Preface by the MEDIA Salles Research Group
The Yearbook has reached its sixteenth edition and records cinema-going from 1989 to 2006
The MEDIA Salles Research Group1 presents the 2007 edition of the “European Cinema Yearbook”, which not only provides information on cinema-going from 1989 to 2006, but also gives a detailed, in-depth report of two phenomena crucial for the transformation of exhibition, namely the advent of multiplexes and the application of digital technology to cinema projection. In the meantime, the horizons of MEDIA Salles’ research have widened, spreading from the seventeen countries recorded in the first edition of the Yearbook, to the present thirtyfour.
MEDIA Salles research: since 1992 at the service of companies and institutions
In the field of research and information, the aim of the choices made today remains identical to the original aim of the first statistical “European Cinema Yearbook”: to provide a means of gaining in-depth knowledge of the European cinema industry At that time, in 1992, the MEDIA Salles’ Yearbook filled an information gap that had often been the cause of mistakes in evaluating the economic and social roles played by the “theatrical system” on the overall panorama of the cinema industry. In its first edition, the Yearbook appeared as the basis for a broader research project on the cinema exhibition industry, the results of which have been collected in the “White Book of the European Exhibition Industry”. By means of the White Book and the Yearbooks that have succeeded one another over these years2, including the 1995 “Special Centenary” edition, which dedicated a section to the history and the transformation of cinema theatres and cinema-going, one of the intentions of MEDIA Salles has been to offer sources of information and knowledge to those European institutions that deal with policy-making in the sector of audiovisuals and especially the cinema. The research work begun by MEDIA Salles and regularly carried out over the years in order to give an increasingly distinct picture of the European cinema industry’s many different aspects, has been widely acknowledged. Eurostat itself, in its Methodological Manual (revised version 1.2), has considered the Yearbook as a primary source of information; for a considerable number of entries, the MEDIA Salles publication is quoted as a potential source (Work Group “Audiovisual Services”, Luxembourg, 10-11 October 1996). Several of the tables in the Yearbook have also been used in the DGX report of the European Commission “The European Film Industry under Analysis” (Brussels, 11 November 1996). Moreover MEDIA Salles is one of the bodies that has been contacted by the European Audiovisual Observatory, with a view to setting up a database on box office takings from films in Europe (Strasbourg, 12 September 1997). In 1999 the MEDIA Salles Yearbook was included amongst the sources used by the Authority responsible for guaranteeing fair market competition in Italy, and by the Media Business School in its “Film Finance Handbook”. More recently the MEDIA Salles Yearbook has been quoted amongst the sources of the annual report published by the US organisation “U.S. International Trade Commission” to document exchange in the service sector. In particular regarding the section dedicated to multiplexes, the Yearbook is mentioned in the “Delon Report” dealing with the analysis of the multiplex phenomenon on the French market (CNC, Paris, Jan. 2000). The data collected by MEDIA Salles in the ten editions of the Yearbook is the basis for the research study entitled “The development of cinema-going”. Commissioned by AGIS Lombarda and carried out by the Bocconi University in Milan, it was presented in November 2002. Furthermore, the “European Cinema Yearbook” was mentioned in the KPMG Report “The market for cinemas” (November 2002), commissioned by the Dutch Ministry for Economic Affairs, and in the 2003 Preliminary Report by the Council for Culture of the Dutch Government. MEDIA Salles has also been accredited as one of the organisms which provided statistical data as support for the initiatives organised by the Ministry for Cultural Affairs on the occasion of the Italian term of EU Presidency, on topics regarding the cinema industry: the ministerial meeting “The circulation of European works of cinematographic art inside the European Union: support mechanisms and new technologies” in Venice (28-31 August 2003) and the “Meeting of experts on the reform of the instruments to encourage the European audiovisual industry” in Taormina (15-16 November 2003). For years now, “Focus”, the publication produced by the Cannes Film Market with the European Audiovisual Observatory, has been based exclusively on the data collected and elaborated by MEDIA Salles in the part devoted to multiplexes. MEDIA Salles is again one of the sources quoted in the study “On-line distribution: a threat or an opportunity?” presented at the 61st Venice Film Festival by Cinecittà Holding, as well as in the survey “Lovers and avoiders of culture” carried out by The Netherlands’ Social and Cultural Planning Office in May 2005 and in the comparative report “Admission prices mapped” by The Netherlands’ Foundation for Film Research in October 2005. In 2006, MEDIA Salles was the source of data for research institutes such as Nielsen Media Research, who made use of the information included in the Yearbook during the conference “The International Advertising Scene”, held on 6 June 2006 at the Catholic University of Milan, as well as for international festivals such as Annecy Cinéma Italien, which used MEDIA Salles statistics in the publication supporting the “Encounters for Coproductions” (30 September 2006).
