National CineMedia, one of the leading cinema advertising companies, has added another affiliate to its network -- Great Escape Theatres, a chain based in Indiana with locations in the Midwest, Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. The 26 Great Escape venues consist of a total 307 screens.
The deal will bring NCM's "FirstLook" pre-show ad package to Great Escape Theatres, some of which will also present NCM's "Fathom" product, consisting of live and pre-recorded in-theater entertainment and events.
Theatre Web sites will also link to the NCM Interactive Network.
Altogether, these venues (which are concentrated in mid-sized markets) reach about 7 million consumers per year. The deal was enabled by the chain's recent deployment of digital projection and 3D technology.
As part of the larger wave of digital out-of-home video advertising, cinema advertising has enjoyed a surge in reach and revenue over the last few years.
According to the Cinema Advertising Council, total cinema ad revenues grew 2% from $571.5 million in 2008 to $584 million in 2009 -- a modest gain, but impressive compared to steep drops in print and broadcast last year. Furthermore, cinema ad revenues are trending up by double-digit percentages in the first half of 2010.
Separately, NCM said total revenues increased 3% from $370 million in 2008 to $381 million in 2009; revenues then jumped 15.1% from $73.5 million in the first quarter of 2009 to $84.6 million in the first quarter of 2010.
In general, growth has been led by categories including auto, apparel, entertainment, retail, consumer packaged-goods, travel and wireless.