Category Archives: Software

Vista Continues Strategic Growth and Diversification With Stake In MACCS

Murray Holdaway, Bert Huls and Mathieu van As

(From left): Murray Holdaway, Bert Huls and Mathieu van As

One of the more important stories to come out of this year’s CinemaCon is one that didn’t even get announced until more than a week after the show ended. By then anyone who follows such news was already well aware that the cinema exhibition software firm Vista Entertainment Solutions had acquired a stake in MACCS International, the developer of market leading distribution software. We’d like to summarize why we believe this is a significant industry development.

As I noted just before this year’s CinemaCon, I have a great deal of respect for Murray Holdaway, Vista’s Chief Executive, and Derek Forbes, the company’s President of North America. Over nearly twenty years they, along with a growing team of smart executives, have taken the New Zealand based outfit from being a small player in a crowded field of cinema point-of-sale vendors to being the dominant exhibition software solutions developer in the space. In the process, Vista has left a wake of once prominent entities such as Splice and Titan Technologies.

In all fairness, Vista still faces a field of new and perennial competitors. They include, though are not at all limited to, regional and worldwide entrants such as Allure Global, Compeso, Diamond Ticketing Systems, Jack Roe, NCR, Omnico, Omniterm, Ready Theatre Systems, Retriever, TicketNew, TicketSoft and Vendini.

What has helped set Vista apart from some of these rivals is how the company has been able to think beyond its own systems and offerings to see opportunities in related or adjacent markets. They have managed to avoid pitfalls, even when enticing distractions beckoned with the promise of future riches. A great illustration of this would be Vista’s decision to not develop a theatre management system (TMS) for digital cinema installations. Such software is generally forced upon exhibitors by integrators and has become commoditized, save for a few solutions offered by Arts Alliance Media, Cinedigm and Unique Digital.

At the same time, Vista has been adept at increasing its revenue through a series of wise decisions about building or acquiring product offerings that have expanded its customer base. For instance, the company developed Veezi as a cinema management and ticketing system for small and independent cinemas; a market it didn’t serve and one that couldn’t afford Vista’s current solutions.

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Apollo Gets More From Sony and Vista

Apollo Cinemas More Campaign

Over the past week Apollo Cinemas has decided that more is… well, more. The United Kingdom’s sixth largest exhibition chain is partnering with Sony Digital Cinema to bring more 3D alternative content to its customers and they have selected Vista Cinema Software to increase their overall operational effectiveness.

Apollo launched the More campaign to offer content from partners such as The Royal Opera House, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the English National Opera. Performances will be offered in what is being described as “super high definition live 3D” using Sony’s 4K projectors. The circuit is also planning to show sporting events such as rugby, football and tennis, as well as concerts and music festivals.

Apollo has held their first live 3D event earlier this month when pop star Avril Lavigne debuted her new album at the chain’s cinema in London’s Piccadilly Circus. Lavigne was on-hand for a question and answer session after the video screening. In March, Apollo will be showing a 3D film version of the opera “Carmen”. The George Bizet opera was filmed during performances at the Royal Opera House.

The deal seems somewhat inevitable since Apollo signed up with Sony as their digital cinema deployment entity in 2009. The theatre chain’s press release didn’t specifically detail how Sony was enabling them to bring 3D alternative content into their theatres beyond providing the equipment that makes it all possible. In fact, Nicole Oakley, Marketing Manager at Apollo Cinemas said just that:

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