NCM Rebrands, Introduces E!'s Maria Menounos as the New Face of FirstLook Upfront Event Highlights NCM as the Top Millennial Growth Network and Features Enhanced Moviegoer Targeting Before, During and After the Movie
NEW YORK & CENTENNIAL, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- National CineMedia (NCM) presented its fourth annual upfront event at the AMC Lincoln Square theater in New York today, showing advertisers why it truly is America's Movie Network.
NCM kicked off its presentation with some branding of its own, launching a new look and feel for the largest cinema advertising network in the U.S. Designed by NCM's internal creative agency, the company's new logo calls to mind the projected beam of light that delivers the magic of the movies onto the big screen, while the new positioning of NCM as America's Movie Network reflects the company's distinctive role in connecting brands with movies that shape our culture and the national conversation.
Cliff Marks, NCM's President of Sales and Marketing, explained, "Movies drive the social conversation - they are woven into the fabric of our culture. As we looked more closely at the video universe in which we compete and the value we offer to our advertising partners, we asked ourselves, ‘Who are we? What is unique about the NCM value proposition to advertisers?' And it became clear that NCM is America's Movie Network - we're one of the biggest players in the video advertising marketplace, we have the best content and engagement in the world, we are the top growth network for the Millennial audience, and we're the #1 weekend network in the country. And, of course, everyone loves the movies, so today we plant our flag and claim our rightful place as America's Movie Network."
Marks also announced that E! host Maria Menounos has signed an agreement to be the new face of America's Movie Network as the host of NCM's FirstLook pre-show program, which reaches over 700 million moviegoers annually across a network of 21,000 screens covering 97% of all TV households. "With Maria Menounos we have one of America's premier hosts and entertainment personalities, someone who has done everything from star in movies to interview presidents," Marks said.
Menounos then took the stage, sharing that, "Movies helped me to learn English growing up. They also were the healthiest escape and source of inspiration and remain so to this day. To be part of America's greatest modern art form in theaters daily with NCM's FirstLook is literally a dream come true." Menounos, and her partner, producer Keven Undergaro, co-founders of AfterbuzzTV.com, the largest online broadcast network that produces "after-shows" for favorite TV shows and plays to a weekly world audience of 23 million, will also create content for NCM. She continued, "NCM is the premier platform in this unique and exciting space. I'm thrilled to host and produce content that will reach moviegoers all across America and hope it will enhance the overall movie experience. We are very much looking forward to working with Cliff and his amazing team." First up will be Movie Minute segments, offering brands a new way to engage moviegoers across all of the platforms where they view movie content - on-screen, online and on mobile devices.
A Big Year At The Movies
Menounos then gave the audience an insider's look at what is coming up in the 2015-16 movie season, one which many industry experts are predicting could be the biggest in movie box office history. So far this year, hits like Fifty Shades of Grey, Furious 7 and Avengers: Age of Ultron have resulted in record crowds and sold-out inventory for NCM. And with upcoming titles including Black Mass, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, The Peanuts Movie, Jurassic World, Spectre, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and everything in between, she expects this to be a fabulous year at the movies.
Cinema Targetability & Measurement
Moving from movies to moviegoers, NCM's Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer, Bennett Fogel, got down to business, introducing a number of new ways to target NCM's highly desirable, young and engaged audience. NCM's Cinema Audience Targeting Optimizer (CATO) system, which has been in development for over a year and will be tested this year with select clients and made available across NCM's entire on-screen inventory in early 2016. The CATO system will enable brands to create media schedules based on movie genres that more effectively deliver a target audience for maximum impact and efficiency. In addition, CATO will enable NCM to offer a number of new specialty networks to reach specific multicultural and consumer groups, including an NCM Hispanic network and an NCM High Income network.
But he was quick to point out that targeting the NCM moviegoer shouldn't be confined to just the theater, which is why NCM has engaged Rocket Fuel's Audience Accelerator to power Cinema Accelerator, a new product that utilizes first-party data including movie ticket purchase data, geo-local mobile audiences, cross-device delivery and audience modeling to accurately reach NCM moviegoers as they extend their movie-going experience. It gives NCM Digital the ability to connect the dots from awareness to purchase with proprietary targeting capabilities and optimization to reach in-theater audiences with online and mobile activations. Marketers can now go beyond the big screen in a whole new way to create full-funnel marketing programs that surround the entertainment experience, increasing both recall and frequency. Encompassing NCM's more than 700 million moviegoers a year, Cinema Accelerator has the largest data set in the industry for entertainment audiences and is backed by Nielsen and comScore VCE audience guarantees.
Bennett Fogel noted, "We set out a few years back to reposition NCM as an easy alternative to capture high-quality impressions and include them in the premium video planning process. We converted our audience delivery to Nielsen ratings based on the TV universe, changed our pricing model to compete with premium prime and live event programming and offered standard upfront terms and options. In last year's upfront, against the backdrop of rapidly accelerating audience fragmentation and commercial avoidance, NCM's new approach resulted in the doubling of our upfront commitments and the completion of our transition into a mainstream upfront participant. In fact, we had a strong first quarter and are tracking to have a record second quarter with our national inventory nearly sold out!" He continued, "This year, to further enhance and standardize our measurement and ROI metrics, all of our upfront partners will not only receive demographic guarantees directly posted by Nielsen, but will also receive engagement posts conducted by Nielsen Brand Effect. Every post analysis will not only include target audience delivery, but will now also include measurement of brand recall, message recall and likeability to quantify the impact of an ad in NCM's FirstLook versus TV, and the combination of the two which has proven to provide maximum impact."
After giving NCM's upfront audience a never-before-seen sneak peak at some of the hottest films that are expected to drive the industry box office to record levels for the upcoming year, Cliff Marks concluded, "No one knows moviegoers like NCM. And as America's Movie Network, we know how to connect brands with what America will be talking about - this Friday, next week, next month, next quarter and next year. As the #1 weekend network in the country, NCM is delivering the best entertainment content, national reach and unparalleled audience engagement across our digital in-theater network. You can count on America's Movie Network to always bring you new ideas to capture the power of the movies."