Warner Bros. Entertainment, Universal Pictures and Digital Cinema Implementation Partners said Tuesday they have formed a joint venture that will evaluate and produce a digital delivery format and infrastructure for digital cinema.

The announcement marks the first-time a collaboration between studios and exhibitors has been formed to develop a form of digital content delivery, the group said in a statement. Warner Bros. is a unit of Time Warner Inc; Universal Pictures, a unit of G.E. Co.'s NBC Universal; and Bergen County, N.J.-based Digital Cinema is a joint venture owned by AMC Entertainment Inc., Cinemark USA Inc. and Regal Entertainment Group, consisting of more than14,000 screens in the U.S. and Canada.


The group added that the technologies will include satellite or land-based distribution. It added that the delivery system will be open and available to any content provider, vendor or exhibitor.


"Utilizing digital distribution technologies to support digital cinema seems like a natural progression and complementary to the roll-out of projection systems that is currently taking place," said Darcy Antonellis, an executive with Warner Bros. "We're excited by the opportunities we will have to identify and implement the most effective, cost-efficient means for delivery of our films."

The deal hopes to improve on the current distribution system, which includes studios sending individual prints of each movie physically to theaters in "film cans." The system, the group said, will allow the studios to send the films digitally, increasing quality and security.

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