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Cinedigm Eying Altered Window Strategy

21 Jun, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Cinedigm Digital Cinema is prepping a multiplatform distribution strategy whereby theater operators would share in the revenue of movies released early and simultaneously on disc, video-on-demand and streaming, an analyst told Home Media Magazine.

Los Angeles-based Cinedigm, which operates a business model transforming movie theaters into digital screens and networked entertainment centers, last month acquired independent distributor New Video Group for $14 million. The company is expected to release 18 to 24 indie films in fiscal year 2014, upping the slate to 20 to 25 titles in fiscal year 2015, said Eric Wold, analyst with B. Riley & Co. in Los Angeles.

New Video and Cinedigm in January formed an acquisition and distribution partnership, which included Invisible War, Citadel and In Our Nature.

Wold said that given the limited number of digital screens on which the indie film slate would be released, Cinedigm’s tactic of apportioning downstream revenue (VOD, streaming, DVDs, etc.) with the exhibitors allows it to experiment with multiple release formats or windows, including shrunken windows and day-and-date releases, to see what drives the most demand and profitability for all parties involved.

“I believe there is significant potential for this model to drive increased profitability for indie films, which inherently have limited upfront risk for Cinedigm,” Wold wrote in an email. “I also believe that Cinedigm’s advantage of controlling the distribution ecosystem from theatrical through home video will give the company an advantage when dealing with content owners and could lead to other theatrical-only distributors partnering with Cinedigm to driver greater overall results.”

Cinedigm, in its most recent fiscal call, gave FY13 revenue and pre-tax income guidance of $91 million to $97 million and $11 million to $13 million (before New Video ramp costs), respectively.

A Cinedigm representative said there were no plans to release controversial doc, The Invisible War, early after its June 22 theatrical launch. The film about sexual assaults in the U.S. military is slated to bow on disc and VOD Oct. 23.

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