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Monday, July 30, 2012

CineBUZZ - CINEMA NEWS REPORT - 27 July 2012




LG Electronics has introduced clip-on 3D glasses for those individuals that wear corrective lenses.  Priced at $20 retail, the glasses are a good product for cinemas to sell and demonstrate to moviegoers that 'their' cinema is aware of (and sensitive to)  the issues patrons face in viewing and enjoying the 3D experience.

In the U.S., many independent cinema owners use the S-Corporation election for income calculation and reporting. S-Corps are 'flow through' company structures in that profits are distributed to the business owners who than pay income taxes at their individual tax rates.  Conversely, C-Corporations (which include most publicly traded businesses) pay taxes differently. Under the C-Corp structure taxes are paid twice - first as corporate income and again as income to investors as dividends.
Because of its taxation benefit and reporting simplicity the S-Corporation is the most frequently elected business structure; however, that may all change as the Obama Administration, in its quest to generate more federal revenue, has expressed interest in taxing S-Corps as C-Corps. - not a good scenario for independent cinema owners. Although nothing will take affect this year all bets are off after the upcoming elections.  The Romney camp has not commented on its stand regarding the S-Corp change.


Known in the cinema industry for its excellent sales and technical services Entertainment Equipment has added a Platinum Level of benefits for its Digital Cinema customers.  These unmatched benefits include:
- Automatic Product Warranty Extensions: EEC extends all manufacturers' product warranties one year at no additional expense to our clients, for both parts and labor.
- Complimentary Xenon Lamps: The first replacement xenon lamp for each installed Digital System is free of charge.
- Technical Service: The first maintenance/service call on any new Digital System is provided free of charge.
- 24/7 Protection: EEC provides an around-the-clock technical service hot line.
- Training Programs: Two complimentary training workshops/seminars at Cinema Training Central are awarded with the purchase of each Digital System.

Video multi-tasking - the simultaneous viewing of two screens to view more about the same content (movie or TV show) is emerging as a 'next big deal' in entertainment viewing. 

With video multi-tasking, consumers would be able to simul-view a movie or show  while simultaneously viewing something associated with that movie or show on their tablet or other device.The whole point being to provide viewers a more 'complete' viewing experience by providing more visual and contextual information on a second screen.
As you can imagine, there are varying points of view on this.  Detractors believe it will distract viewers (not to mention others around them) as they watch a movie or TV show while also viewing information on that content (such as plot and character backgrounds, related statistics, or other "relevant" information).  Proponents however, say that simul-viewing will allow for 'content emersion' by the viewer and is the experience most viewers would opt for.  And they may be right, as according to the Nielsen Rating Company up to 60% of today's tablet owners already use their devices while they watch a movie or TV show at home - using it to check emails, search, or for social media roaming.  Predictably, content providers like ESPN are big backers of simul-viewing and plan to experiment with what it calls "a Game-cast experience" during the upcoming college football season.
Who knows, simul-viewing movies at the local cinema may be in your future!

I would enjoy hearing from you.
Best and Happy Movie Going !
Jim Lavorato

Sunday, July 15, 2012

CineBUZZ - CINEMA NEWS REPORT / 14 July 2012


- How Large Should You Go
- Fandango Hits It Big With Mobile Sales
-Consumer Bill of Rights Will Impact Cinemas
-Yes, House Calls Do Still Exist


SMPTE recommends 30 degrees
When speaking with cinema customers, I have (more than a few times and recently) fielded questions on home entertainment and where I think it is headed. The most asked question being: What size TV should be purchased? Answer: as big as the room will fit and you can afford.   OK, that answer is sort of snarky but there does exist a size and distance correlation which should be observed.

