Tuesday, December 13, 2011

DCinema Paves the Way for Digital Revolution in Philippine Cinema

DCinema Alliance Corporation, Asia's pioneer in digital systems and integration, recently announced that full conversion of all Philippine theaters to digital cinemas will be implemented. This swifter and easier digitalization process has been made possible by the Virtual Print Fee (VPF) program because it has finally been made available in the country.

VPF is a financing mechanism or subsidy program that funds the first purchase of digital cinema equipment. It was initiated by the six major Hollywood studies and designed to allow theater owners to recover a portion of equipment costs. As a clear comparison, we were told that a movie's print per copy costs around $1000 - $2000 while a hard drive, where the digital copy would be stored, only costs $50. 

In the Philippines, DCinema will serve as the deploying entity in the implementation of the VPF program. The goal is to have all cinemas in the country running in digital technology by 2013. From the total of 650 cinemas all over, 90 screens are reported to be already digitalized.

From the press con held at Annabelle's in Quezon City yesterday, speakers explained to us the many benefits that digitalization offers. We found out that aside from providing enhanced viewing experience for moviegoers, the conversion to digital cinemas will also benefit the film industry because the technology offers lower distribution, editing, and reproduction costs compared to analog cinemas. In addition, image and sound quality will be maintained from day one until the last day of showing.

It was also highlighted and applauded by key players in the movie industry that the shift to digital cinemas will reduce the chances of piracy with tighter copy protection as a time-lock function would only allow a movie to be accessed at a preset time. This feature prevents unauthorized copies from being distributed prior to world or local premieres. 

According to DCinema President and CEO Mr. Rey del Poso, sixty thousand digital screens are now up and running worldwide and that around 28,000 of those were converted just this year. "The cost of conversion is at its lowest given the high demand so I encourage all theater owners in the country to take advantage of the global trend and rally towards this digital revolution."

In the Philippines, it was SM Cinemas that launched the first digital theater in the country at Cinema 1 of The Block in SM North Edsa. Mr. Edward Tejero, Senior VP of SM Cinemas, revealed that, "We're looking at a 100% conversion by April 2012. That's how committed we are to bringing the movie industry to the next level." 

He moreover explained that digital conversion means bigger box office earnings because it will allow for simultaneous movie releases with provincial branches. It will also improve the batting average in terms of fighting camcording. Local movie producers in the Philippines, he projected, would see the value of lower production costs. Furthermore, the renaissance of theater ads conversion will be easy and sending them nationwide would decrease costs to more than 200%. 

Apart from SM Cinemas, other groups like the Ayala Digital Cinemas, Robinsons Galeria Digital Cinemas, Star Mall Cinemas, and Bohol Quality Cinema have embraced the technology as well. DCinema is looking forward to seeing more theaters following suit in the coming months.


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