Reg. Trib. Milano n. 418 del 02.07.2007 - Direttore responsabile: Elisabetta Brunella

  International Edition No. 117 - year 10 - 15 May 2015
more than 15,000 subscribers


"DigiTraining Plus 2015: What do you do with digital now you've got it?"

Prague and Bratislava, 26 -30 August 2015


Saturday 16 May 2015
on the terrace of the Czech - Slovak Pavilion, Int'l Village



Michael Karagosian,
Founder and President,
MKPE Consulting
Technology: a key factor for the competitiveness of cinemas
While movies drive patrons to cinemas, cinemas have long competed for patrons on the basis of technology. This is particularly true at the time that new technologies are introduced, bearing in mind a long history of innovations that include the introduction of color, wide screens, improved sound, and 3D. But the pace of innovation has multiplied over the past 20 years, and that pace now creates new challenges for cinema operators

Who is who at DigiTraining Plus 2015

Peter Bosma,
Independent Programmer, researcher,
lecturer Film Studies

David Horacek,

General Manager,
Premiere Cinemas Czech

Dave Monk,

Nick Varley,
Managing Director,
Park Circus Limited

Petr Vítek
Director, Pro-DIGI o.s.

Linda Arbanová
Project Manager, Aeroskola

Michael Karagosian
Founder and President,
MKPE Consulting



Towards Gender Equality in Cinema Sector
by Paola Bensi

"It's our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America," said Patricia Arquette, raising the statuette she won on the night of the Oscars for her role in “Boyhood”. Getting to her feet, her colleague, Meryl Streep, applauded loudly.

In this way, the world of the cinema gave exceptional visibility to the need to close the gap between women and men in terms of their rights and roles in society. Yet, the cinema itself is not free from such lack of balance. This is demonstrated in a recent research study by Stephen Follows on the 2,000 top box-office hits in the US over the past 20 years: the percentage of women in leading creative roles has been a clear minority. They have represented only 5% of directors, 11% of writers and 20% of producers.

Figure 1 - Gender split of key creative roles on the 2,000 highest grossing films, 1994-2013

Source: Stephen Follows, Gender in Film Crews Report, 2014

In Europe, too, gender equality has now come to the attention of both professional and institutional circles, as demonstrated by the European Union's foundation in 2013 of the European Institute for Gender Equality.

For years MEDIA Salles has paid close attention to the professional development of women in the cinema sector, particularly in areas such as exhibition and technology, traditionally associated with men. It is no coincidence that since 2006 the MEDIA Salles Newsletter, DGT Online Informer, has devoted a column to "Woman in Digital Cinema" and that, ever since launching the courses for professional players in the cinema industry, has guaranteed equal training opportunities for women.

Proof comes from the data obtained in an analysis of the participants at DigiTraining Plus, which shows a small cross-section of how professions are represented in Europe's exhibition industry (a total of 214 participants were interviewed) in which women are present in almost half of the professions analysed (fig. 2). Although the number of interviewees cannot be considered statistically representative, it is interesting to note that amongst the participants at DigiTraining Plus there are no significant differences between the numbers of men and women covering top managerial roles, whilst the more technical professions tend to be a male prerogative (fig. 3). Research and project management seem to be more typically female areas, like those of general assistant or specialist in digital cinema.

Figure 2 - Division by gender of participants in the course 'DigiTraining Plus' in the 2009 to 2014 period (214 respondents)

Figure 3 - Professions of participants in the 'DigiTraining Plus' course in the 2009 to 2014 period, according to gender (214 respondents)

Note: Top manager = Exhibitor, CEO, cinema manager etc.
Source: Media Salles

The data collected by MEDIA Salles thus seems to give a more encouraging picture of cinema exhibition in Europe than generally emerges for the United States. Other studies carried out in the area of European cinema production confirm that women are better represented in film production than they are in the USA, despite a considerable lack of balance here, too.

A research study carried out by the CNC in 2012 shows, in fact, that in France 21.1% of entrepreneurs in cinema production and 24.4% in audiovisual production were women. In 2014 Nordicom set up a platform for debate on gender equality in the media (films, journalism, publicity and computer games). From data regarding the analysis of 98 Scandinavian-produced films it emerges that 15% of them were directed by a woman. This is certainly not a satisfactory figure yet but one which, if compared to what happens in the other media, nevertheless shows that women enjoy relatively more equality in cinema production.

Figure 4 - Women and men in lead part and key position in Nordic domestic premiere feature films
(data based on 98 domestic features films with cinema release on its domestic market in Denmark, Finland, Norway, Iceland and Sweden in 2012)

Source: NORDICOM, Gender Equality in the Nordic Media. Fact sheet from Nordic Gender & Media Forum 2014.