Clearly, the farther away you sit the smaller the image appears.  What you strive for is an image that fills 'your field of view'.  THX/Lucas recommends a viewing angle of 40 degrees.  Translation: multiply the seating distance (in inches) by .84 which gets you the size of TV required.  For example, if you are sitting a distance of 8 feet the screen should 'ideally' be 80" diagonal (8x12x.84).  Hmmm.... quite large. SMPTE (Soc. of Motion Picture & TV Engineers) on the other hand recommends a 30 angle of view - multiply seating distance by .625.  So, under their standard the required screen size at 8 feet would be 60" diagonal.  C/NET, the premiere site for info. on all tech products, goes another route and recommends sitting no closer than 1.5 times screen diagonal.

Go Figure: Room size for Panasonic's 152" dia. screen
But do all of these recommendations mean anything in real terms?  Not really.  What matters is resolution.  Meaning that, an extremely large TV in a small room may not look quite as good if you are sitting really close - as you are viewing more than the TV was designed for you to see.  This is especially evident when viewing regular broadcast content vs say a Blu-ray.

In the end, its all about preference and budget.  If you are a sports fan or gamer (as I am) the preference is: the bigger the better!

UP 107%

Fandango's mobile ticketing app

Fandango, the ticket sales folks, reported this week that mobile ticket purchases increased 107%, year-over-year, and was the main reason it achieved its best quarter sales in the company's 12 year history.
Mobile purchasing is just getting started as more and more consumers are using their phones and tablets to make movie ticket and other event purchases.  Jessica Yi, Fandango's Chief Product Officer, told CGM that, "The consumer's comfort level with mobile shopping is on the rise. Fandango's surge in mobile ticket sales is definitely evidence of that and a strong indication that consumers enjoy the convenience of purchasing movie tickets on the go.  Mobile purchasers now comprise 27% of our overall ticket sales."

Fandango sells tickets for nearly 20,000 movie screens nationwide and just inked distribution deals with AOL's Moviefone and Microsofts's MSN on-line ticketing systems.  Fandango apps have been downloaded 25 million times with mobile downloads accounting for 49%.  Yi, explained that, "Our goal has always been to make movie going easy.  To that end, we aim to provide movie show times, tickets, theatre amenities and directions, fan and critic reviews and information wherever consumers are, and mobile has clearly emerged as one of the top channels for getting that information."

Fandango is smart to have a major presence in the mobile space and movie exhibitors should take note.  Folks that read CMG with regularity know that I have been a huge advocate of the use of mobile devices for point-of-sale admission and concession purchases at theatres.  So, it goes without saying, that a tie-in with Fandango is one marketing tool that every modern cinema must utilize.


Who's Watching Your Data
As cinemas become more and more technologically advanced and 'digitized', information collected on moviegoers and on the operation of the cinema itself comes into play.  Can cinemas sell or distribute information they have collected on patrons - email addresses, credit information, viewing preferences, etc.? What are the rules of Privacy you must afford customers and, indeed, what information on your business and yourself should have protection, if any?

Currently, in the U.S., a Privacy Bill of Rights, is moving through Congress with the endorsement of the Obama Administration. Talks started last week between industries impacted, lobbyists, privacy activists, Congress, and the Administration to make the Privacy Rights law.  Here, in shorthand, are the highlights of the Bill and the principles to be followed by Internet content, access, and advertising enterprises

-Individual Control: Consumers have a right to exercise control over what personal data companies collect from them and how they use it.
-Transparency: Consumers have a right to easily understandable and accessible information about privacy and security practices.
- Respect for Context: Consumers have a right to expect that companies will collect, use, and disclose personal data in ways that are consistent with the context in which consumers provide the data.
-Security: Consumers have a right to secure and responsible handling of personal data.
-Access and Accuracy: Consumers have a right to access and correct personal data in usable formats, in a manner that is appropriate to the sensitivity of the data and the risk of adverse consequences to consumers if the data is inaccurate.
-Focused Collection: Consumers have a right to reasonable limits on the personal data that companies collect and retain.
-Accountability: Consumers have a right to have personal data handled by companies with appropriate measures in place to assure they adhere to the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.

It all sounds good. Hmmm ..... let's see how far these Rights get.


