At the start of 2013 70% of European screens are digital
At 1st January 2013, the number of screens equipped with either DLP Cinema™or SXRD™ technology worldwide had totalled more than 90,000 units, increasing by 43% compared to the year before.
As the estimated total number of commercial screens in the world is around 120,000, the penetration rate for the new technology has reached 75%.
Of the 90,142 digital screens, 25,255 are located in Europe, which is the second major market, after North America that totals about 36,300 units.
There follow Asia and Pacific, with approximately 23,150 digital projectors, Latin America, with more than 4,800 and Africa, with just under 700 digital screens.
During 2012 the European digital base increased by 38%, even though with a slight slowdown in the second semester (+15.5% versus +19.6% from January to June). With regard to the penetration rate, Europe is slightly below the world average. In fact, 70% of its screens have been digitized so far.
Although for several countries only estimates are available, it can already be stated that the European average conceals very different situations, with countries where 35mm has practically disappeared - both from theatres and from distribution - and with markets where the spread of the new technology regards fewer than half of the screens.
The advance data already available for the 6 major markets offers a clear proof of this heterogeneous situation.
France, for instance, totalling about 5,200 digital screens, records a penetration rate well beyond the European average, i.e. 95%. A similar situation emerges in the United Kingdom, where the digital installations amount to over 3,500 units.
There follow, at a quite significant distance, Germany (a little more than 3,000 screens, a 65% penetration rate), Russia (almost 2,000 screens - 63%) and Italy (about 2,200 screens - 57%).
Finally, Spain shows a much lower penetration rate, i.e. 46% (a little more than 1,800 screens).
It may be interesting to compare this "snapshot" as at 1st January 2013 with the situation analyzed by MEDIA Salles six months earlier.
The first figures for 2013 also confirm the phenomenon recorded for the first time in 2012, i.e. the lower increase in 3D digital screens compared to 2D, the result of which was to reduce the incidence of 3D.
As at 30th June 2012, the penetration rate of digital technology in Europe was 60%. Of the 35 countries analysed by MEDIA Salles, as many as 17 were placed below the European average. Amongst them appeared both small countries, like Malta, with a 16% penetration of digital screens, and some of the leading European markets, such as Spain (43%), Italy (47%) and Germany (54%).
Similarly, amongst the countries almost totally digitized were two leaders in terms of cinema-going in Europe such as France (81%) and the United Kingdom (85%), and small-to-medium-sized markets such as Finland (85%), Denmark (88%), Belgium (93%) and the Netherlands (93%), not to speak of countries that are 100% digital, such as Norway and Luxemburg.
This decrease is particularly marked on those markets that are approaching completion of their transition.
This is the case in France, for example, where, at June 2012 3D technology was adopted by 59% of screens as against 70% at June 2011.
Similar trends are shown in the Netherlands, dropping from 72% to 51%, in the United Kingdom (from 66% to 50%), in Switzerland (from 76% to 60%), in Sweden (from 87% to 59%) and in Denmark (from 81% to 64%). On observing the trend on markets that are more mature in terms of digitization, it can be estimated that 3D penetration will settle at between 50% and 60%. A significant case is that of Norway, a pioneer country in full digitization, where 3D is installed in 61% of screens.