Business News

All Aboard
Saturday, 4 November 2000

PLASA Members Baldwin Boxall took advantage of the one storm-free day in October to invite a host of clients, colleagues and friends to join them on Sussex’s equivalent to the Orient Express.

The Bluebell Line was the UK’s first preserved standard gauge passenger railway, re-opening part of the Lewes to East Grinstead line of the old London Brighton & South Coast Railway in 1960. Since then it has developed into one of the largest tourist attractions in Sussex, yet it still remains true to its objectives of the preservation of a country branch line and its steam locomotives.

Over 50 people joined Baldwin Boxall on the day thanks in no small part to its growing reputation as a generous host. Terry Baldwin and David Boxall welcomed guests to the picturesque Sheffield Park station before inviting them to take lunch on board one of the Railway’s steam locomotives as it journeyed part-way up the beautiful Bluebell Line. Lobster Bisque, Roasted Quail, Beef Wellington and Chocolate and Almond Torte were washed down with some particularly fine wines - with stops en route to try out the special beers at Horsted Keynes station and allow some members of the party to ride on the footplate of the train before reboarding for yet further refreshments (was it our imagination or did the countryside become more blurred the longer we stayed on the train?).

Those in attendance came from across the industry and included guests from ADT, Next Two, BBC Fire, DNH Loudspeakers, Romers Electronics (from Blackburn), Sound Productions, Dublin (in fact, Gerry McGlinn flew in fr

Screenco Invest Heavily in Training
Friday, 3 November 2000

Recognising the importance of operational competence and compliance with Health & Safety Executive guidelines in event production, i-mag specialists Screenco recently held intensive back-to-back four-day training programmes in Holland and the UK for its staff and freelance crews. Overseeing the workshops at Screenco's mainland European base, just outside Rotterdam, were general manager Jeroen Jongenelen, Graham Filmer and Avesco plc's in-house Health & Safety Officer, Phil Roberts (with managing director Dave Crump replacing Jongenelen in the UK organising team). In Holland 20 freelancers and ten staff took the opportunity to increase their knowledge while in the UK some 30 freelancers and 15 staff attended.

A Century of Theatre
Friday, 3 November 2000

Richard Eyre is to present a six-part weekly television series looking at the history of 20th century theatre. The programme Changing Stages: 100 Years Of Theatre will explore the influences and creative people that have shaped the course of the theatre throughout the last century. The programme will show archive footage of some of the key productions from the last century and talk with the writers, directors and actors which made them possible. The first programme runs on BBC 2 at 7.30pm, Sunday 5 November 2000.

Is Time Running out for 28% of the Sound Systems Industry?
Friday, 3 November 2000

Over a quarter of all UK sound systems companies will not see out 2001 in their present shape, according to Plimsoll Publishing. Identified in their new First Edition 2001, Plimsoll Portfolio Analysis they are predicting in 2001 these companies will disappear, be taken over or be forced to change to stay in the market.

The analysis, which included 1019 companies in total, predicts that the Winners and the Chancers, who are capturing market and profits with a combined sales growth average of over 15.2% are pushing the Losers out of the market. As they try to maintain sales and profit targets, acquisition activity could intensify in 2001.

The First Edition 2001 describes four types of company strategy. The Winners have low borrowings (debt) as a % of sales and have high sales growth. The Chancers have high borrowings and high sales growth. The Sleepers have low borrowings and low sales growth, whilst The Losers have high borrowings and are growing below average.

For these 131 Losers, time is running out. Their level of debt is high at 38% of sales on average. These companies have lost market share and sales growth average for the latest period is showing an average decline of 11.5%. Their margins are showing a loss of 2.0% on average and almost 60% of them are loss-making. They have borrowed to stay in the market, but how long can this strategy be maintained?

The publication contains an up-to-date analysis of 1019 UK sound systems companies covering their last four years of trading. To order a copy call Jennifer Ovington on +44 1642 257800, or for a full version of th

Martin Pro Enters Joint Ventures
Wednesday, 1 November 2000

Martin Professional A/S has entered into an agreement with the owners of its two Argentinian distributors to establish a joint company, Martin Professional Argentina SA. As of November 1st, the newly established company will handle distribution and service of the group’s products in Argentina. Martin will hold roughly 20% of the shares. The establishment of the new joint company is a natural part of Martin’s market strategy, aimed at securing a foothold in the South American market, which is growing rapidly within the group’s areas of interest. The company will maintain its registered office in Buenos Aires.In Hong Kong, Martin has entered into an agreement to establish a similar company with its local Chinese partners. Martin Professional Hong Kong is expected to be operational before the end of 2000, and will take over distribution from its former Chinese distributor, which wasn’t viewed as allocating sufficient resources to maintain a satisfactory level of performance. Martin will hold 20% of the shares in the company, which will have its registered office in Hong Kong with branch offices in Shanghai and Guangzhou in China.The establishment of these two companies is not expected to have an effect on expectations for the current financial year, although it is expected that they will contribute to increased penetration in these markets during 2001.

