02.03.12

European digital cinema gets €100m cash injection

European conversion to digital cinema was given a boost when Arts Alliance Media (AAM) and Barco announced a €100 million digital cinema leasing program.

AAM, a digital cinema provider, and projector manufacturer, Barco signed a Memorandum of Understanding to offer a financial leasing program to exhibitors across Europe to convert to digital cinema.

The Barco Leasing Program has a provision for up to €100 million and will offer financing packages to cinemas looking to convert from 35mm to digital. The offer is supported by ING Lease Belgium. It will be available to interested exhibitors of any size and will utilise AAM's existing VPF agreements with all six Hollywood majors and nearly 100 local European distributors.

AAM will begin offering the program over the coming weeks to exhibitors across Europe with the funding available for the next 18 months, targeting 2,000 screens for conversion. Equipment will be supplied by Barco and maintenance and support will be provided by Arts Alliance Media.

Howard Kiedaisch, chief executive officer of Arts Alliance Media, said: "One of the critical elements to getting any exhibitor converted to digital is procuring the necessary capital investment and we're delighted to partner with our friends at Barco to offer a solution to exhibitors throughout Europe. With Europe already over 50% converted, the remaining cinemas who have not yet converted need to move quickly or risk being left behind and we're encouraging all operators large and small to engage in dialogue with us."