CAC figures show 15% increase in 2006

Revenue from ads on movie screens reached $455.7 million in 2006, up 15% from $394.8 million in 2005, according to a report out today from the Cinema Advertising Council.

Offscreen revenues, including all ad initiatives in theaters that don’t involve the movie screen, also surged 15%, hitting $38.3 million from $33.2 million in 2005.

The CAC, which reps about 81% of the 37,740 screens in the U.S., presented the results, which were independently tabulated by Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co.

Clifford E. Marks, the org’s prexy and chairman as well as prexy of sales and marketing at major onscreen ad firm National CineMedia, said the revenue gain is only part of the story. The resistance to the notion of ads before a feature film has significantly eroded among audiences and ad buyers alike, he said.

“If you go back to when we were putting up slides and showing photos of local Realtors, we have come a really long way,” Marks said. “You don’t hear of people booing commercials or the backlash we used to hear from people.”

Only 8% of moviegoers surveyed by ScreenVision, a major screen ad firm and CAC member, said they would prefer no pre-show at all over current offerings.

Marks said a diverse range of advertisers are starting to tailor their pitches to the megaplex, though only 25% of the commercials shown are made uniquely for the cinema.

The pitch from CAC to advertisers is to use theaters, where attention and retention are far higher than in other media, as a launch platform before running shorter versions of the same ad in other media.

Audiences would want to be in on the inception of an ad campaign that later appears on TV and online, ad execs maintained.

“With regard to audiences, there is virtually no resistance” to pre-show ads, said Stu Ballatt, senior VP of marketing at ScreenVision. “That’s been overplayed since the beginning.”

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