A 4% increase in digital screens brings the European total to 40,000
In Europe forty thousand screens offer digital projection. To be precise, the number comes to 39,888 in the 39 countries, from Iceland to Georgia and from Portugal to Russia, that provided MEDIA Salles with their figures at first of January 2018 - figures comparable to those of the previous year. In twelve months, 1,371 units have been added, for a growth rate of just under 4%. This means that on average almost four projectors daily were installed in 2017. Which markets saw the most significant increases? We can distinguish two types: countries that had yet to complete the process of digitization in 2017 and those where new cinemas are opening, and which are obviously equipping themselves with digital projectors.
To the former group belongs Estonia, where the number of digital screens has grown from 62 to 73, whilst the new technology’s rate of penetration climbs from 71% to 91%, partly due to the closure of some older-generation cinemas. In Serbia, too, a considerable rise in the penetration rate of digital screens has been recorded: from 66% to 76%, thanks to the addition of a further 24 units. Slovenia, progressing from 95 to 111 projectors, has digitized more or less 100% of its screens. As well as these smaller markets, two of the six leading European markets have also taken a further step towards completing their digitization: Spain, with just under 3,500 digital projectors and Italy, with around 3,700, now see the new technology accounting for 97% of the total.
In the second group come territories that have considerably boosted their offer of cinema venues over recent years, although remaining well behind Western European countries in terms of the ratio between inhabitants and screens. We see Russia, which had already digitized all its commercial screens in 2017 and over a twelve-month period added over 400 projectors, totalling 4,786 (more or less one thousand fewer than France, which has only half the number of inhabitants). The situation also regards Turkey, which grows from 2,443 to 2,630 digital screens, basically thanks to new openings, and Ukraine, which added 50 projectors on an equal number of new screens.
Once again this year it is worth noting that the Czech Republic records a markedly lower rate of penetration for the new technology compared to the European average. This is because, as well as commercial cinemas that are now almost all equipped with digital projectors, this market boasts many structures with a socio-cultural vocation, which lack the financial means to make the digital transition and therefore make use of electronic projectors and supports such as DVDs.
Lastly, there proves to be no change in the percentage of 3D on digital screens, which has settled at around 50% for some years now. This confirms that players in the sector consider the approximately 20,000 3D screens sufficient for offering audiences the stereoscopic films annually available on the European market.