Italy exhibition sector under microscope

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ROME -- Italy may start seeing more independent cinema screens in the future if the country's antitrust regulator has its way.

The Rome-based antitrust authority has made an official request to the Italian government that it takes steps to introduce more competition into the cinema sector, which it says is controlled by too many large chains that block entry to the market from new competitors. The request was published in the official state newspaper Monday.

Among the abuses highlighted in the request were high ticket prices and a limited choices of films.

It is the first time the 14-year-old regulatory body has issued an official statement about Italy's cinema sector, which was worth €535 million ($722 million) last year.

The request is unusual because the antitrust watchdog usually requires specific actions to remedy what it says are competition related abuses. The government is not required to take action because of an official request from the antitrust authority, and it was not immediately clear if it plans to take action when parliament reconvened the week of June 11.


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