Centennial, CO and New Orleans, LA -- National CineMedia (NCM), a leading integrated media company reaching U.S. consumers in movie theaters, online and through mobile technology, has entered into a new type of long-term network affiliate agreement with Southern Theatres, LLC, management company for VSS-Southern Theatres ("Southern").
Under the terms of the exclusive long term agreement, Southern's 19 Grand Theatres and AmStar Cinemas locations with 278 screens in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas will join the NCM Cinema Network beginning in July 2011. In addition to exclusively presenting NCM's FirstLook pre-feature program, select Southern locations will also present NCM Fathom's live and pre-recorded Entertainment and Business Events. Southern has an estimated annual attendance of approximately 9.5 million patrons, making it one of the 15 largest theater circuits in U.S. The structure of the agreement provides for an upfront payment that allows Southern to monetize a portion of its advertising business, while providing higher operating margins to NCM than network affiliate agreements signed in the past.
"Southern Theatres is a great addition to the NCM network. Its high-quality theaters allow us to increase our overall national reach and provide enhanced geographic coverage in many mid-sized markets in the Southeastern U.S.," said Kurt Hall, NCM's president and chief executive officer. "This new, long-term affiliate structure offers a great way for Southern to unlock some of the value of their theater circuit while participating in the benefits of being part of our growing national advertising and Fathom networks." Mr. Hall concluded, "We look forward to working with the Southern management team to deliver NCM's quality FirstLook pre-show entertainment to their patrons and incremental attendance through NCM Fathom events."
"NCM offers a great portfolio of programming and experiences that increase the value of our theaters to our guests," said George Solomon, CEO of Southern Theatres, LLC. "We look forward to working with the team at NCM for many years to come."
The new affiliate agreement with Southern Theatres is the most recent expansion of the NCM Cinema Network - the largest digital in-theater video and satellite distribution network in North America. NCM currently has exclusive, long-term cinema advertising agreements in place with founding member exhibitors AMC Entertainment Inc., Cinemark Holdings Inc. and Regal Entertainment Group, totaling approximately 1,160 theaters and 15,300 screens, as well as network affiliate relationships with 21 top regional theater circuits representing approximately 320 theaters and 3,400 screens.