The Cinema Exhibitors’ Association today announced that senior industry executive Steve Perrin had been appointed to lead the UK Digital Funding Group (DFG).

Steve Perrin

Steve Perrin

Perrin, whose most recent role was as Senior Vice President and Head of International, Rentrak Theatrical, begins work immediately as Chief Executive of the DFG, which aims to negotiate financial support for small and medium-sized UK cinema operators to convert to digital cinema technology.

Welcoming the announcement, CEA Chief Executive Phil Clapp said:

“Helping to ensure that as many UK cinemas as possible can navigate the transition to digital cinema is at the very top of the CEA agenda. I am delighted that we have been able to secure someone of Steve Perrin’s experience and reputation to lead this work.

No-one under-estimates the difficulties that lie ahead, but under Steve’s leadership we are better-equipped than ever to overcome these. I look forward to working closely with him over the coming months. We now have almost 600 screens committed in principle to the Group. I again call on all exhibitors to offer the Group their full support.’

Making his first public statement on the role, Perrin said:

“The UK exhibition industry has always been at the international forefront when it comes to business innovation and change. In the 1980s and 1990s it led the international world in multiplex development, and in the current decade was among the first markets to recognise and embrace the strategic value of digital cinema.

The newly formed UK Digital Funding Group further evidences the industry’s desire to remain at the vanguard of new technology. The role of leading the Group in this endeavour is undoubtedly challenging but I relish this exciting opportunity to help manage this period of change.”

The UK Film Council has given its full support to the Funding Group, Head of Distribution and Exhibition Pete Buckingham adding:

“Digital technology offers huge opportunities to the cinema sector, but the funding mechanisms currently on offer may have far reaching effects on the exhibition landscape. It is vital that there isn’t a digital divide in exhibition between those who can participate and those who cannot.

The UK Film Council, the CEA and other interested groups all recognise that in the digital switchover, no cinema should be left behind if at all possible. Setting up the Digital Funding Group is, therefore, forward-thinking and highly necessary and I am delighted that we have someone with Steve Perrin’s experience and track record leading the Group.”