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Barco, AAM to offer financial support for digital cinema conversion

Financing the conversion to digital doesn't come cheap for cinema owners. Barco and AAM are about to make it easier.

Arts Alliance Media (AAM) and Barco have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to offer a financial leasing program to exhibitors across Europe to convert to digital cinema. The fund, named the Barco Leasing Program, has a provision for up to €100m and will offer financing packages to cinemas looking to convert from 35mm to digital. The offer is supported by ING Lease Belgium. It will be available to interested exhibitors of any size and will utilize AAM’s existing VPF (Virtual Print Fee) agreements with all six Hollywood majors and nearly 100 local European distributors.

AAM will begin offering the program over the coming weeks to exhibitors across Europe with the funding available for the next 18 months, targeting 2,000 screens for conversion. Equipment will be supplied by Barco, who have installed over 25,000 DLP Cinema-based digital projectors worldwide, and maintenance and support will be provided by Arts Alliance Media, who currently support over 2,300 digital cinema systems from a dedicated network operations centre in London.

“One of the critical elements to getting any exhibitor converted to digital is procuring the necessary capital investment and we’re delighted to partner with our friends at Barco to offer a solution to exhibitors throughout Europe,” said Howard Kiedaisch, Chief Executive Officer of Arts Alliance Media. “With Europe already over 50% converted, the remaining cinemas who have not yet converted need to move quickly or risk being left behind and we’re encouraging all operators large and small to engage in dialogue with us.”

“We expect this leasing program is going to offer the digital cinema opportunity to more cinemas than ever before,” said Wim Buyens, Senior Vice President of Entertainment at Barco (pictured). “Cinemas working with Barco and AAM under this scheme can trust that they’re partnering with digital experts who will offer the best quality equipment and reliable service to allow them to offer the best experience to their audiences.”