XDC, FTT, Bewegte Bilder join forces

SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina — Three of Europe’s leading digital equipment and content providers have joined forces to create DCinex, providing exhibitors with comprehensive services for screening 2D and 3D film and live events.

DCinex brings together Belgian digital cinema equipment outfit XDC and German systems integrator FTT plus Bewegte Bilder, a content delivery and distribution specialist.

The Liege-based company, which has a 50% market share for digital equipment, licensing and delivery in Europe, is also the exclusive partner for the EU’s Eurimages digital support program, which offers exhibs subsidies of up to €30,000 ($36,000) for switching from 35mm projection.

Thomas Ruttgers, DCinex’s senior VP sales for south-eastern Europe, told exhibs at a presentation hosted Thursday by the Sarajevo Film Festival that although digitalization of cinemas in Europe ranged between 75% pemetration in France and the U.K., and 50% in Germany, the vast majority of theaters will make the switch in the next three years.

“Although territories differ, judging by the progress we’ve seen in the last 18 months, some 90% of theaters will be ready within a few years,” Ruttgers told Variety.

Major chains and multiplexes are largely fully digital and prepared for 2013 when Hollywood will begin shuttering 35mm distribution.

For smaller art-house cinemas, where mostly European films are screened, there was less pressure to switch immediately, Ruttgers said.

Digital could also bring benefits to cinemas looking to increase audiences for alternative entertainment such as live transmission of concerts, sporting events or even interactive videogame tournaments, he added.

Tony Dilley, international sales manager for U.K.-based Harkness Screens, the world’s biggest manufacturer of movie screens, said exhibs switching to digital could also benefit from replacing old screens with higher quality screens that reflect more light — a critical factor in 3D digital projection.

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