Showest's state-of-the-industry addresses by Motion Picture Association of America chairman Dan Glickman and National Association of Theater Owners president John Fithian had an upbeat message.

Both men characterised the record of 2006 movie attendance as an upswing and predicted even better performance in 2007. The MPAA last week announced 2006 US box office of $9.49bn up 5.5% year-on-year, claiming 63 films grossed in more than $50m in the US alone in 2006.

But underlying the message was a set of problems that won't go away; piracy, ratings and release windows.

On the former, Glickman said efforts to educate the public that copying, distributing and buying bootleg movies is theft were gaining ground.

In an interview following his presentation he said education, providing legal options and law enforcement were key to reducing the incidents of illegal activity.

Economic impact studies dating back three decades have concluded with regularity that illegal duplication and distribution of motion pictures is at a level generally ranging from 6% to 9% of global box office revenues.

Glickman said it may not be possible to eradicate illegal activity but would like to reduce it to as close to 0% as possible.

The MPAA's chief executive characterised the industry administered Classification and Ratings Administration as one of its greatest successes, chiefly for its approval by parents.

He characterised the raters as people with school age children though the recent documentary This Film is Not Yet Rated tracked down CARA members and found many to have mature children or were childless.

Fithian made a strong statement against unrated movies as 'a challenge to the system' and though he once again pointed out that the preponderance of high grossing films had family friendly ratings, he encouraged the production of NC-17 movies. He said their presence was the only way to ensure that the full spectrum of film entertainment was available.

He also had harsh words for 'unrated' video releases. He said the promotion of DVD versions of movies as 'something not seen in movie theatres' is 'bad for the ratings system and for film exhibition.'

Characterising the window between theatrical and DVD release as the top priority for NATO, he expressed alarm that its study of 2006 saw that window's average shrink by 10 days to four months and eight days.

He said that there was some solace in the fact that under performing theatrical releases were on shelves quicker while bigger grossing films had much longer theatrical lives.