Television

'The real push for digital cinema will come when biggies like Adlabs decide to ramp up' : Senthil Kumar - Real Image Media Technologies director

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/tv-images/2015/12/09/Senthil%20Kumar.jpg?itok=ufXa9XXu

Already setting cash registers ringing across Hollywood, with movies like Beowulf, Hannah Montana and Meet the Robinsons, Digital Cinema has been touted as the next big thing in the entertainment industry. And Chennai-based Real Image Media Technologies (RIMT) is already geared up to herald a major resurgence of the film exhibition industry in India with the introduction of this new technology.

In an interview with Indiantelevision.com's Anindita Sarkar, Real Image Media Technologies director Senthil Kumar says that the future of cinema lies in digital and unveils the company's growth plans.

Excerpts:

Do you see digital cinema growing faster from now on?

Several things that were roadblocking the growth have got sorted out. Prices have fallen and the technology has settled down. Film producers, distributors and exhibitors have realised that digital makes better economics. There has been an improvement in sound, though we do not see the same jump in picture quality.

What will fuel the growth?

Digital cinema will grow on its own as it is an effective tool against piracy and saves on print costs. But what will further fuel this growth is the emergence of 3D. Across the world today, there are around 5000 digital screens of which at least 1000 are 3D - that is 20 per cent already. In India, we are already seeing a 15 per cent conversion of theatres (about 10,000) into digital. We haven't seen a 3D wave as yet, but I am sure it will come. More and more people are finding that with plenty of 3D Hollywood ventures coming up in the next two years, 3D makes a lot of sense commercially. That realisation will come in India too.

What will drive digital cinema growth in India?

We are already seeing decent growth in India. We have installed 550 digital systems across the country. UFO Moviez has touched 1000 theatres. Reliance ADAG's Adlabs is testing the technology.The real push will come when Reliance decides to ramp up.

What is the model that you follow?

We sell our equipment to various providers like E-City, Pyramid Saimira, and PVR. UFO Moviez, on the other hand, follows a rental model; they act like a technical service provider.

So you are not looking at the rental model….?

The rental model is not lucrative for us right now.

'Digital cinema will grow on its own as it is an effective tool against piracy and saves on print costs. But what will further fuel this growth is the emergence of 3D'

But doesn't this model provide UFO the volumes?

If you put out the money and you operate at the theatre saying pay me a rental, why would you not have takers? Theatre owners do not have any commitment. If the theatres want the digital systems for two weeks, UFO will give it for that period and then take back the services when they do not want it anymore. So it is an easy scheme. Therefore, it is quickly chosen. But these theatres do not always run on digital systems.

Isn't your system more costly?

We charge Rs 3 million for installation of our system. But we have a cheaper option where theatre owners have to pay Rs 1-1.2 million; they can upgrade later on. Most of our customers are from this bracket. For the 3D system, theatre operators will have to further part with Rs 2 million. So it takes Rs 5 million to do digital plus 3D.

Is the growth coming in from smaller cities?

No.These 550 equipments are mainly with mainstream A and B theatres including multiplexes. E-City alone is using 150 systems, mainly in Gujarat. Pyramid Saimira has taken 100 while Sri Venkatesh Films in West Bengal has installed our systems in 40-50 theatres. PVR is also using our systems.

Is an export market available?

We have sold 150 systems in overseas markets. Our main clients overseas are in US, Canada, Korea and European countries.

How effective has digital cinema been in tackling piracy?

We have put in invisible water markings into our system to fight piracy. If a film has been shot from the screen directly, we can tell exactly from which theatre the copy came from. And the best thing about these water markings is that it cannot be edited. We also lock the projector and the server in such a way that the projector is unable to work with any other server.

Do you see digital theatres tapping new streams of revenue?

Advertising is a new revenue opportunity. We are going in for consolidated advertising. We have a technology wherein you can put in an ad at a particular time to get the best audience attention. You can also decide the number of times the ad could appear, thereby hitting at the target audience directly. Using this technique, You can also choose the theatres in which you would want your ad to get displayed. This leads to targeted advertising, next only to internet.

How big an attraction is 3D?

3D is definitely an attraction - like digital. Take for example the 3D Disney film Hannah Montana that is stated to have made $30 million during its opening weekend.

3D is also lucrative for other programmes like live concerts and sports. Today, concerts are being covered in 3D and released; sports are being covered live on 3D and released.

Is the cost of covering a live concert on 3D the same?

Covering live concerts on 3D is much more cost effective when compared to films. When you are making a full movie, of course, the cost on the budget will go much higher; live event coverage is on the other end much cheaper.

How is the installation done?

The movie is placed on the server to a digital projector and we transmit the movie through satellite or by hard drive depending upon how many theatres are receiving it. Our system accecpts anything. There are two kinds of technology that can produce a 3D effect, the passive and the active.

