Friday, September 11, 2009

$525 Million For Digital Conversions! 500 Screens A Month To Be Converted In 2010

Jim here. According to THR, JP Morgan is stepping up to the plate with $325 million in bank syndication and $200 million from equity based contributors (including the theatrical chains) to fund a massive rollout of digital and therefore subsequent 3D screens.

As many of you know, there was a lot of movement toward digital deployments in the previous two years but the credit crunch hampered any real movement. Yes, there was some digital screens converted (chains did it themselves to the tune of ~$60 million and the promise of getting that money back) and up to 2000 of those are now 3D, but the progress was much slower than what was needed.

Now we will see some real action. How about 2500 3D screens by the end of 2009? Sounds much better. Digital Cinema Implementation Partners (DCIP) will help funnel the new funds to the chains and get the deployments rolling again.

Think Fox is happy with the announcement? Oh yes: "As far as Fox is concerned, the sooner the better," Fox distribution president Bruce Snyder said. "More units should be out there for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, and time's a-wasting."

DCIP plans to convert ~500 screens a month to digital (and subsequently a portion of that to 3D) to get 12,000 to 13,000 digital screens in place by the end of 2010. Almost double the amount today (~7,000).

AWESOME NEWS! Finally some real action. The money should be available in November and hopefully we can get some action in time for AVATAR in December. I think it is in the best interest of everyone to make that happen!

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Jim Dorey
jim (at) marketsaw (dot) com

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