DTS Digital Cinema Sold To Unknown Satellite Company

By Patrick von Sychowski | May 17, 2008 4:19 am PDT

So long and thanks for all the Guinness – DTS has put an end to the corporate Seitensprung that was DTS Digital Cinema, which has been picked up by UK satellite company Beaufort International Group Plc. Here is what the press release on DCinemaToday.com had to say in the opening paragraph:

Beaufort International Group Plc announced today that it has acquired the business and assets of DTS Digital Cinema from DTS, Inc. for an undisclosed sum. Beaufort made the acquisition through its US subsidiary, Beaufort California, Inc. Chris Thomas, Beaufort California, Inc.’s CEO, commented, “We are very pleased to have made this acquisition. DTS is an established brand in the cinema industry, and provides a solid foundation for us to develop our plans in digital cinema.” Thomas continues, “DTS has laid the groundwork for us with its 15-year history in providing the highest quality digital audio for film to over 30,000 screens worldwide.

The price has elsewhere been quoted as $3.3m, which puts it at leas than half of the previously disposed Lowry Digital Images (sold last month to Reliance for $7.5m). From the press release we learn that Beaufort “will continue to use the DTS brand for the foreseeable future under our agreement with DTS.” Strangely there appears to be no website for Beaufort, so it is up to the trusty analysts at Screen Digest to drill down into the deeper meaning of this buy:

Datasat is a deliverer of media content through its wholly-owned (mainly) satellite networks, and the acquisition fits into a strategy of widening their reach to the digital cinema space. Up to now, Datasat’s content delivery strategy has focused on areas where high quality, secure file trasnfers are necessary, and has avoided media and broadcast industries. However, with the introduction of digital cinema, which needs very secure networks for large files (as opposed to live feeds or pre-recorded broadcasts) this move makes sense. Currently, company operates in five broad industrial areas: corporate, diplomatic, emergency, security, medical.

Nowhere is there any mention of Ireland, perhaps wisely as the nationwide Irish conversion to digital cinema is a standing joke in digital cinema circles. While there have been some positive noises about the DTS Digital Cinema hardware and platforms, it remains to be seen how the de-merged company will succeed against the likes of Doremi and Dolby, which unlike DTS is holding on very hard to its digital cinema division.

DTS meanwhile goes back to focusing on consumer products licensing, which seems to be a profitable field judging by this article; DTS shares jump as 1Q profit rises on sales.

Patrick von Sychowski
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