UNIC strategizes greater EU engagement


The International Union of Cinemas (UNIC), the organization of European cinema associations and operators, celebrated another successful edition of its annual convention, CineEurope, in Barcelona, Spain. Speaking at a press briefing, UNIC president Phil Clapp emphasized the continued growth and diversity of the event and outlined plans to raise the profile of European cinema exhibition amongst key decision-makers in Europe and internationally.

The trade group, which also used the briefing to launch its latest annual report, also took the opportunity to announce further expansion of its membership through the inclusion of pan-European operator Cineplexx.
Clapp commented, “We are delighted with the success of this year’s CineEurope. As our involvement in the event has grown in recent years, so we have managed to further increase the attractiveness of CineEurope. Alongside the vital continued commitment of our studio partners and key sponsors, we have also this year added several great European film companies to the screening schedule and increased the amount of conference sessions available to visitors. CineEurope now increasingly reflects the diversity of European cinema and we look forward to continue to develop the show together with our partners PGM in the coming years.”
During the week, the trade association further underlined the need for continued representation in the EU and internationally, given recent policy developments. These include European election outcomes, a pending review of EU copyright legislation and continued debates around film release strategies across Europe. UNIC highlighted the fact that its member territories continue to represent almost 30 percent of global box-office revenues, with cinema exhibition remaining a growth market when compared to home entertainment.
It also challenged the views expressed by some EU and national government officials that digital distribution is the key route to increasing the market share of European films and to promoting the competitiveness of the entire film industry. Clapp countered, “The numbers set out in our annual report—as well as those I highlighted in my industry address on Monday—speak for themselves. Cinema exhibition remains the motor of the motion picture industry and is crucial for the success of any film—whether European or not—and across all film markets. The failure of new home-entertainment formats to develop significant revenue streams is a continuing concern to the whole industry, but cannot be engineered by damaging those strong foundations. Around the UNIC table we feel there is a duty to remind key decision-makers in government and in our industry about the economic, social and cultural value of cinema theatres. UNIC members have therefore at their General Assembly on June 18 decided on a new communications and engagement campaign to further increase the profile of cinema exhibition in Brussels and elsewhere.”
UNIC, after its relocation from Paris to Brussels in 2011, has grown in strength and recruited further members, most recently the Austrian Cineplexx group, which represents cinemas across eight territories.
“We are delighted that Cineplexx has decided to join the UNIC family, further strengthening the organization in SouthEast and Central Europe, a region that will surely see continued growth in the coming years and requires stable framework conditions and more robust copyright enforcement. UNIC will do all it can to work with its members in these regions to help achieve that goal.”
A low-resolution version of UNIC’s annual report is available on UNIC’s website.