CTFC green signals movie futures exchange

MUMBAI: Despite objections from the Motion Picture Association of America and lawmakers from California and elsewhere, the Commodity Trading Futures Commission (CTFC) has approved a proposal by Media Derivatives Inc., of Scottsdale, Ariz. to open a futures exchange dedicated to trade movie futures. The CFTC had pushed its decision back several times because of the formidable opposition.

Media Derivatives Inc. is backed by Veriana Networks LLC, an investor in media-related businesses, also based in Scottsdale with an office in Chicago. The company intends to offer futures contracts on domestic box-office receipt later in the year. The company is dedicated to meeting the needs of the entertainment industry while allowing institutional investors to hedge investments in motion pictures. 

Another company applying to offer movie futures, Cantor Futures Exchange LP, also known as Cantor Exchange, is a new subsidiary of New York brokerage Cantor Fitzgerald. The exchange hopes to receive CFTC approval on Tuesday as a futures market and for its movie box-office futures contract that would begin trading at the end of the month.

Earlier this month, the Motion Picture Association of America, along with several large movie associations, wrote a forceful letter to the commission urging a rejection of the proposed online movie-futures wagering for Media Derivatives and Cantor Futures Exchange.

The letter asserted that the proposals of movie futures "are based on faulty understanding of the film industry and create a risk of rampant speculation and financial irresponsibility at a time when the nation is still seeking to recover from an economic meltdown of the financial markets."

The opposition arguments are plentiful. Some critics assert there is no real commodity involved, while others claim that there isn‘t a standardized commodity. Traditionalists also claim that movie futures contracts would corrupt the market.

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