Carlton Communications has made a vital step forward in tackling the US cinema advertising market through its purchase of New York-based Screenvision Cinema Network.

The $93.3m cash deal announced yesterday (May 22) gives Carlton access to Screenvision's 65% share of the US screen advertising industry. This is a major cog is Carlton's global expansion of the cinema advertising sector which was kickstarted last August when Adam Poulter, previously head of UK outfit Carlton Screen Advertising (CSA), moved to set up a US office.

Screenvision is the US market leader selling advertising in 32% of US cinemas which generated pre-tax earnings of $6.4m in 1999.

In contrast to the UK where CSA is the market leader, the US cinema industry does not use rolling stock adverts. However some cinemas use on-screen slide-show ads which represent just 0.1% of the country's total display advertising. Studio executives as well as American cinema audiences prefer the pre-feature downtime to be used for running trailers.

Technicolor, the other film-related subsidiary of Carlton (which is awaiting the result of an investigation into its merger with United News & Media) is currently up for sale with a price tag of around $2.5bn. The film and video duplication unit also has a 49% share in digital cinema company Real Image Technology.