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Digital Cinema Distribution Coalition Negotiates Deal with NATO for Small- to Mid-Sized Theater Owners


The Digital Cinema Distribution Coalition (DCDC) announced that it has negotiated a template agreement with the National Association of Theatre Owners’ Cinema Buying Group, which represents approximately 600 small- and medium-sized independent U.S. exhibitors. The deal will give these smaller exhibitors access to DCDC’s North American satellite and terrestrial digital delivery platform.

The deal, negotiated on behalf of its members by NATO and the CBG, has the potential to significantly expand DCDC’s footprint among smaller theatrical exhibitors, which combined offer more than 7,000 screens. The DCDC, founded by exhibitors AMC Theatres, Cinemark Theatres and Regal Entertainment, and major studios Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures, went live in October, launching its platform to 17,000 screens across 1,200 venues. The Walt Disney Company, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures and Lionsgate have signed on as content provider customers of DCDC, with Southern Theatres and National Amusements joining as exhibitor customers of DCDC.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer all CBG members the same access to our delivery platform that our larger exhibitor members have,” said DCDC CEO Randy Blotky.

Blotky will discuss total updated figures for DCDC during a CinemaCon panel on March 26.

CBG, a program within NATO, was formed to enhance the ability of its participants to obtain discounts and more favorable payment terms while upgrading their theaters for digital exhibition. It also assists manufacturers and suppliers in obtaining accurate information about real-world product performance.

DCDC, which will cover costs of installation and maintenance of the equipment at individual theater sites, is a “smart pipe” made up of sophisticated electronics, software and hardware, including satellites, high-speed terrestrial links and hard drives as back up. Each exhibitor customer location will ultimately be provided with a DCDC owned-and-operated satellite dish, V-Sat backchannel equipment and a catch server for receiving content. A Network Operations Center monitors all deliveries of content to ensure on-time delivery.

Deluxe/EchoStar acts as the primary service provider for the DCDC platform, with installation and maintenance services from Hughes. Technology provider Kencast powers the platform, which includes enabling delivery by satellite or fiber optics of very large movie files, and the streaming of live events to allow effective delivery of content to multiple screens in a multiplex.

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