[Source: FNE, March 18, 2011, Michal Procházka]
Czech State Fund Continues to Support Digitalisation of Cinemas
The Czech State Fund has called for submission to the forth wave of financial support of digitalisation of Czech cinemas with 50 million CZK (1.2 milion euro) available. The newest round of grants has a deadline of 15 April 2011. The central cinema institution has spent already 68.5 million CZK (2.8 million euro) for the digitalisation of 72 mostly one screen cinemas over the past three years.
The state fund covers 30 to 50% of the total cost of digital equipment for one cinema with a limit of 2.5 million CZK (100,000 euro). Since most traditional screening halls are still owned by towns and public institutions the rest of the cost is generally covered by the municipalities. This means the digitalization almost 100% covered by public funding. There are now more than 500 screening halls in the Czech Republic with 142 DCI equipped halls.
"Multiplexes have a 70 percent market share so operating a traditional cinemas is not really a profitable business. With 24 multiplexes and top Czech and international titles usually released in about thirty 35mm prints, traditional cinemas were usually waiting for a print for four or five weeks until the plexes were saturated. By the time they receive the print the audience was already decreasing," said Přemysl Šoba, chairman of the State Fund for the Support and Development of Czech Cinematography.
Šoba is also director of Teplice´s Dům kultury and local cinema. He said that the digitalisation means a revolution for smaller players. "You can have the most awaited film just after a premier, even in a small town or a village like Trhové Sviny. This stops cinemas from closing down."
The fifth round of state support is planned for the beginning of 2012.