Friday, September 25, 2009

Getting to Know: National CineMedia Fathom and Anime Part 2

Please read Part 1 of the interview before reading Part 2

Anime and NCM Fathom

So how did the relationship with anime begin? What are their origins? Think back, about several years ago, it all started with Cartoon Network, which was “grown into a series of anime programs with terrific content partners like Viz Media and Bandai.” For Diamond, on a personally level, he has “always enjoyed this art form,” and he is very happy to see that anime is “being so well received in theatres” through NCM Fathom Events.

Out of all the entertainment that exists out there, why was anime chosen as being part of NCM Fathom? Fans are everywhere “of all types of entertainment in all communities.” According to Diamond, “anime has a strong following and is not readily available in movie theatres where fans can gather as communities.” What made anime a perfect fit for Fathom is that it helped them fulfill their belief and emphasis on providing, “unique, one-of-a-kind entertainment experiences in local movie theatres.”

To fulfill this mission, NCM Fathom held their first anime event on June 2007, Naruto the Movie: Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow, and it was a “fantastic” experience. During the event, fans “came dressed up as their favorite characters and the response was terrific.” So what was the company’s response to all the fandom? “Our reaction was to continue to find programs of this nature that would give anime fans a reason to come to movie theatres and gather as communities nationwide.”

According to Diamond, “It clearly helped bolster this key programming niche as an ongoing opportunity for Fathom and anime fans.” Because of the successful event, Fathom continued to provide fans with anime theatre events. Along with Naruto the Movie, Fathom has held at least two events each year since 2007: May 2008, Death Note; June 2008, Bleach the Movie: Memories of Nobody; October 2008, Death Note II: the Last Name; February 2009, Sword of the Stranger; April 2009, Death Note: L, Change the World and on September 24, 2009 is the premiere of Eureka Seven – Good Night, Sleep Tight, Young Lovers.

That is quite an accomplishment! Coordinating and running an event is not an easy task. It requires a lot of work and team effort from everyone. So, how did they do it? What did they do to make it such a success? Who makes the decision of which anime NCM Fathom should have an event for? “NCM Fathom evaluates all events on a variety of factors but overall we want to present the biggest titles as Events. Our content partners in this category give us the insights into the fan demand for specific programs and ultimately NCM Fathom desires to present the programs that anime fans most want to see.” As you can see from their successful events the strategy is a winning strategy.

Even after much success and fan response, does Diamond feel that NCM Fathom has accomplished everything the division has wanted in their participation in the anime industry? “Not at all,” he said, “I think the best is yet to come and with every event we are learning from the fans who attend so we can offer more value and improve our Events. We are just getting started in this niche programming category and are constantly striving to raise the bar of excellence in this new medium in movie theatres. As long as anime fans want to gather in theatres, we will do our very best to give them the opportunity to do so.”
© 2009 Linda Thai

Thank you Michelle Portillo for the help! Thank you Dan Diamond for participating in the interview! For more information, check out National CineMedia Fathom and NCM Fathom

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