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Global box office revenue hits $96.8bn record high in 2018 - report

Online video streaming services such as Amazon Prime and Netflix, in particular, saw impressive growth, with subscriptions surpassing those of cable TV for the first time.

FILE: The cast of ‘Avengers: Infinity War’. Picture: Facebook.com

LOS ANGELES - The film industry has never been more successful than it was in 2018, when it earned $96.8 billion - including over $40 billion in cinema ticket sales, according to figures published on Thursday by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

Online video streaming services such as Amazon Prime and Netflix, in particular, saw impressive growth, with subscriptions surpassing those of cable TV for the first time.

The MPAA, whose membership includes Hollywood’s six largest studios - and most recently, Netflix - said that more than half (52%) of Americans’ screen time is spent on digital platforms.

“In today’s dynamic marketplace, stories come to life for audiences in theatres, at home, and on the go,” said MPAA CEO Charles Rivkin. “Our companies continue to deliver content where, when and how audiences want it - and the numbers released today speak volumes.”

According to the report, the global film market - both in theatres and at home - grew by 9% compared to 2017, driven by Disney smash hits such as Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War.

Spending on home viewing alone rose 16% on the previous year, reaching $55.7 billion.

“Since 2014, digital spending has increased 170% globally,” the report added.

In terms of subscriptions, sign-ups to online video services grew by 27% to 613.3 million, while cable subscriptions dropped two percent to 556 million.

But cable remains the biggest money-maker, pulling in $118 billion in 2018 according to the report.

And while cinema ticket sales role in the US and Canada - up 7% to $11.9 billion - they dropped 1% in the rest of the world to $29.2 billion.

However, that did not stop the opening of new cinemas, with the worldwide theatre population rising 7% to nearly 190,000.

Outside North America, seven countries saw box office totals over $1 billion: China ($9 billion) and Japan ($2 billion) along with Britain, France, India and Germany.

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