Digital pace picking up in Europe

Number of screens up 70% in 2008

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CANNES -- Europe may be lagging behind the U.S. when it comes to digital cinema but the rollout is picking up pace.

According to official figures from MEDIA Salles, the number of digital screens in Europe jumped 70% last year to 1,529, accounting for about 5% of all European screens. The number of theaters equipped with at least one digital screen jumped 48% to 815 sites.

The U.K., with 303 screens, leads the digital cinema market in Europe but France is quickly catching up, nearly quadrupling its digital screens from 66 to 253 last year. The French drive was led by top exhibitor CGR, which has decided to convert about 400 screens across the country.