If one were to add up the sums, Technicolor Digital Cinema has probably spent more money over the years on digital cinema than any other venture. Circa 1999, it purchased Real Image, followed by a joint venture with Qualcomm, neither of which produced an ROI. In 2005, Technicolor negotiated VPF agreements with studios, alongside Cinedigm, but never executed them. Instead, the company installed 300 “beta systems” at its own expense, and did not collect VPFs. Today, it appears to have completely abandoned the idea of rolling out digital cinema systems as a 3rd party integrator. Exiting the 3rd party integrator space limits Curt Behlmer’s role as EVP of Theatrical Operations to the oversight of a TMS, satellites, and a field service team.
Technicolor has made headway, however, in several areas. On the mastering front, it competes with companies such as Deluxe. In satellite delivery of content, it competes with Cinedigm and Microspace. In its TMS, it competes with Kodak and Cinedigm. The TMS is notable as it is no longer tied to a VPF program, and Regal plans to incorporate it in its digital cinema systems. DCIP has been working with Technicolor on developing TMS communications, perhaps the most advanced effort in this area so far.
Technicolor’s owner, Thomson Multimedia, has a 50% stake in Screenvision, NCM’s major competitor in cinema advertising. Technicolor distributes some ad content for Screenvision, but Screenvision also has relationships with both Cinedigm and Kodak.
There have been rumors for several years that parent Thomson wants to unload Technicolor. Thomson has not been doing well. Over the past two years, its stock has fallen from €15 (with a 4 year high of over €20), to under €1 today, leaving it with a market cap of $321M.