2.4 The current structures
 
American groups
 
UCI
 
 
Germany
Spain
Ireland
UK
EU Total
Market share of exhibition 1992     (% admissions)
3%
9.5% 
(Cinesa)
22%
18%
5.5%
Market share of distribution 1992   (% admissions)
16%
(UIP)
17%
(UIP)
NA
22.3%
(UIP)
15%
(UIP)
Number of screens
42
73
(Cinesa)
22
213
350
Number of admissions    (millions)
3.6
8.0
(Cinesa)
1.8
17.8
31.8
 
 
General description - shareholders
 
UCI, United Cinema International, is registered as a company in the Netherlands, and a subsidiary of Paramount Communications Inc. and MCA/Universal Pictures. UCI exists to create and manage cinemas, particularly multiplexes, outside the North American market.

This consortium has been present in Europe since the beginning of the 1980s, first in Spain, then the United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany. It effectively brings together the second and third US majors. Paramount, despite frequent quarrels between its shareholders and its management, is the major which has achieved the most consistent success; they follow close on Disney's heels in the US market. The company is weakened by its dispersive share ownership and is currently the subject of a friendly takeover bid by Viacom, the multi-media group, which is involved in the television market (MTV), cable channels and systems (Nickelodeon) but is also linked to some exhibition interests in both the United States and the United Kingdom.
 
Universal, subsidiary of MCA Inc since 1962, which itself was taken over by Matsushita in 1990, is, in terms of market share, the third US major, roughly at the same level as Columbia and Warner.
 
UCI seems therefore to play a similar role to that played by the UIP consortium in distribution. In 1970, Paramount and MCA founded a common structure for foreign distribution and marketing of films produced/distributed in the US and Canada. In contrast to what has happened in the exhibition market, this structure was enlarged fairly soon after, to include MGM.
 
UIP is therefore the second European distributor, after Warner/Disney(15), but well ahead of Columbia. As it clearly constitutes an agreement between competing companies, UIP had to obtain, in 1988, an authorisation from the European Commission to exempt it from Article 85 of the treaty of Rome for five years. This exemption came up for renewal in July 1993, and became the subject of discussions in DG IV, which furthermore has become interested in UCIís activity in cinemas.
(15) Without Disney, Warner is second and UIP first.

 
The UIP and UCI cases will soon come up, as much because of the composition of the shareholding body as because of the European Commission's discussions. However, the links between UIP and UCI are far from obvious - with the exception of the Spanish market, where the subsidiary of UCI, Cinesa, seems to give programming priority to films distributed by UIP.
 
Except for the Iberian peninsula, UCI's screens consist almost exclusively of multiplexes, whose supply needs obviously exceed UIP films alone. Their programming policy is therefore "all product". Besides, the market share of UCI in Europe is scarcely 5%, whereas that of UIP is of the order of 15%.
 
 
Presence in the United Kingdom
 
Since the second half of the 1980s, UCI has followed a similar policy to Warner, National Amusements and, to a lesser extent, MGM, by developing multiplexes seeking to duplicate in the UK market the formula which has proved itself in the US.
 
UCI was the first company to start such operations, having taken over AMC, the first British multiplex operator, in 1985. Since then, the number of multiplexes opened has multiplied (10 screens in 1985; 16 in 1987, 60 in 1988, 55 in 1989, 40 in 1990), even if the group has since proved more selective. With 24 establishments (213 screens), of which 22 are multiplexes, they have nearly 50,000 seats and record about 18 million admissions each year (about 17.5% of the national total).
 
In eight years, the consortium controlled by Paramount and MCA/Universal thus succeeded in becoming the third British network. Its circuit is also, together with that of National Amusement, the most homogeneous. Except for the UCI Empire (with 3 screens in the West End, serving as a "showcase" for films distributed by UIP), the programming policy of these screens, "all product", is very similar. And their screens, the majority of which are in 10-screen multiplexes, are all very much alike.
 
Moreover, if Viacomís bid for Paramount goes through, the number of theatres in the network is likely to be swelled by the probable addition of those curently run by Viacom.
 
