Digital Cinema Distribution Coalition is a joint venture of Warner Bros, Universal, and DCIP. The joint-venture’s goal is to build and operate an electronic distribution utility for digital cinema content. In 1st quarter 2008, it issued an RFP for satellite distribution services. By mid-year, with results in hand, the coalition kicked off its shoes to slowly evaluate the responses and its next steps. No outside action has been taken since.
WB is not new to the idea of owning a B2B distribution channel. With Pathfire (now owned by DG Fastchannel), it built and continues to operate a sophisticated satellite distribution network to service the B2B distributions to its television stations.
It is unlikely, though, that DCDC will get the participation originally hoped for from peer studios. But the idea of owning and operating a B2B distribution utility may have legs, even if only a small number of studios jump in. From a studio perspective, it should ensure the lowest cost path for sending all forms of content to exhibition sites, including studio-produced alternative content.
The partnerships in this deal are worth pondering. DCIP’s owners already have an alternative content distribution company with National CineMedia (NCM) that will likely conflict with future studio owned alternative content ventures. WB itself stands out, as it’s been the most reticent studio in signing VPF deals, and has not helped DCIP in moving forward with digital installations.
Even if it should have potential, DCDC appears to be a business whose time has not yet come. If digital cinema rolls out slowly, as this observer expects, then DCDC could remain asleep for a few years.