One nation, all digital: Norway prepares revolutionary rollout
Norway is in the midst one of the cinema industry’s most interesting and extensively planned digital conversions.
Film & Kino, the Norwegian government agency that oversees the country’s film, video and exhibition industries, is preparing to move forward by soliciting bids from digital-cinema providers for a full national rollout for the country’s 400-plus screens. With five Hollywood studio virtual print fee (VPF) deals in hand, and three years of preparation and testing completed, the nationwide changeover is scheduled to begin this fall with completion expected in the 2011 time frame.
Norway has an active cinema industry: With a population approaching five million, cinema admissions total approximately 12 million per year. Cinema is regarded as part of the cultural heritage and therefore receives a good deal of governmental attention and support. The country’s exhibition structure is unique: Although there are several small chains, most of the cinemas are individually owned and operated by local municipalities. Film & Kino’s exhibition division acts much as a cinema trade body looking out for the wellbeing of the industry by providing quality standards, technology support and training, all with the intent of maintaining the high quality of the cinemas and their presentations. Film & Kino derives their operating revenue from the Norwegian Cinema & Film Fund, which is maintained by a 2.5% tax on cinema admissions and other media sales.