Country Focus: Germany
Independent German VPF Hub model becomes success story
by Birgit Heidsiek
- Only two years after the VPF Hub model was launched by independent industry representatives in Germany, the system has already paid off. Two cinemas with multiple screens received so many virtual print fees that they have compensated the costs of their digitization. From now on, the award-winning art house cinema Casino in Aschaffenburg is one of the first theatres in Germany that doesn't demand a VPF any longer.
“I am delighted that the contribution from the distributors came together within a year,” says Casino exhibitor Christopher Bausch. “It is critical that the U.S. distributors who have been forcing the digital transition, only partly participate in the financing of the digitization.”
In total, the VPF Hub scheme is supported by just 60 distributors in Germany who committed themselves to come up with a VPF in order to support independent cinemas. VPF Hub takes care of the administrative handling and checks the corresponding claims of the exhibitors and contributions from the distributors. Since VPF Hub began its operations eighteen month ago more than € 2.6m distributor contribution has been cashed out to the cinemas. VPF Hub concluded contracts for more than 700 screens in Germany. Meanwhile over 90 percent converted to DCI compliant digital projection systems.
“I really raise my hat to the independent German distributors as well as to Paramount and Universal Pictures Germany who prove with their participation in VPF Hub that they believe in an independent theatrical market in Germany and are also willing to co-finance the costs for the digitization,” states Sven Andresen, CEO of VPF Hub. “Especially since the art house cinemas are generating the VPFs much more quickly than we had ever expected.”