A group of companies revolutionise movie distribution in Spain

March 13, 2013

This innovative system represents a significant streamlining of the distribution process to movie theatres, allowing receive simultaneously to all of them a film in only 3 hours while improving efficiency and security.

The Madrid Callao cinema will be the pioneer in projecting films distributed by satellite.

Deluxe Spain, a cutting-edge technological company involved in the audio visual content post-production, introduces this distribution model -in Spain.

The Hispasat 1E satellite will transmit the films directly to the cinemas with no need for hardware supports.

Ericsson has facilitated the technological platform for controlling and safely transferring multimedia contents to cinemas.

MoMe, the service provider, is responsible for the overall system integration and for the digital contents distribution solution deployment.

For the first time in Spain, leading companies from the telecommunications sector and the movie industry have come together with the aim of making an innovative and ambitious project reality, in order to modernise the cinematographic contents distribution . It is estimated that, at the outset, they will be able to distribute 20,000 film copies and 30,000 trailers per year to 2,000 movie theatres all over the country, using the Hispasat 1E satellite and with no need for hardware supports.

The technological advances that make up the new distribution system offer significant advantages as compared to those currently used, because they streamline the process and considerably reduce the time spent to receive the films in the theatre, by simultaneously transmitting them to cinemas in just three hours. In addition, security and efficiency increases and logistics are simplified, avoiding the material becoming lost or damaged risks, and deliveries delayed. 

The power, flexibility and functionality of the satellite makes it possible for this type of distribution to be used for all types of content, from HD and 3D to the future Ultra High Definition, that is currently being developed. Similarly, the extensive Hispasat satellites coverage enables to extend the solution to Europe and to the American continent. 

The Madrid Callao cinema, one of the oldest theatres in Spain, will be a pioneer in this new cinematographic distribution system that will revolutionise the dissemination process in cinemas, in this way combining cultural tradition and technological state-of-the-art.

Hispasat will supply its satellite fleet’s space segment; Ericsson has designed the technological platform (contents broadcasting server and digital reception equipment); MoMe will provide the overall system integration and its deployment (broadcasting antennas and receivers, operation and system maintenance) and it will be the service provider; lastly, Deluxe Spain, an audio visual service provider responsible for the most of the cinematographic material distribution in Spain, it will exclusively include this solution to its services, so content can reach cinemas via satellite. 


Transmission of cinematographic contents via satellite: dematerialisation of the process

From the large celluloid rolls that distributors used to receive years ago, we have now moved on to a smaller digital format, the DCP (Digital Cinema Package), distributed by delivering hard drives to all cinemas. This involves the preparation of hundreds of film master tape copies, which are sent in packages that are very-well protected, given their fragility, to the different theatres so they can be projected. The cinemas download the hard drive on the projector server and they later have to return the hardware support to the distributor so it can be used again. This all means deploying  complicated logistics that are not exempt from risks, as well as delivery times for delivering the copies of between 6 hours and several days, depending on the theatres location . 

This entire process can now be replaced by a single film transmission from the Deluxe premises to all of the cinemas at the same time. The Hispasat 1E satellite will transmit the signal sent out by Deluxe, will amplify it and send it back to Earth, where it can be received by the antenna installed in the cinemas. To protect the transmited contents against piracy, the theatres will receive a digital password by electronic mail that will enable them to decode the film. Thanks to Hispasat fleet’s high levels of service, which allow for transmission speeds of over 115 Mbps, all of the cinemas will be able to download a medium-sized film –approximately 200 GBytes- in a secure way onto their projectors in three hours, and a trailer in just a few minutes.

Only these elements are necessary to carry out this process:

-       A broadcasting antenna and a management system at the content provider.

-       A receiving antenna at the different cinemas.

-       Digital projection equipment (already in use by many cinemas).

-       A computer for downloading.

-       A password that will be sent to the cinemas for decoding the content.


In this way, satellite cinema distribution dematerialises the process, doing away with hardware supports and reducing waste. To give one example, it will eliminate over two million kilometres per year in different transport vehicles, which represents an annual saving of 270 tonnes of CO2 emission.



Technological solution

Ericsson offers a technological solution for the efficient and secure DCPs’ distribution: Ericsson CMS-D (previously known as “MediaPath”). The solution consists of a central server for controlling and transferring all of the multimedia contents (distributions) to cinemas, and a receiving server at the movie theatres that receives them and sends them to the projectors.

Ericsson CMS-D provides full control of the transfers to the cinemas from a central console located at the Deluxe facilities. The DCPs’ sender server is run and controlled from that console and the receiver or catcher servers that are installed at each cinema, which assemble the contents that are distributed so that they can be sent to the projection rooms and inform the central systems about the progress of these transfers.

Ericsson CMS-D control console manages full distribution to groups of cinemas, partial distributions based upon the titles negotiated with the studios and any other multimedia material that may be useful. Ericsson CMS-D provides mechanisms for generating reports, E–mail notifications and alerts, in such a way that all of the transfer flows from the DCPs are under control at all times and all of the distributions can be fully monitored.

MoMe, as Ericsson partner, will provide the professional service for the integration of the CMS-D system to Hispasat, and the receivers’ deployment to cinemas, as well as the front-line levels of support in the lifecycle of the service. Deluxe, in turn, provides the content and manages the system.

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