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Digital Cinema Distribution Coalition’s Platform Goes Online

Venture Expects to Transmit 31 Titles via Satellite and Fiber Optics This Year

Satellite distribution to theaters has become a reality, with the Digital Cinema Distribution Coalition (DCDC) finally launching its satellite and terrestrial digital distribution platform. The DCDC announced today that Randolph Blotky had been appointed CEO of the venture, which now serves 17,000 screens at 1,200 theatrical venues via satellite or fiber optics.

"DCDC represents the culmination of years of incredibly complex work, as well as the extraordinary contributions of so many visionary executives throughout the film and television industries," said Blotky in a prepared statement. "They've succeeded in creating a groundbreaking venture that, simply put, turns the digital content distribution model on its head."

Satellite distribution will significantly reduce content-delivery costs versus the current paradigm that sees feature films delivered to cinemas on USB hard drives, and DCDC said the price will continue to fall as more studios and exhibitors sign up. DCDC will provide satellite dishes and other required hardware to theaters; the primary service provider is Deluxe/EchoStar, with installation and maintenance handled by Hughes, and the platform is powered by technology from Kencast. 

By the end of 2013, DCDC said, it expects to distribute a total of 31 films, with plans to expand the program to more screens in 2014. The DCDC platform will also provide promotional and pre-show material, as well as stream live events to theaters.

Founding partners in the venture are AMC Theatres, Cinemark Theatres, Regal Entertainment, Warner Bros., and Universal Pictures. Customers include The Walt Disney Company, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate, Southern Theatres, and National Amusements.

7 Comments

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  • diego

    I wonder if this kind of distribution would keep the DCI standard or it will change the game rules again. I mean, i know dci color space is broader than other common color spaces, but with a even greater rec2020 color space comming up, why would it be necessary to go through a dci compliant packaging if you can get the same result´s at same size and quality of jpeg2000 with just a quicktime file?

    • Larry Towers

      Why? Because they are ripping people off making DCPs that’s why!
      There is no reason except profiteering that getting a dcp package made is so costly and the software for doing so is so expensive! JPEG2000 is OLD technology.

      • diego

        Yes, big companies that make thousand´s of DCP copies like Deluxe might be making profit from it, and now they are changing their mastering business from DCP to satellite provider (like the article says they will be one of the primary services), smart move from them.
        But for small small companies (me included), is not a real profitable business, and it is really important to know where´s the industry leading the rest of the world, as we cant afford to keep investing time and money on it.
        It would be great to have some insight on weather or not DCP would still last for a while.

        • Larry Towers

          Making a file export should not be a profitable business. This is not rocket science. DCP export should be no different than any other export. The tools are too expensive. And don’t tell me it’s more complex. It isn’t. If anything, being less lossy, going to a bigger color space makes it less complex. The only complexity is that the prohibitive cost of the tools, players, encoders, dci compliant projectors, makes it difficult to preview accurately.

          • Dio

            There are many free tools that can be used to create DCPs. Just Google. These days, you can finish a film using free tools, editing, 3d, composition and effects, online and downloadable different formats (and DCP).

          • Larry Towers

            None of those free tools is reliable. We have tried them all. Most do not work with ALL DCI compliant systems. Total crapshoot. If you did this for a living you’d know this.

        • Scott Andrew

          The DCP will remain for the foreseeable future though SMPTE is talking about some minor tweaks. I could see an expansion of the color gamut at some point, but that wouldn’t change the file formatting. The only thing DCDC is really doing differently is offering satellite distribution of the files vs. shipped hard drives.
          As for DCP creation, it’s not terribly difficult to load a set of TIFF and audio files and turn it into a package. The laborious work is adding in the subtitles (especially 3D) or the HI VI mixes and managing all the different versions (3D@4fL, 3D@7fL, 5.1, 7.1, Auro, Atmos, etc.) of each title and the tens of thousands of KDMs that go with each one.