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

International Edition No. 81 - year 7 - 16 May 2012


Dear readers,

once again this year MEDIA Salles will be attending the Cannes Festival.

In particular, I take pleasure in announcing the event BITS & BYTES OF MEDIA TRAINING, organized by the MEDIA Desk Italia and Antenna MEDIA Torino, with the collaboration of the Istituto Luce.
On this occasion MEDIA will present the new edition of the course “DigiTraining Plus: European Cinemas Experiencing New Technologies”, to be held in Amsterdam from 29 August to 2 September 2012, at the spectacular and brand new headquarters of the EYE Film Institute Netherlands.
According to its consolidated tradition, the course will offer participants an international dimension, a productive and stimulating exchange of ideas and experiences and the chance of building relations through comparison and discussion. The lectures and talks by experts will, in fact, be accompanied by group work, in which theory and practice come together to make the learning process even more effective. Not to mention the visits to avant-garde locations, such as the prestigious Sound and Vision Institute in Hilversum and the fascinating and modern Art Cinema Oostereiland in Hoorn.
I hope to meet many of you Cannes and … in Amsterdam!

Luigi Grispello
President of MEDIA Salles
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In the 31 countries where initial – not yet final – figures are available on cinema-going in 2011, from Russia to Portugal and from Ireland to Turkey, admissions prove to be slightly down after two record years: audiences stand at 1,191.3 million, compared to 1,195.9 million in 2010, with a 0.4% dip.
The 17 countries of Western Europe in particular total 897.3 milion spectators, only a modest difference (-0.1%) compared to 2010, when 898.3 million tickets were sold: the situation can be described as basically stable.
Central-Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean Rim, where the MEDIA Salles analysis covered 14 countries, register a more visible drop: 294.0 million spectators in 2011 compared to 297.6 million in 2010 (-1.2%).
If the overall figures show substantial stability in cinema-going in Europe as a whole, from the market analysis widely varying situations emerge.

The six leading markets
The fact that trends in admissions to the big screen in 2011 vary widely can be clearly seen by analyzing the six leading countries, accounting for about 74% of European audiences.
France continues to grow, consolidating its position as Europe’s leading cinema market and recording 215.6 million admissions (+4.2%). Also growing are the United Kingdom (with 171.6 million, +1.4%) and Germany (129.6 million, +2.3%). Italy, instead, is marked by a minus sign, recording a variation estimated at around -8% following the extraordinary development in 2010, as are Spain, which continues on a negative path that has lasted for some years now, receding well behind the 100-million threshold (95.6 million) with a -5.9% dip compared to 2010, and Russia, with 161.5 million in 2011 as against 166.0 million in 2010 (around -3%).
On other Western-European markets, too, contradictory trends are recorded : whilst Switzerland (+0.9%) and Ireland (-0.8%) remain basically stable, Greece (-7%), Finland (-6.1%), Portugal (-5.2%), Denmark (-4.3%) and Austria (-3%) all lose audiences.
Amongst those countries that experience growth, the record goes to the Netherlands (+8.0%). Luxembourg (+5.4%) and Belgium (+2%) and, amongst the northern countries, Sweden (+3.7%) and Norway (+5.8%) also do well.

Central-Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean Rim
The general tendency is more negative compared to Western Europe (-1.2% compared to 2010), and these countries, too, experience trends that are anything but homogeneous.
Extremely high growth rates are recorded in Bulgaria (+18.7%), Lithuania (+17.7%), Estonia (+15.9%) and Romania (+15.2%). More moderate increases are to be seen for Cyprus (+2.5%), Poland (+3.2%), Turkey (+1.8%) and Slovenia (+0.7%).
On the other hand, there are countries experiencing considerable drops, such as the Czech Republic (-20.3%) and the Republic of Slovakia (-10.6%).
A slighter dip is recorded, instead, in Croatia (-2%), Hungary (-4%) and Latvia (-2.1%).

The cinema confirms its role as popular entertainment
In the Eurozone, average ticket prices are basically stable or even dropping, after a couple of years during which the effect of 3D made itself felt, encouraging higher prices. As examples, there are increases of 2.5% in Portugal, 1.7% in Germany, 1.3% in the Netherlands, 1.1% in Spain, 0.7% in Austria, 0.6% in Greece.
In some countries the average price falls, for example in Italy (around -0.6%) and Ireland
(-3.1%). Finland reveals a counter-tendency with an increase of 5.6%.

