2005 marks low point for
Not even Australia, a country of keen cinema-goers,
has avoided the drop in audiences typical of 2005.
Second – of the big international markets – after the
North Americans, the inhabitants of the Newest Continent buy an
average of around 4.5 tickets each every year. In 2005 the figures
dropped to the lowest since the beginning of the new century: 82.2
million tickets, or an average frequency of 4.
A significant drop compared to the 91.5 million of 2004 (with an
average frequency of 4.6), yet still a good result, if we consider
that thirty or so years ago there were less than a third of today’s
spectators (24.6 million in 1977).
In the meantime, screen numbers have risen (there were 829 in 1980;
the figures reached 1,943 in 2005). Of these, around one thousand
belong to the leading three exhibition companies: Greater Union
– the largest and longest-established, founded in 1910 –,
Village Roadshow – founded in 1954 with the drive-in –
and Hoyts, which together generate around 70% and which, apart from
Hoyts, are also an important presence on the international scene.
Encouraging signals are coming from the results of the first five
months of 2006, even though piracy, which mostly concerns downloads
of films from the Internet in Australia, represents one of the threats
most feared by exhibitors.