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Digital studio deals at Cinema Expo

Event launches bevy of high-tech deals

AMSTERDAM — Cinema Expo has emerged as a venue to hatch digital deployment pacts.

Paris-based Ymagis inked on Tuesday nonexclusive virtual print fee pacts with Paramount, Disney and Fox, which have independently agreed to supply digital content to the company’s projection systems across Europe.

Established last year by a group of theater execs to help speed the transition to digital, Ymagis aims to deploy up to 5,500 DCI-compliant systems throughout Europe.

“This agreement is a vital step in the continued transition of the industry to a digital future, and we look forward to helping to accelerate the speed of this transition,” said Paramount Pictures Intl. prexy Andrew Cripps.

Belgian outfit XDC has inked a virtual print fee deal to deploy DCI-compliant systems in the 193 screens in Austria’s largest chain, Cineplexx.

The deployment will start at the end of this year, with half the screens to be converted in the first year. Deal, which is worth 324 million ($37.7 million), reps the first time a chain has inked with XDC to go completely digital and follows XDC’s pact with the majors in May.

News added to the buzz at the event surrounding the race to digitize Europe. Screen Digest predicts the number of Euro digital screens will rise from 1,950 this year to 11,625 by 2010.

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