The UK cinema market has traditionally proved fairly resilient to recessionary forces. However, with consumers being squeezed by a combination of higher taxes, low earnings growth and high inflation, they are being forced to look again at all areas of their discretionary spending and cinema is bound to come under threat.
January saw admissions to UK cinemas hit a total of 17,081,70, which was a significant rise on 2012's figure of 13,554,900. The total level of admissions within the UK cinema market hit 172,498,775 in 2012, slightly up from the figure of 171,562,192 in 2011.
The UK cinema market continues to be dominated by three major UK exhibitors, Cineworld, Odeon UCI, and Vue. In total, they account for over 70% of the total market box office and provide over 60% of the total screens in the UK.
Cineworld is the largest operator in the UK by box office market shares in 2011 with 26.1%. Cineworld also leads in terms of admissions where it contributed 28.2% of all UK admissions. In terms of number of cinemas and screens, Cineworld has been the second largest operator in the UK cinema market behind Odeon UCI.
The rest of the market is represented by smaller multiplex operators and independents which tend to operate non-multiplex cinemas (less than five screens).
Box office revenue in 2011 in the UK market increased 4.9% to £1.14 billion, whilst UK admissions grew 1.4% to 171 million - demonstrating the resilience of cinema in the prevailing economic and consumer environment.
The low price of going to the cinema compared to other forms of entertainment and leisure and the desire for escapism have remained key attractions.
The rate of new cinema openings has been falling in recent years, partly due to the limited number of new retail and leisure development opportunities and the long time to bring developments to fruition. This has been exacerbated more recently due to reduced funding for developers in the present financial climate though confidence has started to improve.
For more information on the UK cinema market, see the latest research: UK Cinema Market
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