NY Times directly enters digital place-based ad business

May 3, 2011 by Dave Haynes

The companies that are, if the media analysts are correct, making real money in digital out of home are those selling into the pre-shows in moviehouses.

PQ Media estimates cinema advertising is a $600 million-plus business in its DOOH media revenue forecasts – by a wide margin the biggest dog in the digital place-based media kennel.

That would have been the compelling argument made by Yasmin Namini, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Circulation, and General Manager, Reader Applications (must have wide biz cards) of the New York Times … which is now in the cinema pre-show ad business.

The “Times in Cinema” feature will show roughly 10-12 minutes, says a release, of branded NY Times video before the previews in select independent theaters. The content will be made up of lifestyle, arts and travel videos from the Times’ archives.

“Times in Cinema allows us to leverage the Times’s incredible wealth of high-quality videos,” says Namini, “and create a unique, engaging brand experience to reach theatergoers in a relevant environment.”

Why do people insist on pitching rather than explaining?

Anyway, the revenue numbers are certainly there to make this effort worth a crack, though the indie moviehouse operator only has 140 venues in the U.S.

Emerging Pictures is described as the largest all-digital Specialty Film and Alternate Content theater network in the United States, and also has a “growing presence” across the globe — from London to Latvia. “Emerging’s network includes traditional art houses, museums, performing arts centers and commercial multiplexes, including Carmike Cinemas, Harkins Theatres, Allen Theatres, Laemmle Theaters and others. The company also distributes programming worldwide under its Opera in Cinema, Ballet in Cinema and Shakespeare in Cinema brands.”

In other words, some of their moviehouses – or perhaps most – are actually venues they rent periodically for big events. Cineplex is listed as part of the network and it is very much its own entity (Canada’s biggest moviehouse chain).

The ad sales pitch would have to be about the upscale or interesting audience profile these moviehouses deliver because it’s  going to have top be a quality not quantity play. The Times is one of a handful of properties that can probably do that, however.

The NYT arts and entertainment work that paper is renowned for dovetails pretty nicely with the indie films, documentaries and live events schedule shown at Emerging venues.

Interesting move. You can argue that the Times is already in place-based via work with RMG Networks, but that’s by and large and content and branding deal, with RMG doing the ad sales.


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