As part of its remit to develop a sustainable film industry, UK strategy and funding body, The Film Council, has joined the All Industry Marketing for Cinema (AIM) to create a company to promote and market generic cinema-going in the UK

The newly-created Cinema Marketing Agency (CMA) is officially launched next month and will have a dual commercial remit; to secure strategic partners for the promotion of cinema-going throughout the territory, and to develop innovative marketing initiatives to boost audiences across the board. The company will report directly to AIM, the body formed in 1984 to promote UK cinema-going, currently chaired by Warner Bros. International Theatres' Peter Dobson.

Mark Batey, chief executive of the Society of Film Distributors (SFD), and the secretary of AIM, told Screen International that the CMA will have an annual operating budget of £200,000 to cover overheads, which will be bankrolled 50-50 by AIM and The Film Council.

CMA's brief will be to seek external funding from the commercial sector for its proposals, in the form of sponsorship or promotional partnerships. External support will not necessarily come from companies within the film industry, Batey said.

John Woodward, The Film Council's CEO, and Stewart Till, deputy chair of The Film Council, will join AIM alongside senior representatives of the SFD, the Cinema Exhibitors' Association (CEA), the Cinema Advertising Association (CAA) and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, (BAFTA).

The CMA's driving force, its marketing and development director, has yet to be officially announced, although it is believed to be someone from outside the UK cinema industry.

This groundbreaking, pan-industry collaboration comes at a time when, while cinema admissions are still rising in the UK - reaching 142.5 million last year, and a predicted 148 million this year, at the same time, increasing competition from other leisure sectors is eroding the potential market.

Peter Dobson, recently appointed as chairman of AIM, said: "Although admissions are still rising, the UK cinema industry faces intense competition, and visits per capita remain lower than in the US and other English-speaking territories. We believe that the CMA is a fresh and pro-active solution to our perennial concern of how to increase and broaden the audience, and we are delighted to welcome The Film Council to the AIM committee".