Over 50% of European screens are now digital
In 2011 Europe’s digital screens continue to grow in number and are estimated to be around 18,500 at 1 January 2012, experiencing a 79% rise compared to 1 January 2011, when there were 10,335.
Now that over 50% of total screens have switched to the new technologies, Europe has reached “tipping point”, the watershed in the process of digitalization.
On examining the total numbers of the new 2D digital projectors, compared to those equipped for 3D, a novelty emerges, which characterizes 2011 compared to the previous year: 3D no longer represents the main engine of growth. It has in fact made way for the all-digital process launched by the big circuits.
2012 thus opens with a crucial question for the future of Europe’s cinemas as a whole, including those that have not yet shifted to digital: will the economic models that have allowed digitalization of the large circuits be capable of working for the smaller theatres and independent exhibitors, too?

Elisabetta Brunella
Secretary General of MEDIA Salles

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Click here to see the analytical tables on cinema-going in 2011

MEDIA Salles at the 65th Cannes Film Festival
Bits & Bytes of MEDIA Training
Sunday 20 May, 4 p.m.
Click here for more information

The ninth edition of the
“DigiTraining Plus:
European Cinemas
Experiencing New Technologies”
course will take place

in Amsterdam

from 29 August to 2 September 2012
Deadline for registration: 28 May 2012

Further information is published on our website,
at the page dedicated to the course:

Programme (provisional) 

Focus on the Speakers

Mads Egmont Christensen

(click the photo to read the biography)
Michael Karagosian
MKPE Founder and President

(click the photo to read the biography)
Ron Sterk
Managing director NVB

(click the photo to read the biography)
Sandra den Hamer
CEO - EYE Film Institute

(click the photo to read the biography)

Venues and visits

The EYE Film Institute Netherlands

(click the photo to read more)

The Cinema Oostereiland, Hoorn

(click the photo to read more)

The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, Hilversum

(click the photo to read more)




Digitalisation in Europe

Focus on Norway

Can digitalisation make an impact on admissions?

11,650,000 spectators were admitted to Norwegian cinemas in 2011, with a 5.7% increase over the previous year.Domestic productions covered 24.5% of the market, selling 2,855,000 tickets.A record figure, considering that we have to think back to the 3.8 million of 1975 to better it.
It is in fact the success of Norwegian film production, which brought 40 new titles into the theatres – constituting another record -one of the reasons for the increase in admissions.Yet -according to Brigitte Langballe, head of communications for Film & Kino – the other important element is the complete digitalization of cinemas: “digital projection has, in fact, allowed small- and medium-sized theatres to improve their offer and programme more titles.”
In 2011 Norway had already become the first all-digital country in the world and now counts 188 venues and 425 screens equipped with the new projection technology.
The engine of transition was the intervention promoted by Film & Kino, which allocated to this project important resources deriving from the levy on the cinema sector and negotiated a VPF with the majors and the Norwegian distributors.This allowed Norway’s cinemas – almost all of which are managed by the Municipalities – to make a sustainable investment to take part in a VPF scheme including all types of cinemas.
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Interview with Jorgen Stensland (Film&Kino)

Norway was the first country in the world to digitalize all its movie theatres in 2011. We discuss this with Jorgen Stensland from Film & Kino, the organization that was the engine of the conversion and came up with a special version of VPF combining public financing and private investments.

One of the risks of digitalization is a drop in the number of cinemas, since some may be unable to afford the costs.What has happened in Norway?

The number of cinemas has stayed more or less the same as it was before digitalization. Some cinemas have closed and some new cinemas, and above all new screens, have been planned.

We are probably talking of around 30 new screens in just a few years.

What have been the effects on audiences of introducing the new projection technologies?

There has been considerable growth in the number of spectators in small cinemas. The smallest theatres saw a 50% increase in admissions between 2010 and 2011. The category right after this experienced 30% growth.Larger cinemas have not recorded any increase: they already have the content they’re looking for.

(Click here to read the whole article)

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Focus on Poland

Polish exhibitors exchange views on digitalisation: Eurocinema Expo 2012

With a total of around 300 participants, the second Eurocinema Expo conference was held on 22 and 23 February in Cracow – a forum devoted to digitalization, arising out of collaboration between Apollo Film and 4D Media Relations and patronised by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and by the Malopolska Region.

The main topics of debate, as well as the situation of digitalization in Poland and Europe, included an analysis of the new opportunities for cinemas to make earnings – for example through digital advertising and catering – and the search for public funding.Alongside all this, there was also a highly successful training course for projectionists, with 85 enrolments.

On the first day, 22 February, a considerable part of the conference was devoted to statistics on the digitalization of cinema in Poland and in Europe. In this phase, following the talk by Milosz Jaszczur, founder of the portal, on digital theatres in Poland, came the presentation by Elisabetta Brunella, Secretary General of MEDIA Salles, offering a general overview of the state of digitalization in Europe, which has now reached its tipping point, and a picture of future prospects.

