Along with the proliferation of online video on demand services and pressure to make movies available for download sooner, Hollywood studios are facing a new challenge to decades-old business practices: European regulators.
The European Union’s top antitrust authority on Thursday charged six American studios and a pay television company in Britain with unfairly blocking access to films and other content.
The move is part of an effort by European Union officials to reduce barriers affecting how digital content is bought and sold in the 28-member bloc. The aim is to unify the market of more than 500 million people, giving Europeans unfettered access to services like movie streaming, online shopping and cloud computing no matter where they live.
The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, sent the charges, which are known as a statement of objections, to the British pay-TV broadcaster Sky UK, which is partly owned by 21st Century Fox, and to Disney, NBCUniversal, Paramount Pictures, Sony, Fox and Warner Bros. The charges relate to the studio practice of licensing movies under contracts that require Sky UK to block access for consumers outside Britain and Ireland.
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