CineEurope: Sony's Rory Bruer Urges Foreign Exhibitors to Play More Trailers

UNIC president Phil Clapp reports that more than 78 percent of screens in its territories are digital -- but theater owners in Southern Europe face “immense economic difficulties."

BARCELONA -- Sony’s president of worldwide distribution, Rory Bruer, called on foreign exhibitors to play more trailers, while Phil Clapp, president of UNIC, warned that government taxation is Southern Europe will be “destructive” to the industry on Monday at CineEurope.

During his keynote address, Bruer proposed a plan to play more trailers and one to separate trailer packages from pre-show ad packages.

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“Everybody loves trailers,” he said. “And nothing does more to interest people in movies than trailers. … So doesn’t it seem reasonable to play more trailers?”

Currently, the number of trailers played before a film can vary between three and four, mixed up with ads. In the U.S., it can be as many as seven or eight during the summer months.

Bruer said a study found that when trailers were presented without ads, the trailers played better and advertising played better as an ad break.

“We think offering separate packages for advertisers and trailers could be a way for both to work better,” Bruer said, “adding up to more ticket sales, concession sales and more advertising revenue.”

He urged theater owners to test the idea.

According to the International Union of Cinemas’ annual report, released on Monday, roughly 78 percent of screens in UNIC territories had gone digital by the end of 2012.

According to UNIC, Norway was the first fully digital country. France, Denmark, Finland and the U,K, are now close to completing its transition, with more than 85 percent digital. Germany is also near completion.

However Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey (the latter of which has just 14 percent converted) all remain below 50 percent.

Clapp emphasized that Southern European countries are facing “immense economic difficulties” and an “uncertain future."

“Taxation by their governments will make this more difficult,” he asserted, noting that the risk is damaging these businesses, which are a “key driver of economic renewal.”

“Digitization will soon be complete and 35mm a memory,” Clapp said, adding that it is also very “worrisome” to hear talk that delivery of 35mm prints might soon be discontinued at a time when not all business are ready for the switch.

According to the UNIC annual report, total admissions across UNIC territories in 2012 declined by 0.65 percent compared to 2011. In the same year, box office revenue increased by 3 percent.