HC Deb 02 November 1966 vol 735 cc134-6W
Mr. Ensor

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he will make a statement about the Report which he has received from the Monopolies Commission on the supply of films to exhibitors.

Mr. Jay

The Report was made public on Monday, 31st October. The Commission have found that the conditions to which the Monopolies legislation applies prevail as respect the supply of films for exhibition in cinemas. The Commission have also found that the share of the supply of films taken by the Rank Organisation, the lack of competition between the Associated British Picture Corporation and Rank for films, the practice of barring, the practice of making the hire of one film conditional upon the hire of others, two practices of the Kinematograph Renters' Society and the preference which Rank gives to certain of its own documentary films all operate and may be expected to operate against the public interest. Although the Commission consider that the rigidity which results from the dominance of Rank and A.B.P.C. and the practice of barring is detrimental to the service which the industry gives to the public, they do not recommend breaking up the circuit system.

Instead the Commission have recommended that certain measures be taken by the leading organisations to introduce more flexibility into the industry; that arrangements be made to modify though not to bring to an end, the present barring system and to open up exhibitors' rights to bid for films; and that the recommendations of the Kinematograph Renters' Society limiting exhibitors discretion about the use of their premises for purposes other than the exhibition of films and the co-operative booking by exhibitors should be withdrawn.

I am inviting the parties concerned to discuss the Commission's recommendations with my Department and shall make a statement at a later stage.