Four years after Screening Room stirred up the exhibition sector with its the day-and-date proposition, the company has rebranded itself SR Labs and raised $27.5m in equity financing amid a far greater threat to theatre owners.
As the cororonavirus pandemic continues to impact the industry, Screening Room founding investor and Napster co-founder Sean Parker said former Sony Pictures Home Entertainment president Man Jit Singh has been hired as CEO as he touted the company as a way for studios and exhibitors to “future-proof and expand their businesses.”
The original idea emerged four years ago and proposed distributor-exhibitor revenue share for a 48-hour home rental of a film on the day it opened theatrically. It became the talk of CinemaCon 2016 and sparked widespread opposition among theatre owners.
Parker and his partners at the time suggested customers pay a one-time $150m installation fee for an anti-piracy set-top box, and a $50 price point for each rental.
Singh will join the board alongside Parker, Screening Room co-founder Prem Akkaraju, who assumes the role of SR Labs executive chairman, former Sony Pictures worldwide marketing and distribution head Jeff Blake, CTO Jim Baldwin, and other senior team members and advisors.
According to a press release, SR Labs styles itself as a technology company servicing the film industry and has received 11 US and 25 global utility patents related to its ”secure delivery architecture”.
The release went on to say the company’s proprietary technology “allows for feature film delivery that matches or exceeds industry standards for theatrical and satellite-based delivery of digital cinema at a fraction of the price. Using a unique combination of anti-piracy technologies, SR Labs hardware and software-based solutions streamline traditional distribution to theaters and/or consumers with an unprecedented level of quality and security.”
Parker said during the coronavirus pandemic people “must do everything in our power to preserve the time-honoured tradition of theatrical exhibition at this pivotal moment, when its very existence is under threat.”
“He continued, “We at SR Labs are committed to achieving one goal: providing both studios and exhibitors the tools and technologies they need to future-proof and expand their businesses. I could not be more excited to work with Man Jit and the leadership team in realising this goal.”