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United MediaWorks targets expansion to 350+ cinemas by March 2016

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MUMBAI: United MediaWorks’ patented product Digibutor, a digital cinema server is looking at expanding its reach across the country. The product, which so far had a presence in Gujarat and Bihar and tapped into Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Jharkhand and Maharashtra earlier this year, has now set its sight on the West Bengal and Karnataka markets.

The product, which was until now available in 150 theatres across Gujarat and Bihar, has expanded its reach to over 200 theatres under its belt. This includes . This includes movie halls in Karnataka, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand.     

The digital distribution platform aims to expand its reach to over 350 theatres all over India by March 2016.

Speaking to Indiantelevision.com, United MediaWorks co-founder and joint MD Ashish Bhandari said, “We launched in West Bengal and Karnataka a week back and the reason behind choosing these states was to break the monopoly of digital cinema providers in the theatre market.”

According to Bhandari, 10 - 15 per cent of cinema houses in rural India still works on analogue mode. “Not just this, south Indian movies dominate the market and so for now we are focusing more on single screens and individually owned multiplex theatres, so that we can break the monopoly and enter the market,” he added.

The prime focus of Digibutor is to support the growth of media and entertainment industry with futuristic and scalable technology based products and services. It has a technology through which it encrypts content in 512 bit. The platform has a distinctive digital watermarking to get the highest level of security system. This can be installed in other digital cinema equipments at cinema halls, which helps curb piracy.

United MediaWorks is not spending directly on the marketing of the product, but has collaborated with many local distributors of various states who are connected with producers, who then market the product. “Cinema advertising currently stands at Rs 480 crore. All over the country, there are 10,000 screens, of which 10 to 15 per cent are multiplexes, so our main focus is on advertising in single screen theatres. Cinema advertising is more efficient than television advertising, since it has a direct impact on consumers,” said VP - media sales Satish Mundhe.

The company made an initial investment of $1 million and is now looking for investors. Bhandari said, “Before asking investors to invest, I wanted to set a benchmark for them so that it’s easy to grow from there. We are looking for investors from like minded people in the industry.”

Launched in 2011, Digibutor was developed in 18 months at United MediaWorks Software Development and Research Center based in the US in association with Software Labs.

“Digibutor is nothing but a digital cinema server. The product is different from others, as there is no central server. Not just this, the technology is extremely easy to use as compared to the other competing companies and its very user friendly as well,” concluded Bhandari.

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