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Europe supports digitization of cinemas
11 October 2011
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A new report from Polish MEP calls on Europe to speed up the digital shift. The European Parliament΄s (EP) Committee on Culture and Education adopted unanimously the report by Piotr Borys, ΄European Cinema in the Digital Era΄. This is the first EP Report regarding the cinema industry since 2002 that addresses the challenges for the future of European cinema.

Today European cinema faces new challenges and opportunities on how to move towards a digital single market. The cost effectiveness of the digital medium versus the celluloid is a fact that cannot be ignored by the production companies –the  costs of producing a celluloid tape reaches up to €2.000 while the costs of a digital copy at about €200. Digital technology also affects the distribution of films via platforms such as the Internet or VOD, which addresses the possibility for many art-houses and low-budget films to reach wider audiences. The ease of use, such as adding multiple foreign language subtitles to a digital copy, is another breakthrough of digital films. Finally, the impact that 3D films have upon viewers shows that expectations towards the film industry are constantly increasing.

The digital transition offers opportunities in the areas of production, distribution and accessibility of cinema. Member states as well as European institutions need to support cinema in order to make this transition in the digital era. The report aims toward that goal and calls for the next generation of the European Union΄s MEDIA Programme to increase its support for the digitization of cinemas. There are approximately 30,000 screens in the European Union. Currently, the cost of equipping cinemas with digital projectors is estimated at €100,000 per screen. It is a high cost, which may particularly affect small cinemas, especially in less-developed areas. Therefore, the Report emphasizes the need to provide more financial input in order to avoid the closure of cinemas. It also underlines the cultural purpose of cinemas, which, by promoting multilingualism, creates a European identity.
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