Carlton Screen Advertising rebranded as Wide Eye Media to target young ‘content junkies’

Sales house changes name after €2 million investment in digitisation of cinema screens

Eoin Wrixon (left) and Dermot Hanrahan of Wide Eye Media (formerly Carlton Screen Advertising) in the Savoy Cinema in Dublin. photograph: david o’shea

Carlton Screen Advertising, the company that sells advertisements for 643 cinema screens in Ireland, is rebranding as Wide Eye Media.

The company will promote its new name in an €800,000 campaign with the theme, “Wide Eye Media – Coming to your Senses. See it. Hear it. Feel it”, while a new Wide Eye Media sting will be shown before all movies.

The sales house, which is holding an event to mark its rebranding in the Savoy Cinema this morning, plans to target 15- 24-year-old “adventurists”, whom it identifies as the “content junkies” who are “emotionally and physically attached to their mobile phones” and enjoy escapist movies.

The age group makes up 13 per cent of the population but accounts for 28 per cent of all Irish cinema admissions.


"Cinema has always been a small player with a big punch," says Wide Eye Media general manager Eoin Wrixon. "Our aim is to bring something completely new and innovative to digital advertising and cinema now has the largest digital out-of- home network in the country."

The full digitisation of its network of screens, in which the company has invested €2 million, means the cinema advertising business now has shorter lead times, lower production costs and more flexibility, effectively expanding the potential pool of advertisers.

Cinemagoers are regarded as one of the most captive audiences for advertising, leading to campaign awareness levels that compare well to television and other mediums. However, its impact depends upon ticket-holders taking their seats in time to catch the “pre-reel” advertisements that run before movie trailers.

Wide Eye Media says it intends “to attract consumers in time for the pre-reel by grabbing their attention, entertaining them and giving them something to talk about”.

In one recent "first", AIB used near- field communications (NFC) technology in cinema lobbies as part of a broader NFC campaign for its Me2U money transfer service. The technology allowed cinemagoers to download the app by tapping their phones against the posters.

Media sector investor Dermot Hanrahan, the director and co-owner of the company, says the Carlton Screen Advertising name has served it well but that "times have changed" and the market has moved on. "It's a repositioning of the category and of our business."

The Irish box office exceeded the €100 million mark for the eighth consecutive year in 2013, but overall revenue at €102 million was 5 per cent short of the 2012 figure of €107 million, while admissions also fell 5 per cent to 14.6 million.

The drop is partly due to the fact that 2012 revenues and admissions were boosted by the release of James Bond franchise instalment Skyfall , which attracted people who don't usually go to the cinema.

The movies are a young person's medium, with some 57 per cent of cinemagoers in the Republic under 34, according to the RoI Film Monitor. The research is conducted by Millward Brown among 6,000 respondents.

A separate survey conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes for Carlton Screen Advertising has found that close to half of cinemagoers (47 per cent) find out about their choice of movies via online sources, with some 30 per cent getting their information directly from cinema websites and 17 per cent using entertainment listings sites.

About a third of cinemagoers say word-of-mouth influences their choices, while 25 per cent get information within the cinema itself and 21 per cent make selections after watching ads and trailers for movies on the small screen.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics