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CCI to launch study into film distribution, examine OTT impact on releases

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is planning to launch a study into film distribution to understand whether some of the current practices being followed are indeed anti-competitive, such as collaborations between producers, distributors, and exhibitors deciding upon film release dates. The antitrust regulator will also study the impact over-the-top platforms have had on film distribution.

The CCI has received complaints from exhibitors that distributors are not supplying movies. Some distributors have told CCI that producers are not releasing films to them since they wish to stagger their release. At the same time, CCI has received a complaint that the three parties getting into an agreement to decide on release dates is monopolistic.

“We favour self-regulation. But if there is cartelisation to the detriment of smaller players, we have to step in. Right now, we don’t know whether there are indeed competition concerns,” said a senior official.

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CCI also wants to find if there are players – not part of big associations – forging such alliances or being forced to do so. CCI acknowledges that if two blockbusters are released together, they might not get a lot of business. But if small movies are released everywhere, theatres will not see a full house either.

“The industry has defined its own efficiency parameters. Should CCI bless this arrangement? Should there be free flow of competition? Are their parameters in conformity with the competition law? Whether this is part of some cartelisation is what we need to find out,” added a senior official.

As part of the market study, it wants to invite industry players to share their inputs with the expressed assurance that no action would be taken against them for information shared. “We want to understand this space, so that we can address the complaints received in an informed manner,” added the senior official. Business Standard

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