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Writer: exchange4media Mumbai Bureau - Wednesday, Mar 22,2006 7:31 AM
E-City digital cinemas acquires majority stake in 90-screen exhibition chain

As a forward integration move, E-City Digital Cinemas Pvt Ltd, the state-of-art digital technology solutions provider of E-City Ventures, has acquired a majority stake of 51 per cent in Shree Vijay Raj Entertainment & Software Ltd (SVRESL). With total gross revenues of Rs 22 crore, SVRESL is one of the leading exhibitors in Mumbai exhibition territory that controls and manages around 90 cinemas in Gujarat and Maharashtra.

Targeting to provide digital cinema solutions to 50 theaters in Gujarat (of which 22 have been executed) and 40 in Maharashtra by December 2006, this tie-up is expected to help E-City Digital Cinemas achieve a faster rollout and a pioneering foothold.

E-City Digital Cinemas is now working in close co-ordination with Chennai-based Real Image Media Technologies, developers of the indigenously designed and developed server dedicated to digital cinema playout – Real Image QUBE. The server has already joined the list of big names in media and entertainment technology, such as Dolby and Kodak, for this feat. Real Image QUBE was in the news recently for having played out a digital movie commercially for the first time in India. E-City Digital Cinemas is exclusively using Real Image QUBE for projecting movies in MPEG2 format.

Commenting on E-City Digital Cinemas’ market invasion, Atul Goel, CEO, E-City Ventures, said, “Digital cinema has the potential to alter the motion picture value chain. E-City Digital Cinemas is more on the consolidation route, than just aggressive acquisition. Being multiplexers already, we are solving grassroot issues in cinema exhibition through digital cinema technology – reducing industry costs by eliminating expensive prints and improve the quality with a more consistent projection system.”

E-City Digital Cinemas started out in April 2004 with a plan of refurbishing single screen theaters, on a selective basis, to ensure that the patrons enjoy better cinematic ambience and a state-of-the-art AV experience through digital cinema. Now, with an ambitious target of digitising 500 screens by 2007, the company has plotted its initial focus on the Mumbai exhibition territory (including Mumbai and Konkan, Western Maharashtra, Gujarat and parts of Karnataka) and thus, become aggressive on acquisition.

Besides achieving the targeted reach, E-City Digital Cinemas plans to exploit the fragmented market conditions to its advantage. Acquisitions would help E-City Digital Cinemas consolidate its position in cinema exhibition and also employ its technology – of providing secure end-to-end transmission – with better discretion.

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