October 3 - ORLANDO, FL - The Eastman Kodak Company has identified an emerging market - advertising in cinemas - and has jumped into the business with both feet at Show East, here, this week. Kodak introduced upgraded software and an on-site service plan that would make advertisers' and exhibitors' efforts to reach movie theaters' "captive audiences" much more efficient and streamlined. Included in the company's comprehensive approach are a networked in-cinema operating system for staging and playback of digital ads, a service unit to prepare and distribute advertising content, and a worldwide team providing full service and software support.
Kodak's Digital Cinema Operating System is designed to present cinema ads in pristine digital form - not the poorly done slides touting local advertisers or worn-out film clips that audiences have come to expect - and puts Kodak in a new role as "content manager" for digital advertising. The company's new software for the system, Version 3.0, "enables digital ads to be managed securely, scheduled accurately, and played automatically and reliably on cinema screens worldwide," Kodak says.
Software 3.0 is the heart of Kodak Digital Cinema Content Management Services, the company's unit that prepares and delivers content to Kodak Digital Cinema Operating Systems in the field. This services unit can work directly with ad suppliers, receiving content in digital form, encoding it, assembling it into play lists, and distributing it for reliable playback on cinema screens and theatre lobby displays. In the cinema, the 3.0 software drives the Kodak Digital Cinema Operating System, a high-speed network that receives, stages, distributes, and plays the ads on the screen. With Version 3.0, all of that should now happen automatically as the content arrives via electronic distribution, loads and deploys without operator involvement, and connects the Kodak system with other systems in the cinema.
Scheduling is a big issue with cinema advertisers, according to Michael McCrackan, director of software system engineering for Kodak Digital Cinema. "Ad suppliers tell us they want the benefits that digital brings to their business, but their core competency is selling and scheduling advertising," McCrackan says. "They need software that is consistent with their business rules and lets them schedule their inventory most effectively and profitably, consistent with their sales contracts. Kodak's core competency is developing and providing the image management they need. We prepare and transmit the ad content and its play list, and do everything in a way where the ad supplier retains oversight and control."