National CineMedia Upfront 2016: Millennials, Content And Data

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

Since we were in London when National CineMedia (NCM) presented its fifth annual upfront event at the AMC Lincoln Square movie theater in New York, we couldn’t attend.

NCM-Logo-CorporateHowever, we learned that it was all about Millennials, content, and data, and there were a couple of things during the presentation that stood out after NCM’s new CEO, Andy England, said, that all of the hard-to-reach young people are at the movies.

“358 million tickets were sold to Millennials at our theaters last year,” he said. “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.”

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% in 2015 and is already up 8% so far this year! We are now a premier Millennial network.”

One thing that stood out for us was new research from a joint study with Omnicom Media Group’s Annalect and CivicScience about Millennials’ movie-going habits, which offers some great insights for advertisers, studios and theater owners. Millennials make up the largest frequent movie-going age group, and this generation is highly invested in the overall movie-going process:

  • Millennials are 50% more likely than the general population to say that movies are a passion of theirs;
  • Millennials want to talk about their movie-going experience, and are more likely to be influenced by social media (Facebook and YouTube in particular);
  • 46% of Millennials aim to go to the movies on a film’s opening weekend;
  • The most frequently reported reason for seeing a movie in a theater is that Millennials don’t want to miss out by waiting until a movie is available at home;
  • Exclusive theatrical formats like IMAX and 11.1 surround sound, coupled with luxury amenities like recliner seating and upgraded food options, are key drivers for a generation willing to pay more for a better experience;
  • Millennials are the age group most likely to purchase movie tickets in advance;
  • 86% of Millennials arrive early to the movie theater.

Marks said, “Millennials don’t just want content pushed out to them; they like to personally interact with it as well. We’ve listened to the demand for brand interactivity, and NCM is proud to be working with Audience Entertainment and TimePlay to bring both gesture-based and mobile phone-based interactivity to cinema. We’ll be launching on approximately 500 screens and growing to over 1000 in the near future so consumers can interact with your brands live on the big screen.”

Another point that stood out for us: “NCM is the connector between brands and movie audiences,” said Bennett Fogel, NCM chief revenue officer. “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.”

Fogel then introduced the new ways that NCM is bringing cinema advertising into today’s world of enhanced targeting and big data:

  • Effective this upfront cycle, with the full rollout of NCM’s Cinema Audience Targeting Optimizer (CATO), advertisers to go beyond targeting by MPAA rating to build media schedules at the film and genre level. NCM can now more effectively target a brand’s key audience by matching it to the movie titles and/or genres that can best deliver that audience in a given campaign schedule.
  • To further enhance the connection between brands and movie audiences, NCM will be filtering media schedules through its new Nielsen Marketing Cloud Data Management Platform. 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.
  • NCM’s Cinema Accelerator identifies moviegoers’ mobile devices as they enter a theater, and re-engages them with a brand’s messages wherever they are consuming content — on mobile, social, or online. This additional digital touchpoint provides an ideal way to leverage a big screen ad with small screen activations to drive traffic and transactions.

Fogel said, “Aside from all of the predictive data that we can provide on the front end, quantifying business lift is the key ROI metric that we are all being held accountable for today. Our physical locations give us the unique ability to track audiences from our theaters to your businesses. By working with geo-location based research companies, we have partnered with clients to conduct dozens of studies in the retail, QSR, and CPG categories. The results have been consistent, and almost startling, in terms of incremental traffic and sales lift!”

“Huge Millennial reach and the best video content aren’t enough,”
said England. “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.”

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