Dutch cinemas become 100% digital

News

Every Dutch cinema is now equipped with digital projection equipment.

Out of the 789 screens in the Netherlands, 506 were converted to accommodate digital projection by Cinema Digitaal, in conjunction with integrator Arts Alliance Media; theatre chains Pathé, Utopolis, Euroscoop and a few independent theatres implemented the conversion independently.

Cinema Digitaal is a unique public-private digitization project initiated by the Nederlandse Vereniging van Bioscoopexploitanten (NVB, the Dutch Cinema Exhibitors' Association), the Nederlandse Vereniging van Filmdistributeurs (NVF, the Dutch Film Distributors' Association) and EYE Film Institute Netherlands.

The collaborative Cinema Digitaal project made a collective transition possible all throughout the Netherlands and prevented the compulsory closing of small film theatres. The coordinated transition from analog to digital was realized over a very short time, which meant the costs of running a dual system (distributing analog and digital film) were limited. The first installation took place on July 20, 2011, and the transition was completed in just 14 months.

In total, the Cinema Digitaal project cost €39 million. The biggest share of the project (70%) was paid for by the film distribution companies that are active in the Netherlands: 20 independents and six major American studios, under a Virtual Print Fee (VPF) model implemented by Arts Alliance Media. Cinema Digitaal was co-financed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation (€3 million from the Implementation Programme Agenda ICT Policy/PRIMA) and the Netherlands Film Fund (€2 million). As a whole, the film sector in the Netherlands invested around €55 million in the digitization.

Ron Sterk of the NVB and a driving force behind Cinema Digitaal stated, “The year 2012 will bring the end of more than 100 years of screening analog film. With the digitization of cinemas, our business is undergoing tremendous innovation. Digitization provides better quality, more efficiency, offers countless new possibilities for exhibitors and a wider availability of films for Dutch audiences.”