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E-City Digital enters into strategic alliance with Real Image

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E-City Ventures-promoted E-City Digital has entered into strategic alliance with Chennai-based Real Image Media Technologies (RMIT), wherein the latter will be the technological hardware and service provider for all digital screens of E-City in India.

RIMT has been the pioneer of digital cinema in India with their Qube servers and various branded servers. Among consumers, they are more popular for their Q-Jam stations installed at cafés. RIMT’s Qube is the only player in India which supports both the D-Cinema and the E-Cinema standards.

E-City Digital presently operates 101 digital screens in Mumbai, Gujarat, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Nizam film circuits. By 2011, the company is hoping to bring 1,000 digital screens under its fold by adding West Bengal, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Kerala to its rollout plan. As against 117 in the United States, India has a cinema screen ratio of only 12 screens for every 1 million people.

Atul Goel, CEO, E-City Ventures, said, “RMIT already provides servers and technical assistance to E-City Digital for their existing 101 operational digital screens. This new alliance with RIMT further reinforces our faith in their quality deliverability, and will fulfil E-City’s upcoming requirement of targeted additional 300 digital screens by end of FY ‘08. The business arrangement is worked out in a manner that would help E-City scale up its operations with considerably less operating capital.”

E-City Digital has grown at over 15 per cent quarter-on-quarter since its first digital screen in January 2006, and has planned an investment of Rs 100 crore for the proposed rollout.

Says Senthil Kumar, director, Technical, Real Image Media Technologies, “RIMT’s Qube Cinema is today one of the world’s leading digital cinema companies, which has proven its quality and reliability in digital cinema not just in India, but in many countries around the world, from North America to Europe to Asia. Qube Cinema is an end-to-end digital cinema solution. Our association with E-City Digital dates back to year 2005. We are excited about this new alliance and are overwhelmed by the bullish trust E-City is putting into promoting digital cinema in India.”

In all of its business models, E-City acts as the theatre aggregator digitising the theatre. In addition to installing digital equipment, E-City Digital also guarantees theatre owners a constant revenue stream and also takes full charge of the programming function. In a few instances, E-City Digital has also invested in refurbishment of digitised cinemas.

With the coming of digital technology, the industry can screen motion pictures in all remote towns and cities of India simultaneously with other ‘A’ class cities. Traditionally, a film has a limited print release averaging 300 prints, due to which a motion picture would either reach smaller tier II and tier III cities after a long delay, or not reach at all. Digital format does away with this drawback and allows a wider release with a reduction of film print costs. It also helps limit the scope of piracy in the country and directly benefits the box office collection, farming an improved collection across film value chain.

– Nishi Roy, Bengaluru Bureau

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