# South Africa cinema prices vs the world

Although South African consumers may feel that cinema ticket prices are expensive, local prices are at the lower end of the spectrum when considering other countries’ purchasing power.

To determine whether high cinema prices are a global phenomenon or unique to South Africa, MyBroadband compared the price of a movie ticket to 11 other countries, using the World Bank’s purchasing power parity (PPP) index.

The index expresses the purchasing power of a currency using the US dollar as a base.

Using various factors, it calculates how much of that currency you will need to reach the purchasing power of a dollar.

For instance, the dollar-rand exchange rate at the time of publication was R18.21, meaning that R50 will be worth roughly \$2.75 if you exchange it at a bank.

That would make sense if you were calculating the cost of a trip to the cinema when going on holiday, but it won’t help contextualise the impact of the transaction on the people working and earning in the foreign economy.

In contrast, the World Bank’s conversion factor to compare a purchase in rand to one in dollar is 7.28.

This accounts for overvalued and undervalued currencies such as the rand and provides a clearer picture of how much a ticket actually costs someone living in the US, for example.

Thus, if one wanted to compare the purchasing power of R50 in the US, one would divide it by the conversion factor.

This would give R50 a purchasing power of \$6.86 — much higher than the nominal exchange rate.

South Africa’s average cinema price was calculated based on a range of prices charged by cinemas in South Africa.

The country with the cheapest cinema tickets in our comparison was Argentina, which costs 1,196 Argentinian pesos, or the equivalent of R62.60.

If the direct conversion rate was used, 1,196 Argentinian pesos would be worth R23. However, the cost of a ticket has been converted into dollars using the PPP index and then into rands, using the same index.

The table below provides the price of a movie ticket in the country according to the local currency, PPP conversion factor in dollars, PPP conversion factor in rands and the % difference between the price and the South African price.

The US, the base currency for PPP comparison, is the second lowest at \$12.50. One reason the price is so low is that most if not all, major films that play in mainstream cinemas are American.

However, this is just over a dollar less than the South African cost to buy a cinema ticket, which is \$13.78. This equates to just under R100 per ticket.

Even Kenya’s cinema prices are more expensive than South Africa’s, although this price is more in line with the upper end of South Africa’s pricing spectrum.

The UK is also not too far off from South Africa in terms of price, as a ticket costs just under 8% more.

Towards the other end of the spectrum, ticket prices start to increase significantly.

For instance, a movie ticket in Japan is just under 40% more expensive than it is here at home, at R139.63.

Similarly, buying a cinema ticket in Denmark or Switzerland will cost you over R140, which, when considering some prices in South Africa, is not too far off.

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