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Innovation & Job News

Center City's Specticast set to revolutionize film distribution

It all started in a community screening room for Specticast, an all digital private network company that distributes film and cultural arts events via set-top boxes. Based in Center City, the company uses an efficient internet protocol rather than satellite to distribute programming such as simulcast concerts from The Philadelphia Orchestra and independent full length features. Mark Rupp, COO and co-founder of Specticast, says they're broadcasting to about 80 outfits right now, including The Bryn Mawr Film Institute and senior living communities like Waverly and the Quadrangle. By the end of the year, the company hopes to increase its reach to 200 outlets. The company also offers concerts from The Curtis Institute and broadcasts of Michael Smerconish's book club.

You may wonder if this is the same company that distributes simulcasts of the opera at movie theaters. "We are not the opera," says Rupp. "Our Digital Theater Network is a very different technology from the Met. They are done over satellite and distributed to the big chains." Instead, Specticast aims for the art house crowd, so outlets like The Bala Theater and The County Theater in Doyletown are prime targets. Specticast serves similar theaters across the country, and is aiming for a global presence with its plug and play technology.

Traditionally, says Rupp, movies are distributed as 35 mm prints, which are very expensive to create, ship and insure. "When our technology comes in, it fills a gap," says Rupp. Specticast can provide the same film digitally for pennies on the dollar on a 10 mpbs downlink. Subscribers pay a refundable $395 deposit for the set top box, and theatrical license fees that range from $250-$1,000 per film. For films and events that generate revenue in theaters, Specticast gets a percentage of the gross gate. The film or live streaming event is delivered to a 250 gig set top box, and is remotely deleted at the end of the rental period.

Specticast just announced a partnership with indie film distributor Monterey Media, which will open the door to a lot more feature film content, and with Monterey's Hollywood connections, Rupp expects that it won't be long before Specticast will be able to exponentially expand offerings through agreements with other independent distributors.

Source: Mark Rupp, Specticast
Writer: Sue Spolan
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