Milan, 13 February 2010



On the increase, and to no small degree, the number of spectators in movie theatres all over Europe, from Iceland to Russia, is rising: in 2008 they numbered 1,102.14 million and now become 1,171.84 million, with an increase of 6.3% . These are the figures that MEDIA Salles announced today, 13 February, during the traditional appointment at the Berlinale.
An analysis of the individual markets, presented by Elisabetta Brunella, Secretary General of MEDIA Salles, shows that in 2009 the 19 countries of Western Europe recorded by MEDIA Salles totalled 920.5 million spectators with a 5.7% rise.
Central and Eastern Europe, which comprise 13 countries, with Russia included for the first time, register an even more pronounced increase of 8.7%. Ticket sales have risen from 231.2 million to 251.3 million.

Western Europe
Amongst the top five markets in Western Europe, France, which faithfully reflects the average trend in this part of the continent, crosses the “psychological threshold” of 200 million – which had not been attained since 1982 – confirming her position as the leading European market. Like France, the United Kingdom also grows (+5.6%), maintaining second place in Europe with 173.5 million tickets sold. A growth rate well above average (+13.1%) is also to be seen in Germany who, with 146.4 million spectators, obtains her best result for the past five years, recovering around twenty of the thirty million spectators lost since 2004. In Spain, 2009 brings a 2% increase, which may not seem too flattering but importantly marks the end of a series of drops that had been lasting since 2005.
The only big market to suffer the opposite trend is Italy, where the number of tickets sold in theatres operating for at least 60 days a year is estimated at 108.3 million, compared to 108.7 in 2008.
Dips – though only slight – also affect smaller markets such as Finland (-0.9%), Portugal (-1.7%) and Ireland (-3.2%).
Above-average growth is instead recorded in Austria (+17.7%), attaining 18,4 million spectators, in the Netherlands, which tops 27 million tickets (+ 15.8%) and Sweden (+13.5%).

Central and Eastern Europe
Central and Eastern Europe are characterised by record increases, recorded in Romania (approx. 32%), the Slovak Republic (23.3%) and Serbia (17.8%).
Important leaps forward are to be seen on two large markets: Russia (+ 11.7%) and Poland (+ 16.1%) which is approaching the 40-million-spectator mark, doubling the results of the ‘90s.
Confirmation of what we record every year in Europe’s cinemagoing trends – in other words that there are always cases of counter trends – Turkey, the third biggest market in Central-Eastern Europe, registers a drop of 5.2%.

If some dips are recorded in admissions, there proves to be a general increase in box-office, wherever it is not affected by changes in exchange rates.
In Western Europe the average increase in box-office – for the moment estimates only – is around 13% compared to the previous year. It seems that the main reason for this is to be found in the larger number of films in digital 3D, for which tickets are considerably more expensive.

Digital Screens
The spread of digital screens experienced an authentic boom in Europe in 2009. The studies carried out by MEDIA Salles show that at 30/06/2009, there were 2,602 screens using DLP Cinema or 4K technology. Compared to 01/01/2009, when there were 1,535, the increase over the first six months amounted to 70%. The rise is confirmed by the initial figures available at 01/01/2010. France, which has become the leading digital market in Europe, began the new year with 876 digital screens, and a growth of 46% over the second six months.

MEDIA Salles, a project operating within the framework of the European Union's MEDIA Programme, with the support of the Italian Government, fosters theatrical distribution of European audiovisual products, both by high profile campaigns involving Europe's cinema exhibitors and by initiatives to raise the visibility of European productions with industry players and potential audiences, creating specialized information channels on a global scale. Thus the current initiatives from MEDIA Salles dovetail in a program with a triple focus – training, promotion and information – and maximum combined effect.