Ster-Kinekor Theatres, the largest cinema exhibitor in South Africa, with 438 screens and 63,000 seats spread across 54 sites, has confirmed a major deal with Christie as it undertakes full conversion of its cinema estate to digital.
Ster-Kinekor Theatres currently has Christie Series 2 cinema projectors operating within the Group but this will grow considerably — to 180 Christie Series 2 projectors along with 198 Solaria One and Solaria One+ projectors, which will be available from the end of 2012. These come complete with lens, custom-designed Xenon lamp, Christie Integrated Media Block (IMB) and easy-to-operate Screen Management Software (SMS).
The new deployment will also include Christie 4K DLP Cinema® projectors for use at select cinemas across the country in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town — chosen after careful evaluation against competitive models. This will be the first time that the Christie Solaria, Solaria One and Solaria One +, as well as Christie IMB and 4K resolution, have all featured in the same deployment.
Ster-Kinekor Theatres began the conversion process back in 2008, turning their first five screening rooms into 3D digital with the help of Christie 2K projectors. As a result of this success, they set a target to become 100% DCI-compliant by mid-2013 and formed a partnership with Arts Alliance Media (AAM) to help expedite this.
Ster-Kinekor Theatres CEO, Fiaz Mahomed says that the upgrade is a critical step in helping the company grow the business and take film viewing to the next level. “Christie is crucial to this development, and their close relationship with Arts Alliance and overall bid was compelling. The digital conversion will ensure a heightened viewing experience and is critical in meeting the very real demand from our valued audiences in seeing the best film content — at its best.”
He also believes that the Christie solution offers many competitive advantages. “The superior optics and high brightness are ideal for 3D applications and the projectors also provide low cost of ownership,” he said. “As for the 4K platform, the High Frame Rate and 4096 x 2160 resolution move the whole experience on a step further.”
Dale Miller, Vice President Christie EMEA noted. “With the recent opening of a local office in Johannesburg, led by Territory Manager Phil Lord, Christie is perfectly placed to offer a high level of technical support. It is Phil’s knowledge of the territory, along with the company’s long association with Ster-Kinekor Theatres that had made the deal possible”.
Richard Nye, Cinema Sales Director, Christie EMEA, concludes: “We are delighted that the largest exhibitor in South Africa has decided to move forward with a full digital deployment, and that Christie has been selected as the trusted partner in this groundbreaking agreement,” he said. “Ster-Kinekor always put the customer experience at the top of their priorities by being prepared to push the technological envelope — and this makes the cultural fit with Christie a tight one.”
This massive deployment of screens in the South African market further increases Christie’s dominance in the EMEA and worldwide cinema market.