Deluxe/EchoStar Inks Satellite Distribution Deal With Carmike Cinemas

Carmike’s circuit includes 239 theaters, and its digital cinema footprint reaches 2,103 screens

Deluxe/EchoStar has signed Carmike Cinemas, the fourth largest exhibitor in the U.S., to join its satellite network for digital cinema content delivery in North America. Deluxe/EchoStar, formed in 2010, recently started deployment of its satellite delivery technology and services—with an aim at becoming the standard for digital cinema delivery by the end of 2012.

Today, digital cinema content is generally shipped to theaters on hard drives, though the industry has also been considering the use of satellite services. Deluxe/EchoStar suggests that satellite delivery could make the process faster, in that it could be used to transmit a movie on average in 5-10 hours, as well as cost effective upon widespread use, as for instance it would reduce traditional freight costs associated with shipping hard drives to theaters.

Carmike’s circuit includes 239 theaters, and its digital cinema footprint reaches 2,103 screens in 36 states of which 596 have 3D capability.

Deluxe/EchoStar is a joint venture between Deluxe Digital Cinema, a subsidiary of Deluxe Entertainment Services Group, and EchoStar Satellite Services, a subsidiary of EchoStar Corp. Its satellite services could be used to deliver 2D and 3D digital cinema content in 2K and 4K resolution formats.

“Deluxe/EchoStar is committed to building a satellite distribution infrastructure so that exhibitors can connect to all forms of entertainment content including current releases, classic films, and live events,” said Rick O’Hare, senior vp, Deluxe Entertainment Services Group, and general manager, Deluxe/EchoStar.

Said Carmike Cinemas president and CEO David Passman: “We look forward to providing our valued cinema-going customers with cutting-edge experiences featuring a tremendous array of digital content through this important, mutually beneficial agreement.”