Word on the street is that DCIP has its money. DCIP is the joint venture of AMC, Cinemark, and Regal for the rollout of digital cinema in their theatres. It is very good news that they’ve completed syndication of their bond for the financing of digital cinema equipment. Now they are said to be burdened with cleaning up their exhibitor agreements and getting approval for these from each of the studios. It’s not clear why this activity wasn’t taken care of earlier. But even the completion of this task may not be enough to trigger their rollout.
Besides providing the core financing for VPF-reimbursed equipment purchases, DCIP is also the manager of the three circuit’s equipment locations so that the correct security keys will be delivered to each site, and the collector of business information needed to invoice VPFs. It is said that on this front that DCIP has failed badly. After reportedly burning through $3M for the development of its back-office software, it has little to show for its efforts. The situation has deteriorated to the point where the exhibitor-owners have refused to put more money into DCIP’s technology development. It would seem that CEO Travis Reid, who is accustomed to working with capable senior managers, not only underestimated the lack of skills in his junior technology manager, Tom Schmidt, but failed to take action when the warning signs lit up. It would not be surprising if each of the exhibitors abandoned DCIP for back-office management services and went off on their own, handing DCIP the invoices it can’t generate for itself.
All of this buys Sony precious additional time to meet its technology development obligations to AMC and Regal. Not to mention buying time for Doremi to meet its obligations to Cinemark in the development of a TMS. Three years after the formation of DCIP, the world is still waiting to see it deliver.