 
In the other European countries..

 
Pathé/MGM (formerly Cannon)
 
 
Denmark
Ireland
Netherlands
UK
EU Total
Market share of exhibition 1992      (% admissions)
36%
(Nordisk)
11%
26%
29%
6.5%
Market share of distribution 1992   (% admissions)
40%
(Nordisk)
NA
NA
26%
(UIP)
15%
(UIP)
Number of screens
41
(Nordisk)
8
66
414
535
Number of admissions    (millions)
3
(Nordisk)
0.8
4.5
29.9
39.3
 

 
General description - Shareholders
 
Metro Goldwyn Mayer Communications, ex MGM/Pathé, is currently - but provisionally - controlled by the French state-owned bank Crédit Lyonnais; there is a legal battle going on between the bank and its former client, Giancarlo Paretti. In 1990, the latter joined together MGM, acquired from Kirk Kerkorian, and his own company, Pathé Films, but could not then meet his debt obligations to Crédit Lyonnais, so he has ceased trading.
 
Even though MGM has been until recently one of the powerful Hollywood majors (known for spectacular film productions like West Side Story, Doctor Zhivago, 2001 Space Odyssey), it now seems to be considerably weakened by the many changes in management it has experienced. Despite the success in 1990/91 of Thelma and Louise, it has since been less active in production. Its market share in exhibition has reduced considerably (to the order of 1%) so much so that MGM is today very much the smallest of the seven Hollywood majors.

However, following the various financial operations undertaken by or imposed upon the company (Cannon, Pathé etc.), MGM now owns a considerable number of cinemas in Europe. Including the MGM/Nordisk circuit, in which it has a 50% share, MGM records nearly 40 million admissions a year in Europe. Its market share is nearly 7%, sufficient to make it the most important European-wide player.
 
In Europe, the integrated structure and character of the company is limited: MGM does not own its own distribution structure; its products are marketed by the UIP consortium, with which it is associated. Moreover, unlike Paramount which has invested several times in European productions (Is Paris Burning?, Caesar and Rosalie, Shirley Valentine) MGM has only exceptionally intervened in European production.
 
 
Presence in the United Kingdom
 
In contrast to the troubled history which its parent company has experienced, MGM/Cannon is by far the most important circuit in the United Kingdom. With 414 screens, split between 128 sites, it records nearly 30 million cinema admissions per year, which is 29.5% of total admissions.
 
The configuration of its group of cinemas differs substantially from that of its nearest competitor, Odeon, and from that of the other circuits controlled by the US majors, UCI and Warner. MGM/Cannon's cinemas are hybrid: they include multiplexes (28% of screens) and little complexes with between 2 and 4 screens (66% of screens).
 
Historical factors linked to the various companies which were toned into the circuit (MGM Cinema Properties, Cannon Exhibition, Cinema 5, Gallery, etc.) and to mergers and acquisitions means that MGM/Cannon is now the only US major which owns cinemas other than multiplexes. It owns nearly a hundred cinemas with less than 4 screens, situated throughout the country.
 
Nevertheless, by contrast with Odeon, MGM/Cannon prefers to rationalise its holdings by selling cinemas to other operators in order to concentrate increasingly on multiplexes and London cinemas, rather than to convert existing sites into multiplexes. MGM has rapidly followed the movement associated with UCI when the latter took over its first multiplex in the United Kingdom in 1985. In its wake, MGM in fact multiplied the number of screens: 8 multiplex screens in 1986, 10 in 1987, 18 in 1989, another 18 in 1990 and above all, 61 in 1991. Unlike Odeon, the MGM/Cannon group states that it is convinced that the future avenue for exhibition will be the multiplexes, and has therefore constructed four times more multiplexes than its direct competitor. Except for two cinemas in London and one in Glasgow, this circuit has no other complexes with more than five screens.
 
This strategy communicates itself in the brand policy of the network: the MGM/Cannon logo only appears in the multiplexes; the Cannon logo alone is used in the other cinemas.
 