Dry Ice Not to Blame
Wednesday, 1 November 2000

An inquest into the circumstances surrounding the death of student Joanna Smith, 19, who died following an asthma attack, thought to have been triggered by a dry ice machine at a nightclub, has concluded that there was no link between the two. The incident happened at First Leisure’s Volts (now renamed The Works) nightclub in Kingston Upon Thames on September 7 last year. Christopher Russell, the barrister representing club owners First Leisure, told the inquest: "This type of machine has never been associated with harmful effects." Coroner Alison Thompson concluded that Joanna had died from natural causes.

Vari-Lite Sells Showco to Clair Bros
Wednesday, 1 November 2000

Two of the USA's largest sound reinforcement companies are to join forces, following the news that Vari-Lite International has entered into a letter of intent to sell Showco - its sound reinforcement business - to an affiliate of Clair Brothers Audio, Inc. 'The combination of Showco and Clair Brothers will create the most impressive sound reinforcement company in the world,' said Rusty Brutsché, chairman and CEO of Vari-Lite. 'The decision to sell Showco to Clair Brothers was based upon the long-term benefits to Showco's customers and employees as Vari-Lite concentrates its efforts on the development, manufacture and sale of its automated lighting systems and continued operation of our lighting rental and production services offices in North America, Asia and London.'Showco, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, was formed in Dallas, Texas by Rusty Brutsché and Jack Maxson and from the early days of providing touring rigs for such bands as Led Zeppelin, Three Dog Night and James Taylor has evolved into one of the world’s premiere audio production companies with a product portfolio that includes the Prism sound system, digital controller, stage reference monitors, Prism L3 compact loudspeaker system and the Showconsole which was launched last year.Based in Lititz, PA, Clair Brothers has expanded enormously over the last 10 years and has manufacturing and affiliate offices in the US, Switzerland, Australia, England, Mexico, Singapore and Japan. Formed in the late 1960s by Roy and Gene Clair, the company has a client list that includes Garth Brooks, Mariah Carey,

PCM’s Donation to PSA Welfare Fund Tops £10,000
Wednesday, 1 November 2000

The latest cheque from PCM, European importers and distributors of the CM Lodestar hoist, to the PSA (Production Services Association) for their Welfare and Benevolent Fund, puts PCM’s contribution to this excellent cause to over £10,000. The fourth cheque, for £3,700, was presented by PCM’s John Jones to Simon Whittaker, Chair of the PSA, at PLASA 2000. The next PCM cheque will be presented during The Live Show 2001 in February.

Con Men Try Again
Tuesday, 31 October 2000

Those Nigerian businessmen are at it again - another round of letters has gone out inviting UK companies to provide them with bank account facilities into which they can deposit large sums of money earned illegally. The latest letter comes from Dr. Sule Ahmed, a civil servant, who advises that he has been a key player in the deliberate over-invoicing of a government contract to the tune of $21.5million US dollars. Overlooking his own shortcomings on the integrity front, he also refers to a previous transaction with one Patrice Miller in New York, who did the dirty on Ahmed and his mates and made off with the money. As so often in the past, PLASA members are being targeted heavily and we have already fielded a large number of e-mails and phonecalls on the subject.

Broadway's The Lion King Roars into BLMC2000
Tuesday, 31 October 2000

The Broadway Lighting Master Class has lined up an eclectic programme for this year's event which takes place in New York from December 6-10, 2000. Tony Award-winning lighting designer Don Holder will present an in-depth look at his acclaimed lighting for Disney's The Lion King. BLMC has obtained a block of hard-to-get tickets for this sold-out Broadway musical as one of two major performance elements in this year's programme. BLMC attendees will also get to see Radio City Music Hall's Christmas Spectacular at the magnificently renovated home of the world-famous Rockettes. The visit will also feature a one-hour guided tour of Radio City and a technical discussion of the lighting after the performance with LDs Ken Billington and Jason Kantrowitz. The BLMC programme will feature some of the leading names form theatre. Joining creative consultant Jules Fisher (the upcoming Jane Eyre) will be Peggy Eisenhauer (Cabaret), Beverly Emmons (Jekyll & Hyde), Wendall K. Harrington (The Who's Tommy), David Hays (founding artistic director, National Theatre for the Deaf), Don Holder (The Lion King), Vivien Leone (associate designer, Sunset Boulevard), Chris Parry (Not About Nightingales), Clifton Taylor (LD for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and others), and Richard Pilbrow (Showboat). Additionally, BLMC will feature two special panel discussions: the Lifetime Achievement Panel led by moderator Steve Terry, president of Systems Group/Fourth Phase (see below); and an exclusive discussion with members of The Lion King's creative team, moderated by Jules Fisher. The event will also feat

