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Looking for TV? Try The Movies

May 18, 2008  •  Post A Comment

For the spring launch of “The Tudors,” Showtime plastered gorgeous Anne Boleyn and lusty King Henry VIII on popcorn bags, lobby standees, handouts at the box office, behind-the-scenes content pieces and on-screen ads at some of the largest multiplexes in the country.
Just as the king pursued his queen, the pay cable channel embraced the cinema, spreading its message across the high-traffic real estate in ways it had never done before.
“We wanted to surround this audience because they’re entertainment enthusiasts,” said George DeBolt, Showtime’s VP of media promotions and partnership marketing. “We made sure there were multiple points of contact.”
Showtime is one of many TV marketers digging further into the relatively uncluttered venue, where six out of 10 moviegoers report watching the ads and 63% of them saying they didn’t mind doing so, according to Arbitron Media & Marketing Research. Recall is about 55%, much higher than TV or other traditional ad platforms.
It’s especially valuable as a marketing tactic because movie fans are well-stocked with in-home technology such as surround-sound, DVRs, video-on-demand and digital cable, a Nielsen NRG tracking study says.
“Cinema is a qualified audience buy,” said Mr. DeBolt, who works with ad seller Screenvision to buy media in such chains as Mann, Pacific Theaters, Carmike Cinema and National Amusements. “It’s a rich environment for us to tap into. That’s where our consumers are.”
TV has been one of the top three categories of advertising for the past five years at National CineMedia, the largest in-theater ad seller, seen in Regal, AMC, Cinemark and other chains. Discovery Networks, NBC Universal, Turner Broadcasting and others regularly use the big screen to air short entertainment pieces and ads for programming including the NBA Playoffs, “Planet Earth” and “Heroes.”
“There’s a great symbiotic relationship between cinema and TV,” said Cliff Marks, National CineMedia president of sales and chief marketing officer. “They promote heavily on the weekends in the cinema so that people will watch TV during the week.”
Screenvision has made four multimillion-dollar ad deals recently with broadcast and cable TV, said Mike Chico, the company’s executive VP of sales and marketing. “Everybody’s looking for a leg up, and there’s been a heightened level of interest from TV networks in theater advertising.”
Looking for their own leg up, cinema ad sellers are planning motion-sensitive ad panels on floors and lobby walls, live brand-based gaming on the big screen and other advanced technology as a way for in-theater advertisers to make an impression with entertainment fans. They expect TV networks will be among the first to try the new platforms.

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