Survey: Cinema still top pastime in Italy

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ROME -- Cinema remains the most popular out-of-home entertainment pastime in Italy, according to a survey released Thursday by the Italian Society of Authors and Editors (SIAE), which based its information on the value of all ticket sales.

According to the report, Italians spent €2 billion ($2.7 billion) last year to buy tickets for films, concerts, the theater, dance performances, sporting events and other forms of entertainment.

Of that amount, €601.2 million ($811.6 million) was spent on ticket sales to films, well more than the €358.4 million ($483.8 million) spent on theatrical productions and the €352.7 million ($476.1 million) on sporting events.

The amount spent on cinema attendance represented a small (0.3%) rise compared with 2005, SIAE said. Money spent on theater performances rose 5.9% between 2005 and 2006, and spending on tickets for sporting events surged 17.4% during the same period, leaving the category just short of the No. 2 spot.

Because the survey measured the total amount spent on tickets, high-cost tickets such as those for the theater, ranked higher than they would if the survey measured numbers of tickets sold, a press office official said.

In figuring out the economic impact of the entertainment sectors, SIAE said that Italians spent €3.8 billion ($5.1 billion) on combined ticket sales and related concessions such as food and souvenir items, and €5.8 billion ($7.8 billion) when money from sponsorship is added to the equation.
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