Ster-Kinekor to become 100% digital

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Local entertainment giant Ster-Kinekor is set for digital conversion and will commence an overhaul of its cinema estate that will see over 400 “big screens” switching from traditional film to digital technology.

In an announcement this week, Primedia-owned cinema chain Ster-Kinekor said it had partnered with international digital cinema company Arts Alliance Media (AAM) to replace film with digital technology across its 54 South African sites. The deal will see digital gradually taking the place of film and projector systems over the next 12 months.

“AAM and Ster-Kinekor are currently working together to establish the optimum equipment configuration for the new installations, and the rollout is expected to begin shortly,” says AAM. In addition to digital cinema hardware, all of Ster-Kinekor's cinemas will be installed with AAM's proprietary software, Screenwriter.

Ster-Kinekor CEO Fiaz Mahomed says converting to digital is a “critical step” in the progression of the company. “[Digital is important] as we continue to grow our business and continue to lead SA's exhibition industry. We're delighted to announce this deal with AAM - we've seen their experience in Europe and are looking forward to their expertise helping us become 100% digital.”

AAM CEO Howard Kiedaisch says the company sees SA as a key territory where a virtual print fee (VPF) program could bring “tremendous value”. A VPF is a joint funding model that helps cinemas and motion picture exhibitors purchase digital cinema equipment. Ster-Kinekor is AAM's first South African VPF partner.

Giovanni Dolci, AAM's director of business development and commercial operations, says: “We have been working closely with Fiaz and his team to devise a solution that would meet Ster-Kinekor's needs and we are thrilled to announce this deal to support their digital conversion. Ster-Kinekor is one of the global leaders in cinema and we look forward to working with them to continue to advance digital cinema in SA.”

Ster-Kinekor is SA's largest cinema exhibitor, followed by Avusa-owned Nu Metro.

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