An initiative of the EU MEDIA Programme with the support of the Italian Government
Since 1992 MEDIA Salles has been promoting the European cinema and its circulation at theatrical level




Milan, 14 December 2004


Over 940 million spectators (approximately -5% compared to the previous year, but almost +15% compared to 1997), 29,200 screens (respectively almost +2% and a little under +25%): these are the key figures that make it possible to understand the situation and trends of the cinema exhibition sector in the twenty-five countries of the European Union, as they emerge from the MEDIA Salles “European Cinema Yearbook – 2004 advance edition” presented today, 14 December, in Rome (Italy) at the Professional Meeting of Anec-Anem-Unidimthe Italian exhibitors’ and distributors’ associations.
In its thirteenth edition, the Yearbook publishes all the results for 2003 but also a long series of historical figures dating back to 1989 and which, thanks to the inclusion of Malta, have now come to cover a grand total of 33 markets, from Iceland to the Baltic Republics, from Portugal to Turkey. Yet if, in 2003, the 18 territories of Western Europe and the 15 of Eastern-Central Europe and the Mediterranean Rim share a drop in audiences, even though to differing extents (-5.2% in the former case, -3.9% in the second), in terms of offer there are contrasting trends.
In the West of Europe screen numbers do, in fact, continue to grow (+2.2% compared to 2002), though more slowly than they did at the end of the Nineties, whilst in the countries situated in the East and Centre of the Continent they have decreased (by almost -2.4%).
In Europe as a whole it is once more the multiplexes (complexes with at least 8 screens) that are growing and on 1st January 2004 there are 899 of them for a total of 9,687 screening theatres. One year previously, on 1st January 2003, there were 836 with 8,968 screens in all. There is thus a 7.5% percentage increase in the number of complexes and an 8% increase in terms of screens. To sum up, it can be said that over 30% of screens in the 33 countries covered by the Yearbook are to be found in multiplexes. At first glance, the incidence of digital screens operating in Europe, reported in a special section of the Yearbook on the situation worldwide and devoted to cinemas fitted with DLP CinemaTM technology, appears to be decidedly negligible. By June 2004 Europe possessed 37 of these screens, whose diffusion after years of stagnation seems to have found the road towards development, at least in certain parts of the world. There is a total of 245 digital screens throughout the world, i.e. very few, yet 35.4% more than six months previously. A considerable increase, due mainly to Asia which, in the period between December 2003 and June 2004, saw a rise from 61 to 110 in the numbers of this type of screen, with a 80.3% increase.
However, the same confidence in new technology does not seem to distinguish the choices of operators on the Old Continent, at least for now. Here, what appears to prevail is the concern that the positive effect on growth in admissions, deriving from the large body of investments made over the past decade in modernising and extending movie theatres, is about to run dry.

The cd rom version of the Yearbook has been produced with the support of ATR – Aria Termo Rappresentanze, a company operating in the field of air conditioning, which is the branch of Thereco for Italy and Eastern Europe.

The MEDIA Salles’ “European Cinema Yearbook – 2004 advance edition” will shortly be available on Internet at the address - section “European Cinema Yearbook and other publications”.

For further information:
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