The number of European countries where MEDIA Salles reports the trend in cinema-going and the evolution of cinema infrastructures has risen to 37. Amongst the countries already present in the European Cinema Yearbook (which offers data covering the 1989-2017 period), Belarus has also been added - a nation of 9.5 million inhabitants served by around 140 screens, 97% of which are already digitized. This new addition allows an even better view of Eastern Europe's cinema markets.
And so, the number of European screens fitted with digital technology numbered almost 38,000 at the start of 2017, revealing a 3.5% increase. Nearly 1,300 digital projectors were installed during 2016, with a monthly average of a little over 100 units. The great majority of European countries today boast a 100% rate of digital penetration or very nearly. Nonetheless, exceptions are to be found, above all in Central-Eastern Europe. There are several reasons for the phenomenon: it is worth remembering that by far the lowest rate of digitization compared to the average for Europe - to be found in the Czech Republic - is linked to the widespread presence of theatres that play a socio-cultural, rather than commercial role. Since they do not have the sources available for making a technological transition, these cinemas offer screenings that make use of electronic projectors and supports such as DVDs.
Amongst those countries that are still a long way from completing the digital shift, during 2016 some recorded a growth rate superior to the average for the Continent: this is the case of Estonia (+11%), for example, but also of Serbia. In the space of twelve months, this country, where digitization began relatively late, rose from 47 to 78 digital screens, with a record increase of 66%.
The penetration rate of 3D screens seems by now to have settled at 51%, with no variations compared to January 2016.