U.S. Advertising Should Be Stronger in 2021, But Will In-Theater Ads?

In-theater advertising -- like in-theater moviegoers -- might be going elsewhere.

National CineMedia, the in-theater advertising company, has recently hired a Screenvision executive to drum up new places where in-theater advertising/content could enjoy exposure, such as restaurants, retail outlets, shopping malls and outdoor venues.

In an ongoing pandemic, reach is a good thing.

This would include in-theater advertising/content appearing on NCM’s pre-movie 20-minute, "Noovie" show.

Due to massive U.S. theaters shutdowns this year -- full or partially closed -- movie-theater chains have taken a massive revenue hit. So has National CineMedia.

During its recent third-quarter reporting period, National CineMedia lost virtually all its revenue -- sinking to $6 million from $110.5 million for he same period in 2019. Operating loss increased 153.3% to $21.3 million. NCM sells cinema, digital and place-based media (in theater lobbies).



I have a better idea, should there be any takers: Theatrical advertising sales expertise needs to shift to new home-based TV and movie streamers. Yes, the places that are benefiting, in part, from theater closures.

This may be a bit crazy. Still, we hear a lot these days about the merging/converging of all kinds of media -- something which marketers desire, establishing easier ways to track messaging/engagement in an increasingly fractionalized marketplace.

To be fair, those big TV networks might not have the desire to hire media ad executives with a different media expertise.

Then again, maybe this kind of in-theater advertising support might be better suited to modest size ad-supported cable TV networks streaming platforms -- ones with big movies content but limited expertise off the TV screen.

Steve Sapp will have the title of senior vice president of digital out-of-home sales of National CineMedia, with the goal of extending movie-centric entertainment content, trivia and advertising beyond theaters to a variety of complementary venues.

Looking forward, the descriptor, out of home (OOH), might be a bit of misnomer. Maybe it should add: Out of Theater (OOT).

4 comments about "U.S. Advertising Should Be Stronger in 2021, But Will In-Theater Ads?".
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  1. Mary Fessler from NCM (National CineMedia), December 18, 2020 at 12:26 p.m.

    Regarding, "Theatrical advertising sales expertise needs to shift to new home-based TV and movie streamers." NCM already does offer reach in the digital space, including streaming platforms, and has for the last few years. With their 1st party, proprietary data, they reach viable consumers 24/7 on screens from 5-inch to 50-foot including phone, tablet, computer, TV, lobby and movie screens. 

  2. Arthur Wilbur from OnScreen Media, December 19, 2020 at 9:35 a.m.

    This is a disappointing read considering I was required to give out my information to access it. The content doesn't answer the title of the article. It doesn't even address it. I guess I am the fool for thinking that it wasn't just clickbait. It was. Shame on you Wayne Friedman. It's never too late to start a new career path. I might have to in 2021, as someone who works directly with in-theater ads. And with that last comment, I've addressed the title more than you did in your entire article. Shame. Shame.

  3. Kelly Paxson from NCM, December 22, 2020 at 2:39 p.m.

    Unfortunately, you fail to address consumer behavior and why people go to movie theaters in the first place.  Research shows the number one activity people have missed during the pandemic is going to the movies.  You should check out another journalist’s recent Op-Ed piece (Chicago Tribune) on going to the movies…it’s not just about watching a movie…it’s a social event.  Chicago Tribune Going Out To a Movie  Dec 11 2020
    Dr. Fauci recognizes this as he said when this is over he wants to go to a restaurant and a movie… 
    News 12 New York interview clip here.                                           
    Additionally, Kantar recently released their Media Actions report and cinema is the #1 preferred advertising channel by consumers, as the perception of cinema ads are fun, entertaining and good quality.
    Finally, an article loses value when it contains a typo “$110.5 million for he same period in 2019”.  It makes the reader think the piece lacks careful, thoughtful and accurate analysis... 



  4. Arthur Wilbur from OnScreen Media, December 22, 2020 at 2:46 p.m.

    @Kelly - Thank you for the thoughtful reply. I was a little too angered by the article to dig as deep. I'm not ready to throw in the towel as this "writer" suggests we do. Hope you and your team have a great holiday!

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