Country Focus: Belgium
2012 target date for nation-wide digital distribution
by Boyd van Hoeij
13/08/2010 - Several organisations in the Dutch film industry have put their heads together to coordinate and speed up conversion of the distribution and projection processes from analogue to digital, it was announced in July.
The new overseeing entity, dubbed CinemaDigitaal.nl, was founded by the NVB (Dutch organisation of Exhibitors), the NVF (Dutch organisation of Film Distributors) and EYE Film Institute, the national film bureau.
The country has a large number of cinemas, including an impressive number of smaller arthouse venues that dot the nation’s provinces. To help the conversion from analogue to digital distribution and projection, CinemaDigitaal.nl will coordinate the process throughout the country, and will be responsible, among other things, for the purchase of the necessary equipment.
This nation-wide approach is rather unique in Europe, where exhibitors and distributors are often burdened with coordination problems and questions, including who should be paying for the conversion, since it clearly benefits more than one party.
In the case of the Netherlands, the total conversion budget is estimated to be around €39m, of which €6m will be put up by the Dutch State. The remainder will come out of the pockets of the member companies of the organisations that make up CinemaDigitaal.nl.
“Smaller venues, arthouse and independent cinemas and small-scale distributors of European arthouse films risked being excluded from the latest digital innovations,” a press release from EYE Film Institute explained. “And it is exactly this innovation that offers possibilities for growth and for greater diversity in the distribution and exhibitor sectors.”
The digital distribution and screening opportunities should make it easier and faster for all Dutch film venues to screen on-off events such as operas, plays and sport happenings; to capitalise on films shot in 3-D; and to have easier and faster access to older and more experimental titles from archives that have started converting their titles to the digital format.