Exhibs, distribs, film institute draw up plan

BRUSSELS — All Dutch cinemas should have digital projection by mid-2012, under a business plan agreed this week by exhibitors, distributors and Eye, the national film institute.

Digital distribution should also become the rule in the same period.

Transformation will be overseen by CinemaDigitaal.nl, an office established by Eye and professional associations NVB and NVF.

This will coordinate the process, providing expertise on digital cinema and acting as broker if the industry wants to negotiate group deals for equipment or finance.

“This collective approach is necessary to guarantee a diverse film offer and a close-knit, regionally balanced screening circuit, and to save both time and money,” Eye said in a statement.

The Netherlands currently has 239 theaters, with 755 screens, of which 149 are already equipped for digital projection.

Some art-house cinemas have also gone digital, but with 1.4k projectors that are already obsolete and will need to be replaced.

The cost of completing the transition is estimated at E38.8 million ($50.6 million). Distributors will provide 63% of the budget, exhibitors 21% and the government 16%.

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