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Industry Report: Distribution and Exhibition

At the start of 2013 70% of European screens are digital

- At 1st January 2013, the number of screens equipped with either DLP Cinema™or SXRD™ technology worldwide had totalled more than 90,000 units, increasing by 43% compared to the year before.

At the start of 2013 70% of European screens are digital 

At 1st January 2013, the number of screens equipped with either DLP Cinema™or SXRD™ technology worldwide had totalled more than 90,000 units, increasing by 43% compared to the year before.As the estimated total number of commercial screens in the world is around 120,000, the penetration rate for the new technology has reached 75%.

Of the 90,142 digital screens, 25,255 are located in Europe, which is the second major market, after North America that totals about36,300 units. There follow Asia and Pacific, with approximately 23,150 digital projectors, Latin America, with more than 4,800 and Africa, with just under 700 digital screens.

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During 2012 the European digital base increased by 38%, even though with a slight slowdown in the second semester (+15.5% versus +19.6% from January to June). With regard to the penetration rate, Europe is slightly below the world average. In fact, 70% of its screens have been digitized so far.

Although for several countries only estimates are available, it can already be stated that the European average conceals very different situations, with countries where 35mm has practically disappeared - both from theatres and from distribution - and with markets where the spread of the new technology regards fewer than half of the screens.The advance data already available for the 6 major markets offers a clear proof of this heterogeneous situation.France, for instance, totalling about 5,200 digital screens, records a penetration rate well beyond the European average, i.e. 95%. A similar situation emerges in the United Kingdom, where the digital installations amount to over 3,500 units. There follow, at a quite significant distance, Germany (a little more than 3,000 screens, a 65% penetration rate), Russia (almost2,000 screens - 63%) and Italy (about 2,200 screens - 57%). Finally, Spain shows a much lower penetration rate, i.e. 46% (a little more than 1,800 screens).

It may be interesting to compare this "snapshot" as at 1st January 2013 with the situation analyzed by MEDIA Salles six months earlier.As at 30th June 2012, the penetration rate of digital technology in Europe was 60%. Of the 35 countries analysed by MEDIA Salles, as many as 17 were placed below the European average. Amongst them appeared both small countries, like Malta, with a 16% penetration of digital screens, and some of the leading European markets, such as Spain (43%), Italy (47%) and Germany (54%).Similarly, amongst the countries almost totally digitized were two leaders in terms of cinema-going in Europe such as France (81%) and the United Kingdom (85%), and small-to-medium-sized markets such as Finland (85%), Denmark (88%), Belgium (93%) and the Netherlands (93%), not to speak of countries that are 100% digital, such as Norway and Luxemburg.

The first figures for 2013 also confirm the phenomenon recorded for the first time in 2012, i.e. the lower increase in 3D digital screens compared to 2D, the result of which was to reduce the incidence of 3D.This decrease is particularly marked on those markets that are approaching completion of their transition. This is the case in France, for example, where, at June 2012 3D technology was adopted by 59% of screens as against 70% at June 2011.Similar trends are shown in the Netherlands, dropping from 72% to 51%, in the United Kingdom (from 66% to 50%), in Switzerland (from 76% to 60%), in Sweden (from 87% to 59%) and in Denmark (from 81% to 64%). On observing the trend on markets that are more mature in terms of digitization, it can be estimated that 3D penetration will settle at between 50% and 60%. A significant case is that of Norway, a pioneer country in full digitization, where 3D is installed in 61% of screens.

Cinema admissions in Europe: -2% in 2012In movie theatres in the 35 countries surveyed by MEDIA Salles, from Iceland to Russia, from Portugal to Turkey, admissions in 2012 amounted to 1,190.5 million spectators, with a drop of 2% compared to the 1,214.3 million of 2011. In particular, the 19 countries in Western Europe, dropping from 905.0 million in 2011 to 881.6 in 2012, record a slightly higher decrease than the average for the Continent, a drop of -2.6%. Instead, admissions in the 16 countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean Rim remain more or less stable, totalling 308.9 million spectators in 2012, as against the 309.3 of the previous year (-0.1%).

The six leading markets If the average dip in Europe as a whole stands at -2%, individual countries reveal differing trends, as emerges clearly from an analysis of the six leading markets, which account for 73.4% of European spectators. 2012 closes negatively for France (-5.9%), who does, however remain above the 200 million-spectator mark and confirms her position as the leading European market in terms of tickets sold. More marked decreases are to be seen in Italy - where the initial estimates regarding screens in operation for at least 60 days a year are a little under 99 million spectators (-10.2%) - and in Spain, where almost 7 million spectators are lost compared to 2011 (-7%), confirming a negative downward turn lasting several years now. A very slight dip is recorded in Russia (CIS, not including Ukraine), which shifts from 173.2 million admissions in 2011 to around 171.6million in 2012, with a drop of -0.9%. An opposite trend on the large Western European markets is to be found in Germany who, with 135.1 million spectators compared to the 129.6 of 2011, records a +4.2% increase and, to a lesser extent, the United Kingdom - the Continent's second largest market - which totals 172.5 million tickets in 2012 as against the 171.6 of the previous year (+0.5%).

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