Fair trade regulator Competition Commission of India (CCI) has rejected allegations of anti-competitive practices made against Big Tree Entertainment, which runs movie ticketing site BookMyShow.com.
While five members, including the CCI chairman, dismissed the complaint, one member passed a minority order calling for a detailed probe into the allegations.
Big Tree Entertainment Pvt Ltd (Opposite Party 1) is into online movie ticketing through ‘BookMyShow.com’ and charges a convenience fee on the tickets sold through its website.
Besides, the complaint was filed against Vista Entertainment Solutions Ltd (Opposite Party 2) -- a New Zealand-based firm that provides box office ticketing solutions including the software ‘Vista’.
Big Tree Entertainment is the only distributor for Vista box office software in India, as per the CCI order.
It was alleged that both entities abused their dominant positions by denying the complainant access to market for online movie ticketing portals and box office ticketing solutions in India.
The complaint was filed by Justtickets Pvt Ltd, which is into online movie ticketing business, mainly in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
As per the majority order by CCI Chairman Devender Kumar Sikri and four members, there is no “prima facie” case of the opposite parties violating competition norms.
“In the absence of abuse, the Commission also does not find the need to get into the aspect of defining the relevant market and assessing the dominance of the opposite parties (Big Tree Entertainment and Vista Entertainment Solutions),” the recent order said.
The four members are S L Bunker, Sudhir Mital, U C Nahta and G P Mittal.
Differing with the majority order, CCI member Augustine Peter said there should be a probe into the complaint by the Director General (DG).
DG is the investigation arm of the regulator and cases where there is prima facie evidence of competition norms’ violations are referred to it for detailed investigation.
According to Peter, the two entities should be considered as a Single Economic Entity (SEE).
“Besides OP 1 and OP 2 acting as a ‘SEE’, being in ‘principal’ and ‘agent’ relationship has, prima facie, used the dominant position in the market for box office software to protect and further OP 1’s dominance in the market for online ticketing in India.
“Investigation by the DG is warranted in this regard to bring out the nature of relationship between OP1 and OP2 which, prima facie, is one of ‘SEE’,” Peter said in a separate order.