cinema advertising marketplace is about to undergo a major consolidation, as the country’s biggest cinema advertising network, National CineMedia, revealed that it is acquiring the No. 2 player,
Screenvision, for $375 million. When the merger is complete, the vast majority of U.S. cinema ad inventory will be controlled by a single company.
The merger isn’t quite a done
deal: Screenvision is actually being acquired by National CineMedia Inc., the independent holding company created by a consortium of major theater chains to manage their ad business. National
CineMedia Inc. (NCMI) owns 45.8% of National CineMedia LLC, (NCM LLC), which in turn operates NCM Media Networks. However, NCMI is expected to contribute Screenvision’s assets to NCM LLC,
completing the merger.
The combined NCM-Screenvision network will include theater affiliates in nearly all 210 DMAs across the U.S., consisting of 3,900 theaters with over 34,000
screens, and a total annual audience of 1.1 billion moviegoers.
National CineMedia’s Chairman and CEO Kurt Hall said: “We are very excited about our merger agreement with
Screenvision as it will position the combined new company to be much more competitive in the expanding video and overall advertising marketplace, including the new online and mobile advertising
platforms. With the investments we will be making to create one more efficient national network, I am confident that we will bring more advertising revenue to our theatre circuit partners and a higher
quality pre show to their patrons.”
News of the merger comes amid increasing price pressure on cinema ad inventory, which has long been positioned as premium media but now faces
growing competition from online video and mobile. Both NCM and Screenvision have responded by moving to expand their mobile presence, with an eye to increasing consumer engagement and providing more
measurability of cinema ads, including NCM’s CinemaSync app and Screenvision’s partnership with Shazaam.
For Screenvision, the merger also follows a rocky couple of years
marked by sudden management changes and fire sales. In 2010 all three of the company’s top execs left without comment or explanation, and not long after its former owners, U.K.-based ITV Plc and
Technicolor, sold Screenvision to Shamrock Capital for $80 million in cash. In 2013 Senior Vice President for Ad Sales Suzanne LaForgia also left the company after less than two years. More
recently, in late April Screenvision’s chief revenue officer, Jim Tricarico, jumped ship to become CRO at Cross MediaWorks’ TelAmerica Media business.