NCM Bows Online Platform, Screens Strong 3Q Results

The economy may be in dire straits, but cinema advertising is cruising ahead, judging by National CineMedia's new initiatives and recent financial performance. The cinema advertising company just announced a new online platform and third-quarter results that would be the envy of many traditional media companies.

The new online platform,, is a consumer Web site that NCM hopes will become an entertainment destination. The Web site will work in tandem with NCM's FirstLook feature, a pre-show mix of movie previews, entertainment content and advertising that is distributed digitally to theater chains affiliated with NCM. It will offer interactive guides and features about movies, TV and NCM's "Fathom" events, with other entertainment categories to follow.

One of the new interactive features, HyperTrailer, allows viewers to pause, rewind and navigate to related content areas while watching a movie trailer. Visitors can download widgets that help them find the nearest and soonest movie showings, as well as buy tickets via Fandango and NCM's affiliated theater circuit Web sites.



There is also a custom social-network site, MyScene, centered on sharing media experiences. Sony and Honda are participating in the launch of what NCM bills as an "integrated marketing platform." Sony will provide exclusive content from the upcoming James Bond release, "Quantum of Solace."

(With its online play, NCM joins the increasing number of digital out-of-home video companies that are branching out into Internet media and advertising. This year saw online initiatives from Captivate, Channel M, and Transit TV, among others.)

NCM also announced strong third-quarter results--with 9.9% growth in ad revenue compared to the same period in 2007, increasing from $91.3 million last year to $100.3 million this year. The proportion of ad inventory used remained about the same--92.9% in the recent quarter versus 93.1% last year. The increase in revenues was due mostly to a 17.2% hike in ad rates and drove 18% growth in income, which rose from $9.2 million to $10.9 million.

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