New report reveals 18,500 digital screens in Europe, single-screen cinemas struggling.

A new report from the European Audiovisual Observatory and MEDIA Salles shows that around 18,500 digital screens have been installed in Europe.

This means that over 52% of European screens are now capable of digital projection, up from just 4% three years ago.

Given the high penetration rates in various European markets, 35mm distribution has been decreasing rapidly. Norway was the first country worldwide to become fully digital in mid-2011 and distributors in Belgium and Luxembourg are expected to end 35mm distribution in early 2012. 11 territories had converted at least 50% of their screens by mid-2011, including the two leading markets France and the UK.

However, the report reveals that small cinemas and exhibitors are still facing significant problems converting to digital. By the end of 2010 only 11% of single-screen cinemas had installed a digital screen, compared to 89% of multiplexes. Single-screen cinemas account for almost 60% of all European cinemas.