Digital Cinema Distribution Coalition, an alliance of major exhibitors and a majority of studios for satellite distribution of content, has been launched. Long critiqued by this publication, we continue to view it with a wary eye.
Studios Lionsgate, Universal, Disney, Warner and Paramount signed on, as have US exhibitors AMC, Cinemark, and Regal. Details of the numbers invested by each company has not been made public. The contract for providing the service was awarded to Deluxe.
Deluxe signed on with EchoStar in 2010 to build out a satellite-based digital distribution network, signing on circuits such as Carmike with around 2,200 screens. However, Deluxe’s first system uses International Datacasting (IDC) protocols and endpoint devices. Its new system for DCDC must use Kencast protocols and endpoint devices. This is little surprise since NCM, the exhibitor-owned cinema advertising company, who will make judicious use of this network, also uses Kencast. Deluxe will either have the expense of converting existing sites to Kencast, or operating two independent networks.
Not on board is Fox and Sony, although there are rumors that Sony may join. If all studios were on board, it could take sophisticated equipment to manage content and avoid bottlenecks. The cheap bandwidth for satellite delivery is late nights. One savvy commenter on Endgadget worked out the bit rate and forward error correction load, and estimated that it could take several days to download a 300GB DCP. One of the reasons for utilizing a company such as Deluxe is to take advantage of its existing hard drive duplication and fulfillment service as the backup. Perhaps this is how Deluxe will score: as time-to deliver becomes an issue, Deluxe will have a majority of studios cornered for hard drive delivery.