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

International Edition No. 157 - year 14 - 26 August 2019

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For some years now MEDIA Salles has been investigating a much discussed area but one whose demand for deeper knowledge remains unsatisfied: that of added content for the big screen. In other words, the role that cinemas can play in spreading the enjoyment of art, culture, sport and live entertainment and making them more popular. In addition to the collection of statistical data, the articles published in the various editions of DiGiTalk and the communications presented during cinema events Europewide, MEDIA Salles has recently launched a new column starting with a glimpse at the Russian market. In this issue the focus has moved to The Netherlands.


It is a well-known fact (acknowledged as a positive development in a traditionally male context) that the 2019 women’s soccer World Cup aroused keen interest at all latitudes and that television channels obtained amazing audiences. Suffice it to remember that in Great Britain 6.1 million spectators watched the game between England and Scotland and as many as 11.7 million the semi-final between England and the USA. To get a better idea of all this, we can consider the fact that no programme in 2019 obtained such success on British TV.
It is less well known that in the Netherlands, ecstatic about the "Orange Lionesses" race to the final, soccer conquered the big screen. Take, for example, the Pathé Spuimarkt, a nine-screen complex at the heart of the Hague: Sunday 7 July, one hour before the key match, there wasn’t a single seat left for the game between Holland and the United States, whilst there were plenty for the films that were to be screened more or less at the same time.
The case of the Netherlands is decidedly interesting, as it is certainly not typical: in general, in the countries for which figures on added content are available, MEDIA Salles has found that sports events are not a widespread "genre" on the big screen. In fact, in some European countries, this sort of screening, which seemed so promising at the very beginning of cinema digitization, is practically non-existent. As regards a highly popular sport like football, what often discourages exhibitors is the high cost of purchasing screening rights, which are so expensive that they are not covered by ticket prices, also obliged to compete with free viewing on the small screen. This - according to some - is why a lot of beer should also be sold: but is this really the sort of viewing we want in cinemas? There is also the factor - pointed out by Italian exhibitors, for example - that the legal framework is out-dated and far from clear, making the organization of this type of screenings particularly complicated.
But returning to the Netherlands: whilst here, too, sport is certainly not the most popular of added content, the screening of the World Cup finals is not an isolated case. As we write, Pathé is offering the twentieth phase of the Tour de France at the cinema, something that doesn’t even happen in France.
This sort of screening is comprised in what Dutch exhibitors - from the big groups such as Pathé, Vue and Kinepolis, to independents like the Plaza Futura in Eindhoven or the Heerenstraat Theater in Wageningen - generally refer to as "specials" or "events". This is a very broad category, including added content in the strict sense (from sports to the arts to culture), but also gaming on the big screen or even films offered according to the event formula on the big screen, for one or two evenings only, or as part of a theme series.
The case of biographies is significant: currently, several cinemas are offering mini-series of biographical documentaries, including, for example, "Veearts Maaike", based on the figure of a young vet, and "Diego Maradona".
There are also special evenings, frequently addressing female audiences (Ladies’ Nights) or combining the screening of a film with dinner, as in the "Viva la Pizza" offer from the Gigant in Apeldoorn (where a screening of "A casa tutti bene" is programmed for the 26 July).
If, on the one hand, the variety of offer is proof of how dynamic the sector is in the Netherlands (where audiences have more than doubled since the ‘Nineties), on the other hand, those who, like us, like to record a clear account of the various phenomena marking cinema-going, can’t help noting some confusion here. So let’s get back to some of the more "traditional" added content, i.e. of a cultural nature, such as the visual arts, ballet, theatre, opera and music in the widest sense of the term. In this field, the Netherlands can boast a leading role: André Rieu, a musician beloved throughout the world, whose performances are broadcast on thousands of screens, attracting record audiences, is in fact Dutch. On Dutch territory alone (17 million inhabitants), the 2019 edition of his famous Maastricht concert from 26 to 27 July, was booked by 110 cinemas.
As regards ballet and opera, performances by the Metropolitan and the Bolshoi are brought to Dutch audiences thanks to Pathé Live, and those of the Royal Opera House thanks to ABC, until now. The latter company, founded in 2004 as a distributor of films, then added a sector devoted to added content, including performances by the Royal Opera House, production from Picturehouse, now Trafalgar, and a selection of the main "exhibition based art films". Alongside those from Exhibition on Screen, Italian productions by Nexo Digital enjoy pride of place, including, in the first ten months of 2019, "The Water Lilies by Monet",
"Tintoretto. A Rebel in Venice", "Klimt & Schiele - Eros and Psyche", "The Prado Museum. A Collection of Wonders" and "Gauguin in Tahiti. Paradise Lost".
Lastly, Dutch screens may well be seeing more of Italy on their screens next winter: the latest news is that A Contracorriente Films has signed an agreement with RaiCom for the distribution in Holland of performances by La Scala, starting, of course, with "Tosca" which will be opening the season as tradition commands on 7 December.

