MDA to roll out new film-screening scheme

MDA to roll out new film-screening scheme

Multiple versions of a single film can soon be screened concurrently when a new measure by the Media Development Authority (MDA) kicks in from Friday.

The new Simultaneous Rating System for films is part of a roll-out of MDA initiatives to help businesses lower their operating costs. This is in response to industry feedback.

Previously, film distributors had to allow a one-week period between the end of a movie's run and the start of its second screening under a different rating.

While it was done to avoid confusion among viewers, it led to higher advertising and promotional costs by film exhibitors and distributors, according to the MDA yesterday.

The new scheme aims to lower such costs and reduce disruptions to the momentum of box-office sales.

In addition, security deposits of up to $30,000 per licence will be waived from Friday for film and video licensees with a good track record and which have been in operation for over a year.

More than 300 companies will have their deposits - amounting to $7.7 million - refunded.

The deposits were to ensure that licensees followed regulations. But the industry had asked for its removal to compete more effectively with online media players.

Cathay Organisation welcomed the move, but questioned if it would indeed cut costs.

"Having more than one rating for a film may create confusion among viewers if the marketing and communication efforts for the film, as well as distribution logistics, are not managed properly," said a Cathay Organisation spokesman.

"When this additional element is factored in, more (expenses) may need to be incurred."

However, she added that the waiver of deposits would allow distributors to put the money to better use.

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