Satellite operator Arqiva has signed up mid-sized UK cinema circuit Reel Cinemas to its digital cinema satellite delivery system, adding another UK exhibitor to its network. Reel Cinemas (15 sites and 57 screens) was signed up by XDC, who has also signed Reel to its VPF-backed rollout for digital cinema.
Arqiva's strategy is in part to follow the exhibitors that sign to VPF systems with third-party integrators. Arqiva has agreements with both Arts Alliance Media and XDC to re-sell their satellite services to exhibitors. To date, Arqiva has achieved significant penetration in the UK, having deals with Empire, Apollo and Cineworld. In Europe, the operator has a deal with Odeon & UCI for Austria, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain but not UK. It has also signed up Italian Space Cinemas and Spanish circuit Yelmo via Arts Alliance Media and five cinemas in Portugal, Austria and Malta via XDC. XDC and French group Ymagis also have similar re-seller deals with French company Smartjog, another delivery provider. Provisional IHS Screen Digest research shows that 7.5 per cent of Europe's 8,760 cinema sites are equipped with satellite capability (both for DCPs and for live events and these system are not necessarily compatible), with France, UK and Netherlands leading the way amongst larger countries.