European digital cinema services group d-cinex has agreed Virtual Print Fee (VPF) terms with Spanish and German distributors, meaning that these independent local distributors will now pay into the overall VPF pot to part-finance digital cinema systems for exhibitors signed up with the company in those countries.
In Spain, d-cinex has signed over 200 screens and now covers around 90 per cent of the distribution market. The distributors signed are Altea Films, Dea Planeta, Tripictures, Wanda Visión, Vertice Films, Vértigo Films, Golem Distribución and Filmax, with negotiations also underway with a number of others. French and European third-party integrator Ymagis signed a deal with Spanish distributors in September 2011.
In Germany, d-cinex has signed a deal memo for a VPF agreement with a group of 30 distributors represented by leading local independents Constantin, Studiocanal, Central Film and Tobis. The distributors came together in 2011 to negotiate as a group, pooling resources and having more weight, and the deal now agreed will be open to all distributors whether they joined or not.
The two agreements are significant as local distributors need to be on board for the VPF process to work as efficiently and quickly as possible. The VPF deals were developed by and signed with US studios in the first instance, whose model differs greatly from independent distributors and this issue has been problematic for some time. Progress has been made in the past year by all third-party integrators, as they have adapted their models to suit the specific needs of indie distributors, all of whom may have varying models too. The German distributor group in particular recognised the shift in the business model to suit their members.