HC Deb 05 May 1964 vol 694 cc142-3W
42. Mr. Swingler

asked the Postmaster-General if he will now make a statement on the conditions under which he will permit the showing of feature films on experimental pay-television.

Mr. Mawby

My right hon. Friend is laying down conditions to afford adequate safeguards for the legitimate interests of cinema exhibitors while allowing a reasonable measure of elasticity to the pay-television experiments. The conditions areFirst, there must be a period of six months from the first local cinema showing of a registered film given a London general release before it can be shown or advertised for showing on pay-television, unless local cinema exhibitors have agreed to a pay-television showing within the period. This is the main safeguard and should ensure that the local cinemas have first access to films in the majority of cases, though it s the Government's hope that in a number of cases voluntary arrangements will be arrived at to permit earlier showing on pay-television, Second, as the six-month period may not cover the full normal cinema release of every film, my right hon. Friend is stipulating that a limited compensation fund should be provided by the pay-television company in each area against the possibility that a cinema exhibitor can point to the prior showing of cinema films by pay-television and can demonstrate a loss of box-office takings reasonably attributable to that cause.

The special case of repertory cinemas is being separately provided for.

The Kinematograph Renters' Society has assured my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Industry, Trade and Regional Development that the supply of films will continue on the pre-pay-television pattern and timings.

These arrangements are solely related to the experimental period. I hope that they will continue throughout that period, but my right hon. Friends will review them if we consider it necessary.