Moviegoers will soon be able to see comedy clips from Funny Or Die, music videos from VEVO, and food preparation techniques from celebrity chefs in First Look — the pre-movie programming that National CineMedia provides to theaters — the company said today. It will be up to advertisers to decide what content they want to include or create and selections can vary by region, film, and genre. First Look runs for about 20 minutes before the trailers. Here’s the announcement that National CineMedia made today from its first advertiser upfront presentation in New York:

New York, N.Y. – May 16, 2012 – Taking its place among the top national media networks for the first time, NCM Media Networks (NCM), a leading integrated media company reaching U.S. consumers in movie theaters, online and through mobile technology, unveiled new ways to reach moviegoers at its “The Bigger Picture” upfront presentation at the AMC Lincoln Square movie theater in New York.

The NCM network is one of America’s top rated networks every week and the number one rated network on weekends, with an annual audience currently exceeding 700 million moviegoers. With “The Avengers” just posting the highest-ever opening weekend for a film and both box office and attendance up over 19 percent this year*, it’s a great time for brands to be at the movies.

Through its NCM Cinema Network, NCM Interactive & Mobile Networks, Movie Night Out™ with CinemaSync™ app, and entertainment marketing programs, NCM Media Networks helps brands connect with movie audiences on-screen, on-site, online and on the go. Today, NCM launched three new exclusive branded entertainment content opportunities that will help brands become part of the fun of going to the movies:

• Funny Or Die
Founded by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, Funny Or Die is one of the hottest destinations on the web for irreverent and hilarious comedy, and leaders in creating branded entertainment. Creating an innovative opportunity for advertisers, brands can now work with NCM and Funny Or Die to create customized, entertaining integrated comedy content that can be featured on the big screen in NCM’s FirstLook pre-show program and also extended to both company’s online and mobile platforms.

• VEVO
Music is a natural fit for the big screen, and there is a genre or an artist that is right for every type of brand. NCM will now distribute sponsored programming from VEVO, the world’s leading all-premium music video and entertainment platform, allowing brands to connect with movie audiences through music both on-screen and online.

• “A Taste of the Movies”™
Brands can now get cooking with NCM and celebrity chefs with a new “A Taste of the Movies” series of branded content segments that will show audiences how to prepare meals inspired by scenes from their favorite movies. As a special example for NCM’s upfront guests, Mario Batali appeared in the pilot and prepared an entertaining “Taste of The Godfather” lunch that was enjoyed by all after the presentation.

“In today’s multi-screen advertising environment, NCM believes that bigger is better – bigger screens, bigger reach, better engagement, better integration – and we’re proud to bring these great new ‘big integrated ideas’ to marketers,” said Cliff Marks, president of sales and marketing with NCM Media Networks. “As a highly ranked network all the time and the number one ranked network in primetime reach on Fridays and Saturdays, NCM should definitely be a part of the bigger picture for advertisers as they make their upfront buys.”

Leading the way to true integration, NCM Media Networks also introduced its exciting new CinemaSync mobile technology, designed to bring the entire cinema environment to life. With more that 1.2 million downloads, NCM’s Movie Night Out with CinemaSync app is the premier second screen movie app, using image and audio recognition technology to sync with everything in the theater environment. From movie posters and concessions to NCM’s FirstLook pre-show, CinemaSync can deliver extended content, coupons and other value added deals directly to theater patrons on their mobile phones. In addition, when the trailers and feature film begin, Movie Night Out with CinemaSync switches to “movie mode,” dimming the screen and reminding moviegoers to silence their cell phones and enjoy the show.

“Some moviegoers are already using their mobile devices in theaters before the film, so we designed Movie Night Out with CinemaSync to enhance that experience and channel it in a positive, courteous direction,” said Ken Venturi, executive vice president and chief creative officer of NCM Media Networks. “With CinemaSync, moviegoers will get extra content and valuable offers throughout their lobby and pre-movie experience, with the added benefit of an automatic reminder from Sprint to silence their mobile phone prior to the trailers and feature film start.”

With NCM’s Movie Night Out app, moviegoers can always plan a perfect night out at the movies with access to reviews, trailers, showtimes, theater locations, ticketing by Fandango and even suggestions on fun things to do before and after the film. Users can also share plans with friends and extend their movie experience online through Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, GetGlue and more. The free Movie Night Out with CinemaSync app is available for download on Apple® iPhone® and Android™ mobile devices, from the App Store or through the Android Market.

NCM Media Networks also plans to syndicate its groundbreaking CinemaSync technology to other movie and entertainment apps, allowing more moviegoers to interact with the theater experience in a whole new way.

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