Cliff Marks: Digital Cinema Pioneer
Later this week, Cliff Marks is retiring from National CineMedia. His long tenure there dovetails precisely with the adoption of digital cinema technology and he had a hand in many, if not most, of the innovations the new technology has made possible. Marks joined NCM in 2002 as an original member of the company’s leadership team, when it was then the Regal Entertainment Group media subsidiary known as Regal CineMedia Corporation. He was named president of sales and marketing when Regal CineMedia became National CineMedia in 2005 with the addition of AMC and later Cinemark as founding member theatre circuits and was named president of NCM in 2016. Marks was the visionary behind the creation and evolution of NCM’s groundbreaking movie pre-show — the first to combine entertainment content and advertising — turning cinema into not only a powerful sight-sound-and-motion medium, but a key premium video option in today’s fragmented media landscape. Today NCM’s Noovie pre-show is seen by more than 750 million moviegoers a year. Before joining NCM, Marks was a 14-year veteran of ESPN/ABC Sports overseeing its $2 billion sales organization. He currently serves as a director on the executive board of the Screen Advertising World Association and serves on the marketing committee of the International 3D Society. He has also served several terms as president and chairman of the Cinema Advertising Council. I recently interviewed Marks via email about his time at NCM, his plans for the future, and his thoughts on the state of the cinema business. Our conversation started with the earliest days of digital cinema.