Nielsen Heads To The Movies

The justification for in-theater buys has mostly come from theater chains’ audience estimates, cinema-ad rep firms or common sense—kids go to the movies, so advertisers should, too. This week, it gets more scientific, as Nielsen Cinema, Screenvision and Interactive Market Systems provide reach and frequency information on moviegoers for the first time.

Paul Lindstrom, svp of Nielsen Cinema, New York (owned, like IMS, by Adweek parent VNU), said the service, CinemaCume, combines Nielsen EDI box-office results and Nielsen Media Research survey results of 500-600 previous-week moviegoers. “An unmeasured medium is inherently an undervalued one,” said Lindstrom. “This creates a higher value.”

“We’ll be able to compare vendors and different movie ratings,” said Neil Ascher, evp, director of communications services at Publicis’ Zenith Media in New York. “It will become the norm to include movies as part of a broader strategy. We’re looking for broad-reach alternatives as TV rates continue to climb.”

“Clients have tended to be teen-focused, because they go with cinema’s strength,” said Mary-Ellen Vincent, svp, director of insights and accountability at Publicis’ MediaVest in New York, which uses cinema for Coca-Cola and Masterfoods. “It will open up cinema to a broader, older audience.”

Other buyers agree. “It’s not a regular part of anyone’s media mix,” said Beth Mahry, svp at Omnicom Group’s PHD in Troy, Mich., whose mix for the 2005 Chrysler Town & Country debut in June includes movie theaters. “But we get more enthusiastic as the tools develop.”