When it comes to the passive technology, we put them up along with the system in our servers. For example the external rotating polarizing filter that works with a single projector for the single screen. We have taken this technology from Master Image. The other technology is for the dual projector with fixed polarizing filters on each projector. It is for the silver screen. Here there is not active involvement of the eyewear.

The active systems include the infrared emitter and shutter glasses technology from XpanD. It requires a single projector and has and active eyewear and is for the white screen.

How cost effective is it in converting old movies into 3D?

The cost varies between $5 million to $30 million, depending upon how lengthy and complex the movie is. There is only one company that is currently doing it. It’s called In3.

How many movies have been converted till now?

Nothing has been released yet. But yes, there are movies like Star Wars (1979) that have been converted.

What are your 3D plans for India?

We are trying to act as a catalyst to make 3D happen in India, in both production and exhibition.

Satyam in Karnataka has already installed one screen with 3D and we assume that a few more will be coming up very quickly like Adlabs and PVR. Also, we will start helping Indian films shoot in 3D. And this we see will definitely bring in a huge boost to our technology.

Since the digital market is growing, will you need to raise money to fund your expansion?

We are looking at a third round of funding within 6-12 months and expect to raise Rs 600-800 million. The funds will be mainly used for rolling out digital cinema and development work. We are also looking at expanding in the area of 3D. We already have Intel Capital supporting us in the second round. Street Edge and Novastar have participated as initial investors.

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/02/16/Baavle_Utaavle.jpg?itok=roHnkzhD
Sony Sab strengthens primetime slot with 'Baavle Utaavle'

Sony Sab is all set to launch its new show, Baavle Utaavle, #Gufu Ki Visfotak Love Isstory, produced by Director’s Kut production house Rajan Shahi. The show will go on air on 18 February, every Monday to Friday at 10 pm.

Television TV Channels GECs
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/02/16/TV9_Bharatvarsh.jpg?itok=lzr3B7fe
TV9 enters Hindi heartland with TV9 Bharatvarsh

TV9 News Network is all set to launch its national Hindi channel, TV9 Bharatvarsh, next month in Delhi. The channel is ready with its largest news studio in the country, which will use the best of AR and VR technologies, and BOT news tracker in its presentation.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/02/16/Chrome_DM.jpg?itok=Vzh5LDxy
Tariff order implementation: Pay channels' connectivity drops ranging from 61% to 0.5% across genres

The ongoing flux in the broadcast sector due to the new TRAI tariff order implementation has had a significant impact on the connectivity of pay channels in the country. After the new regulatory framework kicked in on 1 February, pay channels’ connectivity witnessed a drop ranging from 61 per cent...

Television TV Channels Viewership
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/02/15/Rupay.jpg?itok=X8M0HO9f
Pro Volleyball League attracts 14.3 mn viewers in week 1 on TV

The first leg of RuPay Pro Volleyball League (PVL) which happened in Kochi witnessed 14.3 million viewers sample the league on Sony Pictures Network (SPN) India.

Television TV Channels Sports
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/02/15/mtv.jpg?itok=raQzzzLI
MTV associates with Brave Combat Federation for 'Brave 20'

MTV, India’s youth brand, is all set to bring the fight series MTV Brave 20 in association with the Brave Combat Federation presented by Mercury Sports Entertainment on 17 February at 9 pm.

Television TV Channels Music and Youth
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/02/15/bag.jpg?itok=WdVZEAML
Q3 2019: BAG Films Television and Radio Dhaamal profits up

The Anurradha Prasad-led BAG Films and Media Ltd (BAG Films) reported 38.1 per cent higher year-on-year (y-o-y) consolidated revenue for the quarter ended 31 December 2018 (Q3- 019, period or quarter, under review) at Rs 48.67 crore as compared to Rs 33.94 crore in the corresponding prior year...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/02/15/zee.jpg?itok=paGRPClV
Comcast, Sony in the running for ZEEL stake?

In the latest financial results, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL) MD and CEO Punit Goenka mentioned that the company has narrowed down its search for a partner to divest up to 50 per cent stake in the company, an announcement it made in November 2018.

Television TV Channels GECs
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/02/14/9x-jalwa.jpg?itok=dTEgvuDY
9X Jalwa launches Jalwa #10YEARCHALLENGE

MUMBAI: 9X Jalwa, the Bollywood hits music channel by 9X Media, has created Jalwa #10YEARCHALLENGE, a unique property that showcases the songs of Bollywood stars from past to present. Jalwa #10YEARCHALLENGE will feature stars such as Aamir Khan, Aishwariya Rai, Kajol, Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan,...

Television TV Channels Music and Youth
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2019/02/14/Murtaza-Ahmadi.jpg?itok=4zZ7uTuy
CNN meets the young Lionel Messi fan from Afghanistan who is now a Taliban target

In January 2016, a photo of young Murtaza Ahmadi went viral, thanks to his makeshift version of an Argentine football shirt of his idol Lionel Messi. The photo earned the child two autographed shirts, a signed football and a meeting with the footballer in Qatar 11 months later.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories