Fresh Perspectives: Cinema advertising giants welcome new leaders

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Cinemas Features

“Cinema’s time has come,” says John Partilla, who succeeded Travis Reid as chief executive officer of leading cinema-advertising company Screenvision last October. “And there will be substantial movement and energy within the industry moving the sector forward.” Within that environment, Partilla says, the company “will be at the forefront, creating value for our exhibitors and brands.” In his view, “the elevating impact of the movie screen” still represents “so much upside with respect to revenue and bottom-line growth. I truly believe this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity where we can make substantial impact on a sector.”

With the retirement of Kurt C. Hall, change was equally in the air at National CineMedia. “The nature of NCM’s business is that we proudly represent our circuit partners, and we need them on our side to make good things happen for all of us,” notes Andrew J. England, who was appointed NCM’s chief executive officer and director at the beginning of the year. “It’s a great time to be in the movie business,” with such good cinemas, he adds. “And National CineMedia is committed to have the products, tools and relationships to be the film industry’s best advertising partner.”

In past editions of our Cinema Advertising section, which was launched exclusively in October 2004, it was customary to lead our annual survey with the latest trade association findings from the Cinema Advertising Council (www.cinemaadcouncil.org). Looking at this unprecedented changing of the guard, and coming on the heels of a failed attempt to combine both companies, Film Journal International took the opportunity to speak with both of the new leaders in the field. Screenvision represents over 14,300 screens in 2,300+ theatres across all 50 states and 94% of DMAs nationwide, delivering through more than 150 theatrical circuits, including six of the top 10 exhibitors. National CineMedia’s preshow covers the three largest among 40 leading national and regional theatre circuits, with approximately 1,600 locations and 20,050 screens in 187 DMAs and 49 of the top 50.

While Partilla and England can count on mature networks and seasoned teams, both executives have arrived from other areas of the media mix to continue the groundwork laid by two tried-and-true cinema experts. They share their thoughts and ideas individually here and here; meanwhile, let’s take a look at their respective backgrounds.

Andy England, as he prefers to be called, came to NCM having held the position of executive VP and chief marketing officer of MillerCoors, a $7.5 billion-net-revenue U.S. joint venture of Molson Coors Brewing Company and SAB Miller PLC. During his nearly 10-year tenure there, “England built new brand architecture,” the NCM announcement stated. He “led a 200-person marketing department, revamped the go-to-market strategy for classic brands such as Coors Light and Miller Lite, broadened the company’s reach in social and digital media, and created sponsorship deals with major sports franchises.” With that, and all along, England always included films and movie theatres in his reach towards consumers.

Screenvision’s new chief executive officer, John Partilla, is another movie (theatre) fan. “Widely recognized for his vision and innovation,” Partilla most recently worked on the agency side as chief executive officer of Olson and executive VP at the Digital Services Group of ICF International. According to the media announcement, he will focus “on elevating Screenvision’s position in the broader video media landscape, integrating new and emerging technology, strengthening the preshow advertising platform, and creating tentpole programs for brands.” All of this and more will be discussed on the following pages.

“Cinema has a great offering, and there are many more brands that can access the medium,” Partilla asserts. “As the fragmentation continues, and technology advances, cinema’s role as a prime video replacement will be further highlighted. As we go through the year, we will seek opportunities to evangelize this message to our key constituents: brands, buyers, planners, research and creative. My number-one goal is to make Screenvision a key must-have component of media campaigns.”