PPI offers digital cinema plan overseas

Will push virtual print fee for indie exhibitors

LONDON -- Paramount Pictures International plans to roll out its virtual print fee model to exhibitors outside North America, mirroring the deal it has in place stateside and existing agreements inked with integrators in Europe and Asia.

PPI said Wednesday it will offer to work directly with digital-cinema operators internationally to share the costs of the rollout. PPI's proposition would enable exhibitors to seek financing for d-cinema systems locally as an alternative to pacting with a digital-cinema integrator, which requires significantly more upfront capital.

In addition, the agreement enables exhibitors to own and control their equipment and switch to an integrator-supported agreement later if desired.

The new agreement is open to independent theaters that do not belong to any integrator group, which is good news for smaller operators across the more fragmented international markets.

Roger Pollock, PPI executive vp international theatrical distribution and operations, announced the plan Wednesday at ShoWest in Las Vegas.

"It provides the international exhibition community with a solution that can be tailored to the needs of each individual market and will enable exhibitors worldwide to provide audiences with the very best movie-viewing experience," Pollock said.

To date, PPI has signed six digital-cinema integration deals outside the U.S. and Canada. The pacts are with European integrators XDC, Arts Alliance Media and Ymagis Asian integrators DCK, GDC and Scrabble.
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