At its New York Upfront last week, NCM Media Networks, reaching moviegoers on-screen, on-site, online and on mobile devices, unveiled a variety of new ways for advertisers to easily make the big screen’s content, reach and engagement part of an upfront video strategy.
Hosted by comedian and impressionist Frank Caliendo, NCM’s upfront event introduced media buyers, planners and brand clients to the new FirstLook pre-show with Shazam interactivity, digital, and social extensions; as well as new NCM-exclusive cinema advertising options including marketing partnerships with Maker Studios, Ideas United and The GRAMMY Awards.
“Advertisers are now living and operating in a video everywhere marketplace where consumers have more control over how and when they watch programming and if they watch ads,” said Cliff Marks, president of sales and marketing with NCM Media Networks. “We hold our event during TV upfront week because we believe that is our rightful place as one of America’s highest rated video networks.
“NCM’s average unduplicated weekly audience represents a Nielsen rating of 7.4 in adults 18 to 49 — that’s massive when you compare it to the average of 1.6 for a broadcast program or 0.9 for the top 20 cable networks in primetime. It puts our weekly FirstLook pre-show squarely in the top 10 primetime shows every week throughout the year. And if you look at our biggest movie weeks, NCM’s FirstLook delivers ratings as big as the biggest live events on TV, with no DVR.”
Marks, announcing that NCM’s new 2014-15 upfront pricing strategy reflects NCM’s repositioning to compete in the TV primetime and live event marketplace, said, “Just like TV, NCM will be offering Nielsen Post Buy Analysis and demo guarantees to our upfront advertisers beginning in Q4 2014, making it easier than ever to include cinema as part of a video-agnostic upfront buy.”
NCM also introduced the concept of industry’s first Cinema Audience Targeting Optimizer (CATO) system, expected to launch in 2015, along with the integration of the Screenvision theaters into the NCM network. Initially offered as a test to a limited number of select upfront partners, CATO will give brands the ability to create more effective media plans based on film genres that will maximize consumer targetability and minimize waste.
NCM gave their upfront event audience a look at its new FirstLook pre-show program, which is launching this weekend on approximately 20,000 movie screens nationwide. The new updated look and feel of the show was specially designed to provide advertisers with more organic ways to integrate a brand into the show itself. The innovative new flexible crystal graphics create individual ‘stages’ to showcase brand content within its own FirstLook show environment — putting it center stage on the big screen.
The new FirstLook show will also be Shazamable, giving advertisers a way to literally put a brand in the hands of moviegoers using mobile devices. Shazam is one of the world’s most popular apps that connects people to the world around them through their mobile device, and is now working with NCM exclusively as its U.S. cinema partner. This partnership will give its 120+ million users in the U.S. the fastest, easiest way to engage with the cinema pre-show experience. When a moviegoer Shazams content in NCM’s FirstLook, they will be able to identify, explore, purchase and share that content.
“We know that moviegoers love their smartphones so much so that 85% use them before they plan a movie night out to check show times, watch a trailer, or buy a ticket,” said Dave Kupiec, executive vice-president of sales and marketing with NCM Media Networks. “We’ve grown our NCM Digital online and mobile networks to connect the dots with moviegoers, and now we can give our audiences a true connected-screen experience with Shazam, and even let them extend their movie experience after they leave the theater. We chose Shazam to power FirstLook’s interactivity because it delivers a beautiful and entertaining mobile experience in a magical and effortless way, and reaches more users than nearly every other mobile app.”
As part of the new FirstLook rollout, NCM is launching digital and social extensions of the show beyond the big screen:
- FirstLook5, a ‘snackable’ five-minute digital video version of FirstLook with over 2 million views a week, will also be updated with the new FirstLook design, delivering the best behind-the-scenes entertainment content right to moviegoers’ computers, tablets and smartphones.
- To extend the movie experience beyond the theater environment, NCM introduced FirstLookYou!, a new user-generated social video platform that captures the authentic reactions of movie fans to the latest films. Using special FirstLookYou! booths in select theater lobbies, moviegoers will be able to give their own personal 20-second video review of the movie they’ve just seen, and then share across Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
“If you think about it, movies are the ‘original social media’ — not just the moviegoing experience itself, but the ‘water cooler’ effect that lasts long after the credits have rolled,” said Steve Ochs, NCM’s senior vice-president of marketing. “Today, especially for the coveted millennials demographic, being ‘in the know’ about the latest movies is a critical form of social currency. In fact, over 50% of NCM’s audience is millennial — they’re going to the movies more than ever!”
NCM also announced several entertainment marketing partnerships that offer new ways for advertisers to create their own unique branded content to reach this coveted movie audience:
- Maker Studios, a next-generation media and technology company, is producer and distributor of online content to this diverse, tech-savvy group, and NCM has entered into an exclusive relationship with Maker to bring its top digital stars and premium programming to movie theaters;
- Ideas United creates content, promotions and events for premier brands around the globe. NCM has partnered to help advertisers tap emerging filmmakers to produce creative and engaging branded entertainment content for the big screen.
- The GRAMMY Awards for musical excellence and NCM are now working together to give unprecedented access to the music and artists who inspire the movies.
NCM enters the 2014-15 upfront season building on two record years of audience growth.
“The industry should think of cinema and NCM Media Networks as the most premium video available — with the biggest screen, captive audience, national reach, blockbuster entertainment programming, and no way to skip the ads,” said Marks. “You can now buy us like TV, but our unique theater environment makes us bigger and better than any other medium. We’re here to make sure that brands see the bigger picture with cinema.”