Reliance, UFO Moviez in digitization deal

RMW-UFO alliance to boost digital delivery, screens

NEW DELHI -- Film and entertainment services major Reliance MediaWorks Ltd. and digital cinema operator UFO Moviez jointly announced a strategic alliance Thursday to establish the largest gateway for digital film releases in India.

The alliance sees UFO Moviez establishing an additional encoding and encryption facility at Reliance Media Works' Mumbai premises. With RMW handling business relations with producers and distributors, RMW plans to undertake about 15 movie digitization projects every week. This is aimed to ensure a more controlled environment for conversion of movies to digital in a standardized manner while ensuring quality and security.

UFO Moviez beams digitally-mastered, high-quality movie images via satellite directly to over 1,800 affiliate cinemas India-wide, making this the world's largest digital cinema network, which has screened 3.8 million shows since the service was established three years ago.

Under the alliance, UFO will now offer RMW's conversion and movie programming facilities to its digitally equipped network of cinemas.

In addition, Reliance MediaWorks' group company Big Cinemas runs India's largest cinema chain with over 250 screens which are gradually being digitally equipped. With the alliance, RMW aims to increase its digital screens by deploying UFO's digital cinema technology.

Digital deployment also opens avenues for alternative content as seen in the ongoing live streaming in 700 cinemas by UFO of the popular Indian Premier League cricket matches for which UFO bought exclusive theatrical rights from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

By combining UFO's digitization technology with RMW's high-end digital cinema and programming expertise, the alliance aims to create a strong platform enabling producers and distributors to utilize more digital screens to ensure a wider release while curbing piracy.

“Reliance MediaWorks and UFO Moviez have each led fundamental transformations in their own market, significantly impacting the Indian Film Industry,” said RMW CEO Anil Arjun. “By combining our unique strengths, Reliance MediaWorks and UFO Moviez will accelerate the creation of a secure digital ecosystem that facilitates a wider reach for digital distribution of movies, delivering to movie consumers a superior experience, more content, with greater reliability and lower costs. That’s where we can make a real difference.”

UFO Moviez joint MD Kapil Agarwal added, “The alliance would help us focus on our core business of technology development and greater proliferation of digital systems across cinemas, while creating a significant platform for producers and distributors to optimize their print costs and spend more on marketing and publicity within the overall release cost, resulting into accelerating of the recovery process.”
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