Sky’s media boss on why cinema’s £27 CPM is good value amid online advertising’s woes

Sky’s Media boss on why cinema’s £27 CPM is good value amid online advertising’s woes.

For those marketers perturbed by the viewability and creative challenges of getting their ads on smaller screens a viable alternative would be to run their ads on the big screen where those problems are non-existent, according to Sky’s director of media Andrew Mortimer.

His thinly veiled ribbing of online media (unsurprisingly) came at DCM’s annual upfront earlier this week, where the narrative was squarely focused on trumpeting cinema as one of advertising’s sleeping giants. For the country’s biggest advertiser, cinema is a medium that “has some very compelling attributes”, particularly at a time when many brands are starting to question whether they have over spent on digital.

“In a world where we’re all increasingly worried about advertising content, cinema has some very compelling attributes: sound on (a novelty) for some advertisers; 100% in view: and it isn’t skippable. I think the ads are an integral part of the [cinema] experience,” he said.

To illustrate his point, Mortimer revealed that the average cost per thousand across all cinema buying groups purchasing media from DCM is £27, “good value for money” compared to the CPMs paid for videos in social media feeds, which aren’t necessarily running with sound on or fully viewed. When the two mediums are stacked against like this, Mortimer urged marketers to “do the math” and see whether the budgets might be better placed in a medium where people’s emotions are much closer to the surface.

Take the recent campaigns for big budget shows such as Westworld and Game of Thrones; because their high production values are similar to those for Hollywood productions, it’s meant that Sky has been able to riff on that in recent campaigns. One cinema ad for sci-fi drama Westworld even goes so far as to play with the viewer’s expectations, presenting the series as if it were a movie before the big reveal at the end.

“We believe cinema is a great platform for the shows we offer given we’re in the golden age of TV,” explained Mortimer. “It’s a bargain when you consider the average viewability and the impact."

The clarion call to advertisers is backed by research from DCM, which positions cinema as an under-utilised platform. At its core, it argues that the more spend is pumped into the medium, the higher the levels of return, based on learnings from over 500 UK econometric models.

The key takeaways include:

  1. Travel brands should look to increase cinema’s share of the budget to 11%, from their current average share of 4.9%. At the higher share, brands could see a Revenue ROI (at total campaign level) of £2.70 for every £1 - compared to £1.10 when cinema takes a smaller share of the campaign budget.
  2. The optimal share that food FMCG advertisers should invest into cinema is 6.8% - compared to the current average share of 2.8%. Investing at this higher level would drive optimal returns from the overall ad campaign, delivering £0.50 for every £1 invested.
  3. Telecoms brands should increase their share of investment from 1.8% to 3%, which could deliver a return of £2.90 for every £1 spent.
  4. Retail advertisers who are cinema spenders on average are investing at the optimal levels (2.6% share) for driving the strongest campaign ROI.
  5. All Services brands (includes Charity, Entertainment & Leisure, Finance, Retail, Telecoms, Travel) should increase their share of investment in cinema from 1.5% to 2.7% in order to drive the optimal campaign ROI of £3.70 for every £1 spent.

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