Thus the fact that the results of the MEDIA Salles analysis give us a glimpse of more promising prospects for the role of women in the sector of cinema exhibition compared to those in audiovisual production, suggests the need for new fields of investigation to be explored. It might be of considerable interest, for example, to find out if, amongst the new scenarios that are taking shape, the digitization of the cinema value chain and removal of the material element in many processes makes for greater female representation: more job opportunities but also more opportunities for covering top-level positions.

Women in Digital Cinema in the MEDIA Salles Newsletter since 2006


This column hosts portraits of cinemas in Europe and the rest of the world which are quite different from one another but have in common the fact that they have all adopted digital projection.

No. of screens
No. of digital screens

by Elisabetta Galeffi

It was 14 December 1922 when the Cinema Odeon opened in Piazza Strozzi in the centre of Florence, just a few steps away from Brunelleschi's great Dome and the fashionable literary cafés of Piazza Repubblica.

Acting as a theatre or cinema, according to need, it housed a large stage onto which the cinema screen could be lowered; the seating, for 1,200, was divided between the stalls arranged in a large, ellipsoid ground plan and a gallery with an elegant staircase leading up to it. The furnishings and interior architecture were faithful to the tradition of Florence the capital.

In the ‘30s the first American film with sound was screened, The Singing Fool, while in 1934 the theatre welcomed screaming football fans for the world cup match between Italy and England and then for the tragic match between Primo Carnera and Max Baer.

Today the Odeon has transformed itself into a cultural association, choosing to screen quality films mainly in their original language, with Italian subtitles. In addition, thanks to modern, digital technology and satellite distribution systems, it has the merit of screening in Florence documentaries and films from far-off countries, which do not use the classical distribution channels.

“In Florence there are twenty American universities, as well as foreign schools;” this is how Signora Germani, owner of the venue, explains these choices. “We started screening films in their original language, especially in English, around twenty years ago. At the beginning it was for one or two days a week, then we realized it was a good idea: the Florentines, too, come to see the subtitled films and we have fewer constraints on movies' run.”

“The Odeon uses a multiprogramming approach; today, for example, the newly released Turner is being screened at 5.30 p.m. and at 8.30 p.m. a historical Scorsese. We also have a programme of theatre performances,” she continues, “and the special events, such as the series of classical films linked to the programming of the Palazzo Strozzi museum: Kubrick's Spartacus, Pasolini's Medea... following a route starting out from the exhibition Power and Pathos - Bronzes of the Hellenistic Age at the Strozzi Museum.”

“Cinema is doing very well and digital has made it possible to cut production and distribution costs drastically but it isn't easy to keep a theatre open today. Exhibition costs have not gone down;” stresses Signora Germani, “there is such a vast offer of means to see a movie today that you can watch it lying on your sofa at home with a remote control device and a subscription to a film channel, without even having to make the effort to go out and pay for a ticket.”

In Signora Germani's opinion the future of cinema theatres lies in transforming them into a cultural circuit, as she has done with the Odeon.

A cultural circuit with a place where you can also have a chat, a drink and something to eat. Inside the Odeon there is a pleasant café-brasserie, open from morning until late at night - a sophisticated meeting place right in the centre of Florence.

The sofa at home can't compete with all this.

(Per leggere il testo in italiano cliccare qui)


European digital rollout nears completion
by Elisabetta Brunella

During 2014, European digital screens continued to increase: whilst there were 33,915 at the beginning of the year, or 84% of total screens, twelve months later they were touching on 34,000 units (33,881) with a penetration rate of 91%.
Amongst the main factors to affect this phenomenon is the acceleration in conversion in some countries where digitization had remained below the average for the Continent. This is the case on a large market such as Italy, where at the start of 2014 digital screens accounted for 76%; here around 600 new digital projectors were added over the last 12 months. In the same way, Spain, which started 2014 with 70% digital screens, installed around 300 units, whilst, on the other hand, witnessing a reduction in the total number of venues and screens.
The increases recorded in Turkey are also considerable, with around 200 new digital projectors and a penetration rate rising from 51% to a little under 60%, and on smaller markets, such as Estonia, where the number of digital screens rose from 29 to 38, and Serbia, where they increased from 27 to 43.

All in all, the efforts of European cinemas to achieve technological updating seem to be making progress, though in a context where, as emerges from the data on admissions 2014, many countries record decreases in admissions, a situation that is a cause of concern to exhibitors, particularly in view of the investments that will be needed to keep up with technological innovation or to replace projectors nearing obsolescence.

Number of digital screens and 3D screens by country as at 1st January 2015 (overview)

© copyright MEDIA Salles

  Note: the figures in italics are estimate



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Venice, Italy - August 31 > September 7 2015

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