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Last Updated: Friday, 10 October, 2003, 12:53 GMT 13:53 UK
Cinemas set for 'digital revolution'
David Bowie
A recent David Bowie show was beamed to 50,000 fans in cinemas
Music, sport and musicals will all be regularly beamed into cinemas by the year 2008, a report has predicted.

Digital projectors that can show live events on big screens are expected to become common over the next five years, research journal Screen Digest said.

Screenings of things other than normal films will account for one third of cinemas' profits by 2008, it said.

Rock concerts, Broadway musicals, football and wrestling are among the events that have already been screened.

Content rights owners are only just starting to grasp the potential that this represents
Daniel Schmitt
Screen Digest
The digital changes would turn cinemas into "entertainment complexes" - not just movie houses - the report said.

Screen Digest analyst Daniel Schmitt said: "It is no longer a question of whether audiences are willing to go, or are prepared to pay for other entertainment than films in cinemas."

Cinemas in the United States and Europe are investing "tens of millions of dollars" in the technology, he said.

"They know they have an audience. Content rights owners are only just starting to grasp the potential that this represents."

There are currently 80 digital screens in the European Union - but the report predicted that this would rise to 4,125 by 2008.

Bowie success

And "alternative content events" would generate 35% of profits by that time, it said.

The predictions come one month after the most ambitious such event yet, when 50,000 fans in 86 cinemas around the world watched an exclusive David Bowie concert.

Forthcoming events in the US include a show by rock band Rush, which is being beamed live into 26 cinemas across the country.

Also planned is an educational event centred around the new Disney film Holes, where schoolchildren in 41 cinemas will be able to put questions to the director and writer.

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