Cinema admissionsin central Europe could pass 80 million by 2010, an increaseof 40%, according to a new report from Dodona Research.
The Cinemagoing Central Europe report profilesBulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia andSlovenia.
Each of those countriessaw a downturn in admissions in 2005, led by Romania's 29% drop, but Dodona research suggest that admissions will bounce back in2006, with results so far looking stronger year-on-year.
Areas poised forthe largest growth are Croatia, Slovenia and Slovakia, which Dodona predicts could see admissions grow by morethan 50% by 2010.
Researchers pointedout that much of the region has strong domestic film industries, including Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary (the latter helped by its new film law).
In terms ofexhibition maturity, Poland is still seeing multiplex developmentthanks to a shopping mall boom especially in second cities. Cinema growth isalso seen in the Czech Republic and Bulgaria.
Countries needingexhibition investment include Croatia and Romania. "Both these countries need to see multiplex ormulti-screen development in the largest towns and cities for any real growth toemerge," said Katharine Wright, the report's author."Hopefully future entry to the European Union will have the knock-on effect ofregenerating the exhibition sector."
Hungary saw its first multiplex shut in 2005, but still has the higheet rate of cinema-going in central Europe, of 1.2 visits per person in 2005. In Budapest, each person visits an average of fourtimes per year.
The growth ofdigital cinema isn't impacting the region yet but the concept supported by someplayers in the region. "Once thetechnology begins to be widely adopted in Western Europe and more productis available, operators in the region will quickly follow suit." said Wright."In our view, this is likely to be sooner rather than later."