An initiative of the EU MEDIA Programme with the support of the Italian Government
Since 1992 MEDIA Salles has been promoting the European cinema and its circulation at theatrical level


20 October 2006


Double the numbers of digital screens worldwide, while the numbers of multiplexes continue to grow, after a 2005 that loses over 100 million spectators in European cinemas.
These are the main results emerging from the fifteenth edition of the “European Cinema Yearbook” published by MEDIA Salles, to be presented in Rome this afternoon, 20 October, during the opening session of Eurovisioni.

At the end of 2005 there were 591 screens equipped with DLP CinemaTM technology throughout the world.
Now MEDIA Salles “photographs” more than double this quantity: 1,354, with a rise touching on 130% in only six months (December 2005 – June 2006).
These six months saw a leap forward in the United States, which finishes by representing, with a total of 763 units, over 56% of the world’s digital screens.
That this is no longer an experimental phase in the application of the new technology to cinema projection seems to be demonstrated by the fact that several US chains – as big as Carmike or upmarket like the Californian UltraStar – have announced the 100% digital option.

The growth trend also affects Europe (262 screens, +35%), though to a lesser degree, as well as Asia (309 units, + 51.5%).

MEDIA Salles’ figures also show an increase in multiplexes (complexes with at least 8 screens) in Europe which, although continuing at a slower rate than in the past (5.3% between 2005 and 2006, compared to 8% in the previous twelve months), brings the total number of screens to 11,063 in a total of 30 countries.
Whilst considerable investments in this sector are thus confirmed, cinema-going figures suffer an overall drop in 2005.

Western Europe, which does not escape a trend that affects more or less the whole world, sees a drop in its spectators from 962 to 861 million, with a 10.5% decrease.
Out of line with this average are Austria and Germany on the one hand, experiencing a drop of as much as 19%, and, on the other hand, Ireland (-5%), Denmark (-4.7%) and the UK (-3.9%). Italy, with a limited drop (-9.2%) compared to Europe in general, succeeds in maintaining audience figures (104 million) that are above those for 2003.
The countries of Central-Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean Rim record, instead, a more serious decrease, reaching 16.5%.
The fact that these results do not mark the beginning of a negative trend but merely a hiccup in a consumer pattern – like that of the cinema – that is used to a cyclical trend, seems to be confirmed by the figures for the first nine months of 2006, which show a return to cinemas on European markets as a whole.

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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.

MEDIA Salles
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