DTS Digital Cinema was sold by DTS to Beaufort in May of 2008. Beaufort, in turn, is nearly 100% owned by Phil Emmel of Datasat in the UK. As part of the agreement, the company must divest itself of the name “DTS” come ShoWest (end of March 2009).
Beaufort apparently was not planning to bring more capital to the company, but instead undertook the difficult task of making ends meet. Its actions have been awkward at best. Its first act was to let go of top managers Bill Neighbors and Don Bird. This led to a management exodus from which will be difficult to recover. Gone are top industry sales exec Susie Beiersdorf (now consulting to Sony), and operations and licensing VP Michele Maddalena (now with Dolby). More recently, additional thinning of the ranks took place in its European operations, with UK Managing Director Tony Nowak among the departed.
Within one or two months following the purchase, Beaufort laid off all employees related to its digital cinema server project with Avica. As this was a joint development, based on core Avica technology, the divorce left Avica in limbo. (Avica was in limbo anyway, which is how it entered into an odd deal with DTS whereby its assets were not purchased but DTS was given exclusive rights to its technology.) Avica as a corporation still exists, and is said to be in process of buying all rights to the improvements made by Beaufort. While DTS DC’s software and digital hardware engineers were let go, the company retained its audio product engineers.
Beaufort entered into an OEM deal with Doremi for a DTS Digital Cinema branded version of Doremi’s digital cinema server, which left many people scratching their heads. Prior to the sale, DTS had placed considerable effort into developing a TMS, which still remains one of DTS DC’s prime assets in the digital cinema space. The company also retains its DBS exhibitor management system and its Keyport product.
The new DTS Digital Cinema, whose name-to-be has yet to be announced, is now less digital and more film, focused almost exclusively on the licensing of film sound technology to studios, and product sales for film audio. This cannot be the long-term strategy for the company, but the long-term strategy has yet to be articulated to the world.