A new battle at the B.O.

28 July, 2014 by Don Groves

A turf war is brewing at Australian cinemas, this time not between exhibitors or films.

Rentrak, the sole provider of “real-time” B.O. grosses, is facing a challenge from a start-up service named Numero.


The Auckland-based Vista Group plans to launch Numero as a cheaper, faster and more efficient alternative to Rentrak.

The initiative is headed by former Rentrak executives Simon Burton and Joel Hedrick. A former Nielsen executive in Australia, Burton served as Rentrak’s Los Angeles-based vice president, business development, international for more than three and a half years, before returning to Oz last year.

Hedrick, a former general manager of the MPDAA, ran Rentrak’s Asia Pacific operations until last August.

Burton and Hedrick joined Vista’s Movio unit, which runs the data for the loyalty programs and concession sales at Village Cinemas, Event Cinemas, Hoyts, Palace, Rialto and Ace Cinemas, tracking the moviegoing habits and demographic profiles of 5.2 million people.

Vista unveiled plans for Numero when it issued a prospectus for an IPO, which aims to raise about $NZ92.6 million and will be used to pay down debt and fund expansion.

Attendees at the Independent Cinemas Association of Australia conference Sydney in April were given a presentation on the service in a closed-doors session.

“It will provide an aggregated box office reporting platform, giving the film industry and media clean, fast and effective information,” Vista said in an investors'  statement. “We know the industry and have teamed up with the best in the business to develop the latest technology.”

Distributors are receptive to the concept and are awaiting the pricing structure, IF understands, and the service could launch as soon as next month.

Burton tells IF he will be happy to talk about Numero after the launch. He did confirm there are plans to roll out the service in other markets, which will leverage off the international scale and relationships of the Vista Group.

Vista aims to list on the New Zealand stock exchange on August 11, with a secondary listing on the Australian Securities Exchange.