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UIP, EU SETTLE SPAT OVER PAY TV LICENSING

Universal, Paramount and MGM, nominal partners in UIP Pay Television, have concluded a deal with the European Commission to continue licensing feevee rights in Europe separately from the co-venture.

The agreement announced Thursday simply signs off on the way each studio has been operating for about three years, not only in the European Union markets but throughout the world .

The three studios decided to operate unilaterally in pay TV after the EC voiced concerns about their pay TV co-venture being a possible violation of the commission’s anti-monopoly regs. Subsequently, Andrew Kaza ankled as UIP pay TV prez, and his London unit was scaled down to a small core of staffers who have stayed on to service pre-existing deals. When those pacts expire, that office is expected to be shuttered.

UIP said the pay TV agreement with the EC is separate from the commission’s marathon inquiry into whether UIP’s exemption from competition rules covering its theatrical distrib operations, granted originally in 1988, should be renewed. That evaluation is ongoing.

Referring to the pay TV resolution, MGM Telecommunications president Gary Marenzi told Daily Variety, “This really is a non-issue. The studios have been pursuing their own business initiatives separately.”

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