Russian Exhibition Resists Recession but Production Cools


Russian cinema admissions have surged ahead over the last five years,
with ticket sales growing at an average of 14% annually over the period
2004 to 2008. An expanding modern screen base and the revival of
cinema-going generally lie behind this growth, with average admissions
per head almost doubling. Rising ticket prices have multiplied the
effect on box office, with 32% average annual growth in revenues between
2004 and 2008. For 2009, the report predicts continuing growth, though
successive devaluations of the rouble in late 2008 / early 2009 may give
negative results in hard currency terms.

Perspectives for future growth may however be limited by a slow-down in
the rate of creation of modern cinemas. Though the overall number of screens in Russia has been almost halved since 2005, the number of
modern screens has grown at an annual average rate of 24% since 2004. By
July 2009, Russia had 1,949 modern screens in 756 sites, with 51% of
these screens located in shopping and entertainment complexes. Growth
shows signs of slowing, though, as the economic recession curbs
commercial construction and as major urban centres reach screen

Digital cinema arrived in Russia in October 2006, with the opening of
the first DCI compliant-screen in Saint Petersburg. By July 2009, 161
digital screens were available, representing 8% of the total screen
base, with a quarter of these concentrated in Moscow. As elsewhere,
digital 3D has been a significant impetus for growth, with almost all of
Russia’s digital screens equipped with 3D technology.

Production cools

Since the success of Nochnoy Dozor (Night Watch) in 2004, films produced by Russian companies have made a significant contribution to the revival
of the market. Overall investment in production between 2004 and
mid-2009 was over RUB 62 billion, of which just over half went to the
production of TV films and series, with feature production representing
a RUB 25 billion share. In parallel, investment started flowing into the
production services sector, with extensive restructuring, upgrading and
construction taking place.=20

Since late 2008, however, tensions have become evident. The Ministry of
Culture of the Russian Federation, a major investor in local production,
has redirected all 2009 funding to the completion of existing films, so
no new projects will receive financing during the year. National
television channels have revised downwards investments and acquisitions
and prices for rights have shrunk. Changing conditions have sparked
consolidation among production companies and concerted efforts have been
made by the newly-created Association of Film and TV Producers to
contain spiraling production costs. In the services sector, plans for
the construction of new studio space have been postponed or cancelled,
and existing facilities are operating below capacity.

DVD sales show signs of weakness

Concerted anti-piracy measures between 2004 and 2006 have paved the way
for growth in the market for licensed DVDs, though the segment still
remains underdeveloped. Total market volume reached 83.8 million units
sold in 2008, up 24% on 2007. Locally-produced content accounted for
around 20% of all releases in 2008, with five Russian feature titles
appearing in the top ten titles by unit sales in the same year. Overall,
feature films are the predominent genre, accounting for almost
three-quarters of all titles released.

According to local trade publication, Videomagazine, quoted in the
report, the number of new releases was down and sales slowed during the
first six months of 2009. If this trend is maintained the full year
results could slip back by as much as 8% year-on-year.

The Film Industry in the Federation of Russia

A new report by Nevafilm with contributions from RFilms.
Published by the European Audiovisual Observatory

This report includes a description of the institutional framework of the
Russian film industry as well as an overview of its functioning.
Separate chapters provide detailed analysis of the various branches:
film production for cinema and TV, the production services sector,
cinema exhibition and theatrical and DVD distribution.

The report is on

The Russian version of the report will be presented to Russian cinema
professionals at a workshop on The Russian film industry in its
European context which will take place on 1 December 2009 in the
framework of the 80th Moscow International Film Market at the Cosmos
Hotel, Moscow.


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