European governments have expressed concern that many of their independently owned cinemas can’t afford to buy digital projection equipment. In earlier years, this concern led to criticism over the DCI format for not capitalizing on readily available, low cost HD projection equipment. More recently, governments have been looking at ways to help exhibitors fund the transition. The Italian government took such a stance with a proposal to provide a 30% tax credit to theatre owners for the purchase of digital cinema equipment. As an EU member, however, the tax credit must be approved by the European Commission.
The EC’s request for comments expired the end of this month. An online questionnaire asked intelligent questions, such as
“Is €100,000 per screen a fair estimate of the cost of installing digital projection equipment? If so, is it affordable even with State aid?”
On October 21st, the EC conducted a hearing on the matter, in which contributions were made by many organizations, including the European Digital Cinema Forum (EDCF) and, indirectly, your author through Italian delegate Angelo D’Alessio. A resolution isn’t expected for several months.
More information on the EC’s inquiry can be found at