Cinema Ads See Blockbuster Growth

Cinema advertising grew like gangbusters in 2007, according to a report released today by the Cinema Advertising Council, currently celebrating its fifth anniversary, with total revenues reaching almost $540 million--up 18.5% from about $456 million in 2006. That's a faster rate of increase than 2005-2006, when revenues grew 15%.

What's more, the captive audience is attracting a wider range of advertisers, according to Stu Ballatt, the president of the CAC. In 2007, Ballatt said, popular cinema ad categories included automotive, broadcast and cable, packaged-goods, media and movie studios, and wireless and telecom.

One of the biggest new entrants to the field is retail, which saw chains like J.C. Penney's investing substantial amounts to reach moviegoers.

Ballatt added that advertisers are using the other platforms offered by cinema advertisers, such as digital displays in lobbies, branded concession items, box-office giveaways and free samples. In conjunction with the pre-movie packages offered by the two main cinema advertisers, National CineMedia and Screenvision, these ancillary promotions can "double or triple important engagement, as measured by things like brand recall."



National CineMedia is working to make the lobby experience more engaging in partnership with Reactrix, which will install its interactive digital displays in the lobbies of theaters owned by NCM's cinema partners.

Reactrix displays allow individuals and groups of people to control the movement of images projected on the wall or floor, using motion sensors that track their gestures. This allows the company to create branded puzzles, games and virtual "art" programs for advertisers.

Cinema advertisers have also been quick to use new technologies to drive engagement in the theater itself. Recently, Screenvision introduced text-message polling in some of its partners' theaters. The polls, sponsored by Verizon, pose a question to the audience on the screen, inviting them to vote. The results are then tallied in real time on the screen.

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