Cinema is "Amazon-proof" and here to stay, posited Paul Sweeney, U.S. Director of Research and Senior Media Analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, commenting at the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Brands U.S. 2018 launch event in mid-November. In other words, while other brick and mortar businesses, and even media properties, are being cannibalized by e-commerce, movie theaters are home to an immersive, shared viewing experience that cannot be duplicated. The ongoing vitality of the medium is supported in a recent analysis by MediaVillage and other market forecasts including PwC's latest Entertainment & Media Outlook which projects advertising spend growth for cinema through 2021.
With that said, digital ad spend remains king. Advertisers continue to allocate even more dollars to digital and mobile ad sales each year. The MAGNA September 2017 Fall Update is forecasting that digital sales will be up +16% year-over-year and that mobile (led by premium video and social) will account for 58% of all digital ad sales by year-end in the United States.
Despite issues of viewability, fraud, bots and lack of transparency, the advertising community's commitment to digital premium video platforms seems unstoppable. But is it? The Wall Street Journal reported recently that ads on YouTube once again appeared near offensive content. As a result, Mars, Diageo and Adidas have temporarily halted commercials on YouTube.
In contrast, there is a platform for premium video content that runs in a brand-safe environment 100% of the time: movie theaters. The cinema experience offers marketers an opt-in, bot-free, fully immersive option with protection built in via the Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA) rating system. MPAA ratings provide advertisers and movie-goers alike an indisputable benefit, as the goal of the MPAA is to rate a film's suitability for specific audiences based on content within context. The guideline provides clarity about the content being shown, therefore providing confidence to advertisers that their ads will be viewed in an environment self-selected by the audience.
The same criteria are applied to all content that runs in the pre-show. No other media can claim this level of protection for advertisers. Coupled with cinema's high levels of audience engagement it's easy to see the unique value, especially in a marketplace already complicated by overwhelming fragmentation, fraud and choice.
"Our sales team educates advertisers and their agencies to ensure that there are no surprises," explains John McCauley, Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, Screenvision Media. "The key is knowledge and trust." He adds that the company "works in partnership with our theaters and the movie studios to ensure that the right spot is placed in the right content at the right time. We customize the programming for each pre-show and advertisers will vary depending on what film it is attached to; for example Coco, Thor: Ragnarok, Ferdinand, Star Wars and Pitch Perfect will all have entirely different spots."
"With the proliferation of mobile, social and premium video, safety and trust are a challenge for marketers," notes Katy Loria, Chief Revenue Officer, Screenvision Media. "While fragmentation has provided more choice than ever, what buyers are looking for is an efficient, trusted environment that provides maximum reach to targeted, high-value demos. That space is scare, but at Screenvision we deliver this new variable for every advertiser, every day."
The total box office revenue for the five-day Thanksgiving window was up 3% over last year, powered by films including Coco, Justice League, Thor: Ragnarok and Wonder. This bodes well for Screenvision, as more brands unwrap the gift of a safe environment this holiday season with the benefit of engaged audiences and memorable impressions.
Photo credit: Screenvision
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