John Partilla Takes on Cinema Advertising as Screenvision CEO

Looks to Make Cinema Top-of-Mind for Marketers

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John Partilla
John Partilla 

Media and agency veteran John Partilla has big plans to make cinema advertising top of mind for marketers as Screenvision's new CEO.

Mr. Partilla joins the company, which sells ads that are shown in movie theaters before a film starts, from Minneapolis agency Olson, where he served as CEO since January 2013.

As CEO, Mr. Partilla said his goal is to position cinema as the launch pad for new campaigns by integrating more technology and data into the process, as well as creating potential tent-pole programs for brands.

Mr. Partilla said there's already a solid foundation in cinema advertising because it enjoys a captive audience and an immersive experience, but too many marketers and agencies view it in conventional, traditional terms. "There's an opportunity to extend the interaction beyond the commercial you see before the previews," he said.

The marketing relationship can start when a consumer begins to read about a film online, carry through to their experience in the lobby and continue after they leave the theater, Mr. Partilla said.

Mr. Partilla is hoping Screenvision can attract some of the dollars that are shifting out of TV as ratings decline.

"There's only one Super Bowl, one Oscars," he said, "but cinema is 52 weeks a year."

Advertising in movie theaters hasn't historically been a meaningful part of marketers' ad budgets. Cinema brought in about $630 million in ad revenue last year, according to the Cinema Advertising Council, a far cry from the about $78 billion committed to TV.

"Given the disintermediation and fragmentation of the ad market and video dollars shifting from TV to other digital video mediums such as cinema, we need an experienced advertising leader to drive that growth and John is the person to do just that," Andy Howard, partner at Shamrock Capital Advisors, the majority investor in the company, said via email.

Mr. Partilla succeeds Travis Reid, who retired from Screenvision in May.

Prior to Olson, Mr. Partilla served as Dentsu Network West's chief operating officer and previously led held major media sales posts at Clear Channel and Time Warner. He spent the first two decades of his career at WPP's Young & Rubicon, in roles including managing partner and founder and CEO of its Brand Buzz unit.

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