Dan Slusser is the Chairman of Agoura-based DTS, which recently received an award from the Los Angeles Venture Association for the Best Public Offering in 2003. As one of the few (only?) IPOs in the area last year, I thought it would be good to get a perspective on the company.
BK: I see that your company just won an award for Best Public Offering from the Los Angeles Venture Association. How and why did DTS decide to go public, in what seemed to be one of the worst years ever for IPOs?
DS: Even if the market is doing well, going public at any time is a decision that must be based upon what a company's current needs are, as well as what the future holds. DTS' IPO in July 2003 was necessary for the company to continue to grow and attain new goals. I can assure you that for months prior to the actual IPO we did a lot of research with investment banks, all of which were optimistic about the changing marketplace. Their predictions, by and large, turned out to be accurate. As they say: In life, "timing is everything."
BK: What is DTS's core business, and do you develop your own hardware and software or do you just license the technology to others?
DS: The most succinct answer to your question is that DTS' core business is multi-channel audio, but that is all too simplistic given the many different technologies we offer and the various industries in which we are involved. Over the years we have developed considerable intellectual properties, both in the Cinema arena, as well as the Consumer Electronics / Pro Audio industries. For these markets, we develop and market our own hardware and software solutions, but a good portion of our business model is also associated with licensing our technologies to others.
BK: Most consumers are familiar with your technology in their DVD players and at the movie theatre. Is it difficult for you to serve the many different customer segments you are in?
DS: DTS is extremely well-branded in both the Cinema and Home Theatre space, and we find that people who care about top quality audio playback are our biggest fans. We have no difficulty in serving our different market segments because whether a customer is a theatrical exhibitor, a consumer electronics licensee, a surround music producer, a professional audio specialist, a videogame developer or a broadcaster, our goal remains the same: to deliver the best entertainment experience by providing the best multi-channel sound.
BK: How many employees do you have?
DS: Total worldwide: 145 U.S.: 105
BK: How does being a public company compare to being a private company?
DS: Other than the reporting requirements that we now have, there isn't a significant difference aside from the fact that it costs more to be a public company than it does to be privately held. Since its inception, DTS has been run like a public company so the transition was fairly simple. As a start-up company our initial investors were two major entertainment players: Universal Studios and Steven Spielberg, so we had a need to be a professionally and efficiently run organization.