The conversion to digital movie distribution/exhibition is inevitable, so to assist in this transition, Entertainment Equipment Corp. will perform a free site visit to determine your cinema's or drive-in's unique needs for digital conversion - so don't hesitate to request a visit.

Additionally, EEC provides turn-key solutions as they acquire, install, train, and provide after-sales service on all of the digital cinema equipment you decide to purchase.  And, as a full-line supplier EEC represents all of the digital equipment manufacturers.

So, contact EEC today (800-448-1656) - they'll do their best to answer all of your questions and concerns and - if you wish - pay a visit to your theatre.

I would like to receive your comments.

Best and Happy Movie Going !
Jim Lavorato

Friday, July 13, 2012


L.A. based Cinedigm Digital Cinema is developing a strategy whereby cinema operators would share in a movie's down-stream revenues (those from videos, BluRays, pay-per-view, and web streaming) if that movie is released day-and-date across all media platforms.

The exclusive theatrical distribution window currently enjoyed by cinemas for first-run movies will eventually close - this we are (or should be) aware of.  However, Cinedigm thinks it has come up with a novel approach for cinemas' to share in a movie's distribution spoils.

This new (and potentially disruptive) revenue distribution concept is extremely interesting, and Cinedigm (which wants to transform movie theatres into digitally networked entertainment centers) is putting its money where its mouth is.  Last month, Cinedigm acquired independent content distributor New Video Group for $14 million, and plans to have New Video distribute 18-24 indie films in 2014.  These films would be released using the new down-stream revenue sharing concept to entice exhibitors to run these releases.

The move to day-and-date release of movies across all media platforms has been forewarned by CMG for several years and is driven by the 'can't stop' nature of  digital technology, thus making it imperative that movie theatres get their 'game on'.

What makes Cinedigm's concept so interesting is that if a means can be worked out whereby exhibitors have the grosses they lose by having their exclusive distribution window shut replaced with a sharing of down-stream revenues - this would be a huge game changer for the cinema exhibition industry. 

I think, what I am dubbing, a  'cascade of content'  would be unleashed for cinemas.  Envisioned would be a cinema exhibitor perusing a weekly on-line 'content menu' containing a myriad of  selectable content which would be coupled with the opportunity to share in that content's full revenue stream.

Ah ..... the possibilities the digital domain offers are endless and unimaginable.

I look forward to your comments

Best and Happy Movie Going!
Jim Lavorato

Thursday, July 05, 2012

CineBUZZ - Cinema News Report - 6 July 2012


As is becoming the norm in the cinema industry, things can change very quickly.  Case in point: the on-going Kodak saga.  Just the other day (7/1/12) I posted on CMG that a number of tech giants, including Intel and Apple, petitioned the bankruptcy count to indefinitely postpone the planned August auction by Kodak of its inventory of digital imaging patents to the highest bidders.

On 7/3/12 - two days later - the U.S. Bankruptcy Court dismissed the complaints and approved the action, granting Kodak the right to sell "all or any portion" of its patents "free and clear" of all claims and interests, to maximize their value.  The Court further stated that, "holders of claims and interests, if any, will be sufficiently protected by the availability of the proceeds of the sale."

The patents are to be auctioned in two separate portfolios called the Digital Capture and Kodak Imaging Systems and Services portfolios.  Apple, for example, claims that 10 of the patents in the Digital Capture portfolio  are their inventions.  Kodak, filed a complaint that asked the Court to issue an injunction barring Apple and others from asserting ownership "under any theory, including ownership " to Kodak patents, and asked for dismissal of the "baseless" claims by Apple and others -
it seems the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York agrees, and, as of today, the auction will take place in August as planned.

Sunday, July 01, 2012


Highlights of this Week's Report

- Kodak May Not Be Able To Auction Digital Patents
- Google Glasses Make Big Splash
- A Satillite for Everyman
- "The Hobbit" Leads the Way

As promised, I am following up on the Kodak saga.  The latest twist in this tale is that a number of tech giants have gone to court to stop Kodak from sellings its digital patentsCMG reported on Kodak's  immense stash of digital imaging patents in several prior posts - see "Kodak's Hidden Treasure" - 20 August 2011, and "Kodak - Riding the Wave" - 23 January 2012.

