Italy film report a mixed bag


ROME -- Although the number of Italian cinema screens continues to inch higher and the value of Italy's boxoffice has increased, fewer Italians are going to see first-run films, according to a report issued Thursday by Italy's National Statistics Institute.

But television seems to be one of the beneficiaries of the trend, ISTAT reported, with per-capita television-viewing hours rising for most of the first part of the decade.

ISTAT's numbers -- which only run through the end of 2005 -- highlight several several trends, among them the fact that, while fewer people are going to the cinema each year, the number of films they see is on the rise: an average of 7.1 films per year in 2005, compared with 5.1 five years earlier.

During that same five-year period, ticket prices climbed an average 1.2% per year. Those two factors combined to create a generally upward trend in the value of Italy's overall boxoffice and helped to fuel an increase in the total number of screens in Italy, to 2,981 in 2005 from 2,222 in 2000.

Per-capita television viewing hours increased during the period covered by the ISTAT report, increasing an average 2.2% per year from 2000-05, with most of the increase coming from higher viewer density during the evening hours.

Italy's poorest southern regions remained the weakest in terms of cinema attendance and, among genders, women were slightly more likely to see a film in the cinema than men.