Update: UFO Moviez India Ltd, a digital cinema network backed by the Valuable Group, has confirmed that it has invested in Rs 200 crore in Scrabble Entertainment. The company has already signed VPF deals with Hollywood studios and is now planning for international expansion in 10 countries in the Middle East and Eastern Europe (UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Cyprus and Bulgaria) and in Latin America including Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Mexico. Scrabble intends to install around 2000 screens internationally in the next two years and claims to have finalized the deals for over 600 screens in the Middle East. While in India,the companies intend to increase the number of DCI compliant cinemas from 300 to to 800 (single screens and multiplexes).
Earlier: UFO Moviez has picked up 26% more in Scrabble Entertainment, reports The Economic Times. Both are digital cinema distribution companies, and following this acquisition, UFO Moviez has increased its stake in Scrabble to 52%. This follows a fund raising by UFO Moviez earlier in the year, wherein it sold a minority stake to Providence Equity for Rs 260 crore.
According to its website, Scrabble Entertainment is India’s only 2K DCI Compliant Cinema deployment entity; 2K and 4K are specifications for delivery of digital cinema, finalized in 2005. Scrabble acts as an intermediary between content providers including major studios and independent distributors, and finances the cinema halls transition to digital by collecting a negotiated virtual print fee from movie distributors & producers. Scrabble offers 2D to 3D conversion of broadcasts and had previously bought to broadcast IPL matches in 3D from UFO’s sister company Crown Infotainment.
UFO Moviez is a part of the Valuable group, which claims to operate 2500 digital screens in India. It had also acquired MovieBeam, a heavily backed (but failed) satellite based movie on demand service, which was expected to be launched in India, but never did.
Bharti Airtel also had announced plans for Digital distribution of content in 2010 – including distribution to cinemas- but we haven’t seen anything of it since the announcement. Pyramid Saimira has shut its digital cinema distribution operations in 2008.