Showeast 2012: Telem Launches D-Cinema Deployment Program for Brazil and Argentina

At least four Hollywood studios are expected to participate through Virtual Print Fee funding agreements.

Brazil’s Telem is starting to sign up exhibitors in Brazil and Argentina for its digital cinema deployment program, and is also readying a satellite delivery service and expanding the amount of alternative content available in the South America.

This week at Showeast, stakeholders were urging theater owners that still rely on film to convert to digital, and South America—with less that half of its screens using digital projection—has been a focus point. In Brazil, 1,128 of 2,500 screens still need to be converted, along with 450 of Argentina’s 900 screens, according to Luiz Fernando Morau, Telem's head of marketing and sales.

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Telem's deployment deal will use a Virtual Print Fee model though which studios contribute to the conversion costs. The plan offers full funding of the exhibitors’ contribution. Some studio deals were still being finalized at press time but Telem--which is offering the program with the support of Centauro and Tesa--anticipates that at least four Hollywood studios will participate.

Installations are expected to begin in January.

Morau also reported that Telem supported the Brazilian government by providing information that led to tax reform on the import of digital cinema and related equipment, reducing the financial burden on exhibitors. The exec said the taxes were a whopping 85-95 percent of the cost of the equipment and have been reduced to 18 percent (reflecting the elimination of the federal tax plus some state taxes).

Tesa Entertainment will supply a satellite delivery service for digital cinema theaters in the region. It is testing its systems with necessary entities in Hollywood to validate the service.

With digital cinema and satellite delivery in the works, Telem-owned postproduction house Quanta Post in Brazil is looking to extend the alternative content offering, both by producing their own content and by negotiating rights to events such as the 2014 FIFA World Cup or the 2016 Olympics, both of which will be held in Brazil.

Los Angeles-based Thomas MacCalla, Jason Vreeman, and J. Sperling Reich are consulting for Telem.