and business models were dealt with.
After the conclusion of the conference, issues relating to each particular training course were discussed with the participants on a one-to-one basis.

Alicja Grawon is a digital cinema specialist at the National Chamber of Audiovisual Producers and the author of a BA thesis entitled “Digital Cinema and the Future of Cinematography” at the Department of Radio and Television of the Silesian University in Warsaw. In 2007 she was director's assistant on the set of It’s a free world directed by Ken Loach, and in 2008 she was director' assistant on the set of An ideal guy for my girlfriend directed by Tomasz Konecki. She has also done an internship at Chimney Pot - a post-production company in Warsaw - where she put into practice her knowledge of new production technologies, as well as discovering the technical aspects of digital cinema.

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To see the digital sites and screens situation in Poland as at 1st January 2009, as published in the “European Cinema Yearbook – 2008 edition” click here


Save the date:
17 – 21 February 2010

The seventh edition of the

“DigiTraining Plus: European Cinemas Experiencing
New Technologies” course

will take place
from 17 to 21 February 2010
in Helsinki, Finland.


MEDIA Salles has presented

at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival

the “European Cinema Journal no. 1/2009”.
Click here to see it

In this issue: the tables on digital sites and screens situation in Europe as at 1st January 2009, an interview with Michael Karagosian, Senior Digital Consultant at NATO (US) and a report of the 2009 edition of the “DigiTraining Plus” course.

Digital screens grow all over Europe
In 12 months Europe’s digital screens have grown by 71%: these are the latest figures published by MEDIA Salles, whophotographed the situation at 1st January 2009. The analysis, presented at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival, during the seminar conducted by the European Audiovisual Observatory, for which MEDIA Salles last year became official provider of statistics on the new technologies, shows that the number of DLP Cinema or Sony 4K projectors has risen from 897 to 1,535. The number of cinemas fitted with at least one digital screen has grown to 821 with a 49% rise compared to twelve months previously. The fact that every site has an average of 1.9 digital screens compared to the previous 1.6 is confirmation that exhibitors are increasingly converting more than one screen per cinema to the new technology, both in order to offer digital screenings during the whole of a film’s commercial run and to offer greater flexibility in the face of changing demands.
2008 has experienced a rise not only in digital installations but also in the countries where the new projection technology has been introduced: with the new entries – Estonia, Croatia, Latvia, Malta and Romania – the number has increased to 30. If we can affirm that a little under 5% of all Europe’s cinemas have converted to digital, it must be remembered that in this field, too, each market proceeds at its own pace.
In absolute terms, the United Kingdom once again comes “top of the list” with 303 screens distributed mostly within the Digital Screen Network, the first public initiative in Europe, approved in 2005, to support the digital transition in cinemas. Due to the lack of further public financing, however, the growth in screen numbers has slowed down, to the extent that in 2008 there were only 19 new installations. France, on the contrary, is rapidly catching up with the United Kingdom, having increased the number of its digital screens almost fourfold and growing to 253 compared to 66 the previous year. This growth is mainly due to CGR, the third largest exhibition company in France, which has commenced conversion of its approximately 400 screens on the basis of a VPF agreement signed with Arts Alliance Media. France has even outstripped Germany which, after having conceived the project known as “model 100” to finance digital transition, is now taking time out for reflection. This is demonstrated by the fact that in 2008 the number of digital theatres increased by 10 only, to reach 162. A more dynamic picture emerges in a series of territories with diverse characteristics: both markets that already had a significant digital base with respect to the total number of screens, i.e. above the European average, and countries that up to the beginning of 2008 proved to be little interested in the new technologies in terms of their overall screen numbers. The first group includes Austria, growing from 35 to 84 units, Luxembourg (from 13 to 21), the Netherlands (from 34 to 56), Norway (from 35 to 48) and Iceland (from 3 to 7). The second group embraces Switzerland (from 16 to 28) and, even more so, Italy, which during 2008 more than doubled its digital screens (from 38 to 80 units), as well as countries that triple their figures, such as Portugal (from 14 to 44) and the Russian Federation (from 31 to 90), or increase them fourfold, such as Bulgaria (from 4 to 17), or even six times, like Poland (from 8 to 53). Amongst the “new entries” Romania stands out, with a leap from zero to 14 digital projectors. All this activity shows that there are now 7 countries that boast a digital screen density of over 10% with two, Belgium (18.8%) and above all Luxembourg (75%), that leave the European average far behind them, thanks mainly to the initiative of Utopolis and Kinepolis, companies that opted for digital some time ago. As regards the economic model used to finance the transition, Europe continues to follow a line that relies mainly on the exhibition companies’ own resources, integrated at times by public financing. What motivates private investment in the new technologies is mainly the potential development in demand that the cinema industry sees in 3D. This is confirmed by the figures on the first few months of 2009, when the launch of world premières such as Bolt, Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Monsters vs Aliens saw a new wave of digital screen installations, which it is believed will be partly amortized by the higher price that audiences are willing to pay for this novel product. The economic model known as VPF, whose widespread adoption was one of the engines of growth in the first phase of large-scale digitalization in the United States, has started to have followers in Europe, too: as well as the above-mentioned CGR, Cineplexx Kinobetriebe in Austria and ZON Lusomundo in Portugal also announced in 2008 that they had signed contracts foreseeing the figure of the so-called “integrator”. Briefly, “adelante, con juicio”: Europe is proceeding in its digital transition, but is not in a rush.

