Maximizing the Pre-Show: Before The Movie accentuates innovations and prompt payments

Cinemas Features

That noise you hear could be: A) the whirring of high-tech computers in the graphics suite of Before The Movie™ genius creative director Adam James; B) the company's production facility shooting live action; C)the vivid imagination of CEO Corey Tocchini's nimble brain formulating bigger and better revenue streams for BTM's cinema customers, or D) all of the above.

Born with the cinema gene dating back to his grandfather in the 1920s, Corey Tocchini has more energy in his soul and marketing savvy in his blood than most CEOs in our industry. So plentiful are his ideas that it’s like connecting a fire hose—a veritable flood!

Corey and his wife, Keyo, started Before The Movie as an adjunct of his father's exhibition business nearly ten years ago. Corey grew up in Dan Tocchini's Santa Rosa-based North American Cinemas, a thriving cinema company that boasts 150+ screens. "As my dad's marketing VP, I loved cinema and just kept seeing moneymaking opportunities everywhere in the complexes," Corey explains, "and most of those opportunities were untapped. We have yet to truly coalesce into the cash-printing machines that theatres can become. That is one of our mandates at BTM."

When Dan Tocchini opened Blue Oaks 16 in Rocklin, CA in 2010, it was one of the original non-mezzanine theatres. The surrounding businesses jumped onboard quickly. "Part of my marketing duties included selling and producing screen ads. And, depending on the location, it wasn't always an easy sell. But Blue Oaks sold out so completely with local advertisers that we couldn't include national ads. We even had a waiting list! That success convinced me that the adage ‘If you build it, they will come’ was true. I had already started Before The Movie and it was time to expand.”

Corey's first hire was Keyo, whose organizational skills and attention to detail have become integral to BTM's success. (Today, Keyo has risen to president of the company.) With a strong background in finance, she supervises everything from cash flow to ad fulfillment. She personally makes sure that both ends of the ad equation are 100% satisfied—which is no mean feat since BTM's onscreen monthly ad count with local, regional and national ads is in the thousands. But it is that guarantee to each advertiser, regardless how small, that the ad will run and fit in seamlessly with the larger corporate advertisers that contributes to BTM's success.

"We have reached 1,100 screens in the relatively short time of just nine years," Keyo points out. "Our theatre circuits range in size from single-screen drive-ins to mid-size exhibitors. We have 20 employees, all of whom multitask, and their versatility enables us to control our overhead. We don't hire warm bodies—we want every single employee to share our enthusiasm and commitment to our exhibitors’ success. Without this teamwork, we would not be where we are today.”

BTM is unusual in that they pay their theatres twice monthly—like clockwork. The Tocchini team of Corey and Keyo care deeply about their spotless reputation for paying. "When I started researching what theatres complained about with screen-ad companies, slow and no-pay topped the list," Corey expounds. "And if payment was not a foregone conclusion and received automatically, the theatres just didn't want to deal with the downside of screen ads. Timely and frequent payment is and always has been our cornerstone."

Inc. magazine has ranked Before The Movie for the last three years in its prestigious Inc. 500/5000 list—a hierarchy of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. Entrepreneurs such as Yelp, Pandora, Timberland, Dell, Domino’s Pizza, LinkedIn, Zillow and many others garnered early exposure as members of this elite Inc. group. “We are elated and gratified that we once again achieved such tremendous growth in 2015,” exclaims Corey. “It is difficult enough to attain such an increase once, but doing it in three consecutive years has allowed us to greatly enhance and diversify our business to serve our clients with more technology and partnering.”

Corey and Keyo Tocchini continually brainstorm to bring their member theatres enticing and fresh concepts. Before The Movie has recently partnered with Fuze Viewer to introduce the first interactive augmented-reality viewer that brings theatre lobbies to life. The app is downloaded by moviegoers free of charge and allows viewing movie trailers and 3D simply by pointing their device at a poster or image. It is very personal and happens right in the palm of their hands, extending their experience beyond the big screen. It is a tremendous new advertising and marketing tool for studios and national as well as local sponsors.

“From our inception, Before The Movie has focused on the independent American exhibitor. We offer a unique blend of both national and local full-motion screen advertising and work closely with advertisers and theatre owners," Corey continues. “National advertising frequently eludes the small exhibitor simply because of relatively diminutive screen count compared to the major circuits. We have made national and local ads available to all of our exhibitors, even those small operators who have only a single screen or two. It’s exhilarating to work with folks who share our independent spirit and help them grow right along with us.”

Theatre owners interested in learning more about Before The Movie or Fuze Viewer should contact Corey Tocchini at 888-453-7469.