In the United Kingdom, the movement to open multiplexes is slowing down. Nevertheless, MGM has announced its intention to construct a "megaplex" next, with more than 20 screens, on a site which it has already chosen, near London, and it is even envisaging opening another cinema of this type.
 
 
In the other European countries...

Warner
 
 
Germany
Denmark
Spain
Portugal
UK
EU Total
Market share of exhibition 1992 
(% admissions)
1%
9.5% 
(Dagmar Scala)
 
3.5 %
(with Lusomundo)
4.1%
1%
Market share of distribution 1992
(% admissions)
25%
22% 
(Warner/ Metronome)
24%
(Warner Española)
NA
31%
20%
(est.)
Number of screens
9
9
(Dagmar Scala)
-
7
64
89
Number of admissions (millions)
1.2
0.8
-
0.4
2.9
5.3
 
 
  
General description: shareholders
 
Warner Bros is part of the world's leading conglomerate in the communications sector, Time Warner Inc, which has a turnover of more than $10 billion, and its activities also cover publishing, the press, cable networks, music publishing, pay-TV, and film production and distribution. It has been engaged since the end of the 1980s in a strategic development of cinemas in Europe and Asia.
 
In Europe, this development is in the hands of its subsidiary, Warner Bros International Theatres, and concerns the United Kingdom, Denmark, Portugal and Germany.
 
To date, the aim has been to build about 50 cinemas, mainly multiplexes, with 6 to 12 or even 15 screens, each with between 2,000 and 3,500 seats. Practically all the European theatres which belong to Warner Bros are integrated in multiplexes. They are often co-managed with a local partner: Lusomundo in Portugal - and soon, in Spain - and Metronome Holding AS in Denmark.
 
However, if the aim is for fifty multiplexes, it must be said that Warner is far from that end: it only has a dozen cinemas of that type to date. Even including projects in hand in Spain and Germany, the major has yet to achieve 20 multiplexes, and is well below its two main competitors, UCI and MGM, in the European exhibition market.
 
Looking at the exhibition market, Warner represents less than 1% of the market to date, which contrasts with the firm's power in the distribution market. In the latter market place, its former association with Disney allowed it to attain the position of incontestable leader.
 
 
Presence in the United Kingdom
 
Warner Bros, whose distribution structure dominates the British market with a share, on average over recent years, of more than 22%, is, like UCI and MGM, also present in the exhibition domain.
 
Its intervention is, however, limited. It was a late arrival: Warner opened its first multiplexes in the UK well after UCI and MGM. The UK market had to wait until 1989 to see Warner Bros Theatre (UK) enter, when it opened its first multiplex at Bury, before those in Newcastle, York and Basingstoke.

At the end of 1992, the network had seven cinemas, totalling 64 screens, totalling admissions just over the 3 million mark (2.9% of the market). Moreover, Warner does not have a clear concept for its sites. Three of its multiplexes have 7 screens; two others have between 8 and 11, and two have 12 screens.
 
However, with the exception of the West End complex, where films distributed by Warner are given programming priority, all the other establishments have a policy of "all product" programming. Even more than in the cases of MGM and UCI, the distribution and exhibition structures are formed around different profit centres, and the links between them seem to be tenuous.
 
 
In the other European countries
 

 
Principal European networks
 
Gaumont
 
 
France
Market share of exhibition 1992 
(% admissions)
11.4%
(owned screens)
Market share of distribution 1992 
(% admissions)
7%
Number of screens
275 (193 owned and affiliated screens
+ 82 screens programmed)
Number of admissions (millions)
19 (owned and affiliated screens)
Turnover
1,255 million FF
(consolidated turnover of the group 1991)
405 million FF (Turnover for cinema operation 1991)
Net return/Turnover
3.6% (excluding investment 1991)
Shareholding:  Cinepar 
Nicolas Seydoux 
Marcel Dassault 
Fornier
 
50.2%
6.5%
7.5%
10.0%
 
Specialising originally, like Pathé, in the manufacture and marketing of cameras and projection equipment, Gaumont soon orientated itself towards film production, and, since the beginning of the 20th century, towards cinema exhibition. Almost since its origin, it has therefore represented the "perfect" model of an integrated group. But soon after the First World War, the firm had to rent out its studios and its cinemas to MGM. The decline of French films in the world market forced them to file for bankruptcy at the end of the period between the two world wars.
 
