- Nearly two years after its finance chief retired, the nation’s largest movie theater advertising network, National CineMedia, named Ronnie Ng its new CFO.
- Ng arrived from Allen Media Group, a media company where he’d been CFO and head of corporate development for three years. At AMG, Ng oversaw multiple acquisitions and the refinancing of its capital structure.
- Centennial, Colo.-based NCM’s flagship product is its Noovie pre-show advertisement, which is presented at regional theaters owned by AMC Entertainment, Regal and Cinemark. During the worst of the pandemic, the company pivoted to showing its ads on supermarket kiosks, ATMs and in elevators, Deadline reported.
Prior to AMG, Ng was vice president of the fixed income group for Los Angeles, Calif.-based investment manager Trust Company of the West, where he evaluated investments in the media and technology industry, including investment grade corporate bonds, high-yield bonds and leveraged loans, NCM said in the release.
Prior to TCW, Ng spent a decade in investment banking, including time directing UBS’s Global Media Group on M&A transactions, and working at Deutsche Bank, Houlihan Lokey and Arthur Andersen.
In the release, NCM CEO Tom Lesinski noted Ng’s “years of experience around complex financial situations” as a critical asset. “[Ronnie’s] background will be instrumental as the movie industry continues to recover and to advance our strategic initiatives.”
Ng is joining the company at a critically difficult moment. The movie industry has struggled significantly amid prolonged theater closures, depressed ticket sales and continued concerns regarding the delta variant.
At NCM’s second-quarter earnings call, led by Lesinski and Senior Vice President of Finance Ted Watson in early August, the company reported a total revenue for the first six months ended July 1, 2021 decreased 71.8% to $19.4 million from $68.7 million for the comparable period last year.
Its operating loss increased 206.3% to $57.9 million for the first six months of 2021 from $18.9 million for the first six months of 2020.
“While our Q2 revenue was still significantly below pre-pandemic levels, the trends are encouraging as future marketing budgets are starting to be allocated to cinema now that clients can see for themselves that our valuable, young, engaged movie audience has been trending towards critical mass once again,” Lesinski told analysts, noting that 97% of its partnered theaters had reopened.
Theater attendance levels did not begin to build until late in Q2, which left NCM unable to secure “any material 2021 upfront commitments made last summer while movie theaters were closed,” Watson said. “We expect that this lag will start to improve in Q3.”
Watson said NCM’s financial projections led him to expect revenue exiting Q3 “to be on a run rate of approximately 50% compared to 2019 levels and be on breakeven on a cash flow basis from an accrual standpoint.”
Following news of Ng’s hire, NCM’s shares jumped by more than 11% on Monday.
Ng follows a string of other new executive hires in recent months, including its first chief marketing officer, Amy Tunick, and a senior vice president of strategic insight and analytics, Manu Singh.