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DVDs draw the curtains on Swiss cinemas

The Swiss love films but are going less often to cinemas, largely because of a lack of time. Many prefer to watch movies at home instead.

The Federal Statistics Office released figures on Thursday that show 63 per cent of moviegoers 15 years old and up went to the cinema at least once last year. That is 12 percentage points higher than the European Union average.

The young tend to be the biggest film buffs, with just nine per cent of youths aged 15-24 reporting they did not go to the cinema last year.

But the love affair seems to be slowing across the board, the federal survey found. In 2002 every Swiss went on average 2.5 times to the movies. In 2008 it had dropped to 1.8. That is a decrease of 29 per cent. The EU average rate dropped 11 per cent during that time.

The reasons behind the slowdown are not due to a lack of interest, with 23-52 per cent of respondents in various age groups saying they would like to go to the cinema more often. Half of those surveyed said they do not have enough time. A quarter also complained of high ticket prices.

Watching films on DVD or pay-per-view channels, however, is increasing. Swiss viewers spent SFr324 million on DVDs in 2007, surpassing the SFr200 million spent the same year on tickets at the cinema.

The survey, conducted by the Federal Statistics Office in conjunction with the Federal Culture Office, is based on responses from nearly 4,400 people polled last autumn. and agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR