“Cinema-going across Europe is thriving,” says UNIC
by Birgit Heidsiek
- The International Union of Cinemas has presented a detailed, positive analysis of the European cinema industry
According to the latest Annual Report of the International Union of Cinemas (UNIC), 2015 was a record year for cinemas across the 36 territories represented by the organisation. Covering a market of 770 million consumers and 35 different languages, cinema admissions increased by 6% and box-office takings by 12.5%. In 2015, cinemas across the UNIC territories accounted for 1.26 billion admissions and box-office revenues of €8.8 billion – 24% of the global theatrical market for films.
"Cinema-going across Europe is thriving,” asserted UNIC president Phil Clapp. “This report celebrates some incredible achievements by industry colleagues and partners during 2015.” In the next few years, it is likely that the ongoing consolidation within the industry will continue, driving further growth and efficiencies across UNIC territories. At the same time, the continued existence of a strong tier of highly successful independent and local cinemas in many territories is complemented by dynamic local film production, ensuring the resilience of the European cinema ecosystem.
Poland has become one of Europe’s leading markets, with more than 40 million admissions in 2015 – an increase of 10.6% compared to the previous year – as well as significant box-office growth of 13.2%. Several other Central and Eastern European countries experienced equally positive market developments, most notably the Czech Republic (box office +14.1%, admissions +11.7%) and Hungary (box office +20.1%, admissions +18.4%). While cinema-going among younger Europeans remains strong – particularly in growing Central and Eastern European territories – the more mature markets of Western Europe are rising to the challenge of building new audiences by experimenting with a range of audience-engagement initiatives at a time when consumers have access to myriad other leisure activities.
Digital cinema has delivered on its promise of fundamentally changing the economics and the operational model of the sector, leading to the establishment of a more diverse cinema “offer” in Europe, which is characterised by greater flexibility in programming and reflective of increasingly fragmented audience tastes. UNIC will continue to monitor these trends and support its members in keeping them up to date with the many exciting developments that influence the cinema business on a daily basis. “Our key objective is to help shape the political and legal framework in Europe such that cinemas of all kinds and sizes will remain able to thrive,” Clapp summed up. “We look forward to working with industry colleagues and European policy makers as UNIC further develops its activities over the coming year.”