Technicolor’s Miniscule D-Cinema Sign Up Is Still Poke In The Eye For AccessIT

By Patrick von Sychowski | December 3, 2007 2:05 am PST

Technicolor logo Sometimes companies must wish that they could gloat more in standard press releases and none more so right now than Technicolor in announcing their first three digital cinema exhibitor clients: Clearview Cinemas, iPic Entertainment, Cinemaworld. On a strictly numerical basis it is very little to crow about as between these three, two add up to less than 300 screen and one has yet to open a single cinema. But it is Clearview that is the tiny jewel in Technicolor small digital cinema crown at the moment. From the press release:

Clearview Cinemas is a Chatham, New Jersey-based exhibitor that operates 50 theatres with 254 screens, 246 of which are in the New York DMA, the countrys largest metropolitan market. Clearview also owns and operates New York Citys legendary Ziegfeld Theatre, one of the countrys most famous movie palaces and the location of countless movie premieres and red-carpet events.

Clearview Cinemas is thrilled about working with Technicolor to further deploy digital Cinema in our circuit and to bring our customers all of the benefits of this pioneering technology, said Doug Oines, senior vice president and general manager of Clearview Cinemas.

Clearview ciemas logo Had there been an ‘About Clearview Cinemas ‘ at the bottom of the press release it might have mentioned that Clearview was established by Bud Mayo, who went on to create AccessIT, before he sold it on to Cablevision. The fact that Clearview has selected to be one of the first to go with Technicolor rather than with the largest and most established digital cinema third-party operator is a clear snub to Mayo. This development did not pass un-noticed in the industry and even made it into a Yahoo! discussion forum that resulted in the following exchanges:

bergsteiger – This is so strange that I have to post as a new thread. Given the debate in the Laroo.. thread below, in which people talk about AIXD head’s previous job being building up Clearview Cinemas (with the Zigfield as the centerpiece) which he sold to Cablevision in mid-1990’s.

However, today, I see this press release which says that Clearview Cinemas just signed up with Thompson/Technicolor for Digital Cinema services.

[quotes press release]

Ouch! Very bizzare development and even stranger timing with respect to the conversation on this board.

. . . .

whipperone – this is the most interesting deployment Technicolor has ever had (in the 3+ times they have tried to launch digital cinema). only 250 screens… more than the failed 100 they have had out for a year now, but certainly not a “big” deal by any stretch. Wonder which equipment they are using.

. . . .

laroo2007 – Yeah, weird that Bud’s past company snubbed him. I am sure he pitched the AIX solution many times.

. . . .

tcclcc – “Yeah, weird that Bud’s past company snubbed him. I am sure he pitched the AIX solution many times.”

Yeah, what a surprise that a class act like James Dolan shoots himself in the foot by signing on with an unproven vendor. I don’t suppose there may be any bad blood between Dolan and Bud? Nah, afterall who couldn’t get along with James Dolan?…

The whole thing is almost enough to distract from the fact that, as whipperone notes, this is a very small deal for Technicolor and if they are going to acquire clients at this rate it will take them a very long time to reach the goal of “up to 5,000 screens over the next three to four years, with 15,000 screens in the United States and Canada over the next 10 years.”

Yet for all the testing, they do remain ‘an unproven vendor’ when it comes to digital cinema deployment and accusations must surely be raised from Thomson that they took their eyes off the ball in losing the Disney print and lab contract while testing away digital cinema and having at best mixed results with Screenvision’s digital advertising.

Patrick von Sychowski
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