Latin American exhibs show big punch


LONDON -- The Latin American exhibition industry is ready to enjoy a 5-year fiesta.

A report, published Wednesday by specialist exhibition analysts Dodona Research and covering the key markets of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela, says admissions across the region will rise to 463 million by 2011, compared with the 357 million recorded during 2006.

The Hollywood studios -- whose product dominates these markets -- stand to see their dollar receipts "climb still further as a result of the weakness of the American currency." The report points to Brazil and Mexico as the two territories leading the party.

The largest market in the region is Mexico, Dodona says, whose 105 million people each visited the cinema 1.57 times on average in 2006. The nation with the fastest growth is Peru, where admissions rose from 8.5 million in 2001 to 15.2 million in 2006.

Boxoffice rose to $1.17 billion by 2006 after reaching $1 billion for the first time in 2004.

There are more than 8,100 screens in the seven countries, compared to 6,300 five years ago. Another 1,500 screens are expected to open in the next five years, Dodona says.

While most screens are in Mexico (3,801) and Brazil (2,045), the fastest screen growth is expected in Colombia, whose screen count of 395 in 2006 is forecast to rise to 525 by 2011.

Ticket prices remain relatively low, ranging from an average of $4 in Chile to $2.21 in Peru. In Mexico and Brazil, cinemagoers pay $3.33 and $3.53, respectively, Dodona said.

The research also points out that digital cinema has yet to make "a significant impact across most of the region." The exception is Brazil, where the content aggregator, Rain Network, has built a network of more than 130 digital screens, with plans to extend this to 300.