Revived by Havas, Crédit Lyonnais and the Compagnie des Compteurs, at the end of the Second World War, Gaumont developed intensive activity in distribution, and, most importantly, production; its name was associated with the majority of the French cinema's popular successes during the 1950s and 1960s.
 
In the middle of the 1970s, financial difficulties led to reconstitution of the capital base. Nicolas Seydoux, the heir to the Schlumberger group, secured 51% of the group's shares, at a time when it only owned a hundred screens. But, at that time, Gaumont was part of an important programming consortium formed in 1969 with Pathé and independent operators.
 
Between 1975 and 1985, under the direction of Daniel Toscan du Plantier, Gaumont experienced an expansion in every direction: cinema sites were increased, production and distribution activities developed; internationalisation (taking control of circuits in Italy and Brazil, participation in a French-speaking television channel in the United States, etc.) and diversification (takeover of the weekly newspaper "Le Point").
 
Deeply in debt, the group was then compelled to take steps to reconstruct itself in the middle of the 1980s, a period which saw the departure of Toscan du Plantier. The firm sold its cinema circuit in Italy to Cannon, gave up most of its Brazilian assets, suspended most of its activities in the American market, released itself from "Le Point" (taken over directly by Nicolas Seydoux before being resold). Its production and distribution operations were redefined, even though a new agreement with Disney gave them new scope.
 
Gaumont presently programmes a little less than 300 cinemas, two thirds of which they own. Its own cinemas recorded 11.4 % of admissions in 1992; the ones it programmes recorded 4.6%. Having recovered its financial balance in 1987, the group has now begun an effort to restructure its cinemas (creating prestigious cinemas, "Gaumontrama"; closing down unprofitable sites; swaps with Pathé designed to reinforce its position in local markets; renovation of complexes; plans to build multiplexes etc.).
 
Gaumont's position in the principal local French markets is as follows:
 
 
Gaumont
Paris (Centre)
Outsider
Paris (Banlieue)
Absent
Lyon
Absent
Marseille
Absent
Lille
Outsider
Bordeaux
Leader
Toulouse
Leader
Nice
Absent
Nantes
Co-leader
Toulon
Minor position
Grenoble
Absent
Strasbourg
Absent
Rouen
Leader
Nancy
Minor position
Aix-en-Provence
Absent
 

UGC
 

 
France
Belgium
Market share of exhibition 1992 
(% admissions)
14.8%
(owned screens)
13%
(owned screens)
Market share of distribution 1992 
(% admissions)
8.5%
-
Number of screens
363 (260 owned and affiliated screens + 103 theatres programmed)
Number of admissions (millions)
25.6 (owned and affiliated screens - France and Belgium)
Turnover
1,285 million FF (consolidated turnover of the group 1991)
531 million FF (turnover for cinema operation 1991)
Net return/Turnover
2.3% ( 1991)
Shareholding:  Family shareholders (Verrechia) and Ufidex Méditerranée (independent exhibitors) 
Compagnie Générale des Eaux 
Paribas
 
 
 
55%
26%
13.5%
 
L'Union Générale Cinématographique (UGC) was formed when France was liberated; it was a private enterprise nationalised under a government sequestration order because of its collaboration with the Germans during the Second World War. It concentrated at first on production and distribution activities, through the intermediary of the Compagnie Française de Distribution, which is also associated with Pathé, and controls in addition a circuit of about a hundred cinemas.
 
At the beginning of the 1970s, the government decided to privatise the business, in order to facilitate the restructuring of independent cinemas which competed with the Pathé/Gaumont consortium. UGC was therefore acquired by a collection of about ten groups of independent exhibitors, the sale carrying with it an assortment of specifications which required the company to intervene in production and programming of films "which were in the national interest".
 
