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Movie chain picks up Canadian DOOH network

I had heard some rumblings that a deal was in the works for Calgary-based Onsite Media Network, and was told I would be surprised by the suitor.

It's out there now, and yup, I'm surprised.

Digital Signage Universe has relayed a news release about the company, which has screens in sports arenas in Canada as well as in the Toronto and Calgary public walkway systems, has been acquired by the group that runs the Cinplex moviehouse chain across Canada.

Cineplex announced today it has signed a binding agreement with Onsite Media Network Inc. ("Onsite") pursuant to which Cineplex would acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of Onsite through a shareholder-approved Plan of Arrangement (the "Arrangement"). Onsite is an Alberta-based digital signage network company that broadcasts advertising and custom content to premium office towers and sports stadiums across Canada. The total transaction value is approximately $1.7 million. 

The Arrangement is conditional on Onsite shareholder approval as well as upon the usual and customary regulatory conditions and the approval by the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta. Cineplex has signed voting agreements with Onsite shareholders representing approximately 67% of the total number of shares outstanding.

The Onsite network includes a Sports Stadium Network with 1,000 screens located at GM Place (Vancouver), Pengrowth Saddledome (Calgary), Rexall Place (Edmonton) and Scotiabank Place (Ottawa) as well as the Office Tower Network which features approximately 200 screens located in public concourses and food courts throughout 22 Brookfield Property Management Ltd. office towers. These marquee office properties in Toronto's vibrant PATH system include, among others, First Canadian Place, TSX Exchange Tower, Brookfield Place (formerly BCE Place), and Hudson's Bay Centre at Bloor and Yonge, and in Calgary at Banker's Hall, Royal Bank Building, 5th Avenue Place, and coming soon to Petro Canada Centre. Additional network locations are in Place DeVille I and II in Ottawa. The Onsite network will add more than 120 million annual impressions to the current Cineplex Media offerings.

"Adding Onsite enables us to expand our advertising reach beyond our theatres and into some of Canada's premier, high-traffic facilities. Through Cineplex Media, we already have the content, the sales force and the business relationships in place. This acquisition extends our reach further to new audiences in office towers and stadiums," said Ellis Jacob, President and CEO, Cineplex Entertainment. The Arrangement is expected to close on or about April 30, 2009.

These guys were clients until recently. Very nice people. very well organized. But like a lot of people in this space, and in media in general, challenged by generating ad revenues in a wobbly economy.

I was the guy, along with my buddy Kevin O'Shaughnessy, who started the whole screens in public concourses thing as Concourse Media, so it is interesting to see how this has played out as other companies have followed and/or taken over. We always figured a much larger media company would take us out, but we were in waaay too early.

The more educated guess for a buyer would have been an outdoor company, but I know most of those guys have been having less than stellar results lately, while the movie ad business and movies in general are doing pretty well by comparison.  

Hopefully, this is very positive for all involved and I wish Dave, Remo, Ian and the other guys at Onsite all the best.    

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More Stories By Dave Haynes

Dave Haynes is one of the most seasoned professionals in the still young digital signage industry, with deep experience in everything from business development and sales to technical operations, product development and start-up strategy and fundraising. These days he is extensively working on business development and consulting for an industry big on enthusiasm but still a lot short of experience and know-how.

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