Regulatory structures

IRIS Plus 2010-2: Digital Cinema

Author: Francisco Javier Cabrera Blázquez, European Audiovisual Observatory

Published: 01/04/2010

The European cinema of the near future will be digital. This much seems to be agreed upon by anyone who has a say in the matter. But the road there requires special efforts and may indeed be long and winding.

This IRIS plus asks where we stand in the roll-out of digital cinema and it does so with regard to the legal framework as well as the digital cinema market. Do European countries invest enough in the digitisation of their cinemas to make the digital revolution happen? Do their support schemes comply with legal re quirements? Are all risks for the cinema market identified and correctly assessed? What will the digital revolution me an for the various players? For example, is there a danger that small cinemas might disappear? What other legal issues need to be considered in order to make digital cinema an economic and legal reality.

The Lead Article takes a look at the legal questions ra ised by public support me chanisms aimed at fa cilitating the digitisation of cinemas. It looks at the legal construction and problems of three different variants of national funding schemes and at the EU law with which these constructions eventually need to comply. It also de scribes two state aid schemes that have already been approved by the EU Commission and a tax incentive scheme currently un de rinvestigation. Finally, the Lead Article points the way ahead by explaining ongoing policy and funding activities of the EU.

The Related Reporting supplements the information contained in the Lead Article and compares EU policy with the reality of promoting (or struggling with) digital cinema in various countries. The Zoom section equips the reader with a solid understanding of the market of commercial digital cinema screens and sites by providing concrete figures on their de velopments in Europe and country by country. The tables include information on screens and/or sites operated by exhibitors and third party operators .

On a more general note, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that not only cinema is go ing digital but the IRIS plus-series is too. In other words, if you would like to order any or all IRIS plus -issues as on-line version you ma y do so by contacting .