5.2 Admissions
We have shown that, globally in the last five years, the accelerating decline in admissions bottomed out in some parts of Europe, the long-term trends would suggest that there will be a convergence towards a European average of 1.5-2 admissions per inhabitant per year.
If some factors are exerting downward pressure to decrease average levels of admissions (particularly economic and technological factors, as we have seen) the real dynamic of the sector is in the opposite direction; it is favourable if the continent of Europe is taken as a whole. This is certainly the case in the UK, Belgium and Ireland. In fact, the multiplex is in step with the change in demand: towards the "cinema experience", drawing on an intensive advertising strategy, offering technical quality, optimum comfort and easy access. These characteristics are boosting admissions. Certain exhibitors feared that audiences would only be to the detriment of existing cinemas. The English and Belgian examples prove otherwise; neither resulted in a major destabilisation of existing exhibitors: in fact, the market potential created by the multiplexes encouraged the traditional operators to make the necessary investment to raise standards to those of multiplexes.
In contrast, in Germany, as shown by J.Ph. Wolff and R. Bähr, the development of multiplexes has been to the detriment of existing cinemas (see further chapter 1 of Volume 2).
It is important to state that these factors will have their greatest influence in the next five years in countries situated in the south of Europe, but will have much less influence in Great Britain and Belgium. If the surrounding factors prove favourable, exhibition in the EU as a whole could regenerate, with a slow increase in the number of admissions.