CINEMA-GOING IN EUROPE:
DROP IN EUROPEAN AUDIENCES, BUT WITH EXCEPTIONS.
THE SLOW GROWTH OF MULTIPLEXES IN EUROPE CONTINUES.
ALMOST 6,000 DIGITAL SCREENS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.
A tendency to decline, but not everywhere: this sums
up the 2007 trend as regards cinema audiences. The exact opposite of
2006, where the plus sign was the general rule, although, there again,
with some exceptions.
This is the picture that emerges from the data collected by MEDIA Salles
who, as last year, have anticipated the announcement of the 2007 figures
on cinema-going in Europe to the Berlin Festival, during the presentation
of the “European Cinema Yearbook – 2007 final edition”,
which took place today, 15 February.
The Yearbook – containing the “Berlin Special” with
advance news of 2007 – can be consulted online at the MEDIA Salles
website : http://www.mediasalles.it/yearbook.htm
A dip in European Union spectators
From the figures available to date, which regard 25 countries, 22 belonging
to the EU, it can be seen that admissions have declined on average by
2.1% in the European Union, dropping from 911.5 to 892.2 million. In
Western Europe the drop is equal to 2.6% (from 869.6 to 846.9 million),
whilst in the central and eastern part of the continent and on the Mediterranean
Rim it amounts to 3.5% (from 105.1 to 101.4 million).
The situation in Western Europe: contrasting results from the
five leading markets
Analysing the figures country by country and starting with the five
leading markets, the results that emerge differ widely, as in 2006.
France, Spain and Germany close 2007 with considerable decreases, whilst
the United Kingdom grows and Italy takes wing. The leading European
market continues to be France which, whilst losing over 10 million spectators
(from 188.7 to 178.1 million), obtains a better result than in 2005.
Germany leaves behind 11 million tickets, dropping to 125.4 million
and returning to its 1995 position. Eleven million fewer spectators
for Spain, too, which experiences its third consecutive drop and closes
with a little over 112 million spectators: for a similar result we have
to look back to 1998. The United Kingdom, on the other hand, sees a
happy ending to 2007 (+3.8%), recovering most of the spectators lost
in 2006 and, with 162.4 million spectators (of which over 38 were counted
in July and August alone), confirms itself as the second largest market
in Europe. Italy grows to the extent of almost 12%, according to Cinetel
estimates, which cover around 90% of the market, recording over 114
million spectators. With this flattering result, the best since 1986,
due mostly to the success of films “made in Italy”, accounting
for as much as 34% of the market, Italy overtakes Spain and is no longer
in last place on the leading five European markets. Remaining in Western
Europe a positive trend can also be seen in a smaller country like Ireland,
which grows by 2.9%, crossing the 18-million spectator threshold for
the first time.
Portugal (-0.3%), Denmark (-0.8%), Sweden (-0.9%) and Finland (-1.3%)
are characterised by basically stable results or with slight dips, whilst
the other countries experience sometimes substantial decreases, ranging
from Belgium’s -6.2% to Switzerland’s –12.5% and including
Austria’s –9.5% and Norway’s –10.4%. The Netherlands
deserve special attention since the comparison between the 2006 and
2007 figures has to take into account the fact that in 2006 53 weeks
were counted. Comparisons based on 52 weeks reduce the 5.4% difference
by around 2 points.
The situation in Central and Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean
Rim: Turkey influences the drop
In Central-Eastern Europe and on the Mediterranean Rim, one of the two
leading markets, Poland, remains basically stable (32.6 million spectators
compared to the 32.4 of 2006), whilst a positive result characterises
Estonia (+2.5%), Latvia (+3.9%), Bulgaria (+4.6%) and the Czech Republic,
where the increase, estimated at over 4%, is also due to the positive
result by domestic films. The increase in spectators seen in most countries,
however, fails to compensate for the drop recorded in Romania (approx.
-14%), in Slovakia (-19%) and on the second largest market - Turkey
- which, according to initial estimates, decreases from almost 35 million
tickets to 31 (-11%).
An initial observation emerging from this situation, which would
not cause great concern if the average dip of a couple of percentage
points alone were considered, is the repetition of negative trends on
markets that had raised high hopes for constant and lasting growth during
The slow growth of multiplexes continues
In terms of infrastructures, the number of screens in Western Europe
remains stable, whilst signs of growth are recorded in Central-Eastern
Europe and the Mediterranean Rim.
The typology of movie theatres continues to change, with an increase
in screens located in complexes housing at least 8 screens. At 31 October
2007 there were 11,910 screens in multiplexes all over Europe, compared
to the 11,393 twelve months before. This represents a 4.3% increase,
a little lower than that recorded between 2005 and 2006, but decidedly
lower than that recorded between 2004 and 2005 (+7.5%). The geographical
distribution of complexes opened during 2007 shows that most vitality
is to be seen in areas where the multiplex phenomenon is most recent:
these are mainly Poland (7 new sites), Italy and Turkey (4 new complexes
each) but also smaller markets such as Croatia and Greece. Amongst the
countries in the avantgarde of the phenomenon, France and Ireland are
the most dynamic (respectively 6 and 3 new sites), followed by Spain
(2 complexes). A new complex has been opened in Belgium and another
on the large UK market. Closures, however, cannot be overlooked –
two of which occurred in Italy and four in Spain, confirming the fact
that competition is wide-ranging and regards the whole market.
Digital screens worldwide: double in 2007, touching on the
During 2007 the number of digital screens worldwide practically doubled,
rising from 2,866 to 5,829. The lion’s share went to North America
– in particular the United States – where, at the end of
2006, 1,957 were installed, with the number rising to 4,576 in the next
twelve months. This is 79% of the world’s total projectors fitted
with DLP Cinema or 4K technology and over 10% of US screens. In the
same period Europe advanced from 531 to 829 installations, with a 56%
increase. The number of digital projectors in Asia remained basically
stable, rising by only 7.8% to 374 units during the year.
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
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