The Rise Of Digital Cinema

Geny Caloisi

The latest Breakfast Briefing, organised as usual by The Screen and held this time at the VUE cinema in Westfield talked about the ‘Rise of Digital Cinema’ and how digital out-of-home is being used to transform the cinema-going experience.

Mark de Quervain - Sales and Marketing Director of Vue Entertainment.

As The VUE marketing director Mark de Quervain explained, “We have deliberately chosen to have our foyers with less clutter, with no cardboard stands or leaflets. We opted to use digital signage to communicate to our customers in a more clear way and provide a more pleasing experience while waiting to watch your movie. For instance we have a Sony Ziris video wall at the entrance of the VUE complex  as a major feature of the cinema.”

Although cinema foyers have mainly been places of transit and a space to sale tickets, food and organise the cinema goers to their respective screens, de Quervain says “Foyers have the opportunity of becoming nice places to be. A space where you can meet up with friends and have a drink before or after the movie. We are bringing our duel areas up to speed in terms of technology and we are also looking into incorporating interaction and new ways of communicating with our customers to take advantage of the technology people are already carrying with them.”

George Eyles- Head of Digital Cinema and Signage, Arqiva Broadcast & Media

The digitisation of cinema, a ‘once in a generation paradigm’ according to de Quervain, is also a boosting factor for digital signage. Moving from 35mm into digital means that movies now don’t come in big bulky cases but instead, they can either fit on a hard drive or, as George Eyles, Head of Digital Cinema and Signage, Arqiva Broadcast & Media pointed out, be beamed through a satellite. This provides flexibility. A movie at a theatre can be changed by a different one, with a click of a button. Digital signage is, in this case, essential, because it can also be flexible and update the information is providing to customers instantly.

A rise on live events being shown at cinema theatre on 2D and 3D and the emergence of tailored programming for children or teenagers was also noted. The digital distribution of the content, together with the improve picture quality make this possible.

Martijn Bakker - Product Specialist Digital Signage at Sony

Eyles says, “There are many similarities between digital cinema and digital signage, along with many differences. While digital cinema has to comply with the DCI standards and works more or less the same in all theatres around the world, digital signage has no standards, it’s built around media players and it comes in a variety of formats (Flash, DiVX, MPEG). It would be ideal if cinemas could have integrated systems where signage and movies can be delivered in a similar manner.”

A vox pop from cinema goers, shown at the Breakfast Meeting, gave the thumbs up to the digital posters saying that they are “aesthetically pleasing, informative and entertaining.”

Martijn Bakker product marketing manager for digital signage at Sony says that the equation is simple, “Enhance your cinema environment + enhance your customer’s experience = increase sales.”

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