CanalNumedia, the internet subsidiary of France's Canal Plus, has made its first move into Ireland, with the acquisition of a new-technology ticketing group Filmline.
The company, which will be renamed CanalNumedia Ireland, operates an interactive telephone booking service on behalf of exhibitors. It will go live with an internet booking service in the first quarter of 2001.
The outfit, founded in 1998 by former CiBy 2000 executive Johanna Ryder, will continue to operate under the Filmline banner. But it will be operated in close co-operation with CanalNumedia's 75%-owned Allo Cine ticketing operation, currently operational in France and Belgium.
CanalNumedia chairman Philippe Bismut, said: "We intend to provide European internet users with a complete film service and that includes the possibility to purchase tickets and access the maximum information about films in the cinema. Our move into an English-speaking territory such as Ireland paves the way for further expansion in the English-speaking world."
Ryder said: "Backed by a group with the strength and vision of CanalNumedia, we hope to be able to launch operations in the UK in the early part of 2001."
Ireland, which has a booming high-tech industry, recently saw the launch of itsmobile, which operates a real-time web and WAP (mobile phone) ticket booking system in conjunction with the family-owned Ormonde Cinemas in Dublin (ScreenDaily.com, Nov 20).
Ryder has arrangements with most of the independently-run operators outside of Dublin and expects to rapidly expand the number of participating cinemas.
CanalNumedia specialises in the development and management of the Canal Plus group web sites, as well as the production and sale of internet entertainment content. Since August, CanalNumedia has set up subsidiaries in Scandinavia, Belgium, Poland and the Netherlands.