The National CineMedia (NCM) team started the morning of our 5th annual Upfront off in a big way by ringing the opening bell at the Nasdaq Marketsite, and the day just got better from there…
We had a packed house at the AMC Lincoln Square movie theater in New York, and NCM’s new CEO, Andy England, started off the presentation by noting that he had finally found all of the hard-to-reach young people he had been searching for in his many years as a marketer — they’re at the movies.
“358 million tickets were sold to Millennials at our theaters last year. Put simply, we have more Millennials visiting our theaters in one year than there are people in the United States, 36 million more. So, why do Millennials love the movies? Because this is the best content there is. We have this highly desirable audience because we have the best content. Opening weekend for movies are, by definition, culturally relevant. Millennials want to see films as they are released because it puts them in the know. It gives them social currency. Having a point of view on Deadpool or the Jungle Book, or being excited about Bad Moms, is to be part of the narrative or to be woven into the fabric of popular culture.”
NCM’s newly appointed president, Cliff Marks, then took the stage to talk about Millennial moviegoers, noting, “NCM is the #1 weekend network for all demos, reaching over 700 million moviegoers every year. But the really big news is that our Millennial movie-going audience grew over 16 percent in 2015 and is already up 8 percent so far this year!”
NCM also unveiled new research from a joint study with Omnicom Media Group’s Annalect and CivicScience, Now Showing: Millennials’ Movie-Going Experience, which offers some great insights for advertisers, studios and theater owners.
And we know Millennials will enjoy interacting with brands on the big screen, so we’re proud to be working with Audience Entertainment and TimePlay to bring both gesture-based and mobile phone-based interactivity to cinema.
The 2016/17 movie season truly has something for everyone, with great new film slates from established and emerging studios alike. NCM showcased content from several highly-anticipated movies throughout its presentation, including The Edge of Seventeen, a wry coming-of-age comedy from STX with a refreshingly authentic voice introduced by Hailee Steinfield; Walt Disney Studios’ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, about resistance fighters who have united to steal plans to the dreaded Death Star; Marvel’s Doctor Strange starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the sorcerer supreme; Bad Moms a new comedy from STX and the writers of The Hangover, and Rings, the third film of Paramount’s Ring horror series. There was also a very special sneak peek from The Walt Disney Studios VP, Cinema Partnerships, David Sieden, featuring the long-awaited sequel Finding Dory, which takes moviegoers back to the extraordinary underwater world of Finding Nemo after 13 years; and Moana, the animated tale of an adventurous teenager who sails out on a daring mission to save her people.
Marks added, “Film planning has really changed in recent years, and the studios have recognized the need to spread out major releases throughout the year. There’s still a myth out there that only summer and holiday movies deliver big audiences, but NCM’s 1st Quarter 2016 Millennial audience was 97% of our 4th Quarter attendance — nearly identical — which just goes to prove that cinema is a year-round advertising solution for brands.”
“NCM is the connector between brands and movie audiences,” NCM Chief Revenue Officer Bennett Fogel told the upfront crowd. “This statement defines our commitment to not only help you make that valuable connection, but to do so in more effective and efficient ways than anyone ever thought possible. As part of our transformation into a state-of-the-art premium video platform, we have developed a completely new inventory management system and are launching the first ever Data Management Platform for a cinema network with the Nielsen Marketing Cloud.”
In addition to targeting by MPAA rating (G/PG, PG13 and R), NCM can now build media schedules at the film and genre level through i’s Cinema Audience Targeting Optimizer (CATO) system, and will also be filtering media schedules through its new Nielsen Marketing Cloud Data Management Platform (DMP). NCM’s DMP will house thousands of first-, second- and third-party consumer data sets, including rich moviegoer data derived from loyalty programs, mobile panels, beacon networks and credit card purchases. NCM’s alliance with the Nielsen Marketing Cloud DMP — the first of its kind in the cinema industry — will allow it to offer transaction-based insights, better targeted campaigns, and closed-loop ROI. And of course, brands can continue to reach moviegoers digitally through NCM’s Cinema Accelerator, which provides an ideal way to leverage a big screen ad with small screen activations.
CEO Andy England perhaps best summed up NCM’s upfront message when he said, “Huge Millennial reach and the best video content aren’t enough. Giving you the important data to help your brand reach and target the audience you need; while finding new ways for you to connect with the audience before, during and after the movies — that will be the next generation of cinema advertising. NCM will put your brand in front of a huge Millennial audience watching the best content available, and support you with data and digital marketing. Welcome to the movies.”