The UK's Cinema Advertising Association is predicting that cinema ticket sales will reach 174m by year's end, an increase of 11.5% on 2001's 30-year record. In addition the UK's cinema advertising sector is growing rapidly, with last years' market up by some 28% - despite a 2.6% downturn in the advertising market as a whole.

The Cinema Advertising Association has revised its end-of-year forecast of 164m, announced just a month ago and based on the first quarter results, as a result of the continued strong performance and high expectations of current and forthcoming releases.

Already this year first quarter results were up 37% on 2001, hitting 48m ticket sales thanks to the combined might of films such as Monsters, Inc., Ice Age, Ocean's Eleven, About A Boy and Bend It Like Beckham to name but a few. A blockbuster-filled summer with Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones and Spider-Man, and the end of year highlight of Die Another Day could mean that the UK market is entering a medium-term sustainable period of growth.

The advertising industry appears to have recognised this and has identified cinema as a strong performer in an otherwise depressed and sluggish market.

Only last month, Carlton Communications jointly acquired the cinema advertising interests of France's UGC and Belgium's RTBF in a cash deal worth $90.5m.