by João De Deus Pinheiro
The European audiovisual industry is today undergoing extremely rapid
and complex change. Many parameters converge in the process: the advent
of innovative technologies, new market patterns, diversification of audiovisual
products and the way they are consumed.
The modernization and strengthening of the programme industry, with
its immense cultural and economic value, must be based on correct perception
and analysis of the state of play. In this context, every contribution
to the transparency of the industry deserves to be met with gratitude and
interest. Such is the case with this work completed by MEDIA Salles, an
initiative of the European Union's MEDIA Programme.
The "White Book of the European Exhibition Industry" is the fruit of
research based on 1,500 exhibitors across Europe and represents a major
contribution to improved understanding of this key area. Despite the significant
developments in new media, the cinema remains a natural and preferential
point of contact for film and audience. Cinema release is also a vital
launching pad for continued exploitation of a film via other media.
Several elements make up the current exhibition situation. Single cinemas
are being replaced by multiplexes; independent exhibitors face stiff competition
from major circuits; the geographical concentration of structures is increasingly
intense. All this at a time when European films are fighting to hold on
to a 24% market share on their home continent. The White Book looks at
all these elements.
As well as recording data, the authors of the study map out some interesting
possible lines of intervention to strengthen the presence of European films
in cinemas, one of our priority objectives. In this respect, they make
a positive contribution to the debate provoked by the European Commission's
Green Paper on the audiovisual sector and to raising awareness of professionals
over the urgent need for action.
Professor JOÃO DE DEUS PINHEIRO
Member of the European Commission