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.



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WASHINGTON -- Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Cornyn (R-TX), Members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, today introduced legislation that would classify the illicit online streaming of copyrighted content a felony, and bring it into line with other forms of content theft.

An entertainment industry coalition, including the Independent Film & Television Alliance® (IFTA®), the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) and the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) praised the bill for reconciling the current legal disparity between the unlawful distribution of content through streaming and peer-to-peer (P2P) downloading.

"It is high time that the punishment fit the crime. Illegal streaming of stolen content is growing and poses a threat to the profitability of movie theaters and to the jobs of our 160,000 employees in the U.S." said John Fithian, president and CEO of NATO. "We thank Senators Klobuchar and Cornyn and recommend bipartisan support for the passage of this important legislation."

"The illegal streaming of copyrighted content is a scourge on the independent film and television community, particularly the small and medium-sized businesses without the resources to effectively enforce their intellectual property rights," said Jean Prewitt, IFTA President & CEO. "We strongly believe government enforcement and consequences are the only effective remedies for these types of illegal activities. We highly commend Senators Klobuchar and Cornyn for this significant legislative proposal to ensure illegal streaming is treated as seriously under the law as is illegal downloading."

Michael O'Leary, Executive Vice President, Government Affairs for the MPAA, added: "Criminals are stealing, trafficking, and profiting off the investment that our workers devote to creating the quality films and TV shows that entertain a worldwide audience and bolster the American economy. The online distribution mechanisms utilized by thieves may differ, but to the 2.4 million American workers whose livelihoods depend on our industry, the end result of content theft is the same: lost jobs, declining incomes, and reduced health and retirement benefits for them and their families. We thank Senators Klobuchar and Cornyn for introducing this important legislation to standardize the legal treatment of online content theft and helping ensure that federal law keeps pace with the changing face of criminal activity. We look forward to working with Members in the House and Senate towards its swift passage."

Under current federal law, a legal distinction exists between illegal streaming and downloading - two methods of distributing the same stolen, digital content. This legislation would make the illegal streaming of copyrighted works a felony, thereby standardizing its criminal classification with that of illegal P2P downloading, already a felony. In March, the Office of U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel presented Congress with legislative recommendations to improve IP enforcement efforts, which included clarifying this aspect of intellectual property law.


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