Add movie theatre ad sales power NCM Media Networks to the growing list of non-TV companies using this upfront season to say that they’re safe because — like major broadcast and cable networks — they can guarantee to deliver the audience that advertisers buy. The owner of National CineMedia, which has agreed to buy its chief competitor Screenvision, will offer a Nielsen Post Buy Analysis beginning in Q4, the company said at its presentation today in NYC. “Our new 2014-15 upfront pricing strategy reflects NCM’s repositioning to compete in the TV primetime and live event marketplace,” sales and marketing president Cliff Marks says. That will make it “easier than ever to include cinema as part of a video-agnostic upfront buy.”
In addition, NCM described its new Cinema Audience Targeting Optimizer (CATO) system that will enable brands to specify the film genres around which they want to buy pre-show commercials. It will begin as a test next year for a “limited number of select upfront partners.”
The presentation gave advertisers a first look at the revamped FirstLook pre-show program, to begin this weekend on about 20,000 screens. NCM wants to give advertisers “more organic ways to integrate a brand into the show itself.” Moviegoers also can use the Shazam app on their smartphones to seek more info or interact with theatre ads. That will “give our audiences a true connected-screen experience…and even let them extend their movie experience after they leave the theater,” sales and marketing EVP Dave Kupiec says. Shazam “reaches more users than nearly every other mobile app.” Execs hope to boost viewing of the pre-show show by offering content from Disney’s Maker Studios, Ideas United, and The Grammy Awards. The company also plans to update FirstLook5, its 5-minute digital video version of FirstLook.
Marks says that FirstLook has an unduplicated average weekly audience equal to a 7.4 rating among 18 to 49 year olds. That’s “massive when you compare it to the average of 1.6 for a broadcast program or 0.9 for the top 20 cable networks in primetime. It puts our weekly FirstLook pre-show squarely in the top 10 primetime shows every week throughout the year. And if you look at our biggest movie weeks, NCM’s FirstLook delivers ratings as big as the biggest live events on TV, with no DVR.”