Pearl & Dean

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Pearl & Dean
Industry Media advertising
Founded 1953
Headquarters London, England, UK
Products Cinema advertising

Pearl & Dean is primarily known as a British cinema advertising company. It was founded in 1953 by brothers Ernie and Charles Pearl, and Bob Dean.

Pearl & Dean is now owned by Image Ltd, and controls numerous UK cinema sites including leading multiplex operators such as Empire, Showcase, AMC and represents approximately half of the UK's independent cinemas.

Brief corporate history[edit]

Pearl & Dean was formed in 1953 by Ernie and Charles Pearl and Bob Dean to sell advertising on British cinema screens prior to the showing of the main feature. The short adverts with which British cinema audiences quickly became familiar, were the idea of Joe Morris (born Joseph Iglitsky) one of Pearl & Dean's in-house advertising executives. The initial staffing of Pearl & Dean was by members of staff of Theatre Publicity and Langfords (The Rank Organisation) who followed the Directors when they left to form the company upon obtaining the advertising rights in the ABC Cinemas, the first time that group had accepted advertising in their cinemas.

In 1966 Pearl & Dean formed a subsidiary company called Radiovision Broadcast International (RBI) to represent the marketing interests of the American Broadcasting Company radio and television stations in Europe. During the same year, the company signed an exclusive contract to represent the sale of advertising time on the offshore pirate radio stations Swinging Radio England and Britain Radio. This contract with the offshore stations became mired in controversy due to lack of sales and it led to the headline-making bankruptcy of the original London management company for the two offshore radio stations that had been created by a private investment group formed by Don Pierson of Eastland, Texas, USA.

Pearl & Dean were acquired by British Lion Films in 1969, following a successful decade for the company, having 52% of the market share in cinema advertising, over Presbury, Faber Advertising Services and Rank Organisation.[1] A few years later they changed owners to Mills & Allen. Around the same time, Rank acquired Presbury and Faber. However, under Mills & Allen's ownership, their share depleted to a 12%, an all-time low for the company.[1]

For many years it held the contract for ABC Cinemas until the company was bought by Cannon in 1986.

In 1993, Pearl & Dean were acquired by Mediavision, a French cinema advertising contractor and their fortunes started to improve. In 1999 the company was bought out by Scottish Media Group (now STV Group) for £22million .[1] After years on the market, the company was sold for £1 on 21 April 2010 to Image Ltd, a company backed by Thomas Anderson, a Director of Empire Cinemas.[2]

Pearl & Dean was largely known for supplying advertisements for Warner Cinemas throughout the 1990s/2000s. Warner was later renamed Warner Village Cinemas and then Vue Cinemas. On 1 January 2011 Vue's advertising contract was taken over by Digital Cinema Media.

Pearl & Dean currently supplies advertising for the UK cinema chains Empire (The ultimate beneficial owner of Empire is Thomas Anderson, who also owns Pearl & Dean's parent company, Image Ltd.), Showcase and AMC and also for some Independent Cinemas in the UK.


Pearl & Dean is well known for its distinctive theme tune entitled Asteroid, composed in 1968 by Pete Moore, which, according to the company, has become as instantly recognisable as Big Ben's chimes. It was sampled by Goldbug in their 1996 cover version of "Whole Lotta Love", which peaked at number 3 in the UK Singles Chart. The tune can be heard on the Pearl & Dean website.[3] The introduction of the new titles accompanied by the "Asteroid" music saw the disappearance of the well known Grecian Pillars, with its music "Grand Vista" composed by Trevor Duncan.

It was also used on the ITV network from its inception in 1955. It has been used in several television comedy programmes, including Monty Python's Flying Circus.


  1. ^ a b c Day, Julia (28 June 2006). "Pearl & Dean's theme tune remixed for the digital age". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 24 August 2010. 
  2. ^ "STV to sell Pearl & Dean for £1". BBC. 21 April 2010. Retrieved 21 April 2010. 
  3. ^ Pearl & Dean's web page on Asteroid Retrieved 26 April 2010

External links[edit]

Official website