UGC at this time became a programming group of more than 500 screens, in which the Edeline family played an important role. After the retirement of this family at the start of the 1980s, UGC became a public company, and since then has been presided over by Guy Verrechia.
 
The company diversified, particularly into the control of audio-visual rights, by allying with the Paribas group and Financière Robur. This allowed them to carry out an active policy of acquiring catalogues, and they are, in fact, now the principal French rights-holding company. But, to finance these operations, UGC was obliged during the last decade to initiate several share offerings, which allowed financiers like La Générale des Eaux and Paribas to acquire shares. In parallel, some independent exhibitors also converted their rights to establishments into shares in the company.

UGC now owns more than 250 screens, and nearly another 100 are programmed by it, which makes it the leading French circuit. It is also present on the Belgian market, where it owns, with the public investment company SRIB, the De Brouckère complex in the centre of Brussels.
 
The programming of these theatres is obviously based on films distributed by the group, which moreover are inevitably insufficient for their requirements - the group has only an 8% share of the distribution market - and the circuit has to buy in extensively from other players to obtain popular French and U.S. titles.
 
Thanks particularly to the agreements with Pathé, UGC has been able to regroup its establishments in a number of local markets, which allows it to speed up its modernisation efforts. The circuit maintains a significant presence in Lyon, where it owns several important multi-screen complexes. It should also open multiplexes in 1994 in the provinces (Rouen) and in Paris (Bercy).
 
Position of UGC in the principal French local markets is as follows:
 

 
UGC
Paris (Centre)
Leader
Paris (Banlieue)
Leader
Lyon
Outsider
Marseille
Leader
Lille
Leader
Bordeaux
Outsider
Toulouse
Outsider
Nice
Outsider
Nantes
Co-leader
Toulon
Outsider
Grenoble
Minor position
Strasbourg
Outsider
Rouen
Outsider
Nancy
Dominant position
Aix-en-Provence
Absent
  

Pathé
 

 
France
Market share of exhibition 1992 
(% admissions)
7.3%
(owned screens)
Market share of distribution 1992
(% admissions)
15% (AMLF)
Number of screens
305 (93 owned and affiliated screens
+ 212 screens programmed)
Number of admissions (millions)
17 (owned and programmed screens)
Turnover
350 million FF (consolidated Pathé turnover 1991)
Net return/Turnover
0.5% (1991)
Shareholding:  Chargeurs S.A.
 
99%
 
The history of Pathé has been, since the end of the last century, closely linked with that of the worldwide film industry. Initialising specialising in record production, Charles Pathé's firm soon orientated towards production equipment and film projectors, then towards producing the films themselves, in which domain it remained a leader until the First World War.
 
Owing to the lack of foreign interest in French films, and the competition from US productions, Pathé found itself in serious financial difficulties during the period between the two world wars. After 1945, it concentrated therefore on just the one sector: exhibition. To protect the supply of its cinemas, it entered into alliance with Gaumont. In 1969 it formed, with the firm of Neuilly, a powerful group of programming interests, which guaranteed their films wide national distribution.
 
This group brought together itself not only its own cinemas, but also numerous independent cinemas. From this time onwards, Pathé's policy has consisted of developing its circuit, not only by acquiring new cinemas, but also by affiliating with cinemas which accept its programming: a strategy which, to date, has been pursued, and indeed has even grown.
 
In 1983, the programming alliance was overturned, and a new group was formed between Pathé and the Edeline family, a group which included 330 screens just before its disappearance. At that time, Pathé developed its production activities, directing them towards television programmes. The group also headed towards the control of audio-visual rights.
 
But in the second half of the 1980s, Pathé entered a period of turbulence. In 1985, Hachette acquired along with Gaumont and Havas 48% of Pathé's capital, controlled at that time by Rivaud. This minority shareholding gave way soon after to Suez and Lyonnaise des Eaux, before the group was acquired at the end of 1988 by Max Theret Investments, a consortium which included Giancarlo Paretti, already head of Cannon. Before the latter could have his own way, and set up a truly European circuit by joining together the cinemas belonging to Pathé and Cannon, the French government declared the transfer of the circuit illegal.
 
