Cinema-going in Europe: -1.8% in 2013 but some markets are growing
MEDIA Salles data at the Berlinale
In movie theatres situated in the 35 countries reported by MEDIA Salles, from Iceland to Russia, from Portugal to Turkey, spectators in 2013 came to 1,158.5 million, with a 1.8% drop compared to the 1,179.8 million in 2012.
This decrease does not mean that the situation is the same everywhere since, whilst the 19 countries in Western Europe - decreasing from 881.7 million in 2012 to 840.8 in 2013 - record a higher drop than the average for the Continent, (-4.6%), the 16 in Central and Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean Rim close the year with a 6.6% increase in admissions and a total of 317.7 million tickets sold, compared to the 298.1 in 2012.
The lack of homogeneity in these results also emerges within the two macro-regions.
In Western Europe which, for the second consecutive year, records a drop in audiences, there is a prevalence of territories with a negative trend - though this varies in extent from country to country.
Amongst them are large markets like the United Kingdom (-4%), Germany, where - after a flattering 2012 - a dip of 4.5% has been estimated, France which, losing 5.3% of spectators, comes to a halt just under the 200-million threshold and Spain where another decidedly negative result (-15%) adds to a series of decreases and closes 2013 with around 80 million spectators, setting it back to the same figures as the early years of the 'Nineties.
According to Spanish players, the increase in VAT from 8% to 21% in mid-2012 has played a major role in determining this decrease.
Considerable drops in audiences have also been recorded in Greece (-12%), in Austria (-10.6%), in Sweden (-9.7%) and in Portugal (-9.4%).
Slighter decreases can be seen on markets such as Switzerland, where the estimates suggest 8%, Finland, which after a record 2012 loses 6.9%, Ireland (-5%), Iceland (-5.3%) and Luxemburg (-3.9%).
Norway manages to keep the dip down to 2.7% thanks partly to the excellent results obtained by domestic movies (+24% compared to 2012).
Denmark remains basically stable (-0.2%), whilst Belgium and the Netherlands see slight increases (respectively +0.5% and +0.8%).
A market that has moved decidedly against the trend is Italy, recording growth estimated at around 6%, bringing it up to more than 100 million tickets sold.
Central and Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean Rim
If, in Western Europe, there is a prevalence of countries with a negative trend, in Central and Eastern Europe and on the Mediterranean Rim the number of those exhibiting a minus sign is equal to those with a plus.
Amongst the former are Cyprus (-20%), probably due to a more general economic crisis, Slovenia (-16.1%), Serbia (-9.3%), Malta, which records its third consecutive drop, estimated at 7% in 2013, Poland (-5.6%), Croatia, which, after a record year, moves back 3.5%. The Czech Republic and Estonia limit their decreases to a hiccup of -1%.
On the side of the increases come Hungary, with a growth rate estimated at 2%, Latvia (+3.9%), Slovakia (+4.8%), Lithuania (+6.8%) and Bulgaria which, growing by 16.7%, approaches the 5-million-spectator mark, further improving on its excellent 2011 result.
Separate comment is reserved for Romania, Turkey and Russia, which continue with a series of positive results lasting over several years.
Romania grows by 13.8%, recording its eighth consecutive increase, bringing it from the 2.8 million tickets sold in 2006 to the 9.5 in 2013.
With a 14.7% rise, Turkey crosses the 50-million-spectator threshold (there were around 30 million in 2007), whilst Russia, adding 14 million to its 2012 result, overtakes the United Kingdom and becomes the second European market in terms of admissions.