AccessIT inks pact to buy Bigger Picture

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Digital-cinema integrator AccessIT said Monday that it has signed an agreement to acquire alternative content provider the Bigger Picture, a subsidiary of privately held Sabella Dern Entertainment.

The Bigger Picture programs G-rated Kidtoon Films on the weekends, anime films for teen and college audiences and inspirational films from Fox Faith, a division of 20th Century Fox Studios. It has an exclusive deal with AccessIT to make its programming available to all exhibitors equipped with 2K digital projectors. There are more than 1,600 AccessIT systems installed nationwide.

By purchasing the Bigger Picture, AccessIT hopes to expand its breadth of content, including other programs of genre films as well nontraditional entertainment programs.

AccessIT CEO Bud Mayo said the company intends to expand the Bigger Picture's content into other niche programming areas, including one targeting black women, one targeting mystery fans, one skewed toward music lovers, etc.

"Exhibitors have been anxiously buying into the concept of alternative programming," Mayo said. "It's what digital cinema is all about for most of the early adopters. Some of Bigger Picture's clients include Carmike Cinemas, Rave Motion Picture Theaters, AMC Entertainment and National Amusements.

The acquisition is expected to close on or before Jan. 15.

Even though the Bigger Picture will be part of AccessIT, it will remain technology agnostic, providing programming for all exhibitors, whether they have installed AccessIT systems or those from other technology providers. The Bigger Picture also programs for traditional 35mm theater exhibition.

"As an integral part of AccessIT, we will have the opportunity to take our alternative programming distribution capabilities to the next level, reaching an ever-growing number of exhibitors domestically and around the world who are using digital technology to expand their sources of revenue," Bigger Picture co-CEO Jonathan Dern said. "AccessIT's exhibitor partners will be the biggest beneficiaries of our growth."
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