Italy is seeing positive growth in terms of production, budgets and box office trends, yet it still lags behind the other major European territories, particularly in terms of ticket sales.

That was the news as Cinecitta Holding presented new research revealing the state of the Italian film market at the Turin Film Festival.

The study focused on 2006-07 and was compiled by Cinecitta Holding's research unit, led by Economist Alessandra Priante.

The data shows that in 2006, Italian film production rose by 19.4% over 2005 with 117 titles produced. The median cost of a national production (in 2006) has reached $5.9m (Euros 4m), which is an increase of 2% over 2005 despite a reduction in state financing. The figure denotes a 75% increase in respect to median film budgets in 2000.

Of the national productions, the top 12 film budgets were co-productions. Those films saw a median budget of $10m (Euros 6.7m) when Italy figured as majority producer. The median budget rose to $13.5m (Euros

9.1m) when Italy was a secondary production partner.

The study revealed that while US films dominated the biggest slice of 2006's box office, this has not been an impediment to growth in the local market. 59.4% of the box office market share was dominated by US imports, 14.9% to other nation's films while Italy scored 25.7% of the market.

According to the data presented, in 2006, the UK sold 156m tickets, France 190m, Germany 136m, Spain 121m as Italy lagged behind with 106m tickets sold. Per capita Italians see films 1.8 times per year trailing behind all their European neighbors with the exception of Germany, which ranked lowest in the findings with the public seeing films 1.66 per year.

Half of the tickets sold in Italy are in the more affluent Northern regions. Since 2000, the average ticket cost has increased by 9% however, that is less than the cost of living increase, and researchers pointed out, which comes in at 14%.

Significantly, three Italian films figure on the top 25 European film roster with Filmauro's My Best Enemy (Mio Migliore Amico) in 10th position ranking before Stephen Frears' Oscar winner The Queen for number of tickets sold.

Projections for 2007, according to many sources, are strong. 2007 is expected to exceed 2006 in ticket sales. Most expect Italy to reach 120 million tickets with a total box office take for Italian productions to hit 28%.