The cinema ad company’s economic forecast may prove to be more important than its recent record as it prepares to compete with TV networks and others in the upfront market. National CineMedia reports that it had a net loss of $1M in Q1, virtually flat with last year, on revenues of $82.2M, +3.9%. The revenues topped expectations for $80.2M. But the loss of 2 cents a share was a penny below the consensus. The company says EPS would break even excluding what it calls “derivative” costs. Ad sales were up 11.2% to $73.7M in Q1. But revenues for the Fathom Events unit fell 33.6% to $8.5M, largely attributable to the decision to wind down Fathom Business Events. The company authorized a 22 cent-a-share dividend for Q1 and says it “plans to pay a regular quarterly dividend for the foreseeable future.” It says that Q2 revenue could be up as much as 11% vs last year to $122M, while the full year could rise as much as 4% to $465M. CEO Kurt Hall says that National CineMedia is “benefiting from the steady economic recovery and the impact of time shifting and programming fragmentation in the media marketplace. These macro trends also appear to be helping online and mobile video which has further expanded the video advertising marketplace in which we compete.”

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