Century Cinemas in Letterkenny, Ireland has gone 100% digital with eight Kinoton DCS systems.
During a trip to Ireland, Kinoton’s sales manager for the region, Lutz Schmidt, visited Mark Doherty, the owner of Century Cinemas. They chatted about how an independent cinema owner deals with the challenge of going digital. The cinema had just switched over entirely to digital, putting in a total of eight Kinoton DCS installations. Asked what motivated him to go with Kinoton, Mark gave a clear answer: “It was Kinoton’s reputation for excellence.”
Mark decided to pay for everything entirely on his own. So far at least, Century Cinemas hasn’t signed any virtual print fee (VPF) agreements. “Unless there is real value for us in doing so, we won’t take that step,” Mark explains. “The VPFs we have seen so far wouldn’t do that.”
Mark bought Century Cinemas, a six-screen complex, in 2001. From that point on, he steadily invested in quality to ensure that patrons would enjoy the best possible cinema experience. “We want people to come here for a night out,” he said. “Cinemas will always be a social venue. But the quality of the experience they offer has to be the best we can possibly arrange.”
Mark, who owns a number of entertainment facilities, has very clear ideas about how cinemas should address the market: “We have to make sure to give moviegoers an experience that will make them keep coming back for more.” In 2003, the legacy 35 mm projectors were replaced with Kinoton FP50D projectors and ST200E platter systems. In 2005, two more screens were added—along with, of course, more Kinoton equipment. It has served the cinema well. “What has kept me going has been the quality of the equipment, service, and support we receive.” After the advent of digital 3D, in early 2009 Century Cinemas installed two Kinoton DCS systems with Dolby 3D. They were followed by more Kinoton DCS systems, completing the transition to digital with two final additions earlier this year.
Mark knows very well that digital equipment is more demanding in terms of maintenance. “I suspect there will be more issues and costs, simply because we are now dealing with computers instead of mechanical projectors,” he stated. He is aware of the requirements that digital technology poses on his staff: “The level of training and the people we need upstairs are now completely different.” He is now thinking about implementing a TMS solution. “It's all about partnership,” Mark concluded, “and we’ve got that support from Kinoton, right down the line.”
Kinoton is proud and happy to be working for Century Cinemas, and will always be very committed to clients who share the same passion for cinema.