EU exec closes antitrust probe into Hollywood studios

Fri Mar 4, 2011 6:59am EST
 
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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU regulators have closed an antitrust probe into several U.S. Hollywood studios after they amended agreements for installing digital equipment in European cinemas, the European Commission said on Friday.

The Commission, which ensures fair competition in the 27-member European Union, said a preliminary investigation had found the contracts might have restricted independent distributors' access to cinemas with digital equipment.

The U.S. studios later revised their contracts to address the watchdog's concerns.

"I am pleased that Hollywood studios ... modified the contracts so that cinemagoers can watch both Hollywood blockbusters but also small budget and art house films with the latest state-of-the-art technology," EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said in a statement.

The Commission estimated that more than 18,000 cinema screens, about half of the total in Europe, will be digitalized by the end of 2012.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Rex Merrifield and Jon Loades-Carter)