Screenvision looks to pivot beyond movie theaters during the pandemic
Screenvision, which sells ad time on movie theater screens, is looking to diversify its business since the majority of domestic movie theaters are closed during the pandemic.
The company is partnering with Volta, which will give Screenvision access to 1,300 ad-supported electric vehicle charging stations located in retail, grocery, sport venues and movie theater parking lots.
It’s an important move by Screenvision to help the company survive after the pandemic.
“We’ve gone from making decent returns to making zero,” says John Partilla, CEO of Screenvision Media. “We are losing money.”
As a result, Screenvision has laid off about 25 percent of its employees and reduced payroll significantly across the company, Partilla says.
While movie theaters are starting to open in various parts of the country, Partilla expects there will be reduced attendance for a period of time. But when theaters do reopen, Partilla says they will have the advantage of fresh content at a time when the future of TV productions and live sports is in question.
Of course, the box office business is also in question, as several studios have released high-profile films directly to consumers amid the pandemic.
“The cinema model lasted so long because it works,” Partilla says. While there could be a shortening of the window for sales of new films directly to consumers, “the essential elements of the window will endure because the economics work,” he says.
Cinema will continue to be at the core of Screenvision’s business, Partilla says, but adds, “I have always felt we can do more. We aren’t called Cinemavision, we are called Screenvision.”
Screenvision had begun broadening its business prior to the pandemic, with deals to sell ads on screens in some sports arenas including those for minor league baseball and minor league hockey.
Partilla says he sees an opportunity in further diversifying screens and is looking at opportunities in restaurants and bars, elevators and elsewhere. Of course, foot traffic to many of those places will remain minimal until the country opens up. Even then, its uncertain when many of those places will see large-scale foot traffic.