Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Business as Digital

Sony, Disney, Warner Said Set To Roll Out Era Of Digital Cinema
go to original article ... or email me for article text
"According to people in the industry, the agreement on the table would work this way: Each time theater owners play a digital movie, participating studios will make a payment toward a loan used to buy the digital projectors, somewhere between $500 and $1,000 per digital print. It's estimated Hollywood studios will save about $900 on the cost of reproduction, distribution and delivery of each digital movie, so in the short term the money they pitch in to repay the loan is about what they save by making the switch to digital. The savings would come long term."
This makes things sund relatively peachy for the distributors. Essentially no money is risked. I see a couple of problems right off the bat. The rollout strikes me as kind of timid and might result in a slow conversion. But the biggest issue is that the focus here is not taking additional risks and realizing few immediate benefits. For me it boils down to the same exhibitors getting the same films they would have always gotten.

In the article,the reporter claims theater owners have no interest in paying for the projectors since they will realize so few of the benefits. I'm guessing that these are the big players who show whatever they want anyway. The venues that usually get bullied around by bigger players should be the ones jumping at the chance to get a piece of the newley ubiquitously available content. Of course this is only if the studios can commit to rolling out digital movies. But I think the smaller exhibitors are getting marginalized here and I'd like to see them speak up louder about the benefits they can realize. Unless I'm barking up the wrong tree.


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