Cineworld, Odeon in joint ad venture

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LONDON -- U.K. exhibition companies Cineworld and Odeon Cinemas have set up a 50/50 cinema advertising joint venture, Digital Cinema Media, after acquiring assets from ITV subsidiary Carlton Screen Advertising for 500,000 pounds ($1 million), it was announced Thursday.

ITV, which on Wednesday raised 20 million pounds ($40.1 million) from the sale of its 50% stake in Liverpool soccer club's broadband business, is offloading its noncore assets after revealing 2007 profits down 35% Wednesday. The commercial broadcaster was forced to write off 37 million euros ($74.3 million) in CSA last year after a number of ill-fated contracts failed to deliver.

Cineworld has been in negotiations with CSA since December, when CSA proposed amendments to its existing contracts. As part of the new deal, the existing contracts will be terminated.

The cinema chain owner said it had received full payment from CSA for screen advertising in January and February, while payments through the completion of the new deal will be made on an agreed revenue share basis.

The new venture DCM plans to offer advertisers and exhibitors a timely and flexible screen advertising business, Cineworld CEO Steve Wiener said.
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