While many Europeanterritories have reported a growth in cinema admissions during 2004, the sizeof the increase appears closely linked to the growth of film piracy in therespective countries.
In the UK, for example,admissions climbed 6% during the year while admissions in France grew at afaster rate of 12%.
However, figures show thatthe UK suffered a greater piracy problem, with a growth of 20% year on yearaccording to the MPA. In France, therate of piracy growth was half that of the UK - 10%.
Similarly, both Germany andItaly saw admissions growth of 7% and 8.5% - a level similar to that of the UK.Their rates of piracy growth respectively were reported as 22% and 20%.
The figures seem to confirmthe results from the UK home video sector, where although the video retailmarket grew by 12% last year, it was significantly down from the 30% growthposted in 2003 - a slowdown blamed in part on an increase in piracy.
While the criminal nature ofpiracy means that records showing the extent of pirate sales are guestimatesbased on seizures, all the indications point to an increase in the growth ofpiracy - both in production and sales.
And this growth is having aneffect on cinemagoing, which while still on the increase, is slowing ratherfaster than industry projections would suggest.
This week's ScreenInternational European Film Piracy Summit (Tuesday 11 January) in London willaddress this, among many other issues and assess some of the practical measuresbeing developed to tackle the threat to the long-term stability of theindustry.