Last Monday (6/25) tech giants, Intel, Nikon, Richo, Motorola, and Apple filed suit objecting to Kodak's plan to hold an auction in August to sell its digital imaging patents to the highest bidders. The companies are alleging that the selling of the patents negates the licenses they signed with Kodak for use of the patents - and therefore the auction should not take place.  They further contend that the rights issue should be settled in a federal court and not the bankruptcy court.

In January, Kodak, based in Rochester, NY, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy with the intention of reorganizing under court protection.  In its bankruptcy filing Kodak listed its assets at $5.1 billion, and its debt at $6.75 billion.  Its stock is currently trading at about 20 cents per share. I will keep you informed as this very interesting tale unfolds.


Google officialy put its computerized glasses on the runway during its annual tech conferance this past week.
The Google Glasses, which have a processor and memory, will include 3 or 4G wireless web access, as well as, motion and GPS sensors. The demos of the glasses, which included two skydivers who during their descent were wearing the glasses and streaming live video of their jump over the internet, were a great success and had the tech industry honchos buzzing. Naming the early edition, "Google Glass Explorers Edition", Google announced that conferance attendees could pre-order a pair at a price of $1,500 which would be available in 2013.
President dons Google Glasses
The glasses, which are Android based, have a small screen positioned right above one of the of the user's eyes and come in several different styles.  A wearer can take pictures or video with the glasses by touching a spot on the side of the frame. The demos also included users wearing the glasses while playing tennis, biking, and playing with their babies - all while  the glasses were taking pictures and video images of their activities.

Uploading and viewing a movie will be no problem - it would be the same as streaming it to your laptop or iPad.  Hmmmm, lets see, I can be driving and watching Fast and Furious at the same time.

Everyman Cinemas, an independent British cinema chain which is dedicated to the goal of bringing a unique cinema experience in stylish venues with varied programming, has teamed up with Arqiva, a communication service provider, to use Arqiva's cinema satellite distrbution network.

Under the arrangement, each Everyman location will be equipped to receive delivery of D-Cinema transmissions via satellite which will include feature films, trailers, and advertising.  Additionally, recorded and live alternative content on all types of arts and entertainment will be made available.
Arqiva, provides its communication and media services in Europe and the U.S. Its venture with Everyman Cinemas represents a perfect example of the direction cinemas should be headed -  exhibiting unique and varied content to their set demographic which includes a wide variety of content.   Made available due to the cinema industry's digital transition, this presents nothing less than a golden era for exhibitors which they should  leverage to maximum utilization and profitability.
Peter Jackson, Director of "The Hobbit" to use HFR
The Hobbit and HFR Will Impact The Cinema

"The Hobbit" may bring a major change to the movie exhibition business, for this movie is expected to be released using a High Frame Rate (HFR) - meaning that it will be exhibited at 48 frames per second (fps) vs. the normal 24 fps.  Movie directors and producers have for years wanted to use a higher frame rate in shooting films because it produces a sharper, clearer on-screen image.  However, using a HFR with 35mm film was not possible as it would have doubled the amount of film used for a release print, let alone the fact that normal 35mm film projectors were not capable of running at the higher speed.

This all changed with the evolution of Digital Cinema projection.  The new Series 2 digital projectors are capable of the higher frame rate as are the new Servers - which is yet another reason for exhibitors to acquire a D-Cinema platform.  The tipping point is quickly being reached where conversion will not be an option.  The demise of 35mm film prints in the U.S. and other markets, such as Canada, will most likely occur by the end of 2013 and all global markets by the end of 2015.
After that, its anyone's guess as to how movie distribution evolves - satellite or internet, possibly both.  There is no limit on the variety of content that will be available.  It's up to the cinema exhibitors to ensure the public continues to support their venues with unique and premium presentations.

Best and Happy Movie Going !
Jim Lavorato