Venerable German cinema equipment manufacturer Kinoton is no more, becoming the latest victim of the switch to the digital projection of films. The company issued a press release on 31 March stating:
We, the shareholders of Kinoton GmbH, have decided to dissolve the company and end its business operations with effect on March 31, 2014.
The decision was not an easy one for us. For more than 65 years, Kinoton GmbH and its employees have stood for excellence in developing innovative cinema equipment and providing first-class, speedy service to our customers and business partners.
The progressive digitization of the film and cinema industry has radically changed the market, however. Kinoton GmbH’s existing business model, as an innovative developer of first-class products and vertically highly integrated manufacturer, especially where mechanical production is concerned, isn’t appropriate to the new market conditions. The coming challenges of the digital age call for new concepts and ideas that focus on software and services.
The company was founded in 1948 as Germeringer Kinoton GmbH to service cinemas in in Munich and surrounding areas. It quickly established a reputation for German precision engineering and excellence as it built 35mm projectors that were considered the premium choice for cinemas and film centres.
It must have been a tough call for the company’s managers Renate Zoller and Christoph Doble to pull the plug, but the business was simply not sustainable in the face of the switch to digital cinema. Despite Kinoton having an OEM partnership with Barco, it never established a major presence in the digital cinema projector market.
However, Kinoton will not vanish completely.
The company had already been building up new forward looking and digital-centric services, such as Kinoton Cine Perfect and the Kinoton Remote Service. The press release goes on to outline more:
The Kinoton brand will live on in a new form and as a new company. We are very happy to know that highly experienced staff of Kinoton GmbH will continue to work in product sales, consultancy, and maintenance and service under the banner of the new company, “Kinoton Digital Solutions GmbH”.
They will seamlessly ensure continued professional support for our customers and the good, universally available service for products supplied by Kinoton GmbH that they have come to appreciate. You’ll find more information on Kinoton Digital Solutions GmbH at www.kinoton.eu.
The new digital operation will be handled by Harald Bergbauer and Lutz Schmidt, who have emphasised that Kinoton will honour all existing contracts and agreements with employees, vendors, clients and partners.
Kinoton Digital Solutions new homepage states that:
Kinoton Digital solutions will offer a complete portfolio of products and services to its partners and clients. We want to help cinema operators now and in the future with providing exciting entertainment. We also want to help them with making their operations more cost efficient and with introducing new technologies.
A skilled and motivated team of experienced professionals will be a key element of the new company. Our team will ensure continued and comprehensive support for equipment supplied by the former Kinoton GmbH. And of course it will support our new supplies and installations and it will help you keeping track on all technical advancements.
Soon you will only find marvel of German engineering such as the Kinoton FP 75 E-S Studio Projector in places like the BFI Southbank film centre, showing 35mm archive films.
Meanwhile, there plenty of Kinoton projectors for sale on eBay. Heck, some cinemas are practically giving them away. Grab one while you can.
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