Commentary

NCM Buys Nielsen TV Data

National CineMedia is expanding its data pool with television advertising schedules from Nielsen, allowing the cinema ad network to conduct cross-media comparisons of television and cinema advertising effectiveness when it courts media planners and buyers. So does this big investment mean NCM is coming after TV ad budgets? Well, yes and no.

"I believe cinema is the perfect complement to a television buy," said Cliff Marks, NCM's president of sales and chief marketing officer, taking a diplomatic tack, adding that "of course broadcast TV is part of most sight-sound-and-motion buys." But when it comes to the details of what "complement" actually means, NCM starts to sound more competitive.

In general data has shown that there is a subset of movie-goers who are light TV watchers, and who are therefore easier to reach via cinema advertising. Doug Pulick, NCM's senior vice-president of research, said the new fusion of data from Nielsen's National People Meter, Nielsen's Cinema Audience Report, and MRI will allow NCM to demonstrate the greater net reach that media buyers can achieve by "reallocating TV dollars to cinema."

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Specifically, Pulick said NCM can "download an advertiser's TV schedule, with all the specific programs and targeted GRPs that they bought," and by appending Nielsen's cinema data, show precise figures for the extra audience that could be reached via NCM. The additional incorporation of data from MRI's Survey of the American Consumer then allows NCM to conduct the same net reach analysis among, for example, consumers who visit a particular kind of retail store. Pulick cited the example of a major retail client that was purchasing 500 GRPs in their TV schedule but then reallocated 5% of the dollars to cinema. "This took them from a 78.6 to 79.9," Pulick recalled, for the same amount of money.

The new data offerings from NCM are intended to secure its place higher up in the decision-making process. Marks said the network has already made substantial headway here, as the cinema ad buy is now mandated in many cases by media planners before campaigns move to the media buying stage.

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