Add one more digital media company that will be looking to take advertising share away from the TV business this spring with a glitzy upfront presentation to Madison Avenue. NCM Media Networks, which digitally programs ads across 18,300 movie-theater screens in the U.S., will be aiming to sell about 60 percent of its annual inventory based on its presentation to advertisers at the May event in New York.
NCM, which is jointly owned by America’s three biggest exhibition chains — AMC Entertainment, Cinemark Holdings and Regal Entertainment Group — has yet to officially report its official 2011 revenue, but analysts believe ad sales totaled around $400 million last year. It programs presentations to moviegoers in between film showings, and reaches an audience of about 60 million consumers each month. That ranks it ahead of most major cable networks when it comes to reaching 18-34-year-olds on Friday and Saturday nights.
The once-nascent cinema advertising business has grown steadily in recent years as major chains have integrated digital projection and distribution systems into their theaters. The Cinema Advertising Council, which tracks ad spending in the sector, said it garnered $658 million in ad revenue in 2010, up 13 percent from the year before. NCM accounted for about two-thirds of that revenue.
Typically during the upfront market, about $20 billion in advertising deals are made with broadcast and cable networks, along with program syndicators and operators of Spanish-language channels. This year, NCM will hardly be alone in trying to poach some of that money, with YouTube (NSDQ: GOOG), Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) and Facebook also among the digital companies looking to have a presence at the upfront market.