Arts Alliance deploys its digital cinema software on a global scale
Arts Alliance Media (AAM) has made significant headway in rolling out its suite of digital cinema software products to key clients in all world regions.
Its most recent deal with largest pan-European exhibitor Odeon UCI will see a total of 65 sites and 661 screens in Germany, Italy and Austria use its range of d-cinema software products including AAM's Theatre Management System (TMS) and Library Management Server (LMS). The European screens of Odeon UCI are therefore in addition to its own VPF networked screens which would already use same suite of products.
Similarly in Latin America, AAM has agreed a software licensing deal with largest pan-regional exhibitor Cinepolis. The deal marks AAM's first foray into the region and also includes deal for full suite of products. Cinepolis has over 275 sites.
In North America, AAM's software has been licensed under a collaborative agreement with Christie for use under its VPF network in North America. Christie will use AAM's back office software for VPF management and has also launched its own branded TMS solution (Christie Avias) built on AAM's own TMS system.
Recently, AAM launched a new software product which fills the role as a new central management hub ('Director'), which allows interaction with servers at multiple cinema sites and can direct all digital cinema operations from a central location.
The two recent deals follow earlier seeding of AAM software in the Australian market. In late 2010, AAM secured a licensing deal with Hoyts to include TMS deployment across 400 screens in Australia and New Zealand. Its system is also used by independent circuits in Australia through reseller, Edge. It has a footprint in Japan following a deal with Broadmedia for license of its products as part of digital cinema roll-out there. A key element of AAM software products is their interoperability with other manufacturer equipment.
The TMS is now clearly an integral part of an all digital multiplex, which are quickly becoming the norm as major circuits look to complete full digitisation. The TMS performs several functions not least the centralisation of film schedules, transfer of data around the multiplex coupled with essential KDM management. A central library store is often used in conjunction with a TMS for storage of digital copies of films.
Several companies are now refocusing their strategy to hone in on software licensing including Cinedigm in the US, who recently sold off its physical distribution network in order to refocus on the content and software side of the industry. Digital cinema deployments are currently in an industrial roll-out phase and the future of networked screens will hinge on software products which effectively manage and to a degree control the output of projectors. As digital majority is achieved, the onus is quickly shifting to cost savings of installed screens to be enabled through greater operational efficiency through upgrades or other software management as part of a longer term role.
As a result, AAM has quickly established a core belt of customers in all major world regions. Its main competitors to date include projector manufacturers such as Sony, Christie and Barco who are also looking to provide an entire suite of products. The strategy is a more recent turn for Barco (as well as Christie), who recently acquired core products from XDC. Other TMS providers include server companies such as Dolby and GDC Technology with own branded products as have Dvidea and Datasat. Other integrators with own TMS solutions include Cinedigm, Ymagis and Unique Digital. Odeon's UK screens agreed a deal to integrate software from Unique.