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Since 1992 MEDIA Salles has been promoting the European cinema and its circulation at theatrical level





Updated figures on cinema-going in 2006 reveal a positive trend: audiences grow by 3.5% in the European Union

Updated information on cinema-going in Europe in 2006 in the MEDIA Salles Newsletter “European Cinema Journal” no. 2/2007 , presented during the Cannes Film Festival on 21 May. At the MEDIA Salles “happy hour”, the traditional gathering for cinema professionals and journalists. The President of the Association, Jens Rykær, commented: “We are happy that 2006 has seen an increase in audiences in European cinemas and that in several countries Europe’s films have obtained significant market shares. These results are a source of satisfaction for MEDIA Salles, which has been committed to raising the visibility of European films and promoting cinema-going in cinemas all over Europe for 15 years, through its information, promotion and training initiatives”.
The trend of cinema-going in 2006 was commented on by Elisabetta Brunella, Secretary General of MEDIA Salles, and Mike Vickers, Treasurer.
Dr Joachim Ph. Wolff, Scientific Consultant for the “European Cinema Yearbook”, explained the analysis, reported in this new issue of the Newsletter, of the reasons for the drop in spectators in 2005, due mainly to the lower appeal of mainstream films.

As regards 2006, the figures relating to screens and admissions in 33 European countries, brought together in the Newsletter, reveal a generally better trend compared to the previous year. This improvement has not, however, regarded all countries.
The statistics elaborated by MEDIA Salles can be analysed in different groupings: EU markets and those, which in many cases obviously coincide with these, of Western Europe on the one hand and Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean Rim on the other.
There follows a summary of the main results of this analysis.

In the 25 countries belonging to the European Union in 2006, audiences have experienced an average growth rate of 3.5%, rising from 893.0 to 924.1.
The 18 countries of Western Europe for which figures are already available show an average increase in ticket sales of around 2.4%. A good sign for the future, though not measuring up to expectations, if we consider that in various countries the first half of the year was characterised by a two-figure increase. But the improvement nevertheless took place: from 862.2 to 882.9 million admissions. Two of the continent’s five big markets were mainly responsible for contributing to this. In first place comes France which, with over 188 million spectators (+7.6% compared to 2005), achieves the second best result since 1984. Next comes Germany which sees an audience growth of 7.4% compared to 2005. However, despite an increase of over 9 million spectators, this market does not succeed in recovering the heavy drop recorded between 2004 and 2005. The total of 136.7 million spectators still remains below the average for the 2000s (over 150 million). Increasing, though only just, is a third large market, Italy, where estimates regarding screens operating at least 60 days a year speak of an average yearly increment of 1.7%, following an initial six months that had recorded a rise of over 10%. Also marked by a plus sign are smaller markets such as Austria (+10.6%), Finland (+10.4%), Switzerland (+9.6%), The Netherlands (+9.1%), Ireland (+8.9%), Belgium (+8.7%), Luxembourg (+8.1%), Norway (+6.2%), Sweden (+4.7%), Denmark (+3.4%) and Greece (+2.4%).
Going against the trend are Liechtenstein, which loses 3.8%, and Portugal (-4.6%). Suffering from a considerable drop in audiences are two of the five big countries: the United Kingdom (-4.9%) and Spain (-4.7%). Whilst the former, although losing almost 8 million tickets, obtains a result in line with those of the first few years of the 2000s, Spain, losing about 6 million spectators, drops to 121.6 million admissions, the lowest result since 1998. For the second consecutive year the number of screens in Spain decreases, too, diminishing by over 200 units over a two-year period. From 1990 to 2004 the number of screens had experienced an uninterrupted run of growth.

In general, the 15 countries of Central-Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean Rim obtain decidedly flattering results, recording admissions increasing by 20.4%. Spectators thus increase from 94.6 to 113.9 million. Here too, however, there is no escape from the general trend, which sees quite different situations in the individual territories. All with above-average growth are both big markets such as Poland (+29.7%), which recovers almost all the spectators lost in 2005, and Turkey (+26.3%), as well as smaller countries such as the Slovak Republic (+55.5%), Estonia (+40.1%), Latvia (+27.5%), Croatia (+22.8%), the Czech Republic (+21.4%) and Slovenia (+9.9%). An exceptional growth is recorded in Lithuania, which more than doubles its spectators (+108.6%). Instead, decreases are recorded in Serbia and Montenegro (-36.7%) and, to a smaller extent, in Malta (-4%), Hungary (-3.8%), Bulgaria (-2.5%), Romania (-1.9%) and Cyprus (-1.1%).

MEDIA Salles, a project operating within the framework of the European Union's MEDIA Programme, with the support of the Italian Government, fosters theatrical distribution of European audiovisual products, both by high profile campaigns involving Europe's cinema exhibitors and by initiatives to raise the visibility of European productions with industry players and potential audiences, creating specialized information channels on a global scale. Thus the current initiatives from MEDIA Salles dovetail in a program with a triple focus – training, promotion and information – and maximum combined effect.

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