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Industry Report: Focus: Asia & Oceania

Renewed optimism for the Russian film industry


- The fast-growing Russian film industry looked like it had hit a bump in first half 2009, as the financial crisis bit and piracy undermined key growth areas. But full-year figures for 2009 and data for first half 2010 show the industry getting back on track.

These are the findings of The Film Industry in the Russian Federation, the latest report commissioned by the European Audiovisual Observatory from leading research company Nevafilm, with contributions from RFilms and Groteck Business Media.

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The report outlines developments in the following areas:Feature production investment showed signs of revival in 2010, with consolidation among major players and restructured state investment, though the TV production sector remained sluggish.

Russian cinema admissions continue to grow (by on average 14% per annum). The continued growth is largely down to the increasing number of 3D films in circulation – 15 in 2009 and around 40 in 2010 - and the growth in the number of digital screens. For the same reasons, local currency box office revenues grew by 13% in 2009, though in dollar terms revenues fell due to rouble devaluation during the crisis.

National market share fell back slightly from 26 to 24% in 2009, but nevertheless remained strong. Popular national titles tended to fare poorly outside Russia, with European audiences preferring arthouse films which went on limited release or even straight to video on the Russian market.

Screen growth slowed significantly in 2009, as the financial crisis hit the property sector. At +5%, figures for first half 2010 remained modest compared to the annual increases registered in the pre-2009 period. 3D was the main motor for growth in digital projection facilities, with 100 new screens added in late 2009 for the launch of Avatar and a further 80 for Shrek Forever After, bringing overall digital penetration of modern screens in Russia to 23% in July 2010.

• Plagued by piracy, the Russian home video sector has traditionally been weak. However a resurgence in sales volume for licensed DVDs in early 2010 would appear to indicate that the slump which had touched the sector in 2009 may now be over.

VoD services have also promised new revenue streams for Russian content providers. After a first wave of services on cable and IPTV networks in 2007-2008, mid-2009 saw the arrival of the first Internet-based services, with numerous new entrants on the market during the second and third quarters 2010. Hampered by a limited content offer the market remains embryonic, while increasing penetration of broadband internet across Russia’s regions has tended to exacerbate the principle challenge: unauthorised file-sharing across peer-to-peer networks.

The Film Industry in the Russian Federation

A report by Nevafilm Research with the collaboration of RFilms and Groteck Business Media.
Published by the European Audiovisual Observatory

This report is an up-dated and expanded edition of a ground-breaking study first published in 2009. It includes a description of the institutional framework of the Russian film industry as well as an overview of its functioning. Separate sections provide detailed analysis of the various branches: film production for cinema and TV, the production services sector, cinema exhibition and theatrical and DVD distribution. It also provides new details of the development of the VoD services sector and Internet-based piracy.

Topics that are brought up-to-date in the 2010 edition of the Russian film industry report include:

• Recent developments in state policy and support for Russian cinematography;
• Structure and market volume of film production for cinema and TV from 2006 to 2009, including analysis of production of TV films and series, feature films and animation films and first results 2010;
• Structure and turnover of the film production facilities sector including service companies, film studios and information on new projects in studio construction;
• Modern cinema exhibition in Russia from 2004 to first half 2010 (cinema sites and theatres in retail and entertainment complexes, multiplexes, digital cinema screens, IMAX theatres, and SimEx 4D);
Theatrical distribution in Russia, market volumes 2004 to 2009;
• Circulation of Russian films in Europe;
The market for licensed video in Russia; market volumes for DVD distribution 2008 to 2009;
Principle players in all branches are listed and described: production for cinema and TV, production facilities, cinema exhibition, film and video distribution, and recent consolidation between players is outlined.

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