BIRMINGHAM, AL — MediaMerge announced Wednesday, July 30, 2003, that it has entered into an agreement to provide technical support for the St. Louis Science Center Omnimax Theater in St. Louis, Missouri.
MediaMerge, in cooperation with the IMAX Corporation, will be responsible for providing preventative maintenance and technical support for the theater’s world-class audio and projection systems.
“Financially it makes sense for us,” remarks Jackie Mollet, Omnimax Theater Manager. The Science Center originally entered into the Shared Partnership Program with IMAX intending to send the chief projectionist to be trained. “We had concerns about spending the money to train our own technician. People don’t stick around too long. You can’t expect them to. It seemed like a better situation for us to not be tied to one person for service. With MediaMerge there is a bit of a safety net.”
MediaMerge, Inc. was formed in January 2001, by Tim Ogletree and Ken McKibben to provide design, installation, service, and support for audio, video, control, acoustics, and theatrical lighting systems. The two met while working at Sonics Associates where Ogletree worked as a system designer, and McKibben worked as a Service Technician for North America. Since its inception, the company has been growing at a steady pace. With projects currently ongoing in Alabama, Florida, Texas, and West Virginia, MediaMerge has received recognition as a media systems integrator on a national level.
In January, the addition of IMAX service veteran Doug Jackson spawned the development of a full-time service department. Known as the Technical Services Group, the department is responsible for providing service and support for IMAX Theaters in addition to the original client-base which is comprised of auditoriums, media rooms, and multipurpose facilities, primarily for houses of worship.
“We began to realize the need our existing clients had for service and support after the sale. There were really no companies out there addressing that need, and it just made sense to move forward with the idea of incorporating IMAX Theater support into our company’s new service model,” states Vice-President of Operations, McKibben. “With our past experience in the IMAX world, we really felt like we could offer a unique perspective on meeting the needs of the IMAX Theaters. When we realized how much money the theaters could potentially save, it just sealed the deal.”
Under the agreements MediaMerge provides the technician to meet the requirements of the IMAX Service Partnership Program. In this arrangement the theater operates as usual, and MediaMerge provides 24-hour phone support, preventative maintenance, and emergency service visits. The theater still has a service agreement directly with IMAX, while MediaMerge provides the labor at a significant savings. IMAX provides all replacement parts, phone support, and limited on-site service.
“So far the response has been really good,” states Jackson. “The initial reaction from theaters has been ‘this is too good to be true.’ The most difficult part of the process has been convincing them that it really is true!”
MediaMerge expanded into the IMAX market in May, signing agreements to provide service to the IMAX Theaters at the Gulf Coast Exploreum in Mobile, Alabama, and the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Florida. This new development marks the third IMAX Theater MediaMerge has signed to date.