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Upfronts 2014: NCM Announces Deals with Maker, Ideas United, Shazam

NCM Media Networks, whose movie theater platform serves as a promotional platform for a number of TV networks and their programming,  announced partnerships with Maker Studios, Ideas United, Shazam and the Grammy Awards at its third annual upfront presentation in New York Wednesday afternoon.

The Maker Studios deal will bring Maker talent to movie theaters, while the Ideas United pact will help brands connect with emerging filmmakers to producer content for the big screen.

NCM also unveiled the new FirstLook pre-show program, with digital and social extensions FirstLook5 and FirstLookYou!, the latter a video-based platform that captures reactions from moviegoers in booths in select theaters.

“The industry should think of cinema and NCM Media Networks as the most premium video available—with the biggest screen, captive audience, national reach, blockbuster entertainment programming, and no way to skip the ads,” said Cliff Marks, president of sales and marketing with NCM Media Networks (and former sales exec at ESPN). “You can now buy us like TV, but our unique theater environment makes us bigger and better than any other medium.”

Marks briefly touched upon the May 5 announcement that NCM will merge with Screenvision for $375 million in cash and stock, subject to regulatory approval.

“NCM and Screenvision have agreed to a merger, creating one of the broadest and most unique national video advertising networks in America. For the first time, advertisers will have the opportunity to purchase a network that will deliver your brands to movie theaters in all 50 states.”

Held at AMC Lincoln Square, comedian Frank Caliendo hosted the upfront. Caliendo skipped from Morgan Freeman, Al Pacino and Liam Neeson impressions, imagining how they might pitch the upfront.

The event opened with a Star Trek parody, with crewmembers running into issues with the screen size of their equipment.