Barcelona -- The International Union of Cinemas ("UNIC"), the trade grouping of European cinema associations and operators, today celebrated another successful edition of its annual convention CineEurope, in Barcelona. Speaking at a press briefing, UNIC President Phil Clapp emphasised the continued growth and diversity of the event and outlined plans to raise the profile of European cinema exhibition amongst key decision-makers in Europe and internationally. The trade group, which also used the briefing to launch its latest annual report, also took the opportunity to announce further expansion of its membership through the inclusion of pan-European operator Cineplexx.
Commenting on the convention, Phil Clapp said:
"We are delighted with the success of this year's CineEurope. As our involvement in the event has grown in recent years, so we have managed to further increase the attractiveness of CineEurope. Alongside the vital continued commitment of our studio partners and key sponsors, we have also this year added several great European film companies to the screening schedule and increased the amount of conference sessions available to visitors. CineEurope now increasingly reflects the diversity of European cinema and we look forward to continue to develop the show together with our partners PGM in the coming years."
During the week, the trade association further underlined the need for continued representation in the EU and internationally, given recent policy developments. These include European election outcomes, a pending review of EU copyright legislation and continued debates around film release strategies across Europe. UNIC furthermore highlighted the fact that its member territories continued to represent almost 30 per cent of global box office revenues, with cinema exhibition remaining a growth market when compared to home entertainment.
It also challenged the views expressed by some EU and national government officials that digital distribution was the key route to increasing the market share of European films and to promoting the competitiveness of the entire film industry.
On this point, Phil Clapp said:
"The numbers set out in our annual report - as well as those I highlighted in my Industry Address on Monday - speak for themselves. Cinema exhibition remains the motor of the motion picture industry and is crucial for the success of any film - whether European or not - and across all film markets. The failure of new home entertainment formats to develop significant revenue streams is a continuing concern to the whole industry, but cannot be engineered by damaging those strong foundations. Around the UNIC table we feel there is a duty to remind key decision makers in government and in our industry about the economic, social and cultural value of cinema theatres. UNIC members have therefore at their General Assembly on 18 June decided on a new communications and engagement campaign to further increase the profile of cinema exhibition in Brussels and elsewhere."
UNIC, after its relocation from Paris to Brussels in 2011, has grown in strength and recruited further members, most recently the Austrian Cineplexx group, which represents cinemas across 8 territories.
"We are delighted that Cineplexx has decided to join the UNIC family, further strengthening the organisation in South-East and Central Europe, a region that will surely see continued growth in the coming years and requires stable framework conditions and more robust copyright enforcement. UNIC will do all it can to work with its members in these regions to help achieve that goal."
Added Phil Clapp.
Phil Clapp (who also leads the UK Cinema Exhibitors' Association), was joined by fellow UNIC Board Member and Vice President Jaime Tarrazon (Federación de Cines de España - Spain) and UNIC CEO Jan Runge when reflecting on the event, the current performance of European exhibition and the future of UNIC.