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CASE WORK: The Fleck Focus
by Michael Fleck

Many mothers and grandmothers across Australia were treated to a unique gift this past Mother’s Day. Australia’s best selling artist André Rieu returned to Australia for a special Mother’s Day visit to launch ‘Live In Australia’ on the big screen in cinemas across Australia and New Zealand.

André joined Australian television host Richard Wilkins on the red carpet at Hoyts’ Entertainment Quarter in Moore Park, Sydney, on Sunday, May 10th, before a screening of André’s hugely successful Australian concert that took place late last year.

However, it wasn’t only those at the Moore Park cinemas who saw André. In an Australian-first, the red carpet arrival and André’s introduction to the broadcast were transmitted live via satellite to participating Australian metro and regional cinemas reaching over 2,500 fans. Those at cinemas nationwide were a part of the excitement as André arrived at Hoyts and delivered his special message to all Australian fans before they sat back to enjoy the concert on the big screen in high definition and 5.1 surround sound.

During the live transmission, André Rieu said,”I am so proud to be presenting this live nationwide satellite broadcast of my Melbourne concert from last year. To all the Mums out there seated in cinemas throughout Australia, thank you for being there and sharing my music with me.”

One of the Mums is Michelle Coles who, with her husband Roger, are the proprietors of Cinema Augusta in the town of Augusta, South Australia. Located four hours drive north of Adelaide, this town of approximately 13,500 people has little opportunity to see performers such as André Rieu live. Michelle said, “We invited the people of the town to come and share Mother’s Day with André Rieu and it was just so heartwarming to see the response. We had families coming all together. One nine year old girl brought her grandmother.” She added, ”These were people who were able to come together and share an experience with other people all over the country. It felt like we were right there in Sydney. I had people hugging me afterwards, it was awesome.”

Tickets for the live event included the live 30 minute red carpet telecast, the exclusive ‘The André Experience’ CD, souvenir program, and the screening of the ‘Live In Australia’ concert.

André Rieu became Australia’s best-selling artist and broke all records at the end of last year when his DVD ‘Live in Australia’, rush-released from his enormously successful debut Australian tour, went 12x Platinum in the space of two weeks. For the second consecutive year, he can boast being Australia’s biggest selling recording artist. Sales of his CDs and DVDs are now approaching 2.5 million.

In 2008, Hoyts commenced equipping its digital screens with capability to receive live content from satellite. The red carpet event with André Rieu was the first of many such live presentations that Hoyts believes will change ‘going to the movies’. Anthony Thiessen, Hoyts Marketing Director said, “This is the first of many such red carpet events Hoyts has planned for 2009. Our research is telling us that people want more than super heros and live content is one of those things. Of course people can see some of this content at home, but nothing compares to the buzz of a live event like a concert on one of our really big screens with the sound cranked way up — the whole place just rocks.”

The live André Rieu red carpet event was written, produced, and transmitted by Sydney based Global Vision Networks. The company is currently equipping cinemas across the Asia Pacific region to receive events live by satellite. Using their C-band platform on AsiaSat 4, Global Vision is delivering HD content to locations from Dubai to Mumbai to Beijing.

Based on the success of the Hoyts events in Australia, and drawing on their 20 years’ experience working in Asia, Global Vision is commencing the installation of 10 test sites at cinemas around Asia. These will be the first of what is expected to be a region-wide network delivering alternate content to locations as diverse as Dubai, Delhi, and Beijing.

Selected exhibitors have been invited to take part in screening up to 12 live events between July and November of 2009. The pilot has four key objectives:

Trial the concept of live programming in different markets
  • Determine price point for tickets
  • Generate interest in the media
  • Collect statistics on customers
The heart of the receive systems will be the International Datacasting satellite receiver range, which currently powers the majority of satellite enabled digital cinema networks in North America, including Cinedigm (formerly Access IT). The latest in the range is the SFX 2020, which was designed with the business TV market in mind. However, in emerging markets, Global Vision will be using this receiver for the delivery of live standard definition and high definition content to cinemas. Further, the SFX 2002 has the Sensio®3D built in, which will allow Global Vision to begin trials of live 3D content to suitably equipped screens.

Global Vision’s development of satellite delivery to digital cinemas is being driven by the company’s head of global operations, Mr. Adrian McCarten. “We’re building an open delivery system covering the region. This roll out of the pilot sites in Asia is the first step in a network that will allow content distributers to connect directly with exhibitors in a variety of markets. All exhibitors will have access to all content, to much the same effect as 35mm could be played everywhere.”

While cost savings to content owners and distributors is driving the roll out of digital cinema infrastructure, it is the ‘live by satellite’ capability that is of real and direct benefit to exhibitors. Alternate content represents new revenue stream streams for cinemas.

Global Vision has been developing the necessary systems and solutions for satellite delivery of content to cinemas in Asia and the Middle East and are looking for distributors and exhibitors to now bring the benefits to market. Content distributers can expect to reach a much wider audience of Mums on Mother’s Day 2010.

About the author
Michael Fleck is managing Director of Global Vision Networks, the Asia Pacific region’s leading provider of services to the corporate world. Based in Sydney with representative offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Chennai (India) and in Beijing. Contact: michael@globalvisonnetworks.net