How Norway Helped Build DX: An Appreciation for Our Norwegian Roots

October 11, 2022
The DX Team
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As DX expands our business globally, we understand the importance of acknowledging the original customer base that helped us develop into the company we are today. Simply put, we would not be offering our constantly-developing cloud-based, software as a service product without the customer partnerships we have developed over our company history. Our customer base has pushed DX to remain on the cutting edge of innovation in cinema operations through their support and feedback. From our earliest days as a small company in Bodø, Norway to becoming a global enterprise, we have always been dedicated to providing our customers with the best tools available so that they can succeed along with us.

You Never Forget Your First

The DX story begins with Fram Kino, a cinema also located in Bodø. Fram Kino was the very first cinema in Norway when it originally opened in 1908, so it’s no surprise that it would be a leader in adopting new cinema technologies. While undergoing renovations in 1989, the operations team at Fram Kino was interested in upgrading to a digital ticketing system, a technology that was then in its infancy. The only system available at the time that Fram Kino could find was a complex and expensive system from Germany that would fail to address the specific ticketing needs of the cinema.

Fram Kino contacted a local computer company named Nordlandsdata and inquired if it could potentially develop a ticketing system for the cinema. Nordlandsdata engineer Tore Martin Hansen – the “godfather” of DX – was assigned the task to develop this system. Tore developed the original version of the DX product, and it was such a success for Fram Kino’s ticketing operations that soon other cinemas and cultural venues in Norway adopted the system.

Establishing DX and Growing with Our Customers

In 1997, Tore and his colleague Jon Kristensen retired from Nordlandsdata and started DX to continue their work in creating innovative digital ticketing systems for the Norwegian cinema market. That year the nascent DX signed up its first five customers: Fauske Kino, Svolvær Kino, Ørsta Kino, Notodden Kino, and Modum Kino. Within two years, DX acquired additional – and larger – customers with Gjøvik Kino, Lillehammer Kino, and Hamer Kino. In the following years, DX’s customer base continued to grow and Tore and Jon worked diligently to ensure the DX software would address the needs of the customers as technology advanced.

After helping establish this successful foundation, Jon retired from DX in 2004. The following year, Oddvar Haug Jenssen joined the company. Tore and Oddvar split the responsibilities of the company, with Tore continuing to develop the ticketing software while Oddvar took the responsibility for customer management, which at the time amounted to approximately 70 small and medium-sized customers.

In that role, Oddvar helped refocus the goals of DX’s services. Previously, the DX system was solely based on ticket sales and event management. Soon after Oddvar started, DX shifted its focus to developing a more robust package of services for cinemas and cultural venues. After developing one of the premier ticket sales and event management platforms available, DX saw the opportunity to offer its customers a more complete experience. In addition to providing additional support to our long-term customers, this new service – online ticket sales – could be an excellent selling point for us to acquire new customers.

Of course, in the mid-2000s many of our customers and potential customers were skeptical of the true potential of online ticket sales. The process of buying any sort of ticket online only began with airline ticketing just 10 years earlier, and few industries thought that it would become one of the primary methods of buying tickets in less than two decades. Though even as late as 2014, only about 20 percent of movie tickets were sold online, data from recent years has shown that online ticket sales are now an essential part of a cinema’s income.

Staying Connected with Our Customer Growth

Even as we continue proceeding down a path of digital commerce, one of the main focuses for the business development of DX was, and still is today, being present at market events and conferences to provide person-to-person contact between our company and our customers. This strategy allows DX to be close to the customers, vendors, and organizations that operate in the cinema and cultural venue market and helps us learn firsthand about their needs so we can best support their own growth.

This “face first” approach has helped DX expand into new markets and understand where our company’s strengths lie. In 2006, Parkenfestivalen, an outdoor music festival that takes place in Bodø, became a DX customer and helped DX expand into the festival market. Over the next five years, DX worked on bringing more festivals into our customer portfolio. During the same period, DX experienced many inquiries from other markets as well, such as travel and sports, who were seeking digital and online ticketing solutions.

However, in trying to expand the scope of our business, we discovered that these other markets had their hurdles and challenges that did not match what we hoped to build for our cinema and cultural venue customers – the ones who helped us build our company. We did not want to lose sight of our original purpose and customers. As a result, DX shifted its focus to re-establish its strong roots in the cinema market.

It turned out to be fortuitous that DX made that move. In 2007, iTicket, another Bodø-based ticketing company, began phasing out its cinema model as it focused on other markets. From 2007-2011, DX took on about 20 former iTicket cinema customers. In addition, interest in DX exploded, and we added a large number of new customers to our portfolio, including Edda Kino, Fredrikstad Kino, and Ski Kino, just to name a few.

This gave us great optimism and confidence in our refocusing of DX’s services for the cinema and cultural venue market and proved to us that we were creating software that made DX an essential partner with our customers.

In 2007 DX reached 100 customers, and ironically enough, it was Bodø kulturhus, a culture venue from DX’s hometown that was number 100. In a way, that coincidence reminds us that while DX can expand globally, our roots in Norway will always be important to us and something that we are immensely proud of having.

You’re Part of Our Future

As DX concludes its 25th year in business, we have many new customers to celebrate. With over 320 customers in our portfolio, we are now seen as an essential player/vendor in the cinema and cultural venue market. Most importantly to us, our experience has led us to meet almost everybody in the industry we are working in, and we know many of those people on a first-name basis.

While we make our moves to expand beyond the Norwegian borders and deliver our cutting-edge cloud-based system to other countries, we can’t fail to acknowledge all of our partners who have helped us get to this position. So, we’d like to thank all of our Norwegian customers who have joined us along the way as we continue our commitment to powering great experiences. Thank you for your support!

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