Roll 'Em: Shamrock Buys Screenvision

Shamrock Capital has purchased a majority stake in Screenvision, one of two dominant cinema advertising networks in the U.S., from previous owners U.K.-based ITV and Technicolor, the companies announced Monday. ITV is selling the entirety of its 50% stake in Screenvision, while Technicolor is retaining a small stake.

Technicolor will also continue to provide Screenvision with digital film processing and distribution services. Screenvision has amended its affiliate agreement with Carmike Cinemas, a leading movie exhibitor, making the theater chain a minority shareholder in Screenvision.

The Screenvision cinema ad network is comprised of over 15,000 screens in 2,500 venues covering all 50 states and 93% of DMAs nationwide. Its affiliate agreements give it access to over 150 theater circuits through 10 of the top 15 exhibitor companies, and it has over 4,000 advertising clients. Along with rival National Cinemedia, it effectively dominates the U.S. film advertising business.



Stephen Royer, managing director of Shamrock, stated: "Screenvision is a compelling advertising buy given its captive audience reach," as well as its innovative ad sales offerings. In recent years, Screenvision has been aggressively expanding its influence through new partnerships with movie theater owners.

It has also been wooing new advertisers with its network for digital ad delivery, which offers greater scale and flexibility for reaching cinema audiences, in addition to its new, eye-catching formats, including 3D.

Last year, 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.

Total cinema ad revenues were trending up by double-digit percentages in the first half of 2010. But the business is dependent on the health of the movie business overall, which seems to be hitting a rough patch after expansive growth in 2009. According to The Hollywood Reporter, total summer movie ticket sales fell 1% to $4.24 billion this year, while total admissions dipped 6% to 538 million.

On the venture capital side, this isn't the first foray into the media business for Shamrock Capital, which created its Growth Fund II to focus exclusively on media, entertainment and communications investments. Back in December 2007, the Shamrock fund bought the Publishing Group of America, publisher of newspaper mags American Profile and Relish, in partnership with Bain Capital Ventures.

Next story loading loading..