Select Committee on European Union Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 940 - 943)



Lord Skelmersdale

  940. I, too, found your presentation absolutely admirable, and well done. The bottom has fallen out, to a great extent, of the market, principally, I believe, because the firms involved sell by no other method. Do you ever see a company only selling by means of the internet actually making a profit out of it?
  (Ms Patel) Yes, Amazon is the best. It is not making a profit yet, but I think it is the best and one of the strongest that could possibly do it.
  (Ms Gandhi) It is possible, but I reckon the companies would have to have a lot of patience to be able to do this.
  (Ms Patel) It is very difficult with certain entities such as clothing manufactures. Consumers would like to touch the clothes and see them, whereas with music, you could have a sample of the music.

  941. Lots of people buy clothes by mail order quite happily. Quite happily.
  (Ms Patel) Yes. The quality of a picture is a bit better than a tiny little picture on a computer screen.
  (Ms Gandhi) Also, you find that mail order has been done for a very long time, so people have more confidence.

  942. So you see it as a confidence issue, do you?
  (Ms Gandhi) Yes.
  ( Ms Shah) Once the companies get over their initial set-up costs, once they can cover that, then they will be making a profit. It is usually the initial set-up costs that are basically the things that are bringing them down.

  Chairman: We have time for one more question. Lord Cavendish?

Lord Cavendish of Furness

  943. Thank you. I particularly liked the way you backed up your answers with examples. Regulation: I think the history of regulation is at best patchy. I think an example was given of pirating music. What I really want to put to you is, which do you think is best? To regulate against piracy of music (if indeed that is possible), or, for instance, using an example of giving tax concessions, to try and prevent that piracy in the first place? That is only an inquiry. Can you comment on that? Do you have confidence in regulation, as opposed to trying to avoid the thing that you are trying to regulate internally?
  (Ms Patel) I think on certain issues like that, internal regulation might be good, if they could develop the technology as well. I think certainly in the music industry business it will help, and give the motivation to stop piracy, and they will try and avoid it. Government legislation through tax would probably help anyway.

  Chairman: I think we are more or less there. Are there any final points? You have your chance to say anything more you would like to say to us, if you wish? Thank you very much indeed.

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