National CineMedia unveils 'Noovie' at Upfront event

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National CineMedia (NCM) announced plans to re-imagine its cinema pre-show and launch new digital channels for movie audiences at its sixth annual Upfront event at the AMC Lincoln Square movie theatre in New York.

NCM’s CEO, Andy England, started off the presentation with a vision for NCM’s new pre-show, called Noovie, launching to replace FirstLook in the fourth quarter of 2017. “So, what’s Noovie?” he asked the audience of marketing executives and media buyers. “Noovie is a new premium video platform developed by NCM to connect your brands with movie audiences. At its core, Noovie is NCM’s new pre-show that audiences will experience before the movie. But Noovie stretches beyond the theatre—it’s also an integrated digital ecosystem delivering entertaining content, purposeful commerce and interactive gaming opportunities. Most importantly for NCM and our brand partners, Noovie gives movie audiences a reason to arrive early to discover what’s next.”

NCM’s vision for Noovie includes the big screen and beyond, with new several new partnerships and acquisitions:

Noovie Content: Content is a key part of Noovie, and NCM will be programming a special early content segment that will give audiences a look at “What’s Noovie” in their world. Pilot content unveiled at NCM’s Upfront event included an exclusive interview with Kate Mara on her starring title role as U.S. Marine corporal Megan LeaveyNoovie Soundcheck, an exclusive, cinema-first music series in partnership with Sony Music Entertainment’s Rumble Yard that gives fans a glimpse into unscripted, unrehearsed moments with a band before the concert crowds arrive, launching with Foo Fighters; and a new locally focused documentary series in partnership with Indigenous Media, the creators of 60 Second Docs.

NCM also teased a new physical product that will put augmented reality from studios and brands directly into the hands of moviegoers. The product is being created and produced by Concourse Cinema Ventures with Regal Cinemas as the official launch partner. An official product announcement is set for this summer.

Noovie Commerce: Noovie will feature commerce plays to enhance NCM’s role as a strategic brand partner, providing purchasing data that will help advertisers better understand and reach the connected moviegoer.

Noovie Gaming: Noovie will also incorporate movie-related gaming, including:

* Name That Movie—Audiences love trivia, and NCM is introducing the next generation of movie trivia with fun new ways to play, both in theatres and digitally.

* Fantasy Movie League—NCM has entered into an agreement to acquire Fantasy Movie League, a box-office predictions game co-created by ESPN's senior fantasy analyst Matthew Berry that combines the fierce competition of fantasy sports with the popular world of entertainment and movies. There are over 210 million people in America who self-identify as movie fans—that’s more than the NFL, NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball, and NASCAR combined—and NCM is betting on the fact that box office is big business.

“When we began to re-imagine the pre-show, we knew that we wanted to build Noovie into an entertainment brand that develops engagement through content that is relevant to today’s movie audiences,” said NCM president Cliff Marks. “But we also knew we needed to expand Noovie beyond the four walls of the theatre by creating new digital properties including a Noovie app and social-media channels that will allow us to consistently drive people from the pre-show to mobile and back again—engaging movie audiences wherever they may be. We’re building it all to be a great consumer experience, which will of course make it a great opportunity for brands as well.”

Fantasy Movie League co-creator Matthew Berry, who joined Marks onstage to announce the deal, noted, “I’m really excited about the partnership with NCM and thrilled to be here to talk about Fantasy Movie League. Over 60 million people play fantasy games in the U.S. and Canada and that number has grown 20% in the last five years. Fantasy players are more brand-aware, they're more brand-loyal and they're stickier than non-players, which is great news for advertisers. The Fantasy Movie League-playing audience is also much more gender-balanced than fantasy sports, and younger—60% of our players are 35 or less.” 

But if you want to win at Fantasy Movie League, you need to study up on your upcoming films, which is why NCM’s own movie maven, Maria Menounos, then took the stage to highlight the best of the 2017-18 film slate. NCM featured sneak peeks and new trailers for big movies including Baby Driver, It, Bad Mom’s ChristmasGirls Trip and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Special guest David Sieden, VP, cinema partnerships, with The Walt Disney Studios, also excited the crowd with exclusive looks at several new Disney films.

“At NCM, we want to be the connector between brands and movie audiences. But who are these movie audiences, and why should brands want to connect with them?” said NCM’s new executive VP and chief revenue officer, Scott Felenstein. “Movie audiences are young—NCM’s average age is 32—and they’re affluent, incredibly diverse and extremely social. When you connect with movie audiences, you are literally influencing the influencers! And most moviegoing takes place on weekends, the same days that people are most likely to make a purchasing decision.”

“But people don’t stop being movie audiences outside of the theatre, which is why NCM’s Cinema Accelerator reaches them at every point along their moviegoing journey,” Felenstein continued. “And with our great new suite of Noovie digital properties like the Noovie app and Fantasy Movie League, we’re not only creating new digital ad inventory, but a robust amount of NCM-exclusive first-party data. All of this great moviegoer data will pour into our DMP and Cinema Audience Targeting Optimizer (CATO) systems, which were the first in the industry, to lead to even better targeting, measurability and ROI for your campaigns.”

NCM president Cliff Marks wrapped up the event, concluding, “NCM is more than just a great cinema company. We’re transforming into a progressive media company with a host of new onscreen, digital and mobile experiences that offer exciting new ways to reach the best audiences out there—your audiences! I know you’ve seen a lot of content this week, but nothing beats a great Hollywood movie. It’s going to be another exciting year at the movies, and at NCM.”