[ Digital cinema, democratization, and other trends remaking the movies ]

AD: Fans, Friends & Followers

Thursday, February 08, 2007

NAB Digital Cinema Summit, April 14-15 ... Pre-Show Advertising ... 'Download business stays elusive'

The gigantic NAB Show in Las Vegas in April will once again incorporate a Digital Cinema Summit (the sixth annual one, to be exact.) Its April 14-15 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. From the press release:

    Saturday's line up, programmed by SMPTE, focuses on the latest in stereoscopic (digital 3D) cinema techniques; technologies for creating digital intermediates (DIs); new, innovative workflows in the digital theater; the DC-28 Standards; and a final report from the international digital cinema deployment organization, World Screen. Chris Cookson, chief technology officer for Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., will deliver a keynote address that explores what the industry can do to prepare for and empower the long-term promise of digital cinema image quality.

    Sunday's program, produced by ETC@USC , will look at creating and distributing digital motion picture content for consumption in the movie theater and the new digital home. Sessions will address the digital pipeline, success and roadblocks in retrofitting theaters for digital cinema exhibition, 3D content, and recent Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) developments. The day will be feature two, in-depth case studies analyzing the production of recent, high profile, digital releases and a soon-to-be-announced keynote from a leading filmmaker.

Web site is here.

- The Wall Street Journal covers pre-show advertising as National CineMedia, one of the leaders in the field, prepares to go public. Sarah McBride writes:

    National CineMedia serves about 11,000 digital screens. The company is owned by theater groups AMC Entertainment Inc., Cinemark Inc., and Regal Entertainment Group. Their combined stake will fall to 59.5% after the IPO.

    The technology behind the digital advertising, while high-definition, usually isn't on par with the ultra-high-definition projection formats some movie theaters are rolling out for feature pictures, but both companies say they are heading in that direction.

Of course, National CineMedia is the company responsible for developing a digital cinema deployment strategy for AMC, Cinemark, and Regal. The IPO, and being a public company, likely won't accelerate that process. Public companies like getting the most out of their assets (for instance, the lower-grade digital projectors already installed), and I can't imagine how virtual print fees from the studios (paid every time a digital feature is sent to a theater) will develop into a real profit engine for NCM. The Street will view NCM as an advertising company, pure and simple.

- Ben Fritz of Variety looks at digital movie downloads in the wake of the Wal-Mart announcement. Price and selection, he writes, have been major barriers to mass adoption. The conclusion of the piece is interesting, too:

    When Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in January that iTunes had sold more than 1.3 million Disney movies since October, one industry exec observed that figure is more than all other online moviestores, such as Movielink, CinemaNow and, have sold combined.

    In other words, the total number of movies sold online is less than "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" sold on its first day of DVD availability.