Adler and PolyGram
ink video deal
Virginia’s Adler Media has signed a distribution deal with Polygram Video U.K. to reversion some of its popular travelogues for the u.k. and Irish market. The new Great Train Journeys is a 17 x 50 minute series, destined for mail order under Polygram’s Brittania label. The continuity agreement is effective this April and will last for 15 years.
While details of the deal were not released, Polygram will be responsible for the redesign and repackaging of the series, as well as any new royalties owed to the producers.
Originally, the series titles were released under the names: The Orient Express by Ian Allan in the u.k.; Great Australian Train Journeys from Banksia Productions in Australia; CMC Germany’s Siberian Rail Journeys; and World Steam Classics by Nick Lera in the u.k.
The bbc showcase in March was another unqualified success, generating £20 million worth of licensing deals to international buyers. The event attracted a record 420 program buyers, representing 240 broadcasters in 55 countries. Along with its extensive back catalogue, the bbc was offering 600 hours of new programming.
A&E >> Titanic sales
anything but disastrous
Titanic, a four-volume video box-set from a&e, has broken company sales records, shipping 150,000 units. Sales have accelerated during the first two months of this year, with an increase of 400% over sales for all of last year. Produced by Greystone Communications in California, in association with a&e, the box-set retails for us$39.99.
Undoubtedly, director James Cameron’s blockbuster has had much to do with creating the hype to set the landmark. There is precedent; Dinosaur, the second-best selling a&e home-video product, was released as a tie-in with Jurassic Park.
In other promotional-piggy-backing news, a&e’s sister service, The History Channel, posted the highest ratings ever for its nightly historical strand, In Search Of History, with the premiere of the documentary, The Man In The Iron Mask. A production from l.a.-based FilmRoos, the documentary was broadcast on the evening before the release of the feature film. The FilmRoos production averaged over 800,000 households.
World Images, a stock footage company, was identified as World Television in ‘For the Record’, RealScreen, March 1998. World Television is the name of its parent company. World Images merely has the right to ‘sell location stock footage’ from Pilot Production’s Lonely Planet series outside the u.k. In the same item, the World Wildlife Fund was identified as the World Wildlife Federation.
Wildscreen’s New Sponsors
Bristol’s Wildscreen natural-history film festival, taking place this year from October 10-16, has attracted Fujifilm as a new principle sponsor. The designation comes with a minimum contribution of £20,000. Fujifilm joins BBC Production and Survival Anglia, who have been involved with the festival since its inception in 1982, as well as recent sponsors dci and Partridge Films. Fifteen companies have been designated major sponsors, for a minimum £10,000 contribution. Included among them are household names in the natural-history field, such as Devillier Donegan Enterprises, nhk, itel, pbs, Sony, tvnz and Turner Original Productions. BC
People in Brief
TV documentary pioneer and former CBS News president Fred Friendly died last month at age 82. A collaborator of Edward R. Murrow, Friendly was behind television documentaries such as Harvest of Shame in 1961, an exposž about migrant farm workers. In 1966 he joined the Ford Foundation to help launch public broadcasting, and he spent much of the 1980s teaching ethics and media at Columbia University.
Gisele Burnett, most recently vp of rights and program business development at Discovery Europe, is the new head of programming for National Geographic Channel, u.k. Based in London, Burnett reports to Jerry Glover, managing director of ngc in the u.k., Scandinavia and Australia. Also at National Geographic Channel Worldwide, Elizabeth Burkhard, a longtime finance executive at nbc, has been named vp of finance and administration.
Discovery Latin American has named Rosemary Ravinal as director of communications. Ravinal previously headed Ravinal & Asociados, a New York consulting firm specializing in Hispanic public relations for name clients like McDonald’s and at&t, where Ravinal was also director of Hispanic public relations.
The History Channel has named Dr. Libby Haight O’Connell vp, historical alliances and historian-in-residence. O’Connell is responsible for all affiliate community marketing and educational initiatives and serves as a historical advisor for thc’s programming department.
London-based distributor Explore International has announced Edwina Thring as the new sales manager in charge of Latin America, Spain, Germany, u.k., Ireland and South Africa. Thring was previously a sales executive at Pavilion International, where she was responsible for launching the company’s Latin American direct-sales initiatives.
dci has promoted David Roth to senior vp, information systems and services. In the information systems department since 1993, Roth was previously director of information services for Systems Center in Virginia.
At Discovery Enterprises Worldwide, Ken Wells has been named vp of affinity marketing, responsible for management of Discovery’s consumer marketing database.
Marina Kamimura has been appointed cnn’s new Tokyo bureau chief and correspondent. Former chief, John Lewis, is heading to Atlanta to be senior international assignment editor for the network. Kamimura joined cnn from the cbc, where she was co-anchor of Newsworld Business News.