Ster-Kinekor replaces all of its screens with digital technology

Investment

Film projectors will get the axe as the cinema chain moves to digital technology.

Cinema chain Ster-Kinekor Theatres will replace all of its screens countrywide with digital technology over the next 12 months in a deal that will probably be worth nearly R100m. About 400 screens are affected by the move.

The company, which is owned by Primedia, has signed an agreement with Arts Alliance Media, a digital cinema equipment supplier, to install the technology at all of its 59 sites. Roughly 12% of its screens are already digital.

Ster-Kinekor Theatres CEO Fiaz Mahomed tells TechCentral that the majority of the new screens will use 2K projectors (2 048-pixel width), but some sites will get higher-definition — and costlier — 4K projectors (4 096-pixel width).

The two companies are working to establish the optimum equipment configuration for the new installations. All the sites will be kitted out with Arts Alliance Media’s proprietary TMS software, called Screenwriter, to manage all digital screens and content. Mahomed says the move will mean “rapid and in certain instances instantaneous release of movie titles as well as alternative content such as sporting events and live concerts”.

He says moving to digital will allow the company to screen more 3D content. It should also provide superior picture quality, new genres of film content and closer alignment of local release dates with international ones.

A second phase of the project will involve connecting the cinemas together to allow content to be distributed automatically from a central office. For now, though, movies will be distributed to individual cinemas using hard drives.