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ACCC proposes to authorise independent cinemas to bargain collectively

The ACCC has issued a draft determination proposing to grant authorisation to Independent Cinemas Australia (ICA), and its current and future independent cinema members, to share information and collectively bargain with film distributors.

ICA and its members are seeking to share information with each other and collectively bargain with film distributors on the terms of film licensing agreements.

“Independent Cinema Australia’s proposal is likely to benefit the public as it should reduce negotiation costs for independent cinemas and distributors who participate,” ACCC Commissioner Roger Featherston said.

“Any cost reductions and improved terms from collective bargaining may help the viability of small cinemas, and allow them to reinvest into their cinemas, creating a better experience for cinema-goers.”

The ACCC does not consider that the proposed conduct is likely to result in significant public detriment.

Participation in the collective bargaining proposed by ICA is voluntary for all parties, and the proposed conduct does not include cinemas engaging in any collective boycott of films supplied by distributors.

“Information sharing under the proposed authorisation is not likely to harm competition, as independent cinemas face competition from large chains. An authorisation would not override any confidentiality arrangements protecting commercially sensitive information,” Mr Featherston said.

The ACCC has published the draft determination on the ACCC public register: Independent Cinemas Australia Inc. – A91587.

The ACCC is now seeking submissions on the draft determination. Submissions should be sent to the ACCC by 20 October 2017.

The ACCC expects to release its final determination in December 2017.