Vivendi & Convex
Join NBC and TBS As Providers
‘The Twenty’ Preshow
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Vivendi Universal Entertainment
is providing segments for Regal Entertainment Group’s
(REG) new digitally-projected preshows.
Moviegoers arriving early to a Feb. 9 screening
of a Dangerous Mind” at REG’s 6-plex in Marina
Del Rey, Calif., (among them an In
Focus staffer) saw a
mini-documentary about the making of Universal’s “8
Mile.” The segment, which featured never-before-seen
interviews and other backstage footage, concluded with
an announcement that the “8 Mile” DVD would
be available from retailers beginning March 18.
Vivendi is among several media companies
providing digital preshow segments to REG cinemas via Regal
Other providers include the NBC TV network, cable’s
Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) and the Convex Group,
a media and entertainment holding company which announced
its deal with RCM on Feb. 3.
The segments these companies provide, grouped
together with a number of 30-second commercials, are collectively
known as “The Twenty” – so named because
they fill the 20 minutes prior to a movie’s advertised
start time. RCM designed “The Twenty” to serve
as an alternative to pre-trailer slideshows.
At the same Feb. 9 preshow, NBC promoted “The Tonight
Show With Jay Leno” with a made-for-cinemas skit
featuring Leno as a creepy hitchhiker who comically terrorizes
the motorist who picks him up. After a pair of commercials – for
AOL Broadband and the U.S. Army – the Leno segment
was followed by a promo for the NBC miniseries “Kingpin.”
Also featured was footage from “Harvey Birdman, Attorney
At Law,” a TV series made popular on TBS’s
Cartoon Network. TBS also recently created for CineMedia
an “NBA All-Star Weekend” documentary segment
featuring basketball greats Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson
and Larry Bird, among others.
Commercials for Coca-Cola, the Los Angeles
Times, Cingular Wireless, CBS’s Grammy Awards telecast, and a boat
show at the Los Angeles Convention Center were also part
of the “Confessions” digital preshow, as was
a “house spot” promoting Regal concessions.
RCM launched “The Twenty” Jan. 31 in 15 REG
markets. Plans call for the digitally-projected preshow
to become by year’s end a regular feature at approximately
375 REG sites.
“Rather than the mix of local, static slide advertising
currently being shown prior to feature films, Regal’s
theatres will be bringing moviegoers short-form programming
delivered digitally from some of the most respected companies
in entertainment,” said RCM marketing and sales president
RCM announced its deal with Vivendi on Jan.
30 and the “8-Mile” segment
was one of Vivendi’s first two contributions to “The
Twenty.” The other was a music video promoting Universal
Music Group’s “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron” soundtrack.
Under the terms of the agreement, Vivendi will create content
highlighting entertainment properties from a number of
its divisions, including Universal Studios Theme Parks,
Universal Studios Home Video, Universal Pictures, Universal
Interactive Studios and Universal Television Group.
According to Regal, the Vivendi content
provided for “The
Twenty” remains entirely separate from and uninfluenced
by REG’s relationship with Universal Pictures’ trailer
At the Feb. 9 “Confessions” screening
we attended, the preshow was followed by five trailers,
from 20th Century
Fox, Fox Searchlight, Artisan, Miramax and Paramount.
The digital preshow fits into a 20-minute
timeslot once occupied by slideshows. As a result, REG
have to reschedule or eliminate any showtimes. Overhead
lights are kept on during “The Twenty,” allowing
moviegoers to trail in and find their seats before the
Although some of the content providers have
already changed their segment selections, RCM plans on
rotating out the
segments on a monthly basis, to keep things fresh and entertaining
for REG audiences.
In order to maintain reliable and consistent
compliance with the ratings system, RCM works closely with
providers to create appropriate segments for G-, PG-, PG-13-
and R-rated features.
The “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron” music
video plays before G- and PG-rated features, while the “8
Mile” segment attends PG-13- and R-rated features.
TBS’s “Dexter’s Laboratory” music
video plays before G-,PG- and PG-13-rated features, while
R-rated features get the “Harvey Birdman” segment.
Beginning in late March, the newest RCM
provider, The Convex Group, was expected to use its “Twenty” slots
to promote its “How Stuff Works” franchise,
which encompasses books, magazines and Websites.
Trio Create Cinema
Ad Trade Association
NEW YORK – Three U.S. companies - Regal CineMedia
(RCM), National Cinema Network (NCN) and Screenvision – announced
Feb. 10 the formation of a national trade association,
the Cinema Advertising Council (CAC).
The CAC, patterned after its broadcast counterparts,
will promote the cinema advertising industry and work to
and set forth industry practice standards. The association
will also be involved in developing policies for advertising
content length, placement and standards.
“Cinema advertising is experiencing tremendous growth in
the United States, creating a need to unite as an industry
for the benefit of patrons and advertisers,” noted
Screenvision chief executive officer Matthew Kearney, who
serves as the new association’s president.
Other key players in the association include
CAC executive director and Movie Tunes senior vice president
RCM sales and marketing president Cliff Marks and NCN
president Chuck Battey.
Lines of Resolution
DCI’s Ordway Talks 2K-4K Standard
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. Digital Cinema Initiates (DCI) exec
Walt Ordway revealed Feb. 8 that his group would likely
endorse a digital cinema resolution standard of more than
2K, or 2,000 vertical lines.
Ordway, who serves as chief technology officer
for studio-backed DCI, was speaking Feb. 8 at the annual
Hollywood Post Alliance
Technology Retreat at the Ranchas Las Palmas Marriott Resort
and Spa in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
“The thrust of what we’ve been doing at DCI,” said
Ordway, “is trying to define a specification for
a system that starts at just a little bit more than HD
and goes to 4K.”
Ordway’s remarks would appear to exclude from DCI-backed
d-cinema standards the number of screen lines currently
employed by both HDTV and the Texas Instruments (TI) “black
chip” digital projector, the latter currently utilized
by some 150 cinemas worldwide.
“4K” refers to 4,000 vertical lines of resolution
on a screen. “HD” refers to the current high-definition
video standard, which is set at 1,920 lines. The widely-utilized
TI digital projectors offer 1,280 vertical lines.
Ordway’s much-anticipated remarks were followed 12
days later by a demonstration at Hollywood’s Digital
Cinema Laboratory of TI’s new prototype projector,
which utilizes a 2K DLP chip.
In an interview with The
Hollywood Reporter published Feb. 20, DLP Cinema business manager Doug Darrow
new 2K prototype chip was bigger than the older DLP chip,
and as a result could not be retrofitted into the 150 older
DLP projectors now in use.
DCI was formed last May by seven major film
studios to “establish
uniform specifications for digital cinema and to facilitate
the development of a business plan that could lead to an
orderly rollout of digital cinema,” according to
DCI CEO Chuck Goldwater.
Reveals Source Of Copy
Sarnoff Unveils Anti-
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Sarnoff
Corp. announced Jan. 24 that it has developed a new approach
to digital cinema
watermarking that will allow studios to trace a pirated
film back to its source. The announcement was made at the
15th annual symposium on Electronic Imaging Science and
Technology in Santa Clara, Calif.
The new technique embeds
digital codes invisible to the human eye in the on-screen
image that can identify individual
distributors or exhibitors of the film.
“Just as crucial for studios and other content creators,
it’s almost impossible for pirates to detect and
defeat these watermarked codes,” noted Jeffrey Lubin,
a senior member of Sarnoff Corp. and the chief developer
of the watermarking technique.