Recession Doesn't Squeeze Cinedigm

Cinedigm Digital Cinema, which changed its name from Access Integrated Technologies last week, has raised an initial $8.9 million in financing for its Phase 2 digital-cinema deployment plan. The facility will fund the launch of Cinedigm's first 137 Phase 2 conversions of Premiere Cinemas theaters to the Cinedigm d-cinema platform. The first 35 systems are expected to be operational this month, with a Phase 2 total of 55 by year's end.

Under its Phase 1 plan, the company deployed 3,700 screens, the majority of the d-cinema screens in the domestic market. The Phase 2 plan ultimately is expected to equip as many as 10,000 screens. To date, Cinedigm has signed almost 500 screens to the plan.

The deal with an undisclosed credit facility comes at a time when the d-cinema transition essentially is stalled because of the challenge of raising financing in the current economic climate. 3-D stakeholders in particular have been watching this issue. D-cinema screens are needed to offer 3-D, and more than a dozen 3-D films are slated to open in 2009.

"We are extremely pleased but not surprised to have closed on this initial financing," Cinedigm chairman and CEO Bud Mayo said. "As industry leader and the only company actually to have converted thousands of screens so far, we are committed to delivering on our promise to begin Phase 2 installations for Premiere Cinemas in this quarter in a significant way."

Our goal is to continue to sign thousands of additional screens in the months ahead in anticipation of additional financing from a variety of sources," he added.

By Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter