That was over 2 weeks ago and insider selling is way down from their historically high levels. The insider selling by the big guys annoys me that is a fact. Compare the last 6 months to years past. While you focus on that I choose to focus on how IMAX's stock price is doing compared to the feared IMAX killer, Dolby. Just look at the charts. While this does not ultimately say much, as to the threat Dolby poses to IMAX right now the street does not seem to think so much about it. That said, looking obsessively for any news on IMAX Laser which was supposed to be introduced with The Hobbit. I would hope that is because they will wait on any press to make sure it is ready for publicity. Sort of a soft opening new restaurants have before they have the reviewers come in.
Agreed! Even in the recent downturn in the market IMAX has held up fairly well while Dolby, with arguably it's biggest news in quite a while, has gotten hurt. That said, the street hates uncertainty and Dolby's future in Laser is, on the surface, more uncertain than IMAX's given the IMAX extablished network and current position in already providing a PLF solution. All that said hopefully we will have some press and reviews on Laser projection very soon.
My understanding is that Laser is extremely expensive, at least in it's first generation, so using it for smaller screens (with smaller seat counts) is not economically viable. Also, from what IMAX has said, it benefits are more evident with the image on the large screen so smaller screen Laser installs are a way off. I do agree that once Laser become more common bringing them to all screens across the network will become required. I expect that if IMAX is still an independent company at that point a merger, buyout or large cash infusion would benefit IMAX more that it would have at any point up to that.
I do not take the entry of Dolby into the space that IMAX has dominated, so far, lightly. It is, by far, the greatest threat to IMAX's technology and the quality of the product it consistently delivers, including the IMAX digital solution. IMAX Digital was always, in reality, an interim solution until something approaching or even possibly exceeding IMAX 15/70 could be developed and delivered into a commercial viable product. Neither IMAX nor Dolby has yet demonstrated they can replace what IMAX 15/70 film was to immersive Cinema in the current Digital age. Until either does so on a large enough scale to demonstrate they can fulfill that promise we just don't know. I am not writing Dolby off and you shouldn't do the same with IMAX. If you want to just look back to the big 3D push that was supposed to save Cinema it is a case study in what Dolby is doing now. Dolby had a solution that was, in the opinion of many, a superior solution for 3D but it did not become the standard. RealD took that prize, for lack of a better term, which has not delivered to RealD the dominance that was once predicted. While there may be many explanations for that my point is predicting winners at this stage of the game is problematic. There are just too many moving parts effecting the outcome which still may go through several eras before any technology or company becomes dominant in the space. My position is that I like IMAX's position...for now. Regarding the exhibitor chains delivering their own, home grown solution since that has yet to happen I take their ability to do so as unlikely. Not impossible, but not their expertise which is why they partnered with IMAX, or RealD, in installing new technology. I know enough about their industry from friends in the business that just replacing bulbs in projectors often enough to maintain an acceptable image on the screen seems to be difficult for them that their doing what Gharabe seems to think is likely, or even very possible, to happen.
Care to weigh in on what is known so far with the coming technologies being talked about from Barco and Christie along with their collaborations with IMAX and Dolby who seem to be the largest players in the space right now? I read all I can from websites for the different industries but without a broad knowledge it is difficult to see which might take hold. As we know from the past, the best technology does not always win (VHS/Betamax). IMAX's head start and existing relationships and contractual obligations with exhibitors, studios and top venues (TCL Chinese Theater, Metroeon, BFI and Lincoln Square seem to give them an edge from a business standpoint but, depending what actually is presented on screens for the Cinema loving public, who knows. I know Douglas Trumbull also has a technology package he has been pitching which might be the future but it will not be easy to roll out in mass.
Have you ever had your own business? There can be more than one winner in any space and despite Mr. Gelfond's need to diversify his holdings, as opposed to betting only one one, he is smart enough to know that. Why don't you?
The Future’s Bright—Again
How can one sum up this event without using tired clichés? Yes, “the future is bright.” At least 14fL of brightness in fact (in 2D & 3D no less). And “the future is now.” We saw it. Laser projectors and 120 fps on a giant screen. And distressingly realistic CG robots. What could be more futuristic?! And “we are at a crossroads.” We witnessed the great film wow moments alongside great digital ones too on a great digital system. What was most satisfying about this conference was that we all witnessed these together and, I would say, all came away very upbeat and with a positive feeling about the industry. What do they say? “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Time to set sail then….
