22 May 2006
Results were improving at the end of the year, although not sufficiently
to recover all the spectators who had been lost during the opening months
of 2005 and eliminate the minus sign for a year that remains generally
negative throughout Europe.
This is what emerges from the up-date on cinema-going published in the
MEDIA Salles’ Newsletter, “European Cinema Journal”
no. 2/2006, presented today in Cannes by the President Domenico
Dinoia, at the aperitif that has become the traditional occasion for
professional players and journalists in the sector to meet.
2005 was a very difficult year, then, particularly when compared to
the one immediately preceding it, with an average drop in Western Europe
bordering on 11%, and with the five leading markets losing over 80 million
spectators, closing at a little less than 700 million tickets sold.
It should not, however, be forgotten that 2004 was generally-speaking
an exceptionally good year.
For this reason the Secretary General of MEDIA Salles, Elisabetta Brunella,
in an article commenting on the figures, goes into the issue in greater
depth, observing that “with regard to Western Europe, 2005 can
be re-interpreted by distinguishing the markets that have nonetheless
maintained part of the growth in audiences achieved between 2003 and
2004 – or, at least, record results similar to the first few years
of the new century – from those which, instead, have returned
to the results of the ‘Nineties”.
Alongside markets that share the most serious drop recorded in Western
Europe, equal to (or even above) -20%, such as Liechtenstein, Austria,
and Germany, which loses almost 30 million tickets, there are countries
which, instead, stand up better to the general decrease, such as a large
market like Great Britain (-3.3%) and Ireland (-5%), both of which,
despite a decrease in spectators, achieve one of the best results since
the beginning of the new century.
Italy, although seeing a 9.3% drop, manages to keep audiences above
the 2003 figures, accompanied by France (-10.8%) and Denmark (-4.7%),
which attain the same results, or almost the same, as in 2003.
In a generally negative situation what is, then, the explanation for
these more encouraging results?
“More detailed analyses – states Brunella –, which
can be made when the data now available is replaced by final and complete
figures, will make it possible to confirm if the role of domestic films
which, in the three countries just mentioned, traditionally enjoy higher
market shares than the average for Western Europe, also lies behind
this better performance”.
Domenico Dinoia, recalling the main events organized by MEDIA Salles
in 2005 and in the first part of 2006 – including “Italian
Cinema Worldwide” and “DigiTraining Plus: New Technologies
for European Cinemas” – reconfirmed MEDIA Salles’
future commitment to the promotion of European films, alongside the
Welcoming with keen interest the promise of the European Commissioner
Viviane Reding, to “do everything possible to allow European films
to count on firm support from the EU,” Dinoia commented that today,
more than ever, European cinema is in need of this help.
MEDIA Salles, a project operating
within the framework of the European Union's MEDIA Programme,
with the support of the Italian Government, fosters
theatrical distribution of European audiovisual products, both by high
profile campaigns involving Europe's cinema exhibitors and by initiatives
to raise the visibility of European productions with industry players
and potential audiences, creating specialized information channels on
a global scale. Thus the current initiatives from MEDIA Salles dovetail
in a program with a triple focus – training, promotion and information
– and maximum combined effect.