On the second day of the conference, after a session devoted more specifically to technical issues, the topic dealt with was that of financing digitalization, with a talk on the situation in Poland given by Renata Anna Sienkiewicz and Pawlowska-Pyra (Polish Film Institute).

The MEDIA Salles presentation
For a complete account of the2012 edition, click here

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Digital cinema in Poland:
is a portal dedicated to people owning cinemas, community centers and other institutions involved in cinema, both public and private. The portal includes news on all fields related to the functioning of modern cinema, e.g. information on how to transform your analogue cinema into a digital center of culture and entertainment.
The key subjects are also such issues as: acquiring public and private funds, optimal use of the potential of Digital Cinema, cinema promotion, or increasing the cinema's income through digital advertising. These topics are regularly accompanied by valuable examples, interviews and experts' advice. Furthermore, the portal systematically updates useful legal information, lists of events, B2B platforms and information on distributors (not only for movies, but for alternative content as well).

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Facts and opinions on digital cinema

Despite more titles 3D revenues fall in 2011
by Charlotte Jones

In 2011, there was a 66 percent increase in the number of 3D titles that were brought to the box office in North America.  

But this did not translate to higher revenues for studios as 3D box office revenues fell 9.3 percent lower than what was registered in 2010. A total of $1.94 billion in revenue was recorded in 2011, compared to $2.14 billion the year before.  

Moreover, 3D also represented a lower concentration of total box office spending in cinemas down to 19 percent compared with 20.6 percent in 2010. Much of the decline stems from a continued weakening in the average 3D revenue split per title which slipped to 56.0 percent in 2011 down from 66.5 percent in 2010 and further from 71 percent in 2009. That is symptomatic of 3D not fully resonating with audiences for certain movies.  

On the flip side, 3D in 2011 had notable bright spots with one quarter of titles finishing with a 3D box office split of 75 percent or higher, in fact, twice as many movies as in 2010.  

In 2011, the biggest titles to get the 3D treatment included “Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two” both of which finished as the top two performers overall in both 3D and total box office revenue.  

The Top 10 3D titles in 2011 accounted for 57 percent of North American 3D box office revenues, a shift from 74 percent in 2010. This was the result of 3D screen capacity being stretched across a wider range of titles and genres.  

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Detlef Rossmann: “I’m afraid small cinemas won’t be able to make it”

The President of the International Confederation of Arthouse Cinemas (Cicae) sketches a picture of arthouse exhibition in Europe.In particular he complains of the many inequalities in national aid and Europe’s adoption of the DCI specifications, which are too expensive for small cinemas.

Ecran Total: You have been President of the Cicae since 2007. Where is your work as an exhibitor located?

Detlef Rossmann: I’m an exhibitor in Oldenburg, a German town with a population of 160,000. I have a cinema with three screens, the Casablanca, which offers arthouse programming. I’m also Vice President of the German Association of arthouse exhibitors.

E. T.: What is the Cicae’s vocation?

D. R. : The Cicae has been in existence since 1956 and unites the European arthouse cinema federations through an initiative of the German (AG Kino), French (Afcae), Italian (Fice, Swiss (SSV-Asca) and Dutch associations.

Cicae unites 3,000 screens by making use of national associations in France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Switzerland and Venezuela and by means of around twenty festivals, also including a few dozen independent cinemas in around twenty countries.The Cicae’s aim is to gain increasing acknowledgement of the arthouse sector by the general public, to find support in national and European political instances – MEDIA in particular – and to contribute to cultural diversity. In order to achieve greater visibility, we have an office in Paris, where our General Delegate Markéta Hodouskova works.

(Click here to read the whole article)

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Renata Pawlowska-Pyra - Polish Film Institute

My cinema adventure started in Slupsk, my family town, in Poland. There I finished high school, where for 4 years we had special classes in the history of cinema, theatre and fine arts. At the beginning of my university studies, I reopened a cinema club in Szczecin with my friends and started off a cinema festival. I graduated in law at the University of Szczecin in 2004; my master's thesis regarded the cinematography sector in Poland.

In the years 2004-2005, I acted as coordinator of the Art-house Cinemas Network. For many years, I was involved in cinema distribution, first as a distribution specialist, then as director of marketing and promotions working for SPI International Poland. I am a vice President of the Art-house Cinemas Association and cinema consultant for the MEDIA Programme, Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and National Film Archive.

