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Old theater marquee (Hemera Technologies/(c) Hemera Technologies)
Old theater marquee (Hemera Technologies/(c) Hemera Technologies)

Small Business Briefing

Digital signals the death of the small town cinema Add to ...

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If deep-pocketed movie theatre chains like AMC and Cineplex Entertainment struggle to fill seats in the era of the affordable digital home theatre, how can small town cinemas possibly compete?

Sure some venues have been lucky enough to be earmarked for revitalization, like the Monarch Theatre in Medicine Hat, Alta., which was closed for a number of years before re-opening as a city-backed not-for-profit mixed use space. Others, however, like the iconic, but rundown, Premier Cinema in Smith Falls, Ont., face the sobbering possibility of complete annihilation.

To the chagrin of nostalgic movie-goers, the demise of derelict local theatres has become all too familiar.

In this article from Business Week, Sanford Hess, the owner of a 250-seat venue in downtown Champaign, Ill, explains the David and Goliath battle he faces as Hollywood shifts to digital. While the new format may save studios $1-billion annually in printmaking fees and shipping costs, the transition is crushing small theatres that can’t afford the pricey equipment major studios want them to buy.

To pay for the gear without financing, Mr. Hess plans to convert the theatre into a co-op, where he would sell shares for $65 apiece, but unless he can raise $65,000-plus (US) for a screen by October, he says he’ll have to shutter the theatre.

“It’s kind of like going up against Wal-Mart. Yeah, you can exist if you build up a local audience who purposely drive past Wal-Mart to go to your store. But it’s very difficult,” he says.



Food fight in the lean startup space

The author of this article from Fast Company gets a lesson on the true meaning of the "lean startup" method (popularized by Eric Ries) from this OnStartups.com blogger.

Doom and gloom down under

A survey released by credit reporting agency Dun & Bradstreet shows a 48 per cent increase in the number of small businesses going bankrupt in Australia, and a 95 per cent fall in the number of small businesses starting up. And the outlook isn't good either, as the agency downgraded more than 128,000 firms last quarter.

According to the Brisbane Times, "the news...reinforces the notion of a two-speed economy in which mining and mining services are doing well, but outside of that, other sectors struggle to make ends meet."

EVENTS AND KEY DATES

Creating and cultivating your creative economy

Network directly with businesses, creative industries, and municipalities to gain a combination of perspectives on how to increase job growth, boost tax revenue, attract new investments, and develop a successful cluster. The two-day event begins on Feb. 28 from 7:30 a.m. to 5p.m. at the Metropolitan Hotel Toronto. Click here for more information.

Discovery conference upcoming

The Ontario Centres of Excellence will host Discovery, an innovation-to-commercialization conference, on May 14 and May 15 in Toronto. It brings together key players from industry, academia, government and the investment community with entrepreneurs and students to pursue collaboration opportunities. Registration is now open. For more information, click here.

EDITOR'S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

Kitchener's Tannery district reboots as high-tech hub

The 340,000 square-foot Tannery building, once the industrial engine of Kitchener, is enjoying a digital renaissance. Developed by Cadan, a Toronto developer, the $30-million complex is now home to an eclectic group of tenants including Google, Desire2Learn and the Communitech hub. In this video, Lana Sherman of Cadan, Kevin Tuer of Communitech and Karl Allen-Muncey of CuteGecko share their thoughts on the project and its influence on the community

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

Basic tricks boost presentation skills

Mark Evans shares some lessons he’s learned in how to be a better public speaker

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