NCM touts Millennial appeal at annual Upfront

Cinemas News

National CineMedia (NCM) presented its fifth annual Upfront event at the AMC Lincoln Square movie theatre in New York on May 18, with a focus on Millennials, content and data. 

NCM’s new CEO, Andy England, started off the presentation by noting that he had finally found all of the hard-to-reach young people he had been searching for in his many years as a marketer—they’re at the movies. “358 million tickets were sold to Millennials at our theatres last year. Put simply, we have more Millennials visiting our theatres in one year than there are people in the United States, 36 million more. So, why do Millennials love the movies? Because this is the best content there is. We have this highly desirable audience because we have the best content. Opening weekend for movies are, by definition, culturally relevant. Millennials want to see films as they are released because it puts them in the know. It gives them social currency. Having a point of view on Deadpool or the Jungle Book, or being excited about Bad Moms is to be part of the narrative or to be woven into the fabric of popular culture.”

NCM’s newly appointed president, Cliff Marks, then took the stage to talk about Millennial moviegoers, stating, “NCM is the number-one weekend network for all demos, reaching over 700 million moviegoers every year. But the really big news is that our Millennial moviegoing audience grew over 16 percent in 2015 and is already up eight percent so far this year! We are now a premier Millennial network, with an average A18-34 weekly rating of 9.9 in 2015—that’s any given week of any given month of the year. Nobody else but NCM can deliver an engaged Millennial audience with that level of viewable GRPs on a consistent basis.”                                                         

NCM also unveiled new research from a joint study with Omnicom Media Group’s Annalect and CivicScience about Millennials’ moviegoing habits.Millennials make up the largest frequent moviegoing age group, and this generation is highly invested in the overall moviegoing process:

•    Millennials are 50 percent more likely than the general population to say that movies are a passion of theirs.

•    Millennials want to talk about their moviegoing experience, and are more likely to be influenced by social media (Facebook and YouTube in particular).

•    46 percent of Millennials aim to go to the movies on a film’s opening weekend.

•    The most frequently reported reason for seeing a movie in a theatre is that Millennials don’t want to miss out by waiting until a movie is available at home.

•    Exclusive theatrical formats like IMAX and 11.1 surround sound, coupled with luxury amenities like recliner seating and upgraded food options, are key drivers for a generation willing to pay more for a better experience.

•    Millennials are the age group most likely to purchase movie tickets in advance.

•    86 percent of Millennials arrive early to the movie theatre.


Click here to view the full study, Now Showing: Millennials’ Movie-Going Experience.


Marks added, “And we all know, Millennials don’t just want content pushed out to them; they like to personally interact with it as well. We’ve listened to the demand for brand interactivity, and NCM is proud to be working with Audience Entertainment and TimePlay to bring both gesture-based and mobile phone-based interactivity to cinema. We’ll be launching on approximately 500 screens and growing to over 1,000 in the near future, so consumers can interact with your brands live on the big screen.”

“NCM is the connector between brands and movie audiences,” NCM chief revenue officer Bennett Fogel told the Upfront crowd. “This statement defines our commitment to not only help you make that valuable connection, but to do so in more effective and efficient ways than anyone ever thought possible. As part of our transformation into a state-of-the-art premium video platform, we have developed a completely new inventory management system and are launching the first ever Data Management Platform for a cinema network with the Nielsen Marketing Cloud.”

Fogel went on to introduce the new ways that “America’s Movie Network” is bringing cinema advertising into today’s world of enhanced targeting and big data:

•    Effective this upfront cycle, with the full rollout of NCM’s Cinema Audience Targeting Optimizer (CATO), advertisers go beyond targeting by MPAA rating (G/PG, PG13 and R) to build media schedules at the film and genre level. NCM can now more effectively target a brand’s key audience by matching it to the movie titles and/or genres that can best deliver that audience in a given campaign schedule.

•    To further enhance the connection between brands and movie audiences, NCM will also be filtering media schedules through its new Nielsen Marketing Cloud Data Management Platform (DMP). NCM’s DMP will house thousands of first-, second- and third-party consumer data sets, including rich moviegoer data derived from loyalty programs, mobile panels, beacon networks and credit card purchases. NCM’s alliance with the Nielsen Marketing Cloud DMP—the first of its kind in the cinema industry—will allow it to offer transaction-based insights, better-targeted campaigns, and closed-loop ROI.

•    NCM’s Cinema Accelerator identifies moviegoers’ mobile devices as they enter a theatre, and re-engages them with a brand’s messages wherever they are consuming content—on mobile, social or online. This additional digital touchpoint provides an ideal way to leverage a big screen ad with small-screen activations to drive traffic and transactions.

Fogel concluded, “Aside from all of the predictive data that we can provide on the front end, quantifying business lift is the key ROI metric that we are all being held accountable for today. Our physical locations give us the unique ability to track audiences from our theatres to your businesses. By working with geo-location based research companies, we have partnered with clients to conduct dozens of studies in the retail, QSR and CPG categories. The results have been consistent, and almost startling, in terms of incremental traffic and sales lift.”