PRAGUE: Many small-town cinema houses in the Czech Republic may have to close in 2013 because they lack the finances to go digital.
The Czech Ministry of Culture has distributed more than 110 m CZK for digitalization support in recent years, with 166 small Czech cinemas already digitalized. There are still more than 250 cinemas to go, including many one-screen cinemas that are considered too small and not cost effective either for film distributors or for the owners.
“The cost for digitalization is around 2 m CZK per cinema – a lot of money for a small city or village. That´s why many choose to start using the cinema, traditionally an important social meeting place, for other cultural activities,” said Petr Vítek from the association Digitalni Kino.
The new Czech film fund will continue supporting digitalization for more screens
Smaller cinemas, especially in Prague are experiencing a renaissance at the moment. After the difficult struggle that began in the 1990’s, due to the strong competition of big multiplexes, audiences are returning to art house cinemas. With Czech multiplexes offering increasingly limited commercial programming as ownership becomes more concentrated, small cinemas in major cities are providing alternatives to audiences looking for other options.