Movie theater advertising network National CineMedia has inked a deal with Harkins Theatres, expanding its foothold in the Southwestern U.S. as it hopes movie-going will pick up this year.
Privately-owned Harkins, the nation’s fifth-largest exhibitor and biggest independent chain, has signed a long-term cinema advertising affiliate agreement to bring NCM’s Noovie pre-show entertainment to its 500 screens in 87 theaters across Arizona, California, Colorado and Oklahoma. Phoenix is the nation’s #11 DMA, noted National CineMedia CEO Tom Lesinski. He said NCM’s national theater network now includes all of the country’s top five exhibitors among its 57 national and regional circuit partners.
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Noovie, hosted by podcaster, journalist and TV personality Maria Menounos, includes exclusive content, in-theater gaming and advertising from national, regional and local brands.
“We are very excited to embark on this new partnership with NCM and introduce the Noovie program to our guests. This agreement represents further evidence of the resilience and growth opportunities for the cinema industry,” said Harkins CFO Tyler Cooper.
The announcement notes “an optimistic time” for movies and advertising “as the 2021 film slate is stacking up for a big summer, fall, and holiday movie season following the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out. Meanwhile, younger audiences are continuing to abandon ad-supported television, and audiences of all ages are eager to get off the couch and get back out to the movies. For brands seeking to reach this highly-sought-after 18-49 and 18-34 audience demographic, Cinema is an attractive TV GRP replacement.”
NCM says it’s been regularly surveying a panel of 5,000 movie fans throughout the pandemic and its latest wave of research from December and January showed 43% have already been back to theaters and reported “an overwhelmingly positive and safe experience.” Some 92% said news of a Covid-19 vaccine positively impacts their moviegoing outlook; 88% said the shortened theatrical window has no negative impact on their desire to watch movies in theaters; 90% agreed that the quality of the movie watching experience is far superior in a theater versus at home, particularly according to those who saw Wonder Woman 1984.
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