Vari-Lite Completes European Deal
Tuesday, 31 October 2000

Vari-Lite has now completed the sale of its operations in Belgium, The Netherlands, France and Sweden to First Events BV, an investment company that owns Focus Showequipment BV in Amsterdam. According to Vari-Lite chairman Rusty Brutsché, the sale will allow the parent company to concentrate its attention on the development and sale of its Vari*Lite automated light which until recently was only available for rental. First Events will build on the reputation of production companies Focus Showequipment (Amsterdam) and EML (Brussels/Utrecht) which were acquired in the transaction. Together with operations built by Vari-Lite in France and Sweden, First Events intends to develop a branded international network of professional full service companies in northern and western Europe.

B2B Music Online 2000
Monday, 30 October 2000

Ready or not, the music industry as we know it is rapidly changing. As MP3 and digital distribution technologies gain momentum, every facet of the industry, from the artist to the label to the retailer, is feeling the impact. At Access' B2B Music Online 2000, which takes place from 30 November to 1 December 2000 at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London, the conference will examine how these changes are affecting the traditional business-to-business music models and what the new opportunities are for both traditional players and new players in the industry. This forum includes a selection of expert speakers from the global music industry. Several US speakers will analyse the current and future state of online music in their country where the impact of the Internet is more advanced. Players in the British and European music industry can therefore see what opportunities and developments are just around the corner.

ILMC Unveils Conference Dates and New Team
Monday, 30 October 2000

The International Live Music Conference (ILMC The 13th) has announced that it will return to the venue for the 2000 event - the Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington, London - on the weekend of March 9th-11, 2001. A new team has been assembled by ILMC organiser Martin Hopewell to produce the Conference and create both its discussion agenda and the series of social events that surround the conference sessions themselves. Conference producers for ILMC 13 are Alia Dann and Lynn Curtis, with Mike Lethby and Sarah James at Gasoline Media responsible for media and sponsorship. Registration and sponsorship details are available from the ILMC office on 0207 833 8998.

Osram Sylvania Online
Monday, 30 October 2000

Osram Sylvania has launched a new interactive website, intended to be an on-line lighting workplace for its commercial partners and end users. The company has created a virtual lighting community where visitors can get all the news they need, from information on products and industry trends, to specifically tailored promotions.

PAI's Architectural Lighting Demo
Monday, 30 October 2000

PAI held a demonstration of exterior lighting techniques at Llanelli's Diplomat Hotel, on Thursday 26th October. With product from Griven, Studio Due, Martin, Enliten and Pulsar, The PAI Group (consisting of PA Installations, Vaughan Sound Installations and PA Technologies) demonstrated a wide range of exterior lighting effects that can be produced to highlight buildings and draw attention to the 'Brands' in residence. Technical Manager Andy Bonehill commented: "With the range of product on show we can demonstrate how even small buildings can benefit from an exterior lighting installation. The Mini City's from Studio Due are excellent value for money colour changers, whilst the Griven 'Kaleido' provides real punch from a relatively small unit. We are also using Martin Professional Mac 500 for moving image GoBo Projections mounted in an ECO Dome and a Martin Professional Ext 600 floodlight. The Enliten Callista provides a powerful static profile projector to complete the basic effects platform. The entire demonstration was be controlled by a Pulsar Masterpiece desk.

Keith Dale Announces Elektralite Plans
Friday, 27 October 2000

Keith Dale has announced that he is to represent Group One's Elektralite brand of lighting control products outside the US. Dale, who recently left Celco, has a long association with Group One, who were previously the US distributor for Celco products. Group One, based in Farmingdale, New York, is the US distributor for Clay Paky and Pulsar, Celestion, XTA Electronics, Cadac and SPL of Germany. Elektralite manufactures universal lighting controllers for live and fixed installations, including the CP100, the CP10XT and the new CP20. Dale will develop the brand awareness of the Elektralite product outside of the US. More news on the venture is expected in the near future.

Presentation Services Launch E-Commerce Site
Friday, 27 October 2000

Presentation Services Ltd (PSL), the corporate and exhibition event specialist, has launched a new e-commerce internet site called PSL Direct. Visitors to the site will find everything from the latest video/data projector to plasma flat screen technology.

