Screenvision Taps John Partilla To Be CEO As It Seeks To Rebuild

The No. 2 movie theater ad-sales company has a replacement for Travis Reid, who announced his plan to leave as CEO in May — shortly after Screenvision’s deal to merge with National CineMedia fell apart. Longtime ad exec John Partilla will take the top job, Screenvision says today.

The announcement adds that the new CEO will “focus on elevating Screenvision’s position in the broader video media landscape, integrating new and emerging technology, strengthening the preshow advertising platform and creating tentpole programs for brands.”

Partilla leaves Minneapolis ad agency Olson, where he was CEO — a job he continued to hold after it was sold to ICF late last year. Prior to that he was COO of Dentsu Network West, Global Media Sales President for Clear Channel Communications and Global Media Group President for Time Warner.

“John has extraordinary leadership qualities and an infectious energy that we feel confident will lead the company and industry forward,” says Stephen Royer, a partner at Shamrock Capital Advisor — the dominant investor. Carmike has about 20%.

Partilla faces several challenges. Screenvision is “for lack of a better term in a rebuilding mode,” Carmike CEO David Passman told analysts in July. Several executives left in the period between May 2014 when the merger with National CineMedia was announced, and last November when the Justice Department said it would sue to block the union of the two dominant movie ad sellers on antitrust grounds. The companies scrapped the merger in March.

The Carmike chief added that Screenvision is “doing just fine” as theaters looked forward to “the great [movie] slate that we have for 2015 and expected for 2016.”

Benchmark Company’s Mike Hickey wrote in August that he expected Screenvision to give up on its “predatory CPM strategy” to take market share from National CineMedia. A change would result in “a more compelling financial growth profile and related metrics.”

Partilla seemed to indicate, in a statement today, that he’d prefer to tout the benefits of movie ads generally as opposed to attacking National CineMedia.

“I believe the advertising industry is at an inflection point, and I see significant opportunity for the company to bring advertisers even greater access and impact on the most powerful screen in media,” he says. “While other mediums fight declining ratings and are challenged by viewability and engagement issues, Screenvision has proven stability and impact with the most coveted audience in media – I fervently believe that the sun is rising for the sector and Screenvision.”

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