LOS CABOS, Mexico — Mexico-based Labodigital, a leading, ambitious and highly diversified Latin American film services group, is expanding into Colombia, teaming with Bogota-based Onset Labs, to launch the joint venture Labodigital Colombia.
A Labodigital office in Brazil is also under negotiation, Charles Barthe, Labodigital CEO, said at Los Cabos Film Festival where Labodigital was one of the festival’s main sponsors, backing a string of post-production and distribution awards.
Founded in 2006, Labodigital currently operates three business lines: Post-production services; DCP duplication and provision to distributors; exhibition services, including screen calibration and quality systems, digital integration, and image and sound for festivals; film library and heritage feature restoration.
Onset Labs is Colombia’s leading on-set data management servicing company. Its clients include MGM.
The consolidation of the Labodigital’s Colombia business is just one instance of a company exploring the multiple opportunities that have opened up for companies in a post 35mm world, here DCP duplication and distribution, as the exact balance and mix between incumbent and disruptive business sectors continues evolve in Latin American at a dizzying pace.
Economic headwinds are sweeping much of Latin America. In such a context, Colombia, with Mexico, has emerged as one of the region’s most resilient movie markets. Total box office in Colombia climbed 7.4% through Nov. 3 this year, says Luis B. Vargas, Comscore executive director, Latin America.
Unlike some parts of Latin America, that increase is fuelled by real growth in revenues, not inflation.
12 Colombian movies were released in 2009, 36 in 2015, according to Proimagenes, its national film board. 668 in 2009, Colombia’s screen park total overhauled Argentina’s by 2015, reaching 935, according to the Cannes Film Market World Film Market Trends report. Total box office, including for U.S. juggernauts, skyrocketed from $72.1 million in 2009 to $179.2 million last year, Proimagenes estimates.
“After Mexico and Brazil, Colombia is one of Latin America’s countries with the biggest growth in the number of screens and volume of distribution services. In this sense, for us, Colombia is valuable and strategic,” Barthe said.
Labodigital already works a DCP business in Colombia, as Latin America as a whole. The new office allows Labodigital to be closer and more efficient for customers in Colombia.
“Onset Labs is also a good fit for Labodigital, since it focuses on production services, and Labodigital complements them with strong services in post-production and DCP distribution,” Barthe said.
He added: “We also manage market material, dubbing and subtitling which enables us to handle the product from localizing to delivery. Teaming up means the new partners to have a much larger offer.” Brazil has a large volume of business, he added, justifying setting up an office there.
If geographic expansion will drive DCP business, Labodigital has also seen “tremendous growth” in VOD post-production services, driven by the lift-off of Televisa’s Blim and America Movil’s ClaroVideo as well as other traditional players such as HBOGo or Netflix, and the requirements of established pay TV players such as HBO Latin America.
In exhibition, Labodigital has signed deals with Cinemex regarding screen quality show monitoring, as well as one of the largest of Argentine exhibitors, Village.
Labodigital’s current restoration business is focused on local Mexican producers and broadcasters such as TV Azteca, as well as the Cuban Film Institute, ICAIC, Barthe said.
At the 5th Los Cabos Festival, which wrapped Sunday, Labodigital offered post-production service prizes worth an aggregate $160,000 and a distribution award calculated at a value of $15,000 to a total seven movie and one TV series, including, of U.S. titles, the in-post comedy “Signature Move,” from Jennifer Reeder, and Sophie Barthe’s “The Rosenbergs,” which received a post-production Grand Jury Prize worth $50,000.