European digital cinema services and distribution group Arts Alliance Media (AAM) has signed the first VPF agreement for digital roll-out in Latin America with Sony Pictures. Countries covered under the deal are Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru and Ecuador. Arts Alliance has experience of being a frontrunner in a region, as it also signed the first European VPF deals paving the way for a roll-out of around 2,300 screens installed to date.
Additionally, AAM has also signed a partial roll-out agreement with Spanish independent cinema grouping Area Catalana de Exhibicion Cinematografica (ACEC), for 75 screens financed via the recently-announced Barco/AAM leasing programme. Not all ACEC sites (grouping has 26 sites) have signed up to the rollout scheme, but those that have are undergoing a full digitisation with Doremi servers, Barco projectors and AAM's proprietary TMS. Onsite installations will be handled by Spanish integrator Kelonik, including a NOC run by them.
The Latin American agreement with Sony, while only one studio which means that it will not be triggered just yet, is necessary groundwork for progress in that region which is lagging behind North America, Europe and Asia. The only public sector involvement is in Brazil, a country which has in place a preliminary agreement between Beyond All, LLC in conjunction with Cinedigm and MKPE Consulting with a consortium of 15 exhibitors comprising 1,000 screens in Brazil. The region had 2,195 d-screens at end 2011, up from 1,251 at end 2010. Of these d-screens, 2,119 (or 96.5 per cent) were equipped with 3D, and a wider 2D roll-out seems some way off in many countries.