What you need to know

The UK cinema industry is enjoying one of its best ever years in 2015, after two successive years of declining admissions. This is the result of a strong film slate which has culminated in the release of three blockbusters in the final quarter of the year. It is expected that the value of the market will grow to £1.6 billion in 2015 and admissions to 173.3 million, the highest in the past five years and a figure exceeded in recent history only by the 2002 peak of 175.9 million.

This strong performance has been achieved in the face of a steady stream of innovation in the in-home market, with the emergence of streaming services such as Netflix (which has also recently started making its own movies), the development of wide, flat-screen TVs featuring Ultra HD picture technology and extremely sophisticated sound systems, and a general shift in broadcast media consumption away from appointment-to-view and towards on-demand. However, what has become clear is that cinema-going stimulates in-home viewing and vice versa and the two channels complement each other, rather than competing head-on.

The cinema market continues to be dominated by three operators – Cineworld, Odeon and Vue – who between them account for 36% of cinemas, 62% of cinema screens and around 72% of total box office (ticket sales). With new locations becoming harder and hard to find, they are constantly looking at ways of increasing levels of loyalty among existing customers, because around 60% of their customers also visit other brands of cinema in a given year.

Covered in this report

This report focuses on commercial cinema - sites whose primary day-to-day function is the commercial display of content. However, data on sites and screens include any that accept advertising. Companies that own, lease, manage or operate facilities for the day-to-day commercial display of films will be referred to as cinema operators or exhibitors. Companies that distribute and/or produce films are not the subject of this report and will be referred to as film distributors.

Arthouse cinemas are those that specialise in showing mainly films that are not part of the commercial mainstream.

Multiplex cinemas are defined as those with five screens or more.

All statistics are supplied by Rentrak, the British Film Institute (BFI) and the Cinema Advertising Association (CAA).

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