UNIC reports on European exhibition

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European Update

On the heels of another successful CineEurope, we take the opportunity to review some of the many meaningful takeaways from the Barcelona show. Convention co-organizers and welcoming hosts, the International Union of Cinemas (UNIC) noted that “investment, innovation and diversity are driving the European exhibition industry.” (And this applies to the global business as well, we might add.)

During his keynote address, UNIC’s president Phil Clapp mentioned the “renewed confidence” that the year 2017 had brought in terms of increasing admissions, which “confirms that the cinema-going public recognize the massive levels of investment that European operators are making in all aspects of the big-screen experience.” For backup, UNIC’s Annual Report holds key cinema trends across the 37 territories represented by the association, accounting for 1.34 billion admissions and €8.6 billion in box-office revenues in 2017, representing increases of 2.5% and 1.7%, respectively, along with a quarter of the global theatrical market for films (US$10.04 billion).

Available for download along with legislative milestones and key policy positions, these figures reflect the all-around efforts undertaken in enhancing the cinema experience, UNIC wrote. They include audience engagement, “which is becoming ever-more tailored towards a multitude of preferences.” Given the success of locally produced films and their increased availability “due to digital advances across the sector,” Clapp reiterated the importance of filmmakers catering to audiences from all backgrounds with their stories.

Pointing to the continued need for diversity in the cinema workforce as well, he talked about the success of the UNIC Women’s Cinema Leadership Programme (more below). In closing, Clapp declared how, despite the challenges the European cinema sector faces, operators remain confident: “Knowing that whatever the distractions posed by the unsustainable business practices of so-called ‘disruptors,’ our focus will remain on sustaining the diversity, innovation and investment that is the hallmark of our industry and the key to its ongoing success.”

CTC Adds to Advisory Council

On the technology side of cinema associations, equal progress was reported as CTC appointed nearly a dozen industry leaders to its advisory council, completed its board of governors and introduced the on-boarding process to join the network. With dues ranging from £50 per year for individuals up to £1,500 per year for sustaining members (€57 to €1,700, US$66 to US$1,984), the program is designed “to be accessible to the entire industry…enabling complete access to all CTC events and deliverables.”

Richard Mitchell, VP of global marketing and commercial development at Harkness Screens and CTC’s president, and fellow board members Sarah Lewthwaite (Movio) and Sandie Caffelle (Jack Roe) jointly welcomed Patrick von Sychowski (Celluloid Junkie), Danny Jeremiah (Arts Alliance Media) and James MacFarlane (20th Century Fox) to the CTC leadership team. While they add “incredible dynamism” to the key projects at hand, Mitchell also noted how “an additional wealth of knowledge and experience from some of the most respected global thought-leaders” on the advisory council will complement “our already highly skilled” board. “Adding this additional level of expertise will help our team to create deliverables that will shape a better future for cinema and drive better outcomes from technology investments that affect the entire moviegoing experience, not just inside the auditorium.”

As the CTC’s finance director, Graham Lodge (Sound Associates) extends an invitation not just to our readers. “We are actively seeking both members and corporate sponsors to help us to drive technology advancement in the industry.” For more information and to find out how to join, visit www.cinema-technology.com.

Focusing on Laser

Whereas sight and sound continue to advance on many levels and remain a top priority, laser illumination seems to have become the very next focal point for exhibitors.

Always at the forefront of presentation—and always with their fellow countrymen and women at Barco—the Kinepolis Group has taken another decisive step by committing to laser projection for all its sites worldwide. Over the next three years, the Group will deploy some 300 Barco laser projectors, including new builds and replacements of older models in existing sites. After seeing “fantastic results” from early deployments, including the August 2016 all-laser-on-10-screens launch at Kinepolis Breda in the Netherlands, Group CEO Eddy Duquenne is “excited to strengthen our partnership with Cinionic.” Barco and its joint-venture partners in the new business unit are setting out to transform cinema, as they are “providing comprehensive WOW entertainment solutions to movie exhibitors across the globe.”

Sony Digital Cinema 4K also attended CineEurope “to dazzle audiences” with its laser solutions. “While the European adoption of laser and availability of 4K content has continued to gain pace,” Oliver Pasch, theatrical exhibition sales director at Sony, noted that “not all lasers are created equally.” He pointed out that Sony’s 4K laser phosphor projectors offer a contrast ratio of 10,000:1 “at all brightness levels.”

Providing sound levels (and quality) to match in their CineEurope demo room, Sony teamed up with Alcons pro-ribbon cinema audio solutions. Designed in the Netherlands, Alcons cinema systems “deliver a unique 1:1 reproduction of the original sound source,” the company promises.

Mentoring New Female Leaders

Building on the 2017 pilot initiative (FJI July 2018), round two of the Women’s Cinema Leadership Programme will “provide seven talented female European cinema professionals with the opportunity to receive one-to-one career advice.” On the mentor side, UNIC selected outstanding women executives to match, recognized for their leadership and business success. You can meet them here.

UNIC chief executive officer Laura Houlgatte stated, “Our key long-term objective is to broaden and deepen the talent pool for leadership in our industry and to transform the exhibition sector into a healthy environment where everyone can realize their full potential. We are delighted to welcome our new group of fantastic mentors and mentees for this year’s edition and would like to wish them all the best for what promises to be an exciting year.”