Tag Archives: ShowEast

ShowEast 2012 is Latin America’s Last Chance for VPF Deals

This year’s ShowEast cinema trade show is likely to be the last one where any significant virtual print fee (VPF) deals are still on the table. Not only will there soon be no more actual 35mm prints to replace with fees for  virtual ones, following the winding down of film operation by Fuji and Kodak. But Hollywood studios too are rapidly winding down their funding mechanisms. This is particularly bad new for Latin American countries, which have the lowest digital cinema penetration numbers for any continent bar Africa. This was highlighted at the recent 2nd International Conference on Digitisation of Cinemas in Bogota, Colombia, which “focused on the difficulties being experienced by Colombia and Latin America in general in finding the financial model and public funds to help the region convert its cinemas to digital technologies adhering to the global standard.”

With approximately 13,500 systems installed around the world (over 10,000 in North America and over 3,000 in the rest of the world), Sony is intent on pushing its global market share up from the current one tenth of all world-wide screens. Hence Sony’s decision to extend its VPF scheme, most likely by agreeing to lower terms with the Hollywood studios in return for longer lead time. As quoted in THR:

“[Some] VPF deals for the U.S. and Canada ran out at the end of September. Ours are available until March 31, 2013,” reported Gary Johns, senior vp, digital cinema solutions at Sony Electronics. The deadline to sign up for Sony’s program in international markets extends even further out.

Sony is also using the ShowEast opportunity to showcase its newest SRX-R515P projector designed for small and medium auditoriums, as well as its Entertainment Access Glasses for hearing and visually impaired cinema patrons.

ShowEast has traditionally been the cinema trade show for Latin American countries and there is no more pressing issue for that region than the imminent end of 35mm prints and the do-or-die conversion to digital in less than a year. As such, it should come as no surprise that third-party digital cinema integrators, consultants and VPF brokers from across the world are homing in on Latin America. The most recent operator, India Scrabble, has just announced a deal for three territories:

The company has signed separate non-exclusive agreements with Hollywood studios Warner Bros Pictures International, Universal Pictures International, Walt Disney Motion Pictures International and Sony Pictures Releasing International Corporation… The roll-out of the technology will begin from 2013 and will initially be launched in Brazil, Mexico and Chile.

Note that 20th Century Fox and Paramount are missing from the list of studios. While neither of these two will get a free ride on the equipment installed by Scrabble under the terms with the other studios, it highlights the difficulty of getting VPF deals in place this late in the day. Other operators were already present in the region. Cinedigm signed a deal last year with Contenido Alternativo for satellite delivery of DCPs and alternative content, under which it would also “collaborate with theatres in Mexico to bring digital cinema deployment and Virtual Print Fee management services to the region,” on as-yet unsepcified terms. Cinedigm has more recently signed a deal for 290 screens out of the 437 operated by Caribbean Cinemas (pdf) in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Aruba, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Kitts, St. Thomas and Trinidad.

Cinedgim has also signed a deal (pdf) with Brazil’s DGT for the deployment of its software solutions suit, “in preparation for its VPF program roll out later this year.” Similarly, Arts Alliance has contracted with Mexico’s Cinemex for the deployment of its software, though the exhibitor is “negotiating its own VPF (Virtual Print Fee) deals directly with the studios” for its 2,000 screens. Yet the largest obstacle to digital cinema installations in LAtin American territories is not Hollywood studios refusing VPF deals but high tariffs and restrictions on imports of digital cinema equipment. Brazil recently reduced its import duty, but it won’t be until analog screens start going dark for lack of 35mm film that governments across the continent are likely to wake up. Come ShowEast 2013 it will be a very different picture for the continent.

 

Setting The Record Straight On ShowEast

ShowEastLet’s face it, while mainstream media might be screaming about an economic recovery, times are still tough for many businesses all over the world. That is especially true for trade shows. No matter the industry focus, attendance at global conventions has dropped in 2009 by more than 25% in most cases. Just look at attendance at some of the annual confabs the motion picture industry holds; the Sundance Film Festival down 11%, ShoWest down 15%, NAB down 20%, the Cannes Film Festival down 30% and IBC in Amsterdam down at least 7%. That may be why at ShowEast, which was held in Orlando, Florida from October 26th to October 29th, the talk amongst delegates was as much about the trade show’s attendance as it was about 3-D, digital cinema and the upcoming blockbuster release “Avatar”.

While such conversation tends to feed on itself ultimately making mountains out of mole hills, Robert Sunshine, the Vice President of Nielsen Film Group which organizes the event, readily admits attendance at this year’s ShowEast, like most conventions around the world, was down roughly 20%. “It’s numbers that we don’t like to see,” said Sunshine. “We attribute it to the economy and we also attribute it to the fact that there are lots of [industry] conventions, there’s the major convention, ShoWest, and certain people don’t have the money to attend all of these shows so they are picking and choosing where they go.”

