Thursday, 7 October 2010
The European Commission made an announcement last week that represents the first formal commitment to digitally converting cinemas. Money has been used of course for these projects through regional funds, but the EC has now committed 4 million Euros towards the initiative, recognising that arthouse cinemas are vulnerable and that the digital conversion, as many benefits as it brings, can also mean the consolidation of the sector, and the squeezing out of many indies.
The UKFC's effort to digitise cinemas was only partially successful, as they equipped multiplexes that were going to upgrade anyway due to 3D. That left around 300 cinemas in the UK vulnerable and in danger of closing.
The same process has been replicated in the continent, with large operators purchasing equipment to make sure they can screen AVATAR and ALICE while independent cinemas are left in the 35mm past.
Left to the market forces, small independent arthouse cinemas will simply vanish. Despite the tough climate, exhibitors need to be lobbying and campaigning for funds, while at the same time being as commercially savvy as possible and exploiting every avenue for income.