European Audiovisual Observatory
Strasbourg / Milano, 12 May 2010
Europe: digital screens more than triple in 2009 with 3D
as the driving force.
Food for thought from the figures on digital
screens as at 31 December 2009
Record growth for Europe’s
digital theatres: according to the statistics provided by MEDIA
Salles the number of screens equipped with DLP Cinema or SXRD
technology at 31 December 2009 came to 4,693 - a 206.9% rise compared
to the previous year. 3D proved to be the key growth driver for
the digitisation of screens as well as for overall box office.
The European Audiovisual Observatory estimates that gross box
office for the European Union increased by 12% year-on-year to
a new record high of EUR 6.27 billion in 2009, largely thanks
to premium prices for 3D screenings.
Currently most digital theatres
are to be found in Western Europe: as many as 3,904 screens, with
a 198.2% increase compared to December 2008. The five leading
markets in Europe in terms of admissions are also those with the
highest number of digital screens: the top market, France, accounts
for 19.3% of the digital total, the United Kingdom 14.2% and Germany
12.6%, followed by Italy with 9.1% and Spain with 5.1%. The remaining
789 digital screens are situated in Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean
Rim, where there has been a considerable shift compared to December
2008 and a higher rate of growth than in Western Europe (+258.6%):
the countries where the greatest development has taken place are
Russia with 352 digital screens (7.5% of Europe’s total),
Poland with 176 screens (3.8%) and Turkey with 62 screens (1.3%).
Compared to the total number of
screens in Europe, at December 2009 digital screens had achieved
a market penetration of about 13%, as against 4.1% the previous
year (table 1). The number of digital sites in Europe at December
2009 was 2,374, with a 191.3% rise over the previous year. The
total market penetration of digital sites amounts to around 16%
as against 5.4% in December 2008. Also on the increase is the
average number of screens in digital sites which has risen in
Europe from the 1.6 screens per site registered in December 2007,
to 2.0 in December 2009.
Table 1: Digital cinema
sites and screens in Europe (as at 31 December)
The average number of digital screens
per cinema varies a good deal in individual European countries.
In December 2009 the highest figures were recorded in Belgium
(5.3 screens per cinema), Luxembourg (4.4), Austria (4.2), France
(3.5) and Portugal (3.4). The leading markets follow at some distance:
United Kingdom (1.9 screens per cinema), Germany (1.8), Italy
(1.5) and Spain (1.3).
Analysing the development of digital screens from a more long-term
perspective, different growth trends are to be seen in European
countries. Countries like the United Kingdom and Germany have
recorded a strong tendency towards growth ever since 2006 and,
after a period of deceleration, started to grow again in 2009.
Other countries have experienced more gradual development followed
by an exceptionally sharp increase over the last few years: since
2008 in the case of France or 2009 in the case of Belgium, Italy,
Austria and Spain. Yet other countries, such as Finland and Portugal,
have concentrated their development in the recent period, with
an annual yearly increase that has been particularly high over
the past three years, amounting to 263.4% for Finland and 230.8%
Table 2: Digital cinema
sites and screens in Europe by country (as at 31 December)
In Europe the development of digital
screens seems to be highly concentrated in terms of exhibition
companies, in view of the fact that, at June 2009, 5% of exhibitors
were responsible for 33.6% of the overall number of digital screens.
The top five players are the French company CGR (with 13.1% of
digital screens), Kinepolis (6.8%), operating in Belgium, France
and Spain; Cineworld Group (5.6%), present in the United Kingdom
and Ireland; Odeon and UCI Cinemas Group (4.8%), operating as
Odeon Cinemas in the United Kingdom, as UCI in Austria, Germany,
Italy and Portugal and as Cinesa in Spain; Cineplexx (3.4%), present
in Austria and in Italy.
The motor for the growth that took
place in 2009 is certainly 3D cinema: as the North American industry
has substantially respected the calendar of releases announced
and audiences have proven receptive and willing to pay a premium
price to take advantage of the novelty, exhibitors have invested
in the technology that enables them to offer this new type of
product. The penetration of screens equipped with 3D technology
with respect to the overall number of digital screens has continued
to increase: it was 54.4% in June 2009 and reached as high as
68.8% in December.
In several countries in Central
and Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean Rim, such as Cyprus,
Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia, Malta, Serbia, Slovenia and Slovakia,
where the numbers of digital cinemas are still modest, 3D screens
represent almost 100% of total digital screens. In fact, the percentage
penetration of 3D digital screens compared to the total number
of digital screens is over 80% in many countries, such as Russia,
Turkey, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy, Hungary, Finland,
the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain and Poland. The percentage
is, however, lower in the United Kingdom, where it amounts to
70.8%, in Germany (62.3%) and in France (52.8%).
- Data on digital screens and cinemas have been collected by MEDIA
- Europe is defined as the 34 countries covered by MEDIA Salles
with regard to digital cinema data.
The European Audiovisual
Observatory, Council of Europe
Set up in December 1992, the European Audiovisual Observatory's
mission is to gather and distribute information on the audiovisual
industry in Europe. The Observatory is a European public service
body comprised of 36 member states and the European Community,
represented by the European Commission. It operates within the
legal framework of the Council of Europe and works alongside a
number of partner and professional organisations from within the
industry and with a network of correspondents. In addition to
contributions to conferences, other major activities are the publication
of a Yearbook, newsletters and reports, the compilation and management
of databases and the provision of information through the Observatory's
Internet site (http://www.obs.coe.int).
The MEDIA Salles project operates within the framework of the
European Union's MEDIA Programme, with the support of the Italian
Government. MEDIA Salles fosters the theatrical distribution of
European films. This aim is pursued both by events involving Europe's
cinema exhibitors and by initiatives to raise the visibility of
European productions with industry players and potential audiences.
Current initiatives from MEDIA Salles dovetail in a programme
with a triple focus - training, promotion and information. Training
initiatives are specifically aimed at exhibitors and include professional
courses on digital cinema. Promotion focuses on creating a launching
pad for European audiovisual products at the most important professional
shows throughout the world and information services include the
European Cinema Yearbook and newsletters on digital cinema.
at the European Audiovisual Observatory:
André Lange (Head of Department, Information on Markets
email@example.com - tel.: +33 (0) 3 90 21 60 00
Contact at MEDIA Salles:
Elisabetta Brunella (Secretary General)
- tel.: +39 02 67 39 7823