Since 2009, in the Polish Film Institute I have been involved in the transition of cinemas to digital screening technology as well as in the digitalisation of audiovisual materials. Cinemas are at the point when the choice is to go digital or to close. Yet the costs of digital equipment are sometimes out of reach for most exhibitors. I am glad that the PFI started its grant programme last year.The number of digital, non-multiplex, screens is on the increase. And new ones will be going digital in the coming months. But... digitisation changes a lot. The method of programming has changed in digital cinemas. New possibilities, new advantages, but also disadvantages have come with it. Most cinemas have access to premiere films, which was impossible in the past. With new content available comes the question about the function of the cinema as a movie theatre or multi-art- house. I am absolutely open to new solutions, new ideas for cinema. I am keen on new technologies and possibilities on the screen. I am curious where we’ll be in 5-10 years. 3D without glasses? With intelligent cinema screens and seats?

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All different, all digital
by Elisabetta Galeffi

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.





Number of digital



No. of
3D screens










Cinema Vernissage – Zermatt (CH)

Is this where the party is? Precisely. Cinema, restaurant and art gallery, the Vernissage in Zermatt is a superbly elegant cinema with many attractive offers. With the excuse of going to see a film, a whole “evening out” can be organized. A very good idea when your legs are too tired, after long ski-runs down the slopes of the Cervino or Matterhorn, whichever you wish to call it, to carry you round the lively places in the Swiss skiing resort. Here cars are banned!

The cinema ticket includes a visit to the contemporary and modern art exhibitions in the large gallery, the Kunstraume, which covers the lower floor of the cinema. A plain wooden floor like those in the traditional mountain baita (shelters), cast iron for the pillars and staircases, minimalist-chic is the mark of the design in this large venue occupying three floors in Hofmattstrasse, 4. But the cinema auditorium is definitely the coolest place:the sumptuous, semi-mobile chandeliers by Heinz Jule, which disappear when the screening begins, reappear at the interval when, comfortably settled in super-chic armchair seats, there is the chance to enjoy a tapas supper and sip a glass of champagne before the second half.In addition there is the exclusive Cine-dinner offer: for 65 Swiss francs it is possible to buy a ticket for the second screening, which begins at 8.30 p.m. here, that includes a three-course dinner to be enjoyed directly in the auditorium.

There is an obvious implicit message:more than in the past, the cinema is now a place where a film can be seen in company and perhaps, under the spell of such an enjoyable atmosphere, instead of getting up immediately at the end of the screening, there is the chance to stay on and exchange ideas or listen to music.

At the Vernissage cinema there is no hurry to empty the auditorium:at the most there are two screenings a day, even though all the season’s blockbusters can be seen.And always in their original language with subtitles.

But apart from the latest releases, such as “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” or the 3D version of “Hugo Cabret”, what can always be found at the Vernissage at least once a week are screenings of two real rarities not to be missed on any account: two full-length feature films from the ‘50s shot in super 8 by director August Julien, telling the story of Zermatt and the intrepid heroes who have challenged the peaks of the Cervino/Matterhorn.

“Menschen am Matterhorn” shows us images from the past 50 years of life in Zermatt; “Whymper’s Weg aufs Matterhorn” is the story of the English mountaineer, Edward Whymper, who was the first to conquer the summit of the Cervino/Matterhorn in far-off 1865, losing four of his team in the feat.

The mountain, with its peak soaring against the sky, also casts its spell on the black-and-white images of these old films. A powerful spell, well known to those who cannot resist the temptation to whirl around it on skis every year.

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News on digitalisation worldwide
By Francesca Mesiano


CESARE DEVE MORIRE (Caesar Must Die) available in digital format for international distribution
The enormous success of the Taviani brothers’ Cesare deve morire (Caesar Must Die), in Italian cinemas since 2 March 2012 in DCP format, continues.

Following the Golden Bear award, won at the 62nd Berlinale, the Taviani brothers have triumphed at the Davide di Donatello awards in Italy, winning five prizes, including those for best film and best directors. As well as the prizes and the acclaim, the film has also been a great success in terms of foreign sales.Agreements have been reached with France, Spain, Benelux, Brasil, Israel, Australia, Denmark, Norway and Finland, as well as Slovenia, Albania, Bosnia, Serbia, Macedonia, Iran, Greece and even Taiwan. Sales negotiations are also underway with the UK, Japan and the United States.
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According to Aurelio De Laurentiis the digitalisation of the entire cinema chain will take place very rapidly

In a declaration to DGT online informer, De Laurentiis said that he is certain that the conversion of cinemas to digital would take place very rapidly and that digitalisation will affect the whole of the cinema chain.

