Market Insight

Over 69 per cent of world screens now upgraded to digital cinema in 2012


World total of digital cinema screens reached 89,341 as at end 2012, representing a 39.9 per cent annual rise based on the provisional installed base in the 58 international territories tracked by Cinema Intelligence. This represents a net addition of 25,516 digital screens over the course of full year 2012, of which 66.6 per cent were international d-screen units converted or installed rather than in North America.

A total of just under 36,000 d-screens are now located in North America, equivalent to 40.2 per cent of the world total and down from a 43 per cent contribution one year prior, as the region was outperformed on both percentage growth rates as well as volume of net screens installed.

For example, the regions recording the largest percentage gains were Middle East followed by Latin America and then Asia Pacific. In Latin America, activity was dominated by Mexico, which more than doubled its digital screen count year on year, finishing on 2,633 d-screens at end 2012.There was strong growth in a number of territories in Asia Pacific with Philippines, India and Malaysia also more than doubling their d-screen totals in 2012.

Globally, an average of 69 per cent (up from 51 per cent in 2011) of world's modern screens are now converted to d-cinema, indicative of a year of strong d-screen deployments. However, there were more d-screens converted the previous year than in 2012, showing the rate of new d-screen additions has started to fall in line with mature markets coming to the end of their deployment process and momentum switching to previously under developed regions such as Latin America. Only Africa, Middle East and Latin America now have more than half of screens left to convert.

3D still accounts for the majority of the d-cinema installed base, but this rate of penetration continues to decline to 51 per cent as a global average at end 2012. The worldwide total for digital 3D screens hit 45,545 in 2012 marking a 26.5 per cent increase from the 36,000 installed at end 2011. Again, the majority of new 3D screens were deployed internationally. Total international 3D screens reached over 30,000 at end 2012, a larger 36 per cent annual rise.

Asia Pacific was again the most active region for 3D installs during the 2012 calendar year accounting for over 59 per cent of new 3D systems worldwide, a high proportion. This sector was dominated by China which added over 4,500 new 3D systems alone during 2012 alone. Japan followed by India were the second and third-ranked for new 3D activity in the region.

In North America, 3D now accounts for less than half of the installed base (just 41 per cent), and is the only region still to have installed more 2D than 3D screens. It is also the region with the most advanced rate of d-cinema penetration which hit 84 per cent in 2012, up from 64.6 per cent the previous year. Europe has now converted more than 70 per cent of screens, followed by Asia Pacific on 60 per cent d-screen penetration in 2012.

In terms of leading international territories for total d-screens, China is still out in front followed by France which broke the 5,000 barrier for the first time at end 2012. Rounding out the international top five d-cinema territories are UK (3,538), Japan (2,909) and Germany (3,006).