After an intense political-financial battle, Pathé finds itself today controlled by the Chargeurs group, directed by Jerome Seydoux (brother of Gaumont's President). The group's interest in the communications sector also involves film production (Renn Production, Allied Filmmakers etc.), TV production (Pathé TV), cinema distribution (AMLF, the second French distribution company, Guild Entertainment, the first independent distributor in the UK, Savoy in the USA etc.), control of rights (Pricel) and satellite television (participation in B Sky B and Canal satellite). For the reasons explained above (see the section on France) the effects of this integration are far from being systematic. Nevertheless, there are a number of cases where co-ordinated action is evident: the cinemas in the group benefited from priority access to L'Amant, by J.J. Annaud, which was distributed by AMLF and produced by Renn Productions; more recently they also had priority to A River Runs Through It (Robert Redford), produced by Allied Filmmakers; the TV rights to this film will be managed by Pricel.
 
According to the year, the cinema circuit managed by Pathé Cinema records more or less 8 million admissions, that is between 6 and 7% of admissions recorded in France, to which must be added the returns from 210 screens in the "Pathé Edeline Independents" group; together the owned and affiliated cinemas record 14% of admissions. Among the three principal French circuits, Pathé is the only one which owns fewer screens than it programmes. Some see this as a weakening factor for the circuit.
 
The network is in the process of profoundly restructuring its sites. A reciprocal transfer agreement concerning cinemas in Paris and in seven provincial towns, was signed with Gaumont in 1992, the objective being to limit competition in local markets, in order to put both groups in a better position to invest in modernising their establishments. The company is beginning to construct multiplexes; the first one opened in Toulon in 1993.
 
Position of Pathé in the principal French local markets is as follows:
 
 
Pathé
Paris (Centre)
Minor position
Paris (Banlieue)
Outsider
Lyon
Leader
Marseille
Outsider
Lille
Absent
Bordeaux
Absent
Toulouse
Absent
Nice
Dominant position
Nantes
Absent
Toulon
Leader
Grenoble
Dominant position
Strasbourg
Leader
Rouen
Outsider
Nancy
Absent
Aix-en-Provence
Dominant position
 
 

Cinema 5
 

 
Italy
Market share of exhibition 1992 
(% admissions)
3.3%
Market share of distribution 1992 
(% admissions)
37%
Number of screens
43
Number of admissions (millions)
3.5-4.0 (1992/93 season)
Turnover
21.6 billion Lit.
Net return/Turnover
-37.5%
Proportion of films programmed which are distributed by the group
59% (1991/92 season)
 
Cinema 5 was started in 1988, when Fininvest acquired the cinemas owned by Gaumont and then by Cannon (Paretti). It was then the first national circuit, and it is now the most important one in Italy. Consisting of 22 cinemas (43 screens) situated in the principal towns of central and northern Italy, this circuit records between 3.5 and 4 million admissions per year, or a little more than 3% of the Italian market. But its market share reaches nearly 20% in Milan and Rome, and is more than 45% in Genoa. Moreover, in addition to the sites that it manages directly, it also programmes over 250 screens, located in all areas of Italy.
 
The circuit's cinemas, all equipped with the Dolby SR system, and some with 70mm projection, are amongst the best that one can find in Italy. This is very much the case with the biggest complex in Italy, the Odeon in Milan which, with its 10 screens, endlessly achieves record admissions: with Die Hard 2 it took 30% of all the Italian takings during the 1991-92 season, and 50 million lira in 24 hours with Basic Instinct.
 
The various establishments use a common logo; decor (colours of walls and seats); even the staff wear uniforms to match. The centralised programming is based on block-busters. But it must be stressed that the greatest share of the takings - 59% of admissions during the 1992-93 season - was recorded by films distributed by Penta, another firm linked to Fininvest.
 