Elisabetta Brunella

The statistics on digital cinema sites and screens in Europe as at 1st January 2009 are available on MEDIA Salles’ website, in the “Digital Cinema: Focus on Europe” section of the “European Cinema Yearbook – 2008 final edition”.
Click here to see it

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Digital Cinema and SMPTE at the 2009 Mostra del Cinema di Venezia

Digital cinema is more and more present at the Mostra Internazionale d’Arte Cinematografica in Venice. For the 2009 edition (2 – 12 September), in fact, the digital screens will increase from five to seven units. Out of these seven screens, two, that of the Sala Grande and of the Sala Perla, will also be equipped with 3D technology, provided by Xpand. The Venice Film Festival will thus be the first in the world to be able to present 3D stereoscopic screenings in two screens.
For the first time the Mostra will present an award for achievements in digital cinema.
The annual meeting of SMPTE at the Lido, organised by Angelo D’Alessio on digital cinema, is scheduled for 8 September 2009. For more information, please visit the official website

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News on the development of digitalisation in the world
by Marcello Mazzucotelli

New digital installations for Digima Italia

With the ambitious goal to reach 200 digital installations in 3 years, Digima has recently signed some important agreements in Liguria, Emilia Romagna and Piemonte (Italy). The cinemas Politeama Dianese, in Diano Marina (IM), Ariston, in Sestri Levante (GE) and Centrale, in Santa Margherita Ligure (GE) are the first 3 cinemas in Liguria which have chosen DIGIMA for the digitalisation of their screens. They will be equipped with digital projectors Christie CP2000ZX, server DCP 2K Doremi and 3D system Xpand and RealD. The digital shift will take place at the end of July and the first big appointment will be the release, also in 3D, of the movie The Ice Age 3.
DIGIMA has been participating into the renovation of the Eliseo cinema in Cesena which, going from 2 to 4 screens, has been equipped with a digital projector Christie CP2000ZX, a professional server Doremi DCP 2K and a stereoscopic Xpand 3D system. Besides, the equipment for satellite live transmissions on the big screen – an increasingly requested content from cinema-goers - will be installed in the cinema in Cesena.
At the Metropolis movie complex (9 screens) in Castelletto Ticino (Novara), instead, the first italian screen with fully digital system will be created. The screen will be called “The Cube” and it will be located in the area of the complex that now hosts screens 8 and 9. The installation will be made by Digima which will remote control all the activities, from its Operations Center, without the necessity of any operator. “The Cube” will be active from the beginning of August 2009.
The multiscreen Charlie Chaplin in Arzignano, Vicenza, finally, will be equipped with a digital projector Christie CP 2000-ZX Triple Flash D-Cinema 3Chip DLP, server DCP 2K Doremi and 3D technology provided by RealD.

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More2Screen to show operas in India and Russia
More2Screen, a London-based alternative content provider, has just signed a deal with Indian exhibitor Big Cinemas to screen operas and classical concerts in Indian cinemas. Thanks to the partnership between More2Screen and UK’s Glyndebourne Festival (see DGT online informer no. 37), a varied selection of operas – starting from La Cenerentola, Giulio Cesare and a tribute concert to late tenor Luciano Pavarotti, which was held in Petra, Jordan – started screening at the end of June 2009, thus answering to a big request from Indian public for international cultural experiences.
A similar contract has been signed between More2Screen and Saint Petersburg-based company NevaFilm, for the screening, in selected cinemas across Russia, of the tribute to Pavarotti.
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XDC to deploy 170 digital screens in Eastern Europe with Palace Cinemas
During Cinema Expo 2009 in Amsterdam, Palace Cinemas and XDC announced an agreement including the roll out of digital projection systems co-financed by the Virtual Print Fee (VPF) model, which is scheduled to begin in the second half of 2009 in 20 cinemas across Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. This is XDC’s third major VPF deal in Europe. They will exclusively install DCI-compliant digital projection systems and XDC’s CineStore® Solo G3 D-Cinema servers.
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The success of “Ice Age 3” in Russia and Greece
According to the data provided by Nevafilm, along with the release, on 1st July 2009, of “Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs”, the growth in digital screens installations in Russia, which had already had an increase of 192% between 1st January 2008 and 1st January 2009 (from 31 to 90 screens), has boosted again. In fact, on the release date of the third chapter of the “Ice Age” saga, distributed also in digital 3D, a total of 159 screens have been installed, growing by 76% in comparison to just six months earlier. Thus Russia gets closer to the biggest markets in Europe, such as United Kingdom, France and Germany, in terms of number of sites and screens digitally equipped. 1st July 2009 was the release date of “Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs” in Greece too. Up to date, the gbo of the 12 screens in which the movie has been projected in digital 3D has equalled that of those 80 where the film was projected in 35mm/2D.

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Digital sites and screens situation in Poland as at 1st January 2009
Taken from MEDIA Salles' "European Cinema Yearbook - 2008 final edition"

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