At the Art House Convergence in Midway, Utah, pioneer digital exhibitor Emerging Pictures announced that it has been acquired by Vancouver digital media company 20 Year Media Corp. The Silicon Valley North company plans to leverage its enhanced demand data and social intelligence capabilities with Emerging Pictures’ existing network of digital cinemas and technology platform in order to help fill the excess capacity of North American theaters.
20 Year Media has worked closely with Canadian theaters, pioneering what they call “demand-driven inventory optimization” for the motion picture industry. 20 Year Media’s technology system aggregates consumer demand and uses this data to match and deliver content across platforms in order to maximize revenues.
“Emerging Pictures was originally founded to create a more efficient way of delivering movies to theatres using digital technology,” said Ira Deutchman, co-founder of Emerging Pictures, who will be segueing into a consulting role with the company as he continues chairing the film program at Columbia University School of the Arts. “With 20 Year Media, we are now adding the next piece of the equation: using data to create more efficient and effective ways to match content to audience and screen.”
If Emerging Pictures was initially disruptive on the distribution side, Deutchman told me at the Art House Convergence, that has settled down. “I’m feeling that the next phase of disruption is on the marketing side. 20 Year Media collects geo-targeted data to give to exhibitors to gauge the level of demand for a given movie in their local community. They collect advance data from sources like social media and harness information as a tool for exhibitors.”
“The original Emerging Pictures technology was about removing friction on the distribution side,” said Mark Rutledge, CEO of 20 Year Media. “With our new tools, we’ll be removing the friction on the marketing side by putting the data in the hands of the exhibitors and completely automating the process from booking all the way through delivery. This new technology will give audiences a wider selection of movies, and generate higher box office returns for both theatre owners and content creators.”
The sales and marketing department of Emerging Pictures will continue to operate out of its New York office while the technology infrastructure will be overseen by the 20 Year Media team in Vancouver, BC.
As part of the acquisition, veteran distributor Ryan Markowitz (formerly VP, Theatrical for eOne (US) will become VP of Sales and Distribution at EP. “Emerging Pictures was at the forefront of the digital delivery revolution. Our continuing mission is to bring together content providers, whether they be traditional distributors or cutting edge curators, with our exhibition partners, to maximize revenue, through a wholly digital experience,“ said Markowitz.
The upgrade to the Emerging Pictures technology platform will focus on creating a more flexible system that is compatible with any standard DCI configuration in theatres. The new system, to be rolled out in the fall of 2015, will enable exhibitors to be more innovative and flexible in their programming decisions using data together with seamless digital delivery.
The new company will continue to work with leading distributors such as Sony Pictures Classics, IFC, Magnolia, A24, and Radius. The existing EP technology can deliver to over 150 theatres across the United States.