Penta is in fact owned 50/50 by Silvio Berlusconi Communications and Cecchi Gori. For the 1991/92 season, it held a distribution market share of over 37%, far ahead of its main competitor, Filmauro (12%). But Penta doesn't just figure in the Italian film industry landscape as market leader in distribution. When it comes to television production, Penta constitutes a central link in the Berlusconi chain: using it as an intermediary, Fininvest invested in film production; it also enables the supply of feature films to the TV channels and cinemas within the group.
 
Fininvest is probably a true example of vertical integration, since the interests of the group cover not only all stages of the chain, but also the various release windows (cinema - TV -video - foreign sales).
 
 
Neue Constantin
 
 
Germany
Market share of exhibition 1992 
(% admissions)
1%
Market share of distribution 1992 
(% admissions)
4%
Number of screens
NA
Number of admissions (millions)
2
Turnover
20 million DM
(est. - exhibition screens only)
Net return/Turnover
NA
 
In the German market, apart from the US majors, UCI and Warner, Neue Constantin is the principal exhibitor whose operations are in keeping with the general pattern of an integrated group.
 
It only has an average sized circuit, however: it only records about 2 million admissions a year, and its turnover is estimated at 20 million DM. Within the exhibition sector, its market share doesn't reach 2%, in spite of the circuit embracing one of the biggest German cinemas, Cinedom (13 screens; 3,150 seats) which alone recorded 1 million admissions in 1992, with a turnover of 11 million DM.
 
Since the opening of Cinedom in 1991, Neue Constantin has not opened another multiplex. And even if the group is currently considering the possibility of building other smaller establishments of the same type, Neue Constantin does not figure at all amongst the 13 multiplexes whose construction in the coming years has been announced.
 
Moreover, the attempt by the circuit to establish a foothold in the East German market has proved fruitless. The cinemas acquired in the new Länder soon after reunification in 1992 were relinquished by the spring of 1993. The organisation entrusted with the privatization opted for a "package" deal, grouping together establishments that performed more and less well: this proved too great a burden on the group, which disengaged very quickly from them.
 
The actual market power of the participant is less relevant to this study than the range of activities within the structure, even if the existence of vertically integration does not have immediate repercussions on programming policy.
 
The Neue Constantin Kinobetrieb GmbH depends, in the first place, on Neue Constantin Film GmbH Verleih KG, the fifth distributor in the German market, but the first national distribution house, ahead of Senator and Tobis. The distribution unit of the group and Tobis, a company controlled by Herr Wendlandt (producer of popular films like Otto, Loriot and Odipussi) maintain close links and collaborate closely.
 
The Neue Constantin Kinobetrieb GmbH network and the distribution house Neue Constantin Film GmbH & Co Veleih KG, belong to Constantin Kinoholding Deutschland, which also owns Neue Constantin Film Produktion GmbH. This latter company produces international films like The Name of the Rose, Never Ending Story and Last Exit to Brooklyn. But the integrated character of the structure becomes clearer if one examines the assets of the parent company, where, alongside the majority shareholder, Bernd Eichinger (53.5%), one finds Leo Kirch, who is head of one of the two principal German multimedia groups. In addition to its presence in sectors as diverse as laboratories, technical industries, music publishing, concerts and the production of films and TV programmes (mainly via Taurus), television (SAT 1, Pro 7 etc.), the press and publishing (via a minority participation in Axel Springer), book clubs etc., the Leo Kirch group above all owns the foremost film and TV catalogue in Europe.
 
 
The leaders of "small" markets
 
Lusomundo
 
 
Portugal
Spain
Market share of exhibition 1992 
(% admissions)
55%
(planned)
Market share of distribution 1992 
(% admissions)
60%
-
Number of screens
58
Number of admissions (millions)
6.5 (est.)
Turnover
2,100 million Escudos
(est. exhibition activity only)
Net return/Turnover
NA
 
Lusomundo is undoubtedly the most important film company in Portugal. It is a holding company of international proportions, having shares in property as well as the media sector, participating in newspapers, radio, audiovisual rights-holding companies, video publishing houses, etc. In the film sector, it is without question as much the market leader in distribution as in exhibition.
 
