The health crisis has created deep consequences in the world of the seventh art in France. Cinema operators in particular had to deplore the closures for very long months. Beyond the direct economic impact of these measures, the consequences can be measured in the long term with changes in our film consumption habits. If the figures for March are improving, we are still very far from the results obtained at the same time in 2019.
Mixed results despite recovery
The National Center for Cinema and the Moving Image (CNC) recently published cinema attendance figures for the month of March in France. With 13.19 million admissions overall, the total is much lower than that of 2019 (-29.7%).
The CNC notes, however, that the Printemps du Cinéma, which was held last month, ” revitalized attendance totaling 2 million admissions over three days “. However, the finding is again bitter since below the results recorded during the 2019 edition: -27.1%.
Of the 70 films (compared to 71 in 2019) that were released in March, only a few actually managed to do well. The Batmanwhich, with its 2.7 million admissions, achieved the best performance of 2022 in France.
900,000 people have set their sights on Uncharted last month, while others were rather attracted by French feature films Retirement home, Goliathand Notre Dame is burning. At last Jujutsu Kaisen 0 was able to attract a large audience by obtaining 450,000 admissions in two weeks.
Why do the French go less to the cinema?
Concretely, if there are some reasons to hope, we can note that the account is not really there for the operators of dark rooms. Blockbusters, auteur films, mayonnaise does not take enough to attract the same number of spectators as before the pandemic.
How can these difficulties be explained? One of the first plausible reasons logically comes from the rise of streaming platforms in favor of the health crisis. These major players, like Netflix and Disney+, are now used by millions of people in France.
The figures are, moreover, formal. Thus, Netflix is slowly approaching 10 million subscribers. And this number does not take into account the sharing of accounts which are legion. In other words, tens of millions of people have access to the platform’s gigantic catalog that they can consult whenever they want. Faced with this giant and with prices that remain quite high, French dark rooms are struggling to keep up.
Regarding Disney +, we do not have exact data, but the service is also experiencing good growth in France. Globally, it’s even starting to catch up on Netflix, and it’s establishing itself as a key player in streaming.
Hacking is far from gone
The woes of dark rooms do not stop there, however. Like the big platforms, they still have to deal with large-scale piracy of their works. It is indeed not uncommon to see certain films leaked online even before their cinema release.
Although of very poor quality, illegal streaming carried out with cameras is also still doing very well and a quick query on the major search engines reveals that most of the latest releases are available in just a few clicks.
Here again, French Internet users with modest incomes can inevitably be tempted by these modes of consumption. According to a study by Hadopi dating from 2019, piracy thus cost the players concerned 1.03 billion euros in 2019. Concretely, 9% of the global market of 11.6 billion euros went up in smoke.
We do not have exact data for the last few months but it is a safe bet that the pandemic has not helped matters, despite the efforts of ARCOM, the new structure in charge of the fight against illegal streaming and IPTV.