- NCM LLC was formed on March 29, 2005, by as a joint venture between American Multi-Cinema, Inc (AMC) and Regal CineMedia Holdings, LLC (RGC). On July 15, 2005, Cinemark Media, Inc. (Cinemark) joined NCM LLC as a founding member.
- NCM operates the largest digital in-theater network in North America.
- As of December 28, 2017 we had over 20,800 screens in our network.
- Our network is currently located in 48 states and the District of Columbia and covers all of the top 25, as well as all of the top 50, DMAs® , and 187 DMAs® in total.
- More than 700 million moviegoers annually attended theaters that are currently under contract to present NCM's pre-show program.
- Our advertising business competes in the estimated $197 billion U.S. advertising industry with many other forms of marketing media, including television, radio, print, internet, mobile and outdoor display advertising. While cinema advertising represents a small portion of the overall advertising industry today, we believe it is well positioned to capitalize on the shift of advertising spending away from traditional media, in particular television where consumers can skip advertisements through DVRs and other new digital technology, to newer and more targeted forms of media.
- Our advertising business also competes with many other providers of cinema advertising, which vary substantially in size. As the largest cinema advertising network in the U.S., we believe that we are able to generate economies of scale, operating efficiencies and enhanced opportunities for our clients to reach an engaged movie audience on both a national and local level that allow us to better compete for premium video dollars in the larger advertising marketplace.
We believe that several strengths position us well to compete in an increasingly fragmented media landscape.
Superior National Advertising Network
We believe that our cinema advertising network is an attractive option for marketers on both a national and local level, and delivers measurable results for our clients that are comparable, and superior, to the television, online and mobile, or other video advertising networks that we compete against in the marketplace.
Extensive National Market Coverage— Our contractual agreements with the founding members and network affiliates provide long-term exclusive access (subject to limited exceptions) to sell cinema advertising across the largest network of digitally-equipped theaters in the U.S. This allows us to offer advertisers the broad reach and national scale that they need in an increasingly fragmented media marketplace.
Scalable, State-of-the-Art Digital Content Distribution Technology— Our use of the combination of satellite and terrestrial network technology, combined with the design and functionality of our DCS and NOC infrastructure, makes our network efficient and scalable and also allows us to target specific audiences and provide advertising scheduling flexibility and reporting. We offer short lead times by accelerating the delivery time of media from proposal to on-screen across our network of movie theaters nationwide. National, local and regional advertisers are able to run their ads in the Noovie pre-show less than 72 hours following the proposal (comparable to TV), which is a significant improvement over the cinema industry’s traditional turn-around time frame and gives businesses that rely on time-sensitive promotional advertising strategies, such as car dealerships, retail stores and Quick Service Restaurants (“QSR”), the opportunity to take advantage of the power of cinema.
This scalability of our distribution technology has allowed us to expand our cinema advertising network with minimal additional capital expenditures or personnel, and we expect to benefit from this scalability in the future as we add new theaters from the founding members, our existing network affiliate relationships and the addition of new network affiliates.
Millennials, Content and Data
We believe that the Millennial audiences (age 18-34) in our network of theaters, the premium content of Hollywood films and our Noovie pre-show, and the advances we have made in cinema advertising data all give us a competitive advantage in the media marketplace.
Innovative, Branded Pre-Feature Content— The film content created by Hollywood studios is considered by many to be the finest entertainment content in the world, which creates a highly-desirable advertising environment for brands. We believe that our entertainment and advertising pre-feature program, Noovie, provides a high-quality entertainment experience for theater audiences and an effective marketing platform for advertisers. By partnering with leading media, entertainment, technology and other companies, we are able to provide better original content for our audience and more impact for the advertiser. Because we offer local and national “pods” within our Noovie pre-show, we are consistent with the placement of ads on television networks, which allows us to be more easily integrated into traditional sight-sound-and-motion media buys.
