Page last updated at 02:47 GMT, Thursday, 9 February 2006

Digital film: Industry answers

Some of the leading figures in the global film industry have answered your questions about movies in the digital age.

The BBC News website asked for your queries about the way new technology is being used - and the eight sharpest and most pertinent questions were put to the virtual panel.

Click on each question to read the answers.


Can you envisage a time when there is almost simultaneous release of product in the cinema, through rental outlets, in the high street and online, leaving the customer to choose his preferred way of viewing? Jon Gardner, Kingston-upon-Thames, UK

  • Dan Glickman, chairman and chief executive of the Motion Picture Association of America:

    Let me first say that the movie industry wants to provide hassle-free easy access ways for consumers to see movies. And new technologies are allowing people to see movies in more ways than ever before and that is good news for our industry. There are already some companies experimenting with simultaneous release and I expect as time goes on, there may be more.

    But this is a company-by-company decision - they will have to decide individually what is right for them and consumer demand will certainly play a big part in that.

  • Lavinia Carey, director general of the British Video Association:

    Yes, it's already arrived! Steven Soderbergh has made a low-budget film in 18 days called Bubble, shot with high definition cameras and starring amateur actors. It was released simultaneously at the end of January on a limited number of cinema screens, on DVD and cable TV.

    While film companies in general are attempting to shorten the windows to meet public demand, simultaneous release won't be common until digital technology is more widespread, which will reduce the high costs of distribution.

  • John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theatre Owners:

    We do not believe that simultaneous release would actually offer consumers a meaningful choice. Quite the contrary, simultaneous release would cripple the cinema industry, and for many people, their cherished choice to view a new (or old) film away from home, on the big screen, would vanish.

    Moreover, an exclusive theatrical window confers panache and a marketing edge on a film that would likewise vanish in a simultaneous release regime. Then you're talking 'television movie of the week' - a sad diminution of cinematic art, and thus, again, a disservice to consumer choice.

  • Curt Marvis, chief executive of CinemaNow:

    Yes, I can imagine such a time. That said, I think it is still several years off and a question of 'when' rather than 'if'.

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