The Yearbook in 2007
In 2007 the Yearbook makes its appearance with a wealth of comparative tables, organised in two sections, one dedicated to Western Europe, the other to Central and Eastern Europe and to the countries of the Mediterranean Rim. To this can be added the substantial chapter which “photographs” the state of multiplexes in Europe. Thanks to these tools and to a text summarising the 2006 results, the reader is able to gain a quick grasp of the trends in cinema-going over an eighteen-year period – from 1989 to 2006 – in as many as thirtyfour countries. This has become the total number of countries analysed in the Yearbook, thanks to the addition of Liechtenstein to the 2005 edition. Our efforts to give an increasingly accurate picture of the “multiplex phenomenon”, are proved by providing information which is impossible to find elsewhere – a distinctive feature of our Yearbook, which was also the first to provide an ever-broader and more detailed overview of cinema-going in the markets of Central and Eastern Europe, which are undergoing a clear and rapid transformation. Our intention to provide documentation on all the various sides of the exhibition industry has also led us to broaden the section originally intended to give a parallel “reading” of the main indicators in Europe and the United States. With the addition of data on South Korea, Russia, Israel and New Zealand in 2004, of Ukraine, Mexico and Argentina in 2005, as well as of China and of other countries of Latin America in 2006, twenty-one international markets can now be compared. Starting from the 2002 final edition, the Yearbook also devotes a special section to Digital Cinema, providing a list (now updated at June 2007) of digital screens throughout the world. Over the past few years, experiments in digital screening have opened up possibilities for significant changes in the way that the “product film” is circulated and distributed in cinemas. This topic raises several topics of discussion for exhibitors, for other players in the process and for potential investors. This section of the Yearbook, initiated with the aim of becoming a reference source for its readers in this field, means to document the new phenomenon of digital cinema by providing concrete and up-to-date figures. In our intentions, these elements, which have gradually been added, are to offer companies, institutions and researchers a wide-ranging body of clear, up-dated and comparable data, on which to reflect and base future projects. The free distribution of the Yearbook on cd rom and the fact that it is published in full over the Internet combine towards making it widely known. Those who, out of interest or for professional reasons, wish to go into the research on each European territory covered by the Yearbook in greater depth, will find a detailed profile in the “Source Document”, which can be consulted on the MEDIA Salles website. For the 2007 edition, Dr Joachim Ph. Wolff, Chairman of The Netherlands’ Foundation for Film Research associated with the University of Utrecht, and Paola Bensi, lecturer in Marketing at the Catholic University of Cremona, and who is responsible for the new structure of the contents adopted in 1997 and for its updating, have again acted as our consultants. Under the supervision of Elisabetta Brunella, Secretary General of MEDIA Salles, data has been collected and elaborated by Sara Cipolla, a graduate in Economy and Commerce at the Catholic University of Milan, with the support of Erica Guerini and Laura Carniel graduates in Foreign Languages and Literature at the same University, and Anna Lequio, graduate in Communicational Sciences at the Catholic University of Milan.
Milan, October 2007
The MEDIA Salles Research Group
1 The work group is made up as follows: