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Advertising at the Movies

With cinema advertising, you can reach a captive audience--and make your marketing message the feature presentation.

This story appears in the March 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

What's the fastest-growing advertising medium on the block? It's not the internet. It's cinema advertising, and it's becoming the hot, new tool for advertisers nationwide. While major players including Levi's, Nike and Sony are taking their campaigns to the silver screen, small businesses can also benefit from reaching this affluent, captive audience of moviegoers--without taking a major bite out of their budgets.

Although cinema advertising is still a relatively small share of total U.S. ad spending, it's projected to double in size from about $470 million in 2004 to more than $1 billion in 2008, according to communications industry forecast estimates from media merchant bank Veronis Suhler Stevenson. And what do moviegoers think of this change? Consumer studies by Arbitron in 2002 and 2003 found that more than two-thirds of adults and about 7 out of 10 teens don't mind ads played before a movie. In fact, adults who frequent the theater monthly arrive an average of 19 minutes early and are exposed to a range of marketing media, including video programming in the lobby, posters, counter cards, coupons and even advertising on popcorn bags.

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