What Has NATO
Done For You Recently??
February I had the pleasure of speaking to the United
Drive-In Theatre Owners Association convention in Florida.
During the question and answer portion of the program,
one drive-in operator asked me this question – “What
does NATO do for its members?” With only a few
minutes to answer the question, I didn’t know quite
where to start. But the question made me realize that
many NATO members may not fully appreciate all the activities
undertaken on their behalf. So, in no particular order,
let me quickly highlight some of the more recent undertakings!
On the international scene, NATO coordinates
efforts with cinema organizations in 20 different countries
shape standards development for DIGITAL CINEMA,
to develop education campaigns related to MOVIE
and to share
information regarding RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE STUDIOS.
Working with our friends at the Motion Picture Association,
NATO also supports international efforts to improve COPYRIGHT
ENFORCEMENT in countries
around the world.
In the federal policy arena, NATO
lobbyists in Washington are working to defeat proposals
to increase the federal MINIMUM WAGE, to advance legislation
to make it easier for smaller exhibitors to obtain HEALTH
to prevent the resurgence of RATINGS CODIFICATION proposals.
Over in the executive branch, NATO lawyers and officers
are meeting with Justice Department officials regarding
enforcement of the AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES
with officials in the Federal Trade Commission concerning
their investigation of VIOLENCE IN ENTERTAINMENT.
NATO officers and members are also working with the Department
of Homeland Security on TERRORISM PREVENTION,
and arranging a meeting of all NATO members with department
In the judicial branch, NATO’s lawyers are joining
with NATO members’ legal teams to file briefs and
argue cases in four different appellate courts regarding
the location of WHEELCHAIR SEATING under
the Americans With Disabilities Act.
the state level, NATO leaders are fighting proposals
to raise ADMISSION TAXES on movie ticket sales in five
different states. With coordination from NATO and assistance
from the Motion Picture Association of America, NATO
state units and local members in three locations are
working to modify OBSCENITY LEGISLATION to prevent application
to mainstream commercial cinemas. And similarly to our
federal lobbyists, state NATO units are working to defeat
MINIMUM WAGE proposals in several
regard to technology developments, NATO consultants,
officers, and company volunteers are working
with the studios’ representatives at Digital Cinema Initiatives
to develop TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
FOR DIGITAL CINEMA.
Meanwhile, NATO leaders and member executives
are developing a DIGITAL CINEMA BUSINESS PLAN,
while NATO’s lawyers
are providing legal guidance on the entire process. NATO’s
consultants and staff are also meeting with national
and international bodies regarding DIGITAL
In other technology arenas, NATO personnel continue
long-standing efforts on TRAILER AND ADVERTISING
SOUND LEVELS, CYAN
DYE TRACK CONVERSION plans, and FILM
construction of cinemas, NATO’s code
consultants, with the assistance of NATO company volunteers,
are reviewing and commenting on NATIONAL
AND INTERNATIONAL BUILDING CODES that
affect many aspects of theatre design and building.
in Hollywood, NATO staff and member company volunteers
meet with studio executives to discuss
a wide range of
issues, including TRAILER POLICIES,
RELEASE WINDOW, ONLINE TICKETING
CHARGES, PERSONAL GUARANTEES, FAMILY-FRIENDLY FILMS and
the need for YEAR-ROUND
RELEASE SCHEDULES. Similarly, NATO
coordinates with our colleagues at the MPAA
on FILM MARKETING AND
PROMOTIONS, THE RATING
SYSTEM and TRAILER COMPATIBILITY.
NATO staff and company volunteers also serve
on the Appeals Board of the Classification
and Ratings Administration.
of the rating system, NATO coordinates efforts with the RATINGS COMPLIANCE OFFICERS of
all NATO companies to improve ratings enforcement
and education. Meeting
twice a year, this important group helps
meet the commitments our industry has made
to America’s parents.
also develops research and data for its members. For
example, NATO staff and
volunteers are working
on a MARKET RESEARCH SURVEY ON MOVIEGOING
NATO’s outside accountants collect ADMISSIONS
AND TICKET PRICE INFORMATION and
provide us with some industry averages.
publication staff prepares an annual ENCYCLOPEDIA OF EXHIBITION that
contains a wealth of statistical and
other information. The encyclopedia is
distributed to all NATO members free
the topic of publications, NATO also publishes this monthly
magazine and distributes
free to members as
well. (But if you’re reading
this, you already know about the magazine!)
provides a host of member services, from ratings posters
to training tapes
more. But I’m running out of room in this column.
Maybe you can see why I found it so difficult to answer
that question in Florida – because I didn’t
have enough time to describe such an active association.
Thanks to our members who make this all possible!