Terms of deal were not disclosed

Exhib chain Cinemark USA has acquired a stake in National CineMedia, the in-cinema advertising venture launched earlier this year by chains Regal Entertainment Group and AMC Theaters.

Deal will make CineMedia the nation’s largest in-theater advertising network, repping approximately 13,000 screens. Regal will own a 50% interest, AMC 29% and Cinemark 21%. Terms were not disclosed.

Cinemark is part of Screenvision’s blurb network, with a contract to show the company’s onscreen slides and rolling stock blurbs on its 2,300 screens through the end of the year.

Screenvision also counts as a network member Loews Cineplex. But that chain, acquired by AMC last month, is expected to migrate its screens to National CineMedia when its Screenvision contract runs out in 2008.

With growth slow in box office and concession receipts, exhibs are aggressively targeting pre-show blurbs, which include full-motion video and audio, as a new source of revenue.

National CineMedia sells ads and creates pre-show packages for its member theaters. It plans to expand its digital distribution network to 10,500 screens. Company also sells lobby promotions and alternate uses — such as hosting business meetings — for its member theaters.

“The addition of more than 107 million Cinemark patrons per year throughout the U.S. will allow NCM to compete more effectively with existing national advertising platforms,” CineMedia chief Kurt Hall said.

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