What are the trends for cinema around the world ? Societal evolutions, economical fluctuations, emergence of cultural goods and rival media such as television or video, new practices related to digital technologies: the film industry does not differ from other sectors on the opportunities and cultural difficulties of the years 2000 - 2010. However, the responses offered are distinct (support and control from public institutions, nature of artworks created and distributed, public expectations). A quick overview of what happens around the world, based on studies conducted by the CNC, such as their latest international report released in January 2012.
Attendance and revenues: a lukewarm result
Globally, we can highlight an average decrease of 4.9% of the revenues in the first half of 2011 (while in France there is an increase of 4.2% over the year 2011 – the fall of 6.2% in the first half of 2011 offset by an increase of 14.8% in the second half). Remain significant variations between countries with strong declines in the Czech Republic (-30.6%), Japan (-16.8%), New Zealand (-13%) or North America (-8%). In Europe, if Germany and the Netherlands saw their revenues increase, Italy (-10%) and Spain (-5%) experienced effective reductions, as the United Kingdom to a lesser extent. China climbs to the top of the list with a growth of 23.9% of its cinema revenues. In South America, the trend is also increasing due to the growth in attendance, which, associated with the increase of ticket prices, generated more revenue. (Screen Digest, September 2011)
Films released in new formats (e.g. 3D or Imax) contribute more effectively to revenues – as the places are sold at a higher price, even if it does not imply an actual growth in the effective number of admissions. Indeed, if there is a general increase in the number of films available in 3D in most countries, the market share of these films is not always rising : in Germany, their market share has decreased by 1.9% in the first half of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010.
The evolution of the number of admissions remains heterogeneous around the world. In Germany, the number of admissions increased by 2.2%, despite a decrease in the number of cinemas, with a number of seats for the first time under 800,000 since 1998. On the contrary, Denmark shows a fall of 6% of the number of admissions, as well as Spain, where the decline reaches 4.3%. In South Korea, attendance and revenues know a decline of 2%. In general, the emergence of alternative devices and the diversification of cultural practices have affected the film industry. In Italy, a study found that while 27 million spectators have gone at least once in the cinema in 2010, nearly 48% of the population aged over 15 have deserted cinemas, for 5 years for 56% of them. The films, however, appear to be more widely distributed through other media such as television, one third of the Italian population watching at least one film per day on general channels.
Another explanatory factor could be the increase in ticket prices.
Relatively stable in Europe (around 7.4 € in Germany and stabilized around 6.7 € in Spain), despite inevitable slight increases due to the distribution of films in new formats, this increase appears to be partly responsible for the decline in attendance in the United States.
Indeed, ticket prices have risen twice as fast as inflation since 1999. During this period, attendance has declined by 10%. It also highlights the preference of the American public for 2D format when the film is available in several versions: the spectators remain reluctant to pay a premium to see a movie in its 3D version as noted in a 2010 study by the consulting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
A market characterized by the climb up of the domestic production
A notable trend affecting the film industry is the repositioning of national productions in a market still dominated by American productions.
This repositioning may involve public impulses as in Argentina, where, while over 80% of the box office is mastered by American films, the establishment of a tax on the distribution of foreign films in cinemas goes in the direction of the promotion of domestic productions. The evolution of the domestic demand also confirms this trend: in Germany, Denmark, South Korea or Spain, the first place of the box office was held by a domestic production in the first half of 2011.
A sector affected by profound changes
The sector is currently experiencing many changes, both in terms of technologies and in the type of content and practices. On the one hand, the digitalization seems to introduce more freedom in the choice of films broadcasted and allows the promotion of more diverse movies.
On the other hand, alternative content like broadcasts of cultural events (opera, theatre plays, concerts) and sporting events- and thus new experiments - are put forward to meet new expectations.
In the UK, the success of the broadcast of alternative content represents a significant change for the cinema industry, driven by the steady increase in the number of cinema equipped with digital technologies (67% of the park should be digitized in 2011). In Norway, the number of admissions is also growing, boosted by the deployment of digital technologies. 80% of the Norwegian cinemas are now equipped to project movies in 3D, which allows a better distribution of films.
The example of Russia, which continues its digital conversion with 47% of screens already equipped, also goes in this direction. 99% of those digital screens are compatible with the 3D technology to once again promote alternative content, knowing an effective increase in their broadcasts in 2011 across the whole country.
Finally, it is interesting to note that if the export of films tends to slow down in a number of countries like Spain (-27.2% between 2009 and 2010), that of television programs do not always meet the same trend, especially because of a significant attraction for multi-platform and transmedia programs.
In Spain, television exports increased by 9.2% between 2009 and 2010.
In the UK, the export of TV programs also grew by 13% in 2010. Among the factors that fostered the broadcast of these programs are the innovative aspect of these productions and, of course, the language, the United States attracting over one third of the UK exports.
Multi-service offers, as well as the promotion of Internet TV, online videos, or the rise of other audio-visual products, such as video games, therefore tend - and it's not a surprise - to challenge the big screen. Some figures:
- In Malta, pay TV is present in 92.2% of households through two operators offering multi-service offers, such as "boxes" to users.
- In Sweden, the revenues of Internet TV continue to increase reaching around 32M € in 2011 (approximately 80% derived from advertising).
Catch-up TV services are the most popular offer, although the Swedish press has engaged very early on that market segment by offering a consequent number of videos online.
- In Australia, 92% of households had at least one platform dedicated to video games. The figure reaches 93% in New Zealand. With 99% of Australian households owning a computer, the digital environment is here strongly marked by the spread of new media and cultural goods consumption patterns.
• Actualités internationales n°230, Cinéma et Audiovisuel, Décembre 2011, Les études du CNC
• Fréquentation des salles de cinéma - estimations de l’année 2011, Direction des études, des statistiques et de la prospective, 3 janvier 2012, CNC
• Ragot Sophie, Le cinéma est-il devenu un loisir de luxe ? Une étude économétrique de la demande française, in Revue d’économie politique, Janvier-Février 2010, Dalloz
Credits image : Rictome
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