Vietnam probes foreign film distributor for unfair competition

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The Vietnam Competition Authority on Wednesday began investigating foreign-invested film distributor Megastar after it was accused by six cinema operators of abusing its market position to fix prices.

According to the complainants, including Galaxy, Cinebox and Saigon Movies Media, Megastar is dominating the local cinema market and has set unreasonable prices, hurting both theater operators and moviegoers alike.

They said since June 2009 Megastar has insisted on a minimum payment of VND25,000 (US$1.30) on every ticket to a movie that it distributes.

The companies said they have struggled and even suffered losses since the beginning of this year due to the pricing policy.

The six cinema operators said according to ticket pricing conventions, theater owners and film distributors share ticket revenues at an agreed percentage that ensures profits for both sides as well as reasonable prices for moviegoers. 

Megastar, a joint venture between local publisher Phuong Nam and Envoy Media Partners from British Virgin Islands, has won exclusive rights to distribute many foreign blockbusters in Vietnam.

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