Country Focus: Germany
The German arthouse audience is growing older
by Birgit Heidsiek
- Arthouse cinemas in Germany attracted 15.8 million viewers in 2013, which represents 12.2% of the 129.7 million film fans who purchased a cinema ticket last year. Almost half of the arthouse audience consists of cinemagoers over 50 years old. “Their average age is 46.4 years – that is ten years older than the average for the main cinema crowd,” pointed out Frank Völkert, chairman of the FFA, at the Filmkunstmesse in Leipzig, where he presented the annual report on German arthouse cinemas.
But age is an issue that doesn’t only affect the audience in Germany, because a lot of arthouse exhibitors are also already approaching retirement age. “We have to deal with a generation problem,” stated Sigrid Limprecht, a member of the AG Kino – Gilde board. “Various arthouse cinemas in Germany were founded in the 1970s and 1980s, and nowadays they are having trouble finding qualified young exhibitors who will succeed them. As the arthouse exhibitors’ association, we have to kick-start a discussion about this.”
Especially in small villages, it is important to maintain the movie theatres in order to secure the infrastructure so that distributors still have the means to release their films theatrically. “More cinemas mean more revenue,” emphasised Christian Bräuer, chairman of AG Kino – Gilde. “The best economic support is to keep these cinemas.” The AG Kino board members are concerned that the blind spots on the map might become bigger.
In 2013, of the 4,610 screens in Germany, 777 were arthouse screens, which is equivalent to 16.9% of the entire market. Altogether, arthouse cinemas generated €108.3 million in revenues. “At €6.87 per ticket, the average entry for an arthouse cinema is about one euro less expensive than the average cinema ticket in Germany,” concluded Völkert.