Growing cinema digitization, higher ticket prices and fewer admissions in EU
by Birgit Heidsiek
- MEDIA presents support results and the European Audiovisual Observatory unrolls current figures on the European market
With 180 applications for 279 screens, the MEDIA programme received a huge response to the latest call for digitization support. A total of €4 million was granted to 200 screens in 15 European countries - 130 exhibitors received €20,000 per screen, so that they can cover additional costs arising from the digital conversion.
According to the European Audiovisual Observatory, three-quarters of all European cinemas are already equipped with digital projection systems. At the end of 2012 there were 21,693 digital screens in the European Union, which marks a growth of 36% compared with 2011. While the cinemas in countries such as Luxembourg, Austria, Belgium and Finland are almost entirely digitized, fewer than 25% of theatres in Lithuania, Greece and Slovenia have participated in the digital roll out. The level of digitization also varies in the big European film countries - in Great Britain, 93% of all screens are already digital, in France 92%, followed by Germany with 68%, at the end of 2012. In Italy, digitization is at 65% percent and Spain 45%.
The total number of cinema admissions in the EU fell by 2.2%, down to 933.3 million. Although France sold the highest number of tickets in the EU (203.4 million), attendance dropped by 6.3%, while in Germany audiences grew by 4.3%. The biggest increase of viewers was in Finland (19.7%) and Romania (15.4%). The general drop of admissions is not reflected in the gross receipts, which climbed to €6.47 billion, the main reason for which is the higher ticket prices for 3D releases.
All over Europe, the big box office hits were mainly American blockbusters that had a market share of 62.8%. Twenty two films in the Top 25 came from the US, ten of them were sequels such as Ice Age: Continental Drift, The Dark Knight Rises [+see also:
film profile] and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2. Thanks to the James Bond film Skyfall [+see also:
film profile], which attracted 44 million cinemagoers in the EU, the market share for European films went up to 33.6%. Altogether, 313 million Europeans purchased a ticket for a European movie in 2012.
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