Exhibitors are set to reap major financial benefits from alternative content screenings such as sports events, according to a new report.

The report - Alternative Content: The New Cinema Profit Engine by Screen Digest - says exhibitors should take advantage of new opportunities created by digital technology and that there is real audience enthusiasm for out of home entertainment events.

The report states that alternative content screenings are currently worth less than $1m in additional revenue to EU exhibitors.

However, by 2008 that figure could rise to $40m - or even double that according to Screen Digest.

The report reveals that there have been over 115 successful major alternative content events in cinemas in Asia, Europe and the Americas in the last four years - with sport events being the most frequently screened.

The report coincides with an announcement by the UK's Odeon chain that it is to broadcast forthcoming England Rugby World Cup matches live at its flagship 2,000-seat cinema in London's West End.

Screen Digest predicts that, by 2008, alternative content screenings could account for up to 35% of exhibitors profits.