NCM Declares Movie Theaters a “Politics-Free Zone”

Largest Cinema Advertising Network Won’t Run Political Ads in FirstLook

October 15, 2015
"That’s why the only politics you’ll see on the big screen are upcoming films with political plots."

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With the presidential election looming and TV ad spending on the 2016 races predicted to hit $4.4 billion, National CineMedia (NCM), the largest cinema advertising network in the U.S., has declared that its 1,600 movie theaters will be politics-free zones.

NCM’s FirstLook pre-show, seen on over 20,100 movie screens, and its Lobby Entertainment Network (LEN) in AMC, Cinemark, Regal Entertainment Group and over 40 other leading affiliate theaters across the country, will not include ads for any political issues or candidates.

“There is no way to change the channel in a movie theater. So we must respect the fact that people go to the movies to enjoy the FirstLook preshow and lose themselves in the magic of the movies, and we believe that it is important to honor this entertainment experience,” said Cliff Marks, president of sales and marketing with NCM. “That’s why the only politics you’ll see on the big screen are upcoming films with political plots.”

The move to forgo accepting political ads is significant because it is not only good for movie audiences, but for marketers as well. TV stations in key presidential markets, or markets hosting multiple races, often allocate significant advertising inventory to political candidates and issues. This not only causes more advertising clutter, but in some cases, a brand’s spot may even be bumped in favor of a higher-paying political advertiser.

“Political clutter and pre-emption are things that our advertising partners will never have to worry about in NCM’s FirstLook,” Marks continued. “While we compete aggressively against other video platforms for ad dollars, making the decision to walk away from political spending is yet another thing that makes NCM exceptional. Brands can not only position themselves alongside the most exciting new movie content, but they can be sure that their message will be heard by a highly-engaged audience without the distraction and negativity of political ads surrounding their spot. And, NCM is the largest reach network on weekends, making cinema the perfect place for marketers to protect their brands from being associated with the negative messaging that will invade all other video networks this election season.”

Reaching over 700 million moviegoers annually, FirstLook’s average weekly audience translates to a Nielsen rating of over 7.0 in adults 18 to 49, making it one of the top 10 primetime shows in the U.S. every week. NCM’s FirstLook pre-show program showcases entertainment content from ABC Networks, A+E Television Networks, CBS Entertainment, Disney, Hasbro, Microsoft, NBC, Nintendo, Turner Broadcasting System, and Yahoo along with national, regional and local advertising. FirstLook is designed with the audience in mind, ending approximately at the advertised movie show time when the film trailers begin.

About National CineMedia (NCM)

National CineMedia (NCM) is America’s Movie Network. As the #1 weekend network in the U.S., NCM helps brands get in front of the movies that shape the national conversation. More than 700 million moviegoers annually attend theaters that are currently under contract to present NCM’s FirstLook pre-show in over 40 leading national and regional theater circuits including AMC Entertainment Inc. (NYSE:AMC), Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:CNK) and Regal Entertainment Group (NYSE:RGC). NCM’s cinema advertising network offers broad reach and unparalleled audience engagement with approximately 20,150 screens in approximately 1,600 theaters in 187 Designated Market Areas® (49 of the top 50). NCM Digital goes beyond the big screen, extending in-theater campaigns into online and mobile marketing programs to reach entertainment audiences. National CineMedia, Inc. (NASDAQ:NCMI) owns a 45.2% interest in, and is the managing member of National CineMedia, LLC. For more information, visit


National CineMedia (NCM)
Amy Jane Finnerty, 212-931-8117
Leslie Obletz, 212-931-8119