Screenvision Media's 2024 Upfront Declaration: Pay Attention to Pre-Movie Messaging

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Screenvision Media, a top organization in business generating pre-feature commercial campaigns and original short subjects that play in thousands of movie theaters nationwide, conducted its Upfront gathering on May 14. After two years at Manhattan Center's Hammerstein Ballroom, Screenvision brought its presentation to a favorite site of numerous cable channel Upfront season showcases: the Rose Hall floor of Jazz at Lincoln Center, located at Columbus Circle. Hundreds of attendees packed Rose Hall's main theater to see the hour-long presentation.

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The Big Message: Recent blockbuster films like Barbie and Oppenheimer are getting consumers -- especially Gen Y, Gen Z and multicultural consumers -- back regularly to the movie theater near them, no matter where across the nation they are. Attendance is on the rise, and that makes cinema ads more attention-getting and impactful going into the months ahead. "There's no better place for your premium video investments," maintained John Partilla, Screenvision's Chief Executive Officer. "Movie theaters are today's cathedrals for storytelling."

Hosts: Partilla and Christine Martino, Screenvision's Chief Revenue Officer. Separately and together, they have the knack as engaging, appealing advocates on behalf of cinema ad spending.

What Worked: A pair of extended sizzle reels, one opening the presentation and the other near halfway, covering the scope of live-action and animated films opening this summer, the rest of 2024 and 2025. Eye-catching, often eye-popping, all the way.

What Also Worked: Using the space next door for pre-and-post receptions with open bar and for the post-reception, tantalizing appetizers. Personal fave: the Impossible burger sliders.

What Can Work Here: A segment demonstrating the appeal and impact of a recent theatrical-centric ad campaign. Show one or two spots on a wide screen and follow-up with a live or videotaped testimonial from the campaign spokesperson.

Special Note: An annual highlight of Screenvision’s presentation is Partilla interviewing a cinema notable. This year’s guest interviewee was actor-TV host-producer Alec Baldwin, indicted by a New Mexico grand jury this past January on involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins while filming the movie Rust in October 2021. At posting time, a New Mexico judge was likely to rule before the end of this month on a request by Baldwin’s attorneys to dismiss the indictment. Baldwin drew enthusiastic applause and cheers from the audience when he came out on stage for the interview. His commentary on breaking into movie acting, favorite roles and co-hosting The Essentials on Turner Classic Movies with Robert Osbourne were thoughtful and well-received.

Data Points: Screenvision's "Front + Center" pre-movie showcase runs in 45 percent of all U.S. cinema sites. Industry sources project next year's theatrical box-office revenue will exceed $11.1 billion, with more than one billion tickets sold. Roughly two-thirds of movie patrons have dropped their cable or satellite service, or never subscribed. Seventy-five percent of patrons are in the Gen Z demographic; 52 percent are multicultural.

News: Walt Disney will create a monthly "In Focus" segment for Front + Center, featuring behind-the-scenes information on upcoming Disney movies. For the first time, Screenvision will guarantee that pre-feature campaigns playing at participating theaters will meet or exceed incremental reach targets, along with other business outcomes. Also, for the first time, the company will organize its own first-party data resource, known as AMP.

Parting Words: "The value and relevance of cinema ads are increasing. They're delivering more live eyeballs than live music events and sports." -Screenvision Media Chief Executive Officer John Partilla.

"Cinema is thriving. There's healthy growth all around." -Christine Martino, Screenvision Media's Chief Revenue Officer.

"You go to the movies to escape. How do you escape watching movies in your own home?" -Alec Baldwin, during his interview with Partilla.

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