Providence Invests $57 Million in Digital Cinema Player UFO Moviez

The investment will boost UFO Moviez operations, including 3D rollout.

NEW DELHI -- Global private equity firm Providence Equity Partners has invested around 2.6 billion rupees ($57 million) in a mix of primary and secondary investment in UFO Moviez India, the satellite-based digital cinema service provider that serves about 2,500 installations nationwide.

The Indian backers of the company, Valuable Group and Apollo International Ltd. along with venture capital fund 3i Group will continue to remain significant shareholders and while the revised equity structure is not known, Providence will now be the largest shareholder in UFO Moviez.

UFO Moviez was launched about four years ago in which time it claims to be the world's largest digital cinema player delivering MPEG 4 content via satellite to around 2,500 screens with the company targeting 4,000 screens in two years.

While UFO's solution is not compliant with the Hollywood studios' Digital Cinema Initiative specifications, the company has been a pioneer in converting cinema screens to digital, especially in smaller towns where the theatrical business is struggling against piracy and high operational costs.

“Providence is delighted to partner with UFO Moviez, which is an innovative player in the film distribution and exhibition space in India. UFO’s technology and business model are ideally suited for India and other emerging markets,” Providence Equity Advisors India MD Bis Subramanian said in a statement.

The investment by Providence will help UFO expand both domestically and internationally while rolling out 3D systems in over 1,000 screens.

“Providence, as the world's leading media and entertainment focused private equity fund is the ideal partner for us in the next phase of growth,” added UFO Moviez joint MD Kapil Agarwal. “Our alliance with Providence Equity Partners is an endorsement of our confidence in our unique pay per use business model and our robust technology infrastructure.”