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EU investigating DVD pricing

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EU investigating DVD pricing

Old 06-11-01, 10:03 AM
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The European Commission on Monday said it has launched an investigation into DVD pricing by major distributors, after complaints that disks sold in the U.S. are coded to prevent their use on DVD players in the European Union.

"We have sent letters on Friday to the seven major distributors to find out whether the U.S. system of 'regional coding' is used to artificially charge higher prices in the EU than would be the case without it," said Micheal Tscherny, EU Competition spokesman.

DVDs -- or digital versatile disks -- are given regional codes by manufacturers, which means disks bought in the U.S. by EU consumers may not necessarily play on EU equipment without modification, he said.

U.S. Probes 'Anticompetitive Practices' Between Hollywood Studios, Theaters (Feb. 8)

DVDs purchased in the U.S. are, in general, significantly cheaper than those bought in the EU.

"We have received a significant number of complaints from private citizens on this matter. In each case the complaint is virtually the same -- namely, that DVD prices are significantly higher in the EU than in the U.S.," EU Competition Commissioner Mario Monti said in a speech in Stockholm Monday.

"Whilst the prices of many products are higher in the EU than in the U.S, the major production companies -- in agreement with the major equipment manufacturers -- have introduced a world-wide coding system for DVDs. Under this system, a DVD sold in one of the world's six regions cannot be played on a DVD player sold in another region," he said.

"The thrust of the complaints is that such a system allows the film-production companies to charge higher DVD prices in the EU because EU consumers are artificially prevented from purchasing DVDs from overseas," he said.

According to the industry, the coding system is intended to protect intellectual-property rights and enable film companies to stagger film releases around the world.

Mr. Monti said the commission has also had contacts with Australian officials, who also have sought clarifications from the major film-production companies. "I have noted with great interest the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's conclusion that the regional coding system imposes a 'severe restriction of choice' on consumers. The [European] commission will need to determine whether there are similarly negative effects in the EU which could fall within the scope of the competition rules," he said.
Old 06-11-01, 11:42 AM
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Finally!
Old 06-12-01, 09:01 AM
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Cool. Australia is also investigating...
Old 06-13-01, 04:58 AM
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I always had to wonder about the whole region coding nightmare. 1 question Y?
Old 06-13-01, 05:13 AM
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Originally posted by conkie
I always had to wonder about the whole region coding nightmare. 1 question Y?

1 answer : $$


To make more money of poor unfortunate souls. Higher prices for a lesser product means double the profits.
Old 06-16-01, 02:25 PM
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I don't have a problem with the region coding. I mean most DVD players can be or already are Mulitregion. The thing I cant take in is the great price difference between countries.

Obviously the US will be cheaper, as they are made there basic business says the price will be lower. But the mark up in Europe can be 50% more then the States, sometimes more.

I only buy from the States or HK at the moment.

[Edited by saviola on 06-16-01 at 12:42 PM]
Old 06-17-01, 09:48 AM
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Originally posted by saviola
I don't have a problem with the region coding. I mean most DVD players can be or already are Mulitregion. The thing I cant take in is the great price difference between countries.

Obviously the US will be cheaper, as they are made there basic business says the price will be lower. But the mark up in Europe can be 50% more then the States, sometimes more.

I only buy from the States or HK at the moment.

[Edited by saviola on 06-16-01 at 12:42 PM]
Why on earth would you assume DVD's are "made" in the USA? Do you mean literally fabricated, or do you mean the actual filming, documenting etc?

Fabricating also takes place in Europe, AND actually producing the disc is really cheap.
Also big studios like Fox, Columbia, etc exist in Europe and own the same rights (sometimes on different titles due to distribution deals), but specifically choose not to use those rights because of (in my opinion) cost reductions. What else could be the reason of not releasing the exact same disc in Europe, which already exists in the USA?

Region coding in its essence makes sure that they can get away with this, and even worse: sell the product at a higher price! If there would be problems with the rights on certain extras that therefore can't be put on European discs (which I don't believe) I could live with that if a price reduction was being done to compensate this.

I know that technically rpc isn't much of a problem for people who investigate their options, but it lies at the basis of this DVD-scam we're now facing. Because it forces the majority to buy crap at a higher price.

Len

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