Superior Audience Measurability and Targeting— As with many other advertising mediums, we are measured by third-party research companies such as Nielsen Holdings PLC that provide us with the percentage of the total attendance in their seats at various times during our Noovie pre-show. What differentiates us from other advertising mediums, however, is that we also receive monthly attendance information by film, by rating and by screen for all of the founding member theaters and by flight and by location for the theaters operated by our network affiliates, which allows us to report the actual audience size for each showing of a film, including our Noovie pre-show. We believe that the ability to provide this level of detailed information to our clients gives us a distinct competitive advantage over traditional media platforms whose measurement is based only on extrapolations of a very small sample of the total audience.
During 2017, we continued to invest in our inventory management systems to expand our ability to target audiences by film genre. Our Cinema Audience Targeting Optimizer (“CATO”) now allows advertisers to go beyond targeting by the Motion Picture Association of America (“MPAA”) rating (G/PG, PG13 and R) to build media schedules at the film and genre level, more effectively targeting 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.
In 2017, we also continued to invest in the development of our cloud-based Data Management Platform (“DMP”) which we believe will allow us to provide even more robust campaign data and analytics to our clients. To further enhance the connection between brands and movie audiences, we accumulate audience data from several sources within our new DMP. This audience data is then leveraged alone or alongside data science capabilities to offer highly effective campaigns, audience insights and closed loop attribution reporting. We will continue to enhance the capabilities of the platform in 2018 by continuing to add data sources, segments and define and redefine needs.
Integrated Marketing Products
Our ability to bundle our on-screen advertising opportunities with integrated lobby, online and mobile marketing products allow us to offer advertisers multiple touchpoints to reach movie audiences before, during and after the film to execute true 360-degree marketing programs. We believe these multiple marketing impressions throughout the entire entertainment experience allows our advertisers to extend the exposure for their brands and products and create a more engaging relationship with movie audiences in every stage of their movie journey. Additionally, the digital products provide us with valuable, exclusive first party data which can be used by in-theater customers to better attract and interact with their target market or sold to new customers.
Contractual Theater Circuit Partner and Advertiser Relationships
Our exclusive multi-year contractual relationships with our founding members and network affiliates allow us to offer advertisers a national network with the scale, flexibility and targeting to meet their marketing needs. Our exclusive multi-year contractual relationships with our content partners and PSA sponsors, as well as our agreements to satisfy the founding members’ on-screen marketing obligations to their beverage concessionaires, provide us with a significant upfront revenue commitment, accounting for approximately 30% of our total revenue for the year ended December 28, 2017. In addition, our participation in the annual advertising Upfront marketplace has allowed us to secure significant annual upfront commitments from national advertisers looking to secure premium cinema inventory.
Strong Operating Margins with Limited Capital Requirements
Our annual Adjusted OIBDA margins have been consistently strong, ranging from approximately 48% to 52% over the last five years. (Refer to “Item 6. Selected Financial Data-Notes to the Selected Historical Financial and Operating Data” for a discussion of the calculation of Adjusted OIBDA margin, which is a non-GAAP financial measure, and the reconciliation to operating income.) In addition, the founding members and their Digital Cinema Integration Partners, LLC (“DCIP”) joint venture invested substantial capital to deploy, expand and upgrade the network equipment within their theaters including newer and higher quality digital cinema equipment. Due to the network equipment investments made in recent years by the founding members and network affiliates (in some cases through the DCIP digital cinema implementation joint venture) in new and acquired theaters and the requirements in the ESAs for the founding members to make future investments for equipment replacements, and the scalable nature of our NOC and other infrastructure, we do not expect to make major capital investments to grow our operations as our network of theaters expands.
Our capital expenditures have ranged from approximately 2% to 3% of revenues over the last five years. For the year ended December 28, 2017, our capital expenditures were $12.3 million, of which only $1.9 million primarily related to investments in network equipment to add new network affiliate theaters. We believe our expected level of Adjusted OIBDA and capital expenditures should provide us with the strategic and financial flexibility to pursue the further expansion of our national theater network, invest in other growth opportunities and continue to make dividend payments to our stockholders.
National CineMedia has been assigned the following ratings by the credit ratings agencies:
- Standard & Poor's: B+ corporate credit and bank loan rating, B- notes rating
- Moody's: B1 corporate family, Ba3 bank credit facility, and B3 notes rating
2 According to CAC (Cinema Advertising Council)
3 According to Nielsen Brand Effect (Formerly IAG)