This was from a piece in the GSCA website reviewing several technologies for Giant Screen. They represent the entire space they are so obviously they need to be very diplomatic but I tend to agree with the sentiment. Cinema is about to enter a new age and there is probably room for more than one winner so picking one in the early going is problematic. IMAX does have a big head start and 60+ deals already in place in some of the most iconic Cinema locations in the world. With an industry that move as slow as Cinema, for a variety of reasons, I still am betting IMAX will do very well. All that said, the public still has yet to commit a dime to any of the players so we will see.
I will repeat the old adage that in the short run the stock market is a thermometer taking the current temperature of market sentiment but in the long run it is a scale weighing relative values. Your point might be valid for a trade but in gauging the value of IMAX as an investment it does not apply. You also missed my point on a disruptive technology allowing more than one winner and that Cinema exhibition moves incredibly slowly compared to consumer electronics. I have fully exhausted my patience in discussing this as until we know much more than we do now we are going in circles. The news cycle on this should be heating up very soon. Looking at both IMAX and Dolby trading over the last few days I think the market, as of now, is not committing itself to either company. I would not be surprised if that situation does not change until well into next year. Things are getting interesting so hold on, it might be a jarring ride.
My point said it would drive it up OR down. The entry of a name as big as Dolby into the space IMAX created and had technologically to themselves up to now highlights that that space is, in fact, the future of Cinema. It validates the value of that space going forward and a rising tide may raise all boats...or it may create a winner or loser in this case...we just don't know yet. Google coming out with Android validated what was already well known, that the iPhone had created the future. In that case the rising tide did help lift both boats with market share moving back and forth. However, consumer electronics can move very quickly with consumer trends and a product cycle. Cinema is a much, much slower and very complicated space so it will take much longer to get some clarity and the situation could stay muddy for a while. Lastly, the more attention the space gets the more money will flow to investing in the space. So even if IMAX has strong competition and Dolby does well IMAX doesn't necessarily lose value. Don't get me wrong, I am not making predictions as much as trying to suggest ways this might play out. I am not adding to my IMAX position but I certainly wouldn't be a seller either at this point. Soon enough we should get some idea of the competing technologies and their relative ability to take current market share or grow the space. I am ready to take my position down or even sell the whole position but will do so on something I can evaluate rather that just conjecture.
What is your view of how the next month to a year plays out in the PLF space? Id Dolby has superior technology in it's offering will that alone win the race?
No it can not. Dolby is taking a run at a space IMAX had pretty much to themselves and having them go after IMAX right now says, to me, that the thesis behind my IMAX investment is coming true. Dolby has a great name and I expect their technology to be compelling. I hope and expect IMAX's technology to be compelling as well. They have the Kodak patents which supposedly were cutting edge for it's time. They partnered with the right people from all accounts including Barco that was ahead of them in rolling out a Laser solution, from what I read. Moving from Christie to Barco had to be for something and the fact that Christie is partnering with Dolby might just be coincidence but I doubt that. All that can be reasonably spun as positive or negative for IMAX. I expect as we get the details for both IMAX's Laser solution and Dolbyvision and some reviews on both we can form real opinions as opposed to conjecture. What is known, as the quote in a prior post stated, is that IMAX is way ahead of Dolby on what seems the be the same game plan and business model as IMAX ( Dolby must think it to be a good one). Advantage IMAX. I floated an thought that acquiring IMAX would make Dolby's plan so much easier and much, much quicker so, to me, Dolby would be smart to do some deal with IMAX. They would also be neutralizing the main competition in there space. Perhaps the spector of Dolby breathing down their neck could also push IMAX into else's someones arms. Feels like things will be heating up soon and that will either make IMAX's stock price go up or down. I still feel my exit from IMAX will be at a significantly higher price...as of now and I certainly would NOT want to out of IMAX right now. Perhaps the paint is finally drying...
The next month should hopefully clarify things but both technologies have only been seen by insiders in the industry so both are mostly unknown. Gotta love the drama...hope it drives the price higher.
It needs to convince a whole lot of people, in fact, for the technology to be financially viable and be able to compete with IMAX." from and Engaget article just posted on Yahoo.
Dolbyvision is good for IMAX. It will truly test their hold on the space they created and the technology they have in store to stay on top of the Cinema food chain. I hope Dolbyvision is a great technology. I hope even more that IMAX will install technology that will arguably be on, at least, on par with Dolbyvision. If so Dolby might win out but possibly by just buying IMAX's footprint and contractual runway to implement whatever technology, or combination of technologies, that is going to be worthy of being on top of the Cinema food chain. Everybody wins especially the Cinema going public. Not predicting that but that is the kind of thing we can expect as the current endgame for the future of Cinema plays out. No matter what, you can't argue with IMAX's current position as the leader and, as so, holding there most potential value in whatever is coming.
