Digital Cinema Conversion to Reach 90 Percent This Year

A new report published by IHS researcher Screen Digest indicates that the conversion of theaters worldwide to digital projection is “approaching the end game,” with 90 percent of global screens expected to be digital by the end of 2013. By the close of 2012, 68.7 percent of all screens had been converted, with North America at 84 percent. The news comes one day before this week’s four-day CineEurope exhibitor conference in Barcelona, Spain.

“At the end of the first quarter this year, the d-screen count stood at 94,638, plus 5,500 lower-grade e-cinema screens in India; another 20,000 screens are likely to digitize by the end of the year,” reports Variety. “With nearly 130,000 screens in the world, there are fewer than 30,000 35mm screens left to convert.”

By the end of 2012, North America reported 84 percent conversion, while Europe stood at 70.4 percent, Asia Pacific at 59.2 percent, Middle East/Africa at 41.2 percent, and Central/South America trailing with 40.6 percent conversion.

While there is wide disparity within continents, countries with 100 percent digital conversion include South Korea, Singapore, Norway, Denmark, Luxembourg and Netherlands.

“In the U.S., there were still 5,500 screens to convert, many of them indie theaters, although Cinedigm’s NATO-CBG program will help many of these to switch,” notes the article. “Those that remain — mostly art-house or small-town venues — may be picked up by Scrabble Ent.’s VPF-backed leasing system.”