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UNIC puts cinema first at CineEurope

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- The International Union of Cinemas is due to present its 2017 annual report at the gathering in Barcelona

UNIC puts cinema first at CineEurope

At UNIC’s CineEurope cinema convention, which kicks off today in Barcelona (read news), the International Union of Cinemas is due to present its 2017 annual report, which sets out the key cinema trends in Europe. As an influential voice for European cinema operators on issues of shared interest, the European grouping of cinema trade associations and key operators represents 36 territories.

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At CineEurope 2017, there will also be a major panel debate revolving around “Women in Cinema – the Business Case”, which will explore the issue of gender-balanced leadership in the industry. Furthermore, UNIC will launch a pilot initiative during this year’s event: the Women’s Cinema Leadership Programme is a pan-European and cross-sector mentorship scheme for ten high-potential female cinema professionals. 

In 2016, cinemas across UNIC territories accounted for 1.28 billion admissions and €8.4 billion of box-office revenue, representing 24% of the global theatrical market for films. Admissions increased by 2.8%, beating a 12-year European record. In France, admissions increased by 3.8% compared to 2015, reaching more than 213 million, while in Russia they increased by 11.6%, totalling almost 195 million cinemagoers in 2016 – the second-best performance across UNIC territories – with the box office increasing by 7.4%.

Admissions per capita for all UNIC territories in 2016 averaged 1.6 visits to the cinema per year, a slight, 0.1-point year-on-year increase. The market share of national films across UNIC territories decreased slightly in 2016, reaching 26.7%. Turkey led the pack, with a local share of 50.7%, followed by France with 35.8%. 

The total number of cinema screens across UNIC territories increased slightly in 2016, coming in at approximately 39,300. UNIC territories averaged 52 screens per million inhabitants. The movie theatre remains the place where value is created around individual film releases. Whereas the average revenue per view on a subscription-based VoD service, such as Netflix, is around €0.20, the average price for a cinema ticket in the EU is €6.60 – a striking multiple of 33 compared to the VoD figure. 

Although cinemas are attracting ageing audiences, young people below the age of 25 are still the largest group of cinemagoers and account for around 20%-35% of admissions, depending on the territory. In growth markets such as Poland, the Czech Republic and Turkey, the share of total admissions represented by young people continues to increase, while in the UK, the number of cinemagoers between 15 and 25 years old dropped by 7% between 2008 and 2015. 

In 2016, global box-office revenues reached around $38 billion, reflecting the dynamic development of the sector. Event cinema – ranging from opera to mass online video gaming – already makes up 2%-3% of the European box office. 

UNIC’s principal objective is to represent the interests of European cinema operators and their national cinema associations when dealing with policy-makers in Brussels. UNIC therefore organises EU outreach days, both for UNIC member associations and CEOs of key European cinema operators. “We aim to increase that number over 2017 and beyond,” says Phil Clapp, president of the International Union of Cinemas. A further key objective of UNIC’s is to strengthen the organisation’s relations with policy-makers and industry representatives across all EU member states. Establishing stronger relations with national associations, operators and informal cinema networks in Central and Eastern Europe is a key priority, given UNIC’s lack of representation in certain territories and the clout that this region has when influencing EU decisions. This goes hand in hand with the need for even closer collaboration with all film and cinema organisations based in Brussels.

Finally, UNIC on occasion engages with national governments and regulators to ensure that cinemas are placed at the centre of national growth strategies for film. “UNIC has worked with various members to convince national governments that rises in VAT or increased entertainment taxes would only create short-term increases in government returns but in the long term damage the industry as well as the state budget,” Clapp points out. “Given the above, all of UNIC’s efforts in the near future rely on ensuring that the EU continues to enable cinema operators to provide audiences with unparalleled and diverse film-viewing experiences, while at the same time promoting a fair, competitive and culturally diverse cinema ecosystem.”

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