Hacienda Nightclub to be Demolished
Friday, 27 October 2000

The contents of the world famous Hacienda nightclub in Manchester - scene of early shows by Madonna, Oasis, U2, Take That, Boy George and the 'Madchester' bands - are going under the hammer at a unique auction for charity. The lots include the revered DJ booth and interior designer Ben Kelly's hazard-striped steel columns. The venue for the auction, which will take place on Saturday November 25 at midday, is the nearby Richard Conrad building. Viewing will run from 10am to 4pm on Friday 24 and from 10am to midday on the day itself. In addition to the auctioned lots, pieces of the dance floor, coloured tiles and even bricks from the building, will be sold off at nominal sums. All proceeds from the event will go to the Greater Manchester Community Foundation which works with disadvantaged young people in the city. New owners Crosby Homes are redeveloping the Haçienda site and two neighbouring buildings into apartments.

Shaken not Stirred - Three Good Looking Riggers
Wednesday, 25 October 2000

This was the request given to Vertigo Rigging by production company Action Time TV for a special edition of Celebrity Auctions recorded at London Weekend Television! The chosen three - hard to pick from Vertigo's team of suave, slick, and ultra cool riggers - were Ken Mehmed, Paul Darby and Dave Brierly. Donning DJ', bow ties and an air of sophistication, they descended onto stage via a smooth, stylish abseil from the studio roof - half way through the show - which was presented by Sean Bean. Earlier in the day, the Vertigo Bonds - more practically clad, rigged their abseil lines in the roof, plus some custom-fabricated 'Boson's' chairs, constructed in the Vertigo workshop. The latter were fixed up in the roof to enable the Bonds to sit and wait for their cue in comfort. The feat was performed flawlessly, followed by a round of Martinis - shaken not stirred to ensure the Bond myth was faithfully adhered to. No-one is commenting on who got the beautiful girl!!

£15 Million Hampstead Rebuild
Wednesday, 25 October 2000

London is to have its first new producing theatre since the National Theatre opened in 1976. Hampstead Theatre has won a major £9.85 million capital grant from the Arts Council of England for a new landmark development, the total cost of which will reach £15million. The Theatre's currrent building, a portakabin erected in 1962 to last 10 years, is nearing collapse and work on the new venue, which will be sited close to the existing theatre, is about to commence. Designed by Bennetts Associates, the new theatre, which will open in late 2002, will be translucent, with an adaptable elliptical aditorium.

Zero 88 Prize Winner
Wednesday, 25 October 2000

During the recent PLASA Show, Zero 88 held a competition to win special 'silver edition' versions of its Elara and Alcora desks. The winner of the Alcora was ex-Rose Bruford college student, Ianto Guy who correctly identified that Zero 88 was founded in 1972. He was one of a number of students who benefited from using the desk during his studies. Zero 88 has supported the college's lighting design course through the donation of control desks since 1998, and is continuing its commitment by donating its latest Illusion 240 console in November. Guy now runs his own company in Powys where he provides education on lighting issues to amateur groups, small theatres and schools. He also acts as a consultant to National Lottery Grant winners. Ianto Guy is pictured receiving his Alcora desk from Claire House and Cheryl Ryan of Zero 88.

Dome Becomes Party Zone
Wednesday, 25 October 2000

The Ministry of Sound is to stage a 12-hour New Year's Eve Party at the Millennium Dome. The event will take place in the buildings around the Dome including the adjacent Skyscape structure dubbed by many the Baby Dome. Just under 40 DJs will be there on the night alongside chart act Artful Dodger. In preparation for the event, the Dome itself will close at 6pm on December 31 with a final performance of the Central Show.

Biggest Ever LDI Closes in Las Vegas
Tuesday, 24 October 2000

At the close of the LDI exhibition on Sunday evening at the Sands Convention Center, Las Vegas, the show was being hailed as the biggest, busiest and most successful LDI yet. In addition to its regulars, the show boasted no less than 65 first-time exhibitors, while the visitors were out in force. Speaking at the LDI Awards ceremony on Saturday evening, LDI's Jacqueline Tien said that with more than 12,000 visitors through the doors, LDI 2000 had already outstripped last year's visitor total, with a day left to run.

Federal Signal in Capital Move
Tuesday, 24 October 2000

Cheshire-based Federal Signal has opened its first London office. Based in Tapping Street in Docklands, the new office provides a regional marketing and sales base to support Federal Signal's strategy of designing and developing voice alarm systems based on its Millbank range. The company, which works for London customers such as the London Underground, has recently launched a range of new products under the Millbank brand. These include the multi-zone broadcast voice alarm system Verifire, Talisman III dynamic audio induction amplifiers and Ultima II integrated PA amplifiers. Area sales manager Darren Morgan will head up the London operation.


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