Although after the overthrow of Salazar, the company tried to exploit a number of European films, including from the Soviet Union and its satellite countries, they have since distributed American products, representing in Portugal companies such as UIP (Paramount/Universal and MGM), Hollywood Pictures, Touchstone, Buena Vista, Walt Disney, etc., which allows it to retain an estimated market share of 60% of distribution.
 
Moreover, the group also controls a significant exhibition circuit, spread throughout the country, but especially in towns such as Porto, Cascais and Lisbon. It directly owns 58 screens, or about a quarter of Portuguese screens, including the largest site in Portugal, the Amoreiras complex (10 screens, with a total capacity of 1,350 seats). In the capital, the company owns more than two thirds of the screens. In Cascais, 7 out of 9 screens. In Porto, it only currently controls a quarter of the screens, but a complex with seven screens is under construction.
 
Since 1991, Lusomundo has established a "joint venture" agreement with Warner, in order to build and operate multiplexes in Spain and Portugal. The first one of these to open was the seven screen complex at Cascais, to which will be added the complex under construction at Lisbon.
 
As a result of their location, facilities and level of comfort, the group's cinemas are all first-run cinemas, and record commercial performances which are clearly superior to the other Portuguese cinemas; this explains how, with less than 30% of the country's screens, the group achieves a market share of admissions of more than 55%. In terms of turnover, the group's share is again more significant, as the highest prices in the country are those in the group's complexes in Porto or Lisbon.
 
 
Ward Anderson
 
 
Ireland
Market share of exhibition 1992 
(% admissions)
47%
Market share of distribution 1992 
(% admissions)
12%
Number of screens
80
Number of admissions (millions)
3.7 (est.)
Turnover
11.5 million Irl £
(est. - exhibition theatres only)
Net return/Turnover
NA
 
The "Ward Anderson Group" is a term used to refer to all the companies controlled more or less formally by the Ward and Anderson families; they were originally solely involved in distribution, but have for several decades now diversified downstream, and now include, alongside their distribution branch, a powerful exhibition branch. The main point, then, is that it is a family group, even if one part of the group, "Green Properties" is quoted on the Stock Exchange in Dublin.
Abbey Films is the distribution company in the group, whereas the exhibition activities are covered by various companies: Provincial Cinemas, Dublin Cinema Group, Amalgamated Cinemas, etc. Abbey Films has between 10-14 % market share in distribution, according to the year. However, technically, this enterprise is distinct from other Irish distribution houses, because it does not hold the Irish rights to the films it offers to operators. Abbey Films acts rather as an authorised agent for the middle-sized American or English production or distribution companies: Guild, Gala, Rank, Electric, Mayfair and Entertainment. It is then only an agreed middle-man between these companies and the exhibitors. Its remuneration is based on commission, levied on the total gross receipts of the distributor.
 
As operators, the Ward Anderson group has 29 cinemas, totalling 80 screens, that is more than 42% of Irish screens, and recording nearly 50% of admissions. Historically, this development began in the provinces, where the group bought a number of existing cinemas during the 1960s and 1970s. It only appeared in the Dublin market at the beginning of the 1980s, acquiring the three Rank Odeon cinemas in Dublin: the Savoy, the Metropole and the Odeon. In the capital, however, its market share is now suffering a set-back, since the opening in 1990 of two complexes by UCI, and this is spite of Ward Anderson opening its own 10-screen complex in the Dublin region too - at Santry.
The films involved in the group's exhibition activities are different from those it deals with as a distributor. Whereas Abbey Films distributes both major US films (Terminator 2, Dances With Wolves, Basic Instinct etc.) and specialised films, such as Bernard Blier's and Kieslowski's films, the group's cinemas programme essentially mainstream films. Only the Screen on D'Olier Street cinema in Dublin shows the more demanding films, 70-80% of its programming being devoted to art films and the rest being cross-over product such as the Coen brothers, Woody Allen etc.