After years of alternating between being supplier and client to each other, Triple E and Blackout, best known as suppliers of track and drapes respectively, have announced a merger of the two companies. The announcement, by the two managing directors David Edelstein and Steve Tuck, was made from a joint stand at the SIEL exhibition in Paris. Trading as Blackout Triple E with immediate effect, the new company offers a complete in-house design and manufacturing service for custom drapes and hardware, as well as a hire service for track, drapes and rigging. Current investment plans include dramatically expanding the rigging division with the addition of 80 CM Lodestar chain hoists.
A further day in High Court has been scheduled for March 2000 for the case between Paul Madden (Intimate Studios) and GLW (the manufacturer of Harrison recording consoles). The hearing will address the claim for £400,000 against GLW in regard to the alleged failure of the Series Twelve Music console, which was installed at Intimate Studios in London, to perform acceptably and the termination of an associated marketing contract. It will also consider if it would be best heard in the USA. GLW's contention is that Intimate Studios' Paul Madden obtained the console in the full knowledge that the Series Twelve as configured for music was in development, therefore any terms in regard to 'fit for purpose' did not apply to this sale. Further action is being undertaken by the finance company who purchased the console from GLW in 1995.
Publisher Highbury House has made moves to purchase rival Nexus, publishers of Live!, DJ magazine and Disco International. The Nexus titles will add to an already substantial Highbury portfolio of around 40 magazines ranging from technical publications such as Camcorder User through to home interest titles such as Women's Health. The Group also publishes a further 50 under contract. The acquisition of Nexus will be the latest in a string of investments for Highbury: in March 99 it formed a joint venture with Internet Advertising to publish magazines on the internet, three months later it bought Wyvern Crest, a database marketing company, for £3.7m and in September 99 it acquired WV, publisher of consumer magazines, for £7m.
Since its inception 25 years ago, Suffolk-based Gofer has expanded from a power distribution company to being a complete event service company. As a result, it has recently moved to new premises, increasing its capacity three-fold, with 12,500sq.m of warehousing and 1.5 acres of land to house its equipment, plus a canvas covered swimming pool and jacuzzi for those times when stress relief is required. Re-structuring within the company has also taken place - Gofer is now divided into three autonomous divisions: lighting, sound and power distribution. Each department has its own highly experienced team, with directors Dave Miller and Rob Quin at the helm.
Arup Acoustics, the specialist group within Arup offering consultancy on all areas of acoustics, noise, vibration and audio visual design, is establishing a new office in Manchester. The company has already handled a number of high profile projects in Manchester, including the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester Airport and the International Convention Centre, and will use the new base to offer its growing number of clients in the North of England a more efficient service. Richard Greer, Nick Antonio and Jo Webb will make up the acoustics team in Manchester.
PLASA Publishing has learnt that Harman Pro Group North America has reached a preliminary agreement to acquire Crown International, the Elkhart, Indiana-based manufacturer of power amplification products. According to Mark Terry, president of Harman Pro Group North America, the acquisition is expected to close within a month and is subject to the ratification of a definitive agreement. "The addition of Crown's amplifier brand will increase the power and appeal of the entire Group to customers around the world."
PLASA Publishing has received official confirmation that Cue Pro Audio Services went into liquidation at the close of last year. The company, based in London offered a repair service to the audio industry and was an authorised service centre for a host of manufacturers Carver, Denon, Furman, Omniphonics, Sony, Panasonic, Ramsa, RTS, Telex, Kramer and Yamaha. A creditors meeting took place on the 22nd November, 1999, at which point insolvency practitioners McCann Taylor were appointed as liquidators.
At the recent AGM of the Society of Television Lighting Designers (STLD), the Society honoured the support it had received over the past 25 years from Strand Lighting. Bernie Davies, secretary of the STLD, presented a special award to Alan Luxford, Strand's long-serving sales manager, who was present at the very first meeting of the STLD which was held at Strand Electric's King Street showroom in Covent Garden, and has supported the society ever since.
PLASA Publishing has learnt that VLPS (Europe) is to be sold to a European-based consortium. Although the move has not been officially confirmed by parent company Vari-Lite International Inc, VLPS Europe is understood to have all but completed the paperwork for a management buy-out backed by a venture capital company based in Sweden. A letter of intent is in place and confirmation of the deal is expected in the next few weeks. Vari-Lite Europe, together with Theatre Projects/Concert Productions and Brilliant Stages, became part of the Vari-Lite Inc Group in 1994 when the Samuelson Group sold off the companies. It later merged with Theatre Projects to form VLPS London.
Dolby Laboratories has announced that MARS (Multimedia Archive & Retrieval Systems) On-line has begun using Dolby Digital for the delivery of audio to professional broadcasters and the production community via the Internet. MARS On-line provides an Internet library music archive via a comprehensive on-line database search engine. The audio is stored, encoded and distributed using Liquid Audio technology, which employs Dolby Digital audio encoding.
ESTA has announced that the draft American National Standard BSR E1.14, Entertainment Technology - Recommendations for Inclusions in Fog Machine Manuals, is available for public review until March 14, 2000. The draft standard applies to the instruction manuals for fog machines manufactured for use in the entertainment industry, and describes what information should be included in fog machine manuals to help ensure that users operate these machines safely and effectively. A copy of the above standard may be obtained from the ESTA website at www.esta.org/tsp/ or by writing to: Technical Standards Manager, ESTA, 875 Sixth Avenue, Suite 2302, New York, NY 10001, USA.
The recently-opened Royal Opera House isn't experiencing much luck since its £214 million redevelopment. Following technical problems and cancellations on a run of recent productions, the Opera House was beset by further problems during a recent performance of Sir Harrison Birtwistle's Gawain. The production was brought to a halt part-way through a performance when one of the lift mechanisms intended to transport a performer into position failed to operate effectively. The production was temporarily halted and later resumed - by the time the curtain came down it had fallen 40 minutes behind schedule.
