Spanish Regulator Launches Competition Probe of Hollywood Studios

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The investigation will also cover digital cinema firm Ymagis and audience measurement firm Rentrak and focus on "possible restrictive practices of competition in the film distribution market."

Spanish regulator the National Commission of Markets and Competition (NCMC) has launched a competition probe of the big Hollywood studios and other companies.

The regulator in a statement said it was investigating 14 companies "for possible restrictive practices of competition in the film distribution market."

It explained that such practices would "consist of the agreement between the big distributors and the integrating company [digital cinema firm] Ymagis to standardize their commercial policies, as well as in the exchange of commercially sensitive information between large distributors, with the collaboration of the Rentrak audience measurement company, in the Spanish film distribution market."

The regulator said it would probe the Walt Disney Company Iberia, Sony Pictures Entertainment Iberia, Warner Bros Entertainment España, Hispano Foxfilm, Universal Pictures International Spain, Paramount Spain, Ymagis Spain and Rentrak Spain, along with various related entities.

"Agreements between competitors constitute a very serious violation of competition law," the regulator said. "It can lead to fines of up to 10 percent of the total [revenue] of the offending companies."

The investigation will run for up to 18 months, according to the NCMC.