Big screen will start to make money this year

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Derry City and Strabane District Council culture chief Linda Williams reckons the huge open air cinema screen in Waterloo Square will start bringing in revenue for the city.

Back in 2010 the Sentinel first reported how the Culture Minister of the time, Nelson McCausland, had bid £650,000 for an open air cinema screen to show major cultural and sporting events in Londonderry during the 2012 Olympiad.

Whilst the screen truly came into its own during the 2012 Olympics and UK City of Culture 2013 it’s been an on-off affair since then.

Technical support and content management - provided centrally by the BBC - ended in September 2013 and two years ago the old Derry City Council considered moving the screen to Shipquay Place (Guildhall Square) or Harbour Square from its location outside Supervalu.

Now the Derry City and Strabane District Council, Head of Culture, has confirmed, she believes the screen, which hasn’t generated any income yet, will start to do so this year.

“The screen has not generated an income to date but we anticipate when the screen is fully functioning in Spring 2016 that we will start to see an income,” Ms Williams revealed in response to a request under the Freedom of Information legislation.

She explained that the screen is currently operated by an external provider contracted by Derry City and Strabane District Council and that it costs the local authority nothing as a result.

“There are rental, power, technical and staffing costs associated with the screen, which are covered by an external provider,” she said.