This article was published in Cinema & Video Int'l, issue no. 8-9/2019

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Added content releases in The Netherlands

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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
Supplier of technology

Cinema Mignon - Chiavari
by Claudia Spairani

In Chiavari, Via Martiri della Liberazione is always full of local people and tourists shopping or gazing at the shop windows, whilst enjoying a tasty piece of Ligurian focaccia under the little arcades. When the sun gets lower in the sky towards sunset and the buzz tends to move to the seafront, in the shade of the lane the illuminated sign of the Cinema Mignon stands out - the last remaining movie theatre in Chiavari. In operation since the 1930s, it is somewhere belonging to another age, where the inhabitants of Chiavari go not only to enjoy quality films, but also to exchange a few words with the exhibitor, Massimo Colombi, the life and soul of the place, kept alive by his passion and, in practical terms, by his welcome to spectators at the ticket office. It's not unusual to find him exchanging opinions on the films billed with one of the over two hundred subscribers who use the packets of tickets that can be purchased at a discount (6 entries at 30 euros, instead of 7 for a single ticket - 4 euros on a Monday; in addition, when the subscription is renewed, it brings with it a free entrance); or he may be chatting to one of the members of "Lamaca Gioconda", the Film Club launched in 1996 which regularly organizes mid-week film series here. The Cinema Mignon is actually an art-house cinema which, whilst not disdaining screenings of blockbusters, particularly at weekends, identifies primarily with the film weeks: every week, Massimo proposes thematic screenings such as anime or restored classics, as well as offering his audiences festival films from the Cineteca di Bologna archives or "Great Art at the Cinema" by Nexo Digital.

Despite the atmosphere of old-time cinema at the Cinema Mignon, it cannot be said that modernity fails to find a place here; the auditorium, which seats 224, is air-conditioned and equipped with a digital screen and a NEC projector. The Mignon also has a Facebook page and a website giving the titles of the films being screened. And if anyone finds it hard to keep regularly up to date with the programming, it's possible to subscribe to the newsletter, which will arrive conveniently by email, avoiding the risk of missing an interesting evening!

cinema Mignon

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Elly Nobel
Programmer and coordinator
Filmhuis Wassenaar
The Netherlands

Elly NobelIt is an honor being asked to write a column about my work as a programmer and coordinator at Filmhuis Wassenaar in The Netherlands. The Wassenaar library opened its doors in 2009, being the first to include an in-house cinema.
Our small-scale cinema has room for 69 moviegoers and is operated with the help of a large number of enthusiastic volunteers. Our volunteers help take care of ticket sales and the catering during the intermissions as well as operating the digital film equipment. We started with a 35mm film projector back in 2009, which clearly had its limitations. We switched to digital projection equipment in the second half of 2011, a move that has broadened our prospects significantly.
I have been responsible for our programming since 2017 and am supported by an enthusiastic team of four female volunteers. The type of films we feature varies: mainstream films, art-house, documentaries, operas and films for children. With approximately 16,500 visitors annually Filmhuis Wassenaar has become a well-known local institution.
Today's library is a multi-functional institute which covers reading, learning, art, culture and facilitates the public's engagement with their community. The combination of the Wassenaar Library and the Filmhuis Wassenaar is a powerful one, making it greater than the sum of its parts. It gives us the ability to promote both books and our films by, for example, organizing theme nights or programming the film adaptation of a book while simultaneously bringing the books to the attention of visitors.
We've noticed that our audience, which consists of mostly women, is on average more mature and often has an interest in both art and culture. They have an interest in lifelong development and appreciate having a cinema nearby. Aside from the documentaries and art-house films, giving food for thought and debate, we offer our visitors international exhibitions, opera as well as ballet performed by the best in the business! All of this made possible by going digital.
The personal touch, extra care and attention to our guests are made possible by the small scale of our cinema the Filmhuis Wassenaar, allowing our team to create an intimate warm experience. I believe that a feminine touch really contributes to this. We are able to listen to what our audience wants and offer an almost personalized experience which plays an important role in our success. Recently Filmhuis Wassenaar celebrated its 10th anniversary and I believe that we will be able to continue serving our community for years to come.



MEDIA Salles has recently begun publishing the European Cinema Charts, cartograms and inter-active maps which make it possible to compare indicators internationally, whilst facilitating a view of the relations between different phenomena, as well as making the data more immediately readable.

Added Content: Country Focuses
If you click on the green countries, you will find the "Country focus" drawn up by MEDIA Salles.

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