Screenvision, Pac Theatres Ink Commercial Pact

LOS ANGELES Cinema-advertising vendor Screenvision and the Pacific Theatres movie-house chain signed an exclusive agreement for distribution and display of commercial product, Screenvision confirmed Wednesday.

Because of the concentration of Pacific theaters in highly populated California markets—of its more than 400 screens in California and Hawaii, 158 are in Los Angeles, where the company is headquartered—Screenvision, New York, said the deal effectively doubles its market share in Los Angeles and gives it dominance in the nation’s three largest cities.

“The importance of market share is ability to have a national reach, and deliver it not just on average but in key demographic areas,” said Matthew Kearney, CEO of Screenvision, New York. “This deal is plugging the hole in the second-largest DMA. We’re now well north of 30 percent, approaching 40 percent, in L.A.” Kearney said Screenvision’s main competitors are NCN and Regal CineMedia.

The agreement covers 380 Pacific screens, including one of its two flagship cinemas, Pacific Theatres at The Grove. The new ArcLight Cinema, at the site of the historic Cinerama Dome, is Pacific’s only theater in Los Angeles that does not accept advertising.

Kearney predicts a “tightening of the inventory” for 2004. “Every year we seen cinema advertising increasing and a selling out of the peak time,” he said. “I would anticipate growth this year again, driven by increased prices and increased volume for a finite amount of time.”

“Screenvision believes that rolling stock is premium product,” Kearney added. “So our agreement with Pacific limits the advertising to three to five minutes. We believe that when it comes to an ad message, less is more. We want cinema advertising to continue to have high impact in an uncluttered environment. Delivering that in a three- to five-minute pod gives value to advertiser, exhibitor and consumer.”

Kearney pointed out that cinema ads make up 1 percent of total display advertising in the United Kingdom, France, Belgium and Germany, but the medium accounts for only fifteen-hundredths of a percent in the U.S. “I expect a very gradual six- to tenfold increase in the U.S. market,” he said.