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The Power of Joining Forces

How Collaboration Transformed a Complete Industry

I have been very fortunate to experience the power of collaborating early in my career. It is hard to imagine that when I joined Barco, the majority of theatres were still showing movies through the 100-year-old medium of 35 mm film (think VHS but for professional use). Although the technology was ready, the movie theatres didn’t feel the need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on replacing their equipment with digital projectors. The Hollywood Studios and distributors on the other hand saw a great opportunity as going digital would mean a massive reduction in distribution cost. And the digital projector manufacturers, they were waiting for years, till the big breakthrough finally happened end 2009.

On December 18, 2009, the hugely popular movie Avatar was released in the US. That day will be remembered as a monumental pivotal moment for digital cinema. In addition to fundamentally changing movie production, Avatar caused a sharp increase in interest from exhibitors in deploying more digital 3D screens.

Although Avatar was definitely a trigger, the transition to digital technology wouldn’t have taken place at the same speed without the Virtual Print Fee (VPF). The VPF is a mechanism that was based on a very strong collaboration between key players in the cinema ecosystem. This collaboration has helped to transform the cinema industry and make it fit for survival in the 21st industry.

So, take a step back and look around you. Do you see partnership opportunities which could shakeup your market? Who knows, maybe your industry is the next one to be transformed at record speed.


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