Carmike’s Christmas present was the announcement by Mark Cuban that he acquired 9.4% of the company. His acquisition of shares was handled without discussion with Carmike’s management. Cuban’s motivation was transparent: Carmike has over 2000 digital cinema screens, the largest number of 2K digital screens of any exhibitor in the world, and they are located in rural America, a lucrative target for his HDNet content.
Cuban’s intentions apparently didn’t sit well with long-time cinema exec Michael Patrick, who stepped down as CEO a few weeks after the announcement. Patrick will retain his seat on the board of directors, however.
The implications could be interesting for satellite transmission companies. Michael Patrick was open to allowing multiple satellite providers on his roofs, not wanting to be held hostage by a single company. The result is that Cinedigm, Microspace, and Technicolor each have satellite access to a significant percentage of Carmike’s screens. Looks like Cuban won’t have to worry about getting a good price for content delivery.