Acceleration in the increase of Europe’s digital screens:
they now number 2,602, with a 70% rise in the first six months of 2009



Europe’s digital screens are continuing to increase in number, in fact they are accelerating: the survey carried out every six months by MEDIA Salles shows that as at 30 June 2009 the number of digital projectors fitted with DLP Cinema or 4K technology had risen to 2,602, with a growth rate of 70% compared to 1st January of the same year. A decidedly significant increase when considering that in the first six month of 2009 alone, the growth rate for the whole of 2008 (+71%) was almost equalled. In absolute terms this year digital systems have been installed at a rate of almost 180 a month, whilst in 2008 the corresponding figure was a little over 50. The number of screens fitted with digital projection technology has thus grown to around 7.5% of total screen numbers in Europe – Russia included.
The spread of digital projectors throughout Europe does, however, remain patchy, confirming once again that in all aspects of their cinema industries – infrastructures and cinema-going styles – each European market has its own characteristics.

Widespread growth but at different rates
Compared to the growth rate in the first half of 2009 – 70% as has already been said – clear differences are to be seen. Croatia, Estonia, Slovenia, Malta, Iceland and Latvia remain immobile, whilst Luxemburg (+5%), Bulgaria (+12%), Belgium (+16%), Portugal (+16%), Norway (+21%) and Ireland (+24%) stop well below the average, as does one of the biggest markets on the continent in terms of admissions, Germany, which sees an increase of 28% in its digital equipment.
Slightly below or above average come the Netherlands (+38%), another of the major European markets, i.e. the United Kingdom (+43%), as well as Switzerland (+46%), Denmark (+50%), Austria (+52%), Poland (+55%), Turkey (+65%), Romania (+71%), Russia (+ 79%) and Greece (+88%). A leap forward is to be seen instead on three of the largest markets in terms of audiences: Italy (+129%), France (+136%), Spain (+224%) and smaller countries such as Finland (+125%), Sweden (+150%), Hungary (+186%) and the surprising Czech Republic (+1,150%) which has grown from 2 to 25 digital screens in just six months.

The incidence of digital in screens as a whole is also patchy
There are also quite distinct differences regarding the degree to which digital technology has penetrated each country’s overall number of cinemas. At the head of the list comes Luxemburg where as many as 85% of cinemas have adopted the new technology. Compared to the European average of 7.5%, large differences are to be seen in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria and Romania, countries where digital records an incidence slightly above or below 20%. Iceland and Norway stand at around 15%, whilst the United Kingdom is at around 12%, France around 11% and Portugal and Russia around 9%. Finland, Poland, Slovenia and Switzerland are in line with the average for the continent. Amongst the territories coming below this average are Italy (5%), Spain and Germany (4%).

Growth is affected by 3D but not only
The engine of growth in this acceleration, which took place in the first half of 2009, is certainly 3D cinema: the American industry has substantially respected the calendar of releases announced, audiences have proved receptive and willing to pay more for a ticket to take advantage of the novelty, exhibitors have decided to invest in the technology that enables them to offer the new type of product. The incidence of screens equipped with a 3D system with respect to the overall number of digital screens has risen more or less everywhere to reach 55% in Europe overall.
Alongside this phenomenon, however, comes the launch or continuation of conversions to digital in whole chains and – often - whole complexes (this is the case of the CGR in France), or the appearance of digital on markets that have been totally lacking in this technology up to the present.
In the first half of 2009 the “new enrolments” have been Cyprus (1 screen), Lithuania (4), the Serb Republic (2), Slovakia (4). Thus, the total of Europe’s digitalized countries now amounts to 34.