IHS Technology: Event Cinema Develops Into a Global Sector

By David Hancock | August 17, 2015 7:39 pm PDT
Event cinema revenue

 IHS and Rentrak provide analysis of Event Cinema revenues in eight territories.

The Event Cinema sector has been around for many years, with experiments taking place as soon as digital projection was a workable reality. Digital conversion has acted as the main driver for Event Cinema. In both France and the UK, where we have comparative data for 2013 and 2014, there was a significant jump in Event cinema revenue in 2014, the first full year after complete digitisation.

The past several years have seen the sector grow from a handful of enthusiasts to a globally functioning market for non-film content in cinemas. IHS estimates that Event Cinema generated global gross revenues of $277.2m in 2014, an increase of 32.1% over 2013. The global market is forecast to surpass USD $1 billion by 2019.

Principally, the UK is developing into a powerhouse for Event Cinema (both at a sector level and as a source of content), with the sector representing 3.1% of box office, significantly higher than all other countries we have data for; although Italy is also developing well at 2.3% (the Italian methodology does include some film re-issues).

At the lower end, some markets into the sector are less Event Cinema heavy, such as Netherlands at 0.2%, Brazil at 0.3% and Australia at 0.6%.

The content being screened in cinemas is also evolving, widening out from the ‘high culture’ that dominated the early years. Having said that, Opera remains an ever-present in the Event Cinema sector, although it does not dominate all countries, and Theatre is gaining in popularity in English-language markets, driven by the National Theatre productions and Royal Shakespeare Company’s slate. Opera is still the mainstay of the French market. Across the markets in this report, Opera accounts for 18.3% of revenues compared to Theatre’s 26.1%.

Sport is not gaining traction in many countries, although the FIFA World Cup helped the genre in Brazil (where the Champions League final is also popular) and to a lesser extent Australia. The issue holding sport back is often rights but also the prevalence of places to watch sport already.

Ballet is also present across all territories in this research except New Zealand. Concerts, Comedy and TV are also fairly consistent genres across markets, although the success of each is often down to one exceptional title rather than a number of popular titles. Musical Documentaries of bands with a strong fan base are finding a growing niche in some markets.

A number of last year’s key events were driven by existing programming brands reaching into the cinema. The highest-grossing title across all markets in the IHS/Rentrak report was “NT Live: War Horse”, which earned $5.8m, it was stronger in English-language markets with a small following in non-anglophone countries. There are still issues with live subtitling, and recorded theatre does not have the same pull.

The group One Direction appeared in cinemas in 2014, also a high revenue earner in all markets, making it the second highest cross-territory title in 2014 with a gross of $4.2m from the territories in this report. “Billy Elliot: The Musical” earned $3.8m from our territories.

About the author:

David Hancock is Research Director, Film and Cinema, IHS

IHS and Rentrak have produced this joint report into Event Cinema sector revenues, taken from Rentrak’s tracking of this sector in a number of markets. IHS and Rentrak are making this report freely available to the sector and other interested parties, with a view to helping the sector to develop with transparent and accessible information. Please contact David Hancock at david.hancock@ihs.com.