Through more than 25 years of providing operations solutions for the cinema industry, DX has worked with cinema customers of all sizes. Now with over 320 customers using DX’s software to help power great experiences for cinema audiences, we’re proud of how we have supported the growth of many cinemas – and we can’t wait to support even more.
We have DX’s business development team to thank for all this expansion. And since they are some of the first team members that our new customers meet when they consider utilizing our solutions for their cinemas, we thought you might want to know more about them and what they do to move DX forward.
How We Developed
As with any forward-facing company, our business development team changed over the years. From how we operate, to our goals, and how we onboard new customers.
In the earliest years, before there was even a dedicated team, the main target for new acquisitions was small and medium-sized cinemas throughout Norway – so much so that we were considered, undeservedly, “a solution for small cinemas.” However, we were onboarding many large cinemas, too, like Drammen kino, Edda kino Haugesund, and Ski kino.
That’s how we gained insight into all phases of running a cinema – since DX’s solutions cater to most cinema managers’ work areas, we wanted to thoroughly understand their daily operations so we could find additional ways to serve our clients’ needs.
We, also, wanted to establish close relationships with other cinema suppliers, which proved a challenge at first. With constant dialogue and openness, we were able to show how we could mutually benefit by providing the best possible experience for cinemas. For example, we could provide best practices based on our research and analytics to help all aspects of cinema operations.
That established our role as a major player in the industry, both as a supplier to larger cinemas and a contributor to other vendors in the industry. For example, DX took an active role at the Haugesund Film Festival, the leading festival for the cinema industry in Norway. An exciting development from this exposure was that DX began to be noticed more outside Norway, which paved the way for our ongoing international expansion to Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Along the way, we did take some detours that helped us find our direction. Initially, we explored opportunities to apply our ticketing software to other industries, including festivals, museums, gyms, and even – believe it or not – bathrooms.
While we were able to deliver solutions for all these industries, the experience helped us recognise that our company’s true strength was in the transformational change that we bring to the cinema industry – and that decision has paid off for DX as we continue to grow in the cinema market.
Meet the Team
DX’s Head of Business Development, Oddvar Jenssen, was brand-new to the cinema industry when he joined DX in 2005 serving in a customer contact role, doing everything from customer support, creating sales, and working on special projects.
Working in a troubleshooting role gave Oddvar keen insight into the challenges that DX's customers were facing with their businesses – challenges that DX was in a position to help solve. By engaging customers in a “How can we assist you?” manner, Oddvar has helped our entire company determine where we could go next with our software.
The newest member of the business development team is Guillaume Branders, our Business Development Manager. Guillaume comes to DX with a wealth of experience in the cinema industry, having previously worked for three years at an independent cinema in Brussels, Cinéma Aventure, and then for nine years at the International Union of Cinemas, the trade body of European cinema operators.
That role helped him develop expertise in how the European cinema industry operates in a variety of projects. Guillaume monitored and analyzed trends and created exhaustive reports for the cinema operators, managed three expert groups on cinema marketing, retail, and technology, and contributed to the programming of major industry events, including CineEurope, the biggest convention dedicated to cinema operators in Europe.
Guillaume’s growing responsibilities in the industry have given him insight into the entire cinema-going experience, from buying your ticket to sharing your thoughts about the film after the screening.
He has described himself as a “big cinema technology geek,” so we couldn’t be happier to have him as part of the DX team.
The Focus on Growth, Now?
So far, DX has had remarkable growth in the Norwegian cinema market.
However, Norway is a market without any cinema chains. To continue the technological development of our product and create systems that are future-oriented and modern, we have to look at the new markets that we are launching in outside of Norway: Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and the United Kingdom.
It was a strategic approach for us to start with the Nordic countries as we have some advantages, including similar language and culture, which makes it easier to research and reach out to potential customers and partners. In addition, we looked at the UK because it has a large and well-developed cinema market with many independent cinemas.
Our first focus in these markets was to map out the independent cinemas, primarily small to medium-sized. This is because these cinemas have minor requirements for new systems and we can easily partner to test new solutions, while leveraging technology for their business. By starting with the smaller cinemas in these markets, we could be prepared for the larger cinemas once our product has been verified by the market.
In addition, we also sought out other market players, such as cinema organizations and other cinema suppliers, to find out what common ground they have and what we could learn from each other.
A central theme for each market is to determine what software integrations would be most beneficial to them. This can be collecting film information (local film titles, posters, reviews, length, etc.), tax requirements that must be met, or reporting requirements imposed on all cash registers or ticket systems. To get that education, we took a human approach by participating in local gatherings and conferences as well as connecting and building relationships.
Our research shows that there is a need or desire to bring new players into the industry. Many other cinema system suppliers are local and smaller organizations and have provided solutions for 15-20 years. Being small and operating in smaller markets means it’s harder to keep up with technological advancements.
We want to enter these markets with the experience we have from 25 years in Norway and, with new technology, be an actor that grows the industry to new levels.
Essential to the role of business development is planning for the future of your business.
Over the next two years, DX has the goal of breaking into the United States market as well as continuing our growth in the five markets that we will be live in 2023, including ensuring all of our legacy customers are up-to-date with our current cloud-based product.
As our product grows in functionality and possibilities, we will continue to look at how we can partner with larger cinemas and new markets by developing more targeted solutions for prominent players, including cinema chains.
With the experience we gain in doing integrations in the Nordics and the UK, we will be able to make local adaptations in newer markets quicker, which will mean that we will debut in new markets faster and more impactfully as we continue to develop business around the world.