NCM completes acquisition of Fantasy Movie League

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National CineMedia has completed its acquisition of Fantasy Movie League (FML), the box-office predictions game that combines the competition of fantasy sports with the world of entertainment and movies. The deal marks the company’s first acquisition as a key part of its new focus on consumer digital products for movie audiences.

To introduce a new audience of more than 750 million moviegoers a year to the game,Fantasy Movie League will be regularly featured in NCM’s new “Noovie” cinema pre-show, launching at the end of September. It will be seen on over 20,500 screens in over 1,600 theatres nationwide, including AMC, Cinemark, Regal Entertainment Group and over 45 other leading theatre circuits.

“This is the first step in NCM’s new digital strategy, allowing us to reach not just moviegoers in the theatre, but movie audiences on all screens everywhere,” said Lawrence Snapp, NCM’s chief digital officer and senior VP of corporate development, “To put it in movie industry terms, we will use the big screen as the trailer for the digital experience, driving audiences from our new Noovie pre-show to NCM’s digital properties like Fantasy Movie League and then back to the theatre to catch the next big movie. There’s a real synergy between screens of all sizes when it comes to reaching movie audiences, and our goal is to create compelling consumer experiences for movie fans.”

As part of the acquisition,Fantasy Movie League co-founders Eric LaVanchy and Larry Tobin have joined NCM’s growing Digital Products team, both in the role of general manager of digital gaming. Reporting to Snapp, they will be based in Los Angeles and will oversee the growth of Fantasy Movie League as well as development of new online consumer games for NCM.

LaVanchy and Tobin are both leaders in digital and mobile gaming. LaVanchy has developed more than 100 interactive games for sports, media and consumer brands including Anheuser-Busch, MTV, the NBA, the NFL Players Association, the NHL and Sony, and is also named on a patent for affinity-based multiplayer gaming in partnership with Electronic Arts. Tobin has led the strategy, development and maintenance of online and mobile gaming services for major media portals and sports leagues for nearly two decades, including Yahoo!, FOX Sports Interactive, the NHL and AT&T.

FML co-creator and ESPN senior fantasy analyst Matthew Berry will remain actively involved in Fantasy Movie Leagueas a consultant and evangelist.

Movie fans can play Fantasy Movie League for free by downloading the iOS app or visiting www.fantasymovieleague.com to set up their own private league with co-workers, friends and family, or play in public leagues against anyone. Players become virtual theatre owners and select which movies to show that weekend to earn the biggest box office. Winners can score prizes every week, ranging from movie gift certificates, to t-shirts, to premiere tickets and other special prizes from movie studio partners.

“Fantasy sports are hugely popular, and Americans love movies even more than sports,” said NCM executive VP and chief revenue officer Scott Felenstein. “There are over 210 million people in the U.S. who self-identify as movie fans, which is more than the NFL, NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball and NASCAR combined! Plus, FML attracts a younger, more gender-balanced audience than traditional fantasy sports, and its players are more brand aware, brand loyal, and three times more engaged. Fantasy Movie League allows fans to interact with the world of Hollywood like nothing else, which makes for a truly compelling brand extension beyond the big screen.”