Henninger Media Services of Arlington, U.S. is down but not out. The company, which specializes in production and post-production, voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on July 16, a prudent business decision to ensure Henninger’s long-term viability, according to Steve Schupak, VP of strategic marketing and business development. Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection is a court order that grants a company a reprieve from creditors while it reorganizes.
Schupak says there were several factors that prompted the decision to restructure. Clients started to keep their projects in house, reducing the amount of production and post-production duties contracted out by ad agencies. Without outside producers coming into the facility, HMS had a hard time keeping the editing suites busy. ‘The ad market was in a 24-month downturn, which slowed down production… The writing was on the wall a year ago,’ he observes.
Schupak adds that the September 11 terrorist attacks also hurt the company. Henninger tools, which makes non-linear custom editing systems, is located only six blocks from the World Trade Center, and so was greatly affected. ‘We couldn’t get the staff into the office for over six weeks,’ says Schupak.
On the upside, the company is already showing signs of recovery. ‘We’ve had a very strong July,’ Schupak contends. ‘Our parking lot is full and our bookings this fall are looking good.’ He adds, ‘We have a number of new clients and our broadcasting side is rebounding nicely.’ Henninger’s bank has confirmed that it will provide financing throughout the transition.
Despite the company’s financial restructuring, the HMS doc production and programming arm has been doing very well throughout this period, Schupak asserts. Currently on its slate for production are two major projects for the Discovery Channel – DEFCON-1, a one-hour long special on the 40th anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis, and Anatomy Of A Crash, a series that uses forensic science to explore the human drama of automobile accidents.