South Korea’s four largest exhibitors have been found guilty of a number of unfair business practices by the country’s Fair Trade Commission. CJ CGV, Lotte Cinema, Megabox and Primus Cinema, which between them account for more than half of the country’s cinemas screens and over 70 per cent of box office takings, were found to have abused their dominant position in a number of way by the watchdog. As reported in Variety:
The unfair business practices included canceling the screening of unpopular pics, giving them less than the standard one-week minimum run; changing the terms of division of revenues between themselves and distributors; and passing out $29 million in free tickets over 2½ years without consulting distributors.
The exhibitors were also accused of colluding on ticket prices. The commission will investigate further and decide on possible punitive measures.
The five largest distributors – CJ Entertainment, Showbox, Sony Pictures-BVI Korea, Universal Pictures Korea and 20th Century Fox Kore – did not escape censure either for their dealings with smaller and regional cinema chains. Between this and the current Samsung corruption probe it seems all is not well in South Korean business, but at least the authorities appear to be tackling it head on.