By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Monday, November 11th the Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (The National Bank for Economic and Social Development), better known as BNDES, announced that it, in association with the National Cinema Agency (ANCINE), would finance digital upgrades of Brazilian theaters currently using film.
The loans, totaling R123.3 million, will be granted to the Telem Group Quanta DGT for the digitization of 770 theaters across the country. Quanta DGT will be responsible for the installation of the new digital equipment and the lease of digital projectors.
Additionally, the funds will be used to help train projectionists to operate the digital equipment. ANCINE estimated that sixty percent of Brazil’s 2,800 theaters are currently using digital technology.
For the remaining forty percent, the upgrade to digital should reduce operational costs and open new forms of revenue including use of the equipment and theaters for paid-attendance events including live streaming sports, concerts and corporate seminars. Additionally, the funds stand to benefit smaller theaters, with R$2.7 million of the R$123.3 million total, going to cinemas with under four theaters.
BNDES is the main provider of long-term financing in Brazil and among its many projects and services, it is well known for its support of the Brazilian film industry. In addition to loans for production of films, construction and renovation of theaters, BNDES has co-sponsored film festivals across the country.
In the loan approval announcement released on Monday, November 10th, BNDES stated that its O Edital de Cinema (The Call Cinema) program, has supported the development of more than four hundred domestic films with R$173 million in funds. The digitization process of the Brazilian theaters currently using film is expected to reach completion by early 2015.