While Bharti Airtel is still considering the digital cinema business, Adlabs has announced plans for digitizing 500 cinema screens over the next 18 months, reports ET. Adlabs has access to Reliance Communications’ optic fibre network, and also plans to leverage the network owned by Reliance Globalcom (FLAG Telecom), for global digital distribution. Adlabs Digital Cinema, with Patrick von Sychowski as its COO, is encoding the films at DAKC in Mumbai.
The model for digital distribution used by UFO Moviez and Pyramid Saimira involved encryption of films, and then distribution of the content via satellite to theatres. A setup at the theatres would decrypt and project the film on screen. The same will probably apply to Adlabs, except that the distribution will be via an optical fibre network, not satellite. Digital Distribution enables exhibition of content in remote areas, particularly on the day of the release. Earlier, prints were distributed physically, where there was a risk of theft and piracy, and remote areas would be able to screen the films much later than a city release.
This move by Adlabs highlights the advantages of being present across the value chain for ADAG: keep in mind that Pyramid Saimira pulled out of the business in 33 theatres in India, citing a lack of viability.
Also check out: Adlabs Digital Cinema COO Patrick von Sychowski’s blog, here.