The Cinema Buying Group (CBG)—a buying program of the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) for small and independent theatre operators—today announced the selection of Access Integrated Technologies, Inc. (AccessIT) (NASDAQ: AIXD) as the digital integrator for the CBG’s 600+ members in the United States and Canada.
Wayne Anderson, CBG managing director, complimented the quality of submissions from all vendors in the CBG’s Request for Proposal process. In the end, he said, “AccessIT offered the winning package of extensive experience, exhibitor choice, and competitive cost. Our mission is historic: ensure that independent cinemas survive and thrive in the digital age—and AccessIT proved its skill and determination to make that happen.”
“We are pleased to receive such a ringing endorsement from CBG-NATO and from our studio partners. Everyone at AccessIT is proud to have our pioneering efforts recognized by such an important group,” said Bud Mayo, chairman and CEO of AccessIT.
Chuck Goldwater, president of AccessIT’s Media Services Group said, “We continue to be committed to bringing our digital cinema program to exhibitors large and small. We are proud to have been selected and look forward to working with NATO and the members of the Cinema Buying Group to provide the foundation for the benefits of digital cinema to their theatres throughout the country.”
The CBG has over 600 members representing over 8,000 screens in North America. The CBG had assured its members that it would, to the best of its ability, negotiate a deal that provides some access to digital equipment and service for all members in good standing before film ceases to be available.
Chuck Viane, president of distribution for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures said, “Today’s moviegoers want to see films projected under the best possible conditions, and digital projection provides a superior experience that adds to the enjoyment factor. Therefore we applaud the Cinema Buying Group’s efforts on behalf of the world of exhibition and their choice of AccessIT. Clearly, everyone in the industry must do its part to make going to the movies as exciting as possible. We’re thrilled to see so much interest in installing digital projection in theaters around the country, and we will continue to support and encourage the exhibition world in making this a reality.”
Julian Levin, executive vice president, Twentieth Century Fox said, “We are delighted the Cinema Buying Group has selected AccessIT to be the integrator of digital cinema projection equipment for its exhibition members. Fox has been engaged in conversation with the CBG for many months and this announcement is not only timely but will move the process forward. The efforts of the CBG in pulling together such a significant group of independent exhibitors is nothing short of amazing. The independent exhibitors are critical to the overall industry transition and with 8,000 screens strong, the CBG is a very significant group. AccessIT brings a wealth of experience in not only procuring and installing digital projection equipment but also in providing the necessary training and services required to insure a smooth transition from 35mm to a digital projection platform. Fox has existing deployment arrangements with AccessIT which includes contributing virtual print fees toward the cost of DCI-compliant digital projection systems. We look forward to discussing the addition of the exhibition members of the CBG.”
“It’s great to have the Cinema Buying Group and proven digital cinema integrator, AccessIT at the forefront of the digital integration process,” said Mark Christiansen, executive vice president of operations for Paramount Pictures. “The theatres represented by CBG will see their path to the advantages of digital cinema, including 3D feature presentations, made much easier because of AccessIT’s knowledge and experience.”
The CBG began as a small buying program for independents—but mushroomed quickly into its current size and significance when it became an advertised vehicle for independents to acquire digital cinema equipment and service. NATO’s vice president and general counsel, Kendrick Macdowell, said, “NATO’s commitment to the broadest possible digital deployment for our industry is well-known. We’re proud to have worked with a man of Wayne Anderson’s stature to ensure that the march of digital cinema does not leave behind the vital independent segment of exhibition.”
The selection of AccessIT came after an extensive Request for Proposal process that initially attracted ten vendors with substantial submissions. The CBG narrowed the list of vendors to four finalists—AccessIT, Digeserv, Kodak and Technicolor—and sought additional information before making the final selection. “All four finalists are to be commended for their dedication to independents and the quality of their submissions,” said Anderson.