PLASA EXCLUSIVE: PLASA Publishing has learnt that Technotronics, the West-Yorkshire-based manufacturing company who specialised in lighting effects and control equipment, were declared insolvent at the close of last year. Insolvency practitioners are now dealing with the company's affairs and a meeting of creditors is to be called shortly. Earlier in 1999, the directors of the company established a new company - TTL Distribution Ltd - to help promote and sell its lighting range, but also to distribute complementary products to the trade - principally those of Ultrak UK and Chauvet. TTL Distribution Ltd continues to trade from Technotronics' premises.
At last, Chris Mounsor has announced his future intentions in the business after his departure from Audio Visual hire company PSL. Mounsor is to head up a new video rental company, specialising in the field of Camera & Video design and support to the concert touring and music industries. Mounsor has teamed up with industry legend Pat Morrow of Nocturne Inc and Rene De Keyser of XL Video to create Nocturne (Europe) Ltd. The company is currently in negotiations to purchase a 6500sq.ft warehouse in St Albans, and hope to be ensconced by Feb 1st.
Lord Lloyd Webber is to take control of 10 of the West End's leading theatres in a deal said to be worth £85million. The purchase of the Stoll Moss group of theatres, which includes the Garrick, the London Palladium and the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, was carried out by Lloyd Webber and a City financiers NatWest Equity Partners, in order to prevent the venues from falling into the hands of 'money men'.
The opening of the recently-refurbished Royal Court Theatre on London's Sloane Square has been postponed because the building is not ready. The Theatre was scheduled to re-open on 7 January 2000, following its £25m lottery-funded refurb. This is by no means the first delay - work was originally scheduled to conclude in May of 1998: this was then put back one whole year to May 1999 and then a further six months, to November 1999. When it does eventually open, Lighting & Sound International magazine will bring its readers a full technical review.
In an attempt to cut down on drinkers causing noise as they make their way home from a bar in London, they are being encouraged to suck lollipops. A students' union bar in Bloomsbury has introduced the novel idea of giving lollipops to drinkers leaving the bar, after local residents complained about the noise at closing time. The scheme, which is based on the belief that the drinkers are less likely to be able to talk loudly, shout or cause a disturbance whilst they are sucking the sweets, seems to be working. Since the scheme started, complaints about noise have fallen sharply.
Netherlands-based companies Focus Showequipment BV and Jansen & Jansen have combined forces, and will now operate under the sole name of Focus Showequipment BV. The move has been made in order to combine the areas of expertise in lighting, sound and studio facilities developed by the two companies over the past 25 years. In addition, the company will alter the way it deals with projects to provide a segmented approach, fully utilising its various fields of expertise.
Following David Pacy's recent return to Clever Group, and the company's change of name back to Metro Group, further changes have been announced by the company. Pacy commented: "Metro Tyrell's business is extremely specialised. Therefore, I believe that Metro Tyrell will operate more successfully working alongside the Metro brands as a sister company and part of WPP Group plc, as opposed to being part of the Metro Group. All parties are in agreement and with the full support of WPP, we look forward to an extremely successful 2000." The company name will be changed by the end of January.
Neutrik USA, Inc and parent company, Neutrik AG, have filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Switchcraft, Inc over the Neutrik Speakon product line. The federal suit, filed in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, seeks a remedy for Switchcraft's infringement of Neutrik US Patent No. 5205749 directed specifically to an electric plug-in socket that covers the company's Speakon connector line. The litigation seeks to enjoin Switchcraft from selling its HPC (High Power Connector) line, leading to a permanent injunction and possible financial compensation. Neutrik also claims that Switchcraft has made trademark infringements on the promotion of its HPC line.
Manchester-based Power Gems has grown over the last eight years to become the world's largest independent designer and manufacturer of electronic power supplies for the motion picture lighting industry. PLASA Publishing has learnt that the company has entered into a strategic alliance with US-based Warner Power LLC, and as a result, is now expanding its technology into industrial and medical markets. Power Gems investment has secured a 49.9% shareholding in Warner Power, a management buy-out of WPI Electronics Inc and WPI Power Conversions Inc, with a combined $20million turnover.
The team of theatre consultants which has been operating as Techplan for the past 15 years has become incorporated and is undertaking new projects as Theatreplan. Charles Wass, Roger Fox, John Whittaker and Richard Brett have been joined by Neil Morton and are trading as Theatre Planning and Technology Ltd. They continue to be contactable through the Stagehouse in Kingston, but the centre of operations will be transferred to Doughty Street in London.
Two divisions within Philips Electronics UK Ltd will merge as from January 1st 2000. Philips Communication & Security Systems (CSS) and Philips Imaging and Connectivity (I&C) will form Philips Communication, Security & Imaging (CSI). The move is seen as "a logical step which will create new business opportunities and open additional sales channels." The newly formed company will cover the areas of PA, congress, private paging, healthcare, communication and intercom systems and CCTV.
Earls Court Olympia, the venue for the annual PLASA Show, is currently part-way through a £60 million six year improvement programme. Phase One sees several improvements come on line including the upgrade of the main escalators. Phase Two will address the general upgrade and refurbishment of facilities throughout the venue, including the refurbishment of several catering areas in Earls Court 1 and a new business centre. Part of this phase will also see the completion of the painting and 'column cladding' programme on the ground floor of Earls Court 1. The Warwick Road and West Brompton entrances to Earls Court 1 are on-line for upgrading during 2000. In addition to all the work going on within the Exhibition Centre, the West Brompton/Earls Court rail-link is now fully operational, enhancing the travel routes direct to this important central London venue.