The exhibitors used to have the Studios at a huge disadvantage as their only source to sell their product. Now the studios are more and more in control. This industry has always had the frequent use of sharp elbows. The exhibitors will bail on IMAX and move to Dolbyvision only if it works best for them.
All good points and a good justification for you to bail and put your money elsewhere as there are many possibilities right now. You have one big motivation that I, unfortunately, do not....you took profits when I should have so you have done very well for your efforts. If you put your money elsewhere you can still look back that you did well with IMAX overall. As much as the insider selling irks me I still believe that given the way management has set themselves up they have been able to cash in on IMAX stock price doing well while still keeping themselves in a position to cash in at some point if IMAX stock price really takes off or, more likely, they cash out in a sale. Management greed is not mutually exclusive with the enterprise still succeeding. My current feeling is that the end game will become more clear as the new technologies emerge and the marketplace tells us which ones will be able to fully exploit the kinds of Cinema that the content creators are increasing producing without platforms able to present them at their full potential. I have no doubt that my experiencing the next Avatar will be utilizing technology not available to me today and on a level no Cinema viewer has yet experienced. I expect to be wowed. Of that I have no doubt...do you? Then the question is weather or not IMAX will at the least have a seat at the table if not dominating the space as they do now or, I expect, a significant enough market share to be worth significantly more then they are now. My view, as of now, is yes so until I feel otherwise I will continue to sit on my 40% gains. All that said, I continue to watch IMAX like a hawk as my biggest holding (Apple is 2nd) and truly appreciate reasoned, nonemotional perspectives questioning holding my position. I thank you for that!
I feel your pain! I have been invested in IMAX for quite some time. I lost 25% of a small position in the failed attempt to sell the company in, I think, 2006. Reinvested again in a big way after seeing the first Digital installation but put in stops as protection as my gains grew. Got stopped out in a flash crash (with small gains) in the stock and did not put those stops back in after a flash crash in the market showed it was not always advisable. Was up big time after Avatar but didn't take profits on the quick move up as I was advised to by my future FA and got out very near the bottom bis a small gain. Waded back in and am now holding 40% gains. What to do!? My feeling is that selling now, while I will be locking in those gains, would waste all the time I have invested in going to school on IMAX and the industry is has been attempting to disrupt. It is finally happening now but, unlike after the frenzy after Avatar, it is like watching paint dry. Given the snails pace that Cinema disruption has moved (for reasons I listed in a prior post), losing patience with my position is constantly a thought I grapple with. That Cinema exhibition will look very different from the current model in 5 years from now seems certain. IMAX was the first to move in a direction that has now been legitimized by none other that one of the biggest names in consumer electronics, Dolby. One thing I have learned in investing over the last 10 years is investor psychology is something that drives the market even today with all the computers making decisions. Trading, or just buying and selling a stock, should be guided by not only the markets psychology but one's own psychology. I have noticed that the urge to buy is often highest right near the top and the urge to sell finally kicks in right near the bottom in a stocks movement. But to your point, I have also noticed I gave up on stocks after losing patience only to look back months later to find that holding on would have finally won.
The whole content delivery issue is one where it is nearly impossible to predict winners and losers which is my whole point as to the ultimate endgame for all involved. Netflix as a buyer of IMAX is an intriguing idea which may not be as out there as it sounds. That IMAX will not be the stand alone organization it is currently seems almost certain but, then again, who knows. It will most definitely be interesting and there will be money to be made betting on the winners.
Basically, one has to assume that the exhibitors have the upper hand in a war that is in it's first battles. Are they #$%$ off, of course they are but can they control the future...well that is unknown. They fought cable from competing with them for the first time with uninterrupted and unedited content delivered to the home (remember the STOP PAY TV on every Movie theater marquee?) and lost but they still survived by going to the multiplex model. If they are and stay in control it could very well be a disaster. If they lose control and Netflix becomes the Amazon of content delivery (or just totally change the model) then IMAX sticking their neck out to get on board with them was genius. I expect more likely it is a blip as the exhibitors have a very tough road ahead and despite their anger with IMAX currently by it's very visible move they may have few other allies in fighting against a wave that is only gaining momentum. If you think very short term then IMAX cooperating with Netflix looks bad as the market punishing the share price for a while showed very well. Long term is just unknown and can't be predicted for sure so how can you be so sure about what it means. BTW, you mentioned no new domestic deals since the Netflix announcement as proof of the damage. Domestic deals have slowed to a crawl with the exception of very small ones or modifications of the larger ones due to the network being much more mature. Also, with the new technology we are discussing here why would anyone commit to the older technology. All this discussion now is amusing but sort of useless. Let's all just wait and see how Laser plays out for IMAX and Dolby and how 2015 plays out.