The Neapolitan producer Aurelio De Laurentis, owner of Filmauro, received the prestigious "Career Recognition Award" during the 5th UK - ITALY Business Awards (UKTI) from Vic Annells, Consul General of Her Britannic Majesty in Milan and Director General for Commerce and Investments, and from Lord Stephen Green of Hurstpierpoint, Minister of Commerce and Investments.

The award was presented on 18 January.The motives included recognition of De Laurentiis’ strong commitment to the cinema industry through Filmauro, as well as the sporting successes of SSC Napoli.

These awards are presented annually by UK Trade & Investment, the British Government Agency which has its headquarters at the Consulates, Embassies and the British High Commission. They formally acknowledge Italian excellence in industry and culture, by conferring prizes on those who have chosen the United Kingdom in their international development strategy.
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UCI Cinemas and CinemAmico
At the beginning of 2012, UCI Italy completed its digitalization of the over 400 screens belonging to the circuit.

Amongst the opportunities opened up by the adoption of the new technology is the initiative CinemAmico by Moviereading, an app that makes it possible to visualize the subtitles of a film on a mobile phone or tablet, choosing from amongst several options: subtitles for the deaf but also subtitles in other languages for foreign users, as well as audio descriptions.

Spectators who possess the application can purchase the subtitles and by showing an electronic receipt at the box office, obtain their tickets at a discount.
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The Space Extra
Digital technology provides cinemas with many solutions for offering their audiences alternative and varied content, increasingly transforming the cinema-going experience into something more than the simple “viewing” of a film.
One example, in Italy, is the offer of The Space called “The Space Extra”, an initiative based on alternative content which was launched on 16 April with theatrical screenings on Biagio Antonacci’s concert circuit.

Following past experiments, such as Francesco Renga’s live concert, the chain is now concentrating on regular programming with a schedule combininga series consisting of complementary content, from opera, with “Opera on-ice” at the Arena of Verona and “Madame Butterfly in 3D”, to documentaries such as “If a tree falls”, by M. Curry e S. Cullman, nominated for the best documentary award at the 2012 Oscars, right up to football matches, such as the final of Coppa Italia between Juventus and Napoli to be screened on 20 May.

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Italy: Microcinema with Arts Alliance Media sign a VPF 2.0 agreement
Microcinema and Arts Alliance Media have signed a VPF agreement based on a new model, the so-called VPF 2.0, characterized by the fact that it comes into operation immediately without requiring adherence by a minimum number of cinemas. It also allows cinemas to recover up to 64,000 euros of their investment with up to 9 years amortization and with technological systems under guarantee for up to 10 years with no obligation as to tenure or number of digital copies.
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USA: The end of 35mm film draws near
In his talk at CinemaCon, John Fithian, President and CEO of the U.S. National Association of Theatre Owners declared that 20th Century Fox, leader of the majors, foresees halting the supply of films in 35mm format within one year or at the most two.
In December 2011, Fox had already sent out a letter to exhibitors with this announcement and as from 1 January 2012 has implemented the decision in Hong Kong.
Fithian thus emphasized the importance for theatres of increasing their efforts to complete the digital conversion.
In the United States one third of the 27,000 screens still has to change over to the new technology.

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Sony Digital Cinema launches the “Content Exchange” platform
Presented at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas at CinemaCon 2012, the “Content Exchange” project intends offering exhibitors the chance of obtaining a repertory of independent alternative content “on request”.
“Content Exchange Platform” will thus allow cinema managers to schedule the content regularly, choosing between different programming alternatives and, at the same time, managing aspects linked to legal rights.
The project, which is still in its trial phase, aims to involve the owners of content and cinema exhibitors throughout the world.
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Singapore: the Golden Village Katong is fully digital
Using Barco projectors, Singapore’s main exhibition company, Golden Village Multiplex, has digitalized the 8 theatres in its new multiplex, the Golden Village Katong, situated in the shopping mall of the same name.
This is the tenth multiplex in the Golden Village and the first to be fully digital.

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Digitalisation in Latin America: Cinemais in Brazil
In January Cinevise and Arts Alliance Media announced an agreement on digital cinema in Latin America. The first exhibition company to benefit from the services – digital equipment and systems by Theatre Management – will be Cinemais, a chain managing a total of 67 cinemas in 11 cities in Brazil, which at present counts 24 digital screens in 12 locations. The Cinevise offer includes the monitoring of Cinemais’ present and future digital screens as well as support and maintenance services.
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MEDIA Salles’ contacts and address

MEDIA Salles
Piazza Luigi di Savoia, 24 – 20124 Milano - Italy
Tel.: +39.02.6739781 – Fax: +39.02.6690410