Movie ad sales up only 2% over 2009

Growth anemic considers attendance up 6%, b.o. grew 10%

Revenue generated from ads in domestic movie theaters, an industry dominated by Screenvision and National CineMedia, managed 2% growth last year, anemic compared to past years, especially considering attendance was up 6% and the boxoffice grew 10%

Nevertheless, the Cinema Advertising Council, which is set to release its annual revenue figures Monday, notes that 2009 was a particularly difficult year for ad-sellers in all media, so any amount of growth is worth a boast.

"In the worst year possible, we were still able to grow," CAC president and chairman Michael Chico said.

Continuing his look on the bright side, Chico also said that double-digit growth has returned, at least so far, given the strong trends the CAC sees in the first two quarters of 2010 compared with the same frame in 2009.

Last year, $584 million in cinema advertising was sold across the U.S., with 93% being the onscreen variety, while 7% came from offscreen, though still in-theater, advertising. Onscreen advertising grew 2.1% while offscreen was flat.

Growth -- such as it was -- was attributable to four specific categories of advertisers: cable television, cosmetics, financial and military.

Last year's 2% gain marks the slowest annual growth ever reported by the CAC. A year ago, the CAC reported cinema advertising in the U.S. grew 5.8% in 2008 over 2007, which was the previous low mark for growth. In 2007, growth was 19%, and a year before that it was at 15%.

The CAC has been tracking the industry since 2002. That year, it reported that $186 million was generated by in-theater advertising in the U.S.

National onscreen cinema advertising spends typically range from as small as $100,000 to as much as $20 million, depending on the number of screens the ads appear on and for how many weeks or months. CPMs can range from $25-$45, Chico said.
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