So it’s spring time again for the digital cinema business. After Bharti Airtel announced its plans to set up a digital media distribution exchange, with its initial focus on digital cinema distribution, Reliance MediaWorks (Adlabs) has tied up with UFO Moviez to establish a platform for enabling producers and distributors to deliver films digitally to cinema halls.

From the release, it appears that UFO Moviez will take care of digitization of content, by setting up a digital encoding and encryption facility at Reliance MediaWorks’ premises, while Reliance MediaWorks will look into the business engagements with the producers and distributors. Reliance MediaWorks will also increase the digital screens at their BIG Cinema’s using UFO Moviez’ technology. All in all, the partnership will push for Reliance MediaWorks to increase the base of its theatrical distribution and programming services, to 1800 screens in India that are equipped with UFO Moviez’ digital cinema technology. This will allow the partnership to also explore alternate content options, for example, the delivery of the Indian Premier League to theatres (700 screens this year).

I don’t quite think this competes with Bharti Airtel’s offering, which seeks to be an exchange, whose delivery pipe can be leveraged by the partnership. Question is, why doesn’t Reliance Communications go down the same path as Airtel?

Also, speaking of UFO Moviez, they never did end up launching MovieBeam last year.


— Airtel Launches Digital Media Distribution Biz; Bigger Play Than Digital Cinema
Bharti Airtel Partners With Limelight Networks For CDN Services
– Pyramid Saimira Winds Up Film Distribution In India; Defers Reel Acquisition
– Adlabs Gets Into The Digital Cinema Business
— UFO Moviez Group Buys Defunct VoD Service MovieBeam; Plans $100 Million Investment For North America, UK