All NATO affiliated state associations must be certified in order to use the NATO name.   (Also see Bylaws of National Association of Theatre Owners, Inc., Article 4 – Membership and Dues, Section 4.02 – Regional Associations)

What Constitutes a Regional Association?

A regional association represents members from one state or a group of states within a geographic area, such association being established for the purpose of furthering the interests of those engaged in the ownership and/or management of motion picture facilities on a for-profit or non-profit (non-military) basis.

What Regional Associations Qualify?

Regional associations must meet criteria established by the Membership Committee and approved by the Executive Board. Only qualified state or regional units may use the NATO tradename and trademark. Each such organization must include a sufficient percentage of the exhibitors in the region to constitute a significant representation in the region. Regional associations must encourage its members to maintain a membership in the national NATO organization.

To achieve and maintain certification, each state and regional organization must accumulate a minimum of five participation points every year, awarded for the association’s active legislative program and participation by one or more of its representatives in national NATO-sponsored events, as follows:

Event (Points Earned)

  • Legislative Program (3)
  • NATO General Membership and Advisory Board Meeting (2)
  • Regional Association Meeting held in conjunction with CinemaCon (2)
  • Participation in Webinars on Industry or Association Management Issues (1)

Application for Certification

State or regional trade associations of exhibitors may become affiliated with NATO by meeting and complying with the criteria for certification. An Application for Certification shall be submitted to NATO’s Membership Committee for approval, subject to confirmation by the Executive Board. The affiliation will be audited annually by the Membership Committee, coincident with the re-election of officers and directors at large.

Identification of Members

Any application for certification must be accompanied by the submitting association’s bylaws (and/or other key governing documents) and a complete list of the names and current addresses for the association’s officers, directors, and executive committee members. The application must also be accompanied by a list of all current member theaters and the number of screens in each. Members of qualified state and regional units must affirmatively express their desire to join the association—by payment of dues or other written acknowledgement (i.e., units may not simply unilaterally declare that all or some exhibitors are automatically members). The required biannual re-certifications must be accompanied by additions, deletions, and corrections to both mailing lists. Both new applications and re-certifications must be submitted to the NATO office no later than 1 September for consideration at the next NATO Advisory Board Meeting.

Other Requirements

Meetings  Each Regional Association must hold periodic gatherings or meetings, at least one of which constitutes an annual meeting with minutes submitted to NATO.

Communications  Each Regional Association must periodically communicate with its members in a format that advises members of significant developments in the exhibition industry and for the association.  The circulation list for such communications should include NATO.

NATO Representative  Each Regional Association shall designate a representative and an alternate to the NATO Advisory Board.  The representative and alternate must be NATO members in good standing.  The designated representative will receive all special communications from NATO.

Legislative Issues and Responsibilities  (1) Each regional association should have an active legislative program and grassroots network. The legislative program can include retaining lobbyists or legislative monitors in their states of jurisdiction, or employing an executive director whose primary duties include monitoring and responding to legislation and grassroots coordination. (2) Each regional association is responsible for selecting a liaison who will work with NATO on legislative issues. This delegate may be the president of the regional association board, the executive director, or another designated representative.  (3) The designated liaison to NATO should advise the national association of relevant, proposed and enacted legislation, as well as local issues that may be of interest to other NATO-certified regional associations. (4) The designated liaison should report to the members of the regional association on legislative issues in its state(s) of jurisdiction.

Voting Privileges   Each certified Regional Association shall be entitled to one vote in NATO General Membership meetings and Advisory Board meetings. The Board of Directors of the Regional Association shall, prior to such meetings, designate, in writing, the name of the person authorized to vote on behalf of the association. The individual selected to vote must be a member in good standing with NATO.

Loss of Certification   The policies and objectives of NATO must be supported by its state or regional affiliates. Certification may be withdrawn by the Executive Board of the National Association of Theatre Owners after notification from the Membership Committee that an association fails to meet that criterion, or that the association no longer includes a sufficient percentage of the exhibitors in the region to constitute a significant representation, or that the association has otherwise failed to meet the foregoing certification requirements.

Financial Responsibility  Each Regional Association shall be totally responsible for its financial obligations.  No Regional Association shall be authorized to obligate NATO, directly or indirectly, for any debts, contracts, agreements, expenditures, or other liabilities of any kind or of any nature.

Regional Association Bylaws  Each Regional Association shall operate in conformity to written bylaws submitted to NATO.

Compliance with Federal and State Antitrust Laws  Each Regional Association must fully comply with all Federal antitrust requirements and the requirements of the state antitrust statutes in the states in which it operates.

(Approved by NATO Executive Board on 1 April 2019)