National CineMedia Boosts Network With Affiliate Deals

Exhibition ad sales company National CineMedia increased its lead over Screenvision today with deals that enable it to represent five circuits that collectively have 533 screens at 71 theaters.

NCM picked up New York-based Bow Tie Cinemas, Dallas-based Cinergy Entertainment, Omaha, NE-based Main Street Theatres, Salt Lake City-based Megaplex Theatres and Bloomfield Hills, MI-based MJR Digital Cinemas.

Megaplex previously sold national ads on its own.


NCM framed the announcement as a bounceback from changes in its relationship with AMC Entertainment following its acquisition of Carmike Cinemas. Before approving the deal, Justice Department antitrust officials insisted that AMC reduce its 17.4% stake in NCM to less than 5% to avoid a conflict with Screenvision, in which Carmike owned a 19% stake.

In addition, AMC agreed to switch 17 of its theaters to Screenvision from NCM for pre-show ads for 10 years.

Today’s agreements “more than made up” for the losses, NCM President Cliff Marks said. The five exhibition chains should account for more than 20 million attendees.

NCM could use some upbeat news: Its shares are down more than 15% so far in 2017 as investors fear that advertisers will pull dollars from theaters to spend on digital platforms. Many chains including AMC are increasing sales of assigned seats, which makes it easier for ticket buyers to show up at the last minute and avoid ads.

Last week, Credit Suisse’s Omar Sheikh upgraded NCM to “neutral” saying that the stock price had fallen enough to compensate for the biggest concerns.


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