Media: Lifeline - Cinema sales

Carlton Screen Advertising's Cineworld win has given it a boost in its battle with Pearl & Dean

1953: The Pearl brothers (Ernie and Charles) join forces with Bob Dean to launch a company to develop cinema as a mainstream advertising medium in the UK. By the time Pearl & Dean is purchased by British Lion in 1970, it has become the largest cinema contractor in the UK, with just over 50 per cent of the market.

1978: Rank Screen Advertising, which had originally launched as a subsidiary of Odeon Theatres in 1938, completes an aggressive acquisition programme by mopping up the rival cinema advertising companies Faber Advertising Services and Presbury. It begins to forge ahead of Pearl & Dean, which is now owned by Mills & Allen.

1996: Cinema Media (the renamed Rank Screen Advertising) is acquired by Michael Green's Carlton Communications. Now renamed Carlton Screen Advertising, it seeks to expand into the US - and in 2000, it acquires the US market leader, Screenvision.

1999: Pearl & Dean, flailing (its share dropped at one stage to an all-time low of 12 per cent) since 1992 under the ownership of the French company Media Vision, is acquired by Scottish Media Group - the owner of the Scottish ITV franchises as well as the Glasgow Herald newspaper.

Now: Ownership having transferred to ITV plc in the Carlton-Granada merger, it had been widely assumed that Carlton Screen Advertising would be sold in the company's clear-out of non-core assets. But its win of the Cineworld contract - taking its UK market share back to 80 per cent - makes ITV re-commit to the company's future.

Fast forward: 2010 - The Hollywood-owned Pearl & Dean confirms its dominance over Carlton Screen Advertising with a series of big wins. Carlton has been languishing under ITV - a heritage company that showcases the defunct medium known as "TV".