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Gli esercenti indipendenti britannici condividono preoccupazioni e speranze di carattere economico in un nuovo sondaggio


- In un rapporto pubblicato dall'Independent Cinema Office, circa la metà degli intervistati ha rivelato di aver operato in perdita nell'anno finanziario in corso

Gli esercenti indipendenti britannici condividono preoccupazioni e speranze di carattere economico in un nuovo sondaggio
(© Chris Payne)

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With the pandemic now behind us, theatrical exhibition has tentatively regained its footing across global territories. Of course, fortunes have differed for multiplexes and chains, buoyed by Barbie, Oppenheimer [+leggi anche:
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and Taylor Swift, compared to independent exhibitors. A report published last week by the Independent Cinema Office, entitled The Financial Health of the Independent Theatrical Exhibition Sector (click here to read it in its entirety), makes this clear for venues in the UK, attesting to where the current economic model for indie cinemas isn’t working, as well as unfortunate local impacts they have less responsibility for.

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The survey itself, undertaken in September with responses gathered from 157 independent cinemas, leads with its most concerning figures: 45% of venues operated at a loss this financial year, with only 10% reporting being confident in their financial position for the following year. 42% of respondents said they feared not being able to operate in a year’s time, should the situation persist. Compared to pre-pandemic years, the difference in admissions is still marked: 76% of respondents reported a reduction in admissions this financial year in relation to “normal” operating years. Overall, admission figures across all UK cinemas in 2023 are 25% lower than in 2019.

Many of these venues, spanning the four nations of the UK and in a variety of regional areas, are reliant on public funding, with their status cited as community hubs and local economic drivers. 50% of the cinemas said they needed further public or governmental financial support to stay afloat. When asked what support would be most useful going forward, the majority of venues (including those in ruder financial health) plumped for further operational grants as well as sales tax (VAT) reduction. All of the ICO’s findings will contribute to a UK parliamentary committee inquiry on the British film and HETV industry later this month.

Whilst bigger chains such as VUE, Odeon and Cineworld have been uplifted by a new range of content produced post-pandemic, and gradually higher returns for adult-aimed, non-franchise films, these figures show, simply and starkly, that independent cinemas are still bearing the brunt of shifts in audience behaviour, increased costs from distributors, and the shrinking of the theatrical window.

Director of the Independent Cinema Office Catharine Des Forges said, “These findings paint a concerning picture and suggest the urgent need for some type of intervention in order to safeguard these cultural and economic assets for local communities across the UK. There are also obvious economic challenges, with reduced availability of public funding, a cost-of-living crisis and a rise in energy prices, all of which have impacted the sector and seen recent closures of key sites. Once closed, cinemas are unlikely to return, given the significant amount of capital needed to restart operations.”

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(Tradotto dall'inglese)

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