Ster-Kinekor Theatres this week announced that it has finished the digital conversion of all of its sites (more than 400 cinema screens) around South Africa.
Ster Kinekor is a South Africa-based cinema company. Its head office is in the Ster-Kinekor Office Park in Sandton, City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality.
The company originated in 1969 when 20th Century Fox decided to sell off its South African theatre business to Sanlam, an insurance company. Sanlam already operated Ster Theatres and Ster Films under the Ster brand. Government regulation required that the two film companies be operated separately, and so the company name Kinekor was born to manage the newly acquired business.
Throughout the 1970s Kinekor embarked on a program of opening new cinemas across South Africa. However, due to the introduction of television in 1976, cinema attendances dropped. Because of this, the South African government then allowed Sanlam to merge its two theatres divisions, creating Ster-Kinekor.
According to Ster-Kinekor, the digital conversion project was completed in record time.
“The digital roll-out across our sites is the single largest investment by our company,” said Fiaz Mahomed, CEO of Ster-Kinekor Theatres.
Mahomed said the process started in June this year, and was finished with conversion of Ster-Kinekor’s final South African cinema in Kimberley this week.
“As far as we are aware, this is the fastest successful digital conversion process for any cinema chain of our size anywhere in the world,” Mahomed said.
“Furthermore, we managed to continue running our normal day-to-day operations across all our cinemas during the upgrade, with the minimum of disruption.”
Ster-Kinekor added that the first movie to see an all-digital release from it in South Africa was Thor: The Dark World. It opened earlier in November 2013.
“Upgrading the cinemas brings with it yet another plus for movie-lovers,” Mahomed said.
“The screening of more major blockbuster titles from both the Hollywood and Bollywood studios, on the same date as their international release and at more cinema complexes.”
Mahomed noted that the ease of digital projection also gives them the opportunity to expand this to more niche film titles.
“This technology has profoundly changed the face of the industry,” Mahomed remarked.