Page last updated at 02:53 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.


With the home entertainment business booming, DVD, home theatres and TVs that deliver a better viewing experience than traditional theatres, what if anything is in the works to save our movie theatres? Kevin Moore, New York, USA

  • Dan Glickman, Motion Picture Association of America:

    I was at the Consumer Electronics Show in January and what occurred to me is that while there are thousands of new and exciting ways for people to see movies, there is still nothing like seeing a movie in a movie theatre.

    There are many demands on people's time nowadays and people are able to get movies in all ways - on iPods, online, etc. But theatres will continue to work to give people the experience they want and can only get by seeing a movie in a theatre.

  • Lavinia Carey, British Video Association:

    Where cinemas stay up-to-date to make movie-going as appealing as possible, this is the preferred way to see a new film for many consumers. It is a different and exciting experience to watch a new film on a huge digital picture with fantastic digital surround sound.

    It also suits different people at different life stages. For parents of very young children, it's often more convenient to stay at home to watch a film, but as children grow up, parents go back to cinemas for the 'social event' and to take their offspring to see family films as well.

  • John Fithian, National Association of Theatre Owners:

    The cinema industry is very competitive, not only in numbers of screens, but in competition with multiple other solicitations for consumers' entertainment spending.

    We constantly listen to our patrons and innovate in enhancing the cinema experience. Examples include programmes for mothers with children, usher programs focusing on rude patron behaviour and cell phone use, different and varied concessions, frequent patron programs, and a host of others. Of course, the biggest revolution will be digital cinema, which television cannot equal.

  • Curt Marvis, CinemaNow:

    The theatre owners are well aware of this, and they are responding. In the United States, 'stadium' seating has become almost a necessity. More and more theatres are offering food and drinks for sale (real food, not just popcorn, etc). Some have waiter service in the theatre.

    They're also releasing movies digitally, which provides a better quality viewing experience. All in all, the theatre owners know that they have to compete with the home viewing experience, and they are trying new ways to entice people to go to the theatre.

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