German cinema admissions are expected to rise by 9% this year to 166m, according to a new report. In comparison, French admissions are expected to reach between 172m and 180m, while in the UK they are predicted to reach at least 148m for 2001.

According to German HypoVereinsbank (HVB) Equity Research media analysts, despite the increase in anticipated German cinema tickets sold, the average number of admissions per release in 2001 is likely to total 390,000 - slightly below 2000's 400,000 - because the number of releases is set to increase from 380 last year to 422 in 2001.

In addition, the HVB's cinema sector preview estimates that the multiplexes' market share of attendances will reach 50% (from 2000's 44%) and that the annual frequency per capita will break the two cinema visits barrier. Over the last five years, the annual frequency has increased from 1.62 to 1.86 per capita, but is still lagging behind other European territories such as France and the UK.

Moreover, the bank's analysts calculated that the German outposts of the US majors had taken a 64.4% market share in the first nine months of 2001, while Constantin Film held on to the title of the most successful local distributor with a market share of 11.5% behind UIP (21.7%) and Buena Vista (19.4%).

The report noted that Constantin's market share in 2000 had been 17.6% and that it had only been able to hold on to the pole position among the local players thanks to the surprise success of Der Schuh Des Manitu which delivered around 60% of Constantin's 13.2m total admissions to the end of September, giving it an average 940,000 admissions per film from its 14 releases.

Kinowelt/Arthaus, on the other hand, had brought 33 films into the German cinemas in the first nine months of 2001 - more than other distributor - and garnered a market share of only 3.7% with an average admission total per film of just 130,000.

Senator, though, increased its market share from last year's 2.5% to 5.8% thanks to the success of such releases as Chocolat and The Experiment, but the HVB analysts are predicting that the Berlin-based company will end the year with a market share of around 6% and thus not reach its target of 7.5%.

Reporting ahead of the publication of nine-month reports in the coming weeks by such media companies as CineMedia, Kinowelt, Constantin, Intertainment, EM.TV, Odeon Film, and Senator, HVB's equity research stated that they "did not expect any essential improvement in the financials for the media stocks" after the negative performance of the sector in the first half of 2001.