The cinema industry is searching for an advertiser to take its £54 million "gold spot" package, a move that could spell the end of Orange's involvement with cinema.
The deal secures advertisers a 60-second spot before the start of every non-family film screened in the UK.
Orange signed up for the package in June 2000. However, its deal ends next March and the Cinema Advertising Association, on behalf of the sales houses Carlton Screen Advertising and Pearl & Dean, hopes to strike a new long-term deal.
Cinema sales teams are hoping to speak to Orange about re-signing. However, they have also opened talks with other advertisers about a three-year deal commencing in April. It is believed the ratecard price for the deal is around £18 million a year, though Orange pays less.
Orange has used the "gold spot" package, for which Mother created a series of ads, featuring the likes of Patrick Swayze, Darth Vader and Sean Astin from Lord of the Rings, as a springboard for a wider association with cinema. As part of the package, it also receives branding rights in cinema foyers and created its "Orange Wednesdays" ticket offer for customers.
The cinema industry is keen to pitch "gold spot" to ad agencies as a creative opportunity. Mother's work has won both D&AD Awards and Cannes Lions. Carlton and Pearl & Dean are keen to tie up a deal quickly because of potentially long production times.
Mother, which recently lost the main Orange business as part of a wider France Telecom pan-European review, has several executions for gold spot in production. Its latest features the actor Steven Seagal relentlessly pursuing the Orange Film Board executive Mr Dresden across a golf course.