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According to the Los Angeles Times, Sony Pictures will become the first major studio with a dedicated division for distributing digital programming such as concerts, plays and sporting events to theater chains.

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This move comes as Hollywood studios and cinema owners look at expanding their offerings in an era of essentially flat attendance for traditional movies.

The report notes that many theater owners in the US are hoping that such alternative content will be a way of attracting new customers and drum up additional business to what ahs been a disappointing first quarter in the cinema sector.

Movie ticket sales in the U.S. in 2007, says the report were down 12 per cent from the peak in 2002, with analysts citing the boom in home entertainment and video games along with film piracy as factors.

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