Another factor Sunshine might not be considering is that digital cinema is maturing, growing out of its infancy and into adolescence. The technology is responsible for one of the greatest, if not most disruptive, transitions the motion picture exhibition industry has ever seen. By now, there has been some shakeout in the number of companies who entered the digital cinema space, and those that remain are naturally looking to augment their marketing plans. This is a common trend in emerging markets and industries, though unfortunately this phenomena is taking place in digital cinema during a record setting recession.

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NATO Nabs Mitch Neuhauser For Trade Show

nato-logoEver since March of 2008 when the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) announced that they would be holding their own trade show in 2011 just before NAB the question has been, who will the organization get to put the event together.  Speculation was that Bob and Andrew Sunshine who have been producing NATO’s official trade show, ShoWest, since 2001.   After all, the Sunshine’s, who originally started out as the Sunshine Group Worldwide before being sold to Nielsen, have tons of experience organizing annual exhibitor conferences such as ShowEast, Cinema Expo and CineAsia.

Such a guess would not have been far off given that earlier today NATO announced they had hired Mitch Neuhauser to be the Show Manager of their official trade show, the first of which will be held in March of 2011.  Presently, Neuhauser works with the Sunshines as Vice President of Nielsen Film Group.  He is also already involved with NATO in some capacity as the assistant executive director of NATO of New York.

If you’ve ever been to any of the four trade shows Nielsen holds for exhibitors and distributors each year than you definitely know who Neuhauser is.  Read More »

Odeon/UCI Inks Deal with Real D for 500 3D Screens

During a presentation at ShowEast on Wednesday to demonstrate their industry leading 3D digital cinema technology, Real D announced that it had reached an agreement with Odeon/UCI, the largest exhibitor in the United Kingdom, to install upwards of 500 3D digital screens. The 3D systems will be deployed, not only in the U.K., but in Odeon’s theatres throughout Europe, including Ireland, Germany, Austria and Portugal, as well as countries such as Italy and Spain which represent new territories for Real D.

The rollout is scheduled over the next two years and will commence immediately, in time for the release of “Beowulf”, which is being handled by Warner Bros. internationally, in addition to Disney’s re-release of Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas 3-D”. The

As is always the case with such announcements execs from both Odeon and Real D both gave quotes for the press release. Drew Kaza, Odeon’s Digital Development, Executive Vice President, justified his circuit’s investment, saying:

“We’ve conducted extensive audience research about the digital experience and made a commitment to cinemagoers to provide state-of-the-art technologies. Real D’s groundbreaking 3D systems will offer Odeon and UCI audiences a truly unique cinematic experience.”

While Joseph Peixoto, the President of Worldwide Cinema for Real D expressed his excitement over the new agreement.

“We are thrilled to be working with Odeon and UCI to bring Real D to so many new markets. Real D remains the choice of exhibitors as the most advanced 3D cinema experience available, with our reach now expanded to over 60 exhibitors in 23 countries.”

Indeed, Real D has a lot to be excited about lately. Besides the Odeon deal, the company recently announced a deal with another U.K. exhibitor, Cineworld, to install 30 systems.

ShowEast deals round up – Day 1

ShowEast logo

As always, a raft of digital and cinema related deals were announced on the first day of ShowEast. Below are the key ones.

AccessIT partners Sensio for live 3D streaming

Sensio Digital cinema integrator AccessIT has announced a partnership with stereoscopic technology solutions provider Sensio to broadcast live 3D events, together with AccessIT’s existing satellite partner IDC.

Access Integrated Technologies, Inc. (“AccessIT”) (NasdaqGM:AIXDNews) announced today, CineLiveSM, a new proprietary product that will bring both 2-D and 3-D live content to movie theatres equipped with digital cinema. CineLive, the next step in leveraging the digital era to further enhance exhibition offerings, is a new set of hardware, developed exclusively for AccessIT by International Datacasting Corporation (Toronto:IDC.TONews) and Sensio® Technologies Inc. (Sensio) (CDNX:SIO.VNews) which allows live 3-D and 2-D content to be converted from satellite feeds into theatrical entertainment.

What the press release takes a round about and convoluted way of saying is that Sensio has a technology for squeezing two high definition video streams (left eye, right eye) into one HD channel, so tat 3D events can be transmitted in real time over existing HD(TV) network, such as IDC’s. This should be a boost for AccessIT’s live events division, though as of yet they have not announced what events they have lined up, with rumours saying that Cirque de Solei might be one. Read More »