National CineMedia Says Economy Depressed Q4 Ad Sales

The cinema ad sales company isn’t joining the exhibition industry’s celebration over the strong year-end box office. National CineMedia ended Q4 with a $0.5M net loss, down from a $6.7M profit in the period a year ago, on revenues of $115.9M, +1.1%. The sales figure is short of the $119.8M that analysts expected. The net loss of one cent a share contrasts with expectations for a 17 cent profit. Revenue from ad sales was up 2.6% to $103.9M. Growth in 2012 “could have been even stronger had the economy not sputtered during Q4, including the impact of [Superstorm] Sandy,” CEO Kurt Hall says. The company will repeat the effort it launched last year to sell theater ads during the television upfront season. The Fathom Events operation, which shows concerts and other alternative programming at theaters, was down 9.8% to $12M. That was due in part to the effort to wind down Fathom Business Events. National CineMedia says it expects revenue in the current quarter to go as high as $84M, which would be +6% vs early 2012; adjusted cash flow could range from a 3% decline to a 13% increase. For the full year revenue could hit $465M, +4%, while cash flow could rise as much as 6% to $235M. The company says that its reach should grow as its founders — AMC, Cinemark, and Regal — buy small theater chains. 

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