TURNER OPTS OUT OF PLANNED WOMEN’S CHANNEL LAUNCH
In a surprising move, the Turner Broadcasting System has decided to opt out of its plans to launch a 24-hour women’s channel, two months after unveiling the channel’s details. The unnamed venture was to air original programming across the fashion, food, health, travel and parenting spectrums, and was said to have the backing of publishing powerhouses Conde Nast and Time Inc. A companion website was also in the works.
Although industry trades cite competition in the form of 15-year-old Lifetime Television and the new women’s-oriented Oxygen channel as a key deterrent to TBS execs, a source close to the situation says the venture failed because the channel’s mandate to provide primarily original programming would have been too costly. A TBS spokesperson would only say the company ‘feels it best to concentrate on the development of the other two networks we are preparing to launch, Turner South and Boomerang.’ Christine Cowern (For more on women’s programming, see pg. 32)
WRITERS GUILD TARGETS NON-FICTION WRITERS: New Award at Jackson Hole
There’s a new award on the roster at this year’s Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival – a prize for best documentary script. Presented by the new non-fiction committee of the Writers Guild of America (wga), the award – the result of several years of wga lobbying – is being judged by a panel of members. Over 40 submissions have been received.
‘Writers provide the invisible hand that shapes many natural history and other non-fiction programs. Too often they remain invisible when credit is being doled out. A surprising number of documentaries, including many entered at Jackson Hole, don’t even list scriptwriters in the credits,’ says Joan Owens-Meyerson, co-chair of WGA’s new Non-Fiction Writers Steering Committee. The new committee is charged with improving the work environment for the Guild’s non-fiction writers.
Nominated for the new award are: Finding Partners: The Life of Birds (David Attenborough), Bhutan: The Last Shangri-La (Harry Marshall), and Hokkaido: Garden of the Gods (Patrick Morris).
Growing broadcast opportunities for non-fiction is one reason the wga is beating the drum on behalf of scriptwriters. ‘Broadcasters are realizing they can’t keep reversioning the same stories and still sustain audience interest. They need skilled writers,’ says Owens. ‘The challenge for us is that much of the work is not Guild-covered.’
In response, the committee is targeting writers working in non-fiction. ‘The majority of the WGA membership comes from theatrical films and TV series, sitcoms and movies. But there are also hundreds of writers working under the non-fiction umbrella, which covers not only documentaries but also variety and game shows, news, children’s programs and reality-based shows, like Cops. With so much new activity, much of it in non-traditional genres, we decided it was time to reach out to the writers and also to the producers and companies they work for.’
The employer-outreach initiative is part of an effort by the Department of Industry Alliances at WGA West, headed by Cindy Bendat. ‘The foremost goal is to expand the base of [WGA] signatory employers. To do that we have to overcome the stereotypes many employers have about working with unions. We’re committed to seeking agreements which work for our members, as well as for producers,’ says Bendat, the department’s new director. Bendat indicates discussions are underway with WGA East about coordinating their respective outreach efforts.
Initially, WGA’s membership campaign will consist of direct outreach to writers. There will also be special events, like a scriptwriting workshop at Jackson Hole. This year’s workshop features the making of Why Dogs Smile and Chimpanzees Cry, co-written by wga members Carol Fleisher and Paula Deats. The special is a production of Fleisherfilm Inc. Productions.
WGA will also distribute their magazine, Written By, at Jackson Hole, along with their booklet, ‘Guidelines for Hiring WGA Writers in Non Fiction Entertainment.’ ‘We tried to make the hiring guidelines flexible enough to work for most broadcast budgets. Now, any budget under US$530,000 per hour for national distribution via cable is covered by the guidelines for low budget programs, as are network programs with budgets below $200,000,’ says Owens-Meyerson.
Meanwhile, the WGA is currently busy negotiating a new writer’s contract with PBS. The present contract expires in November. Additionally, this fall the wga will attempt to re-negotiate its cable and foreign TV residual deals. Carl Mrozek
GRANADA GOES GLOBAL
U.K.-based Granada Media has joined forces with the bbc to form GB Productions, an entity intended to promote both companys’ fiction and comedy in the U.S.
Granada Media also plans to open a production company in Germany. Rikolt von Gagern, currently md of Tele-M-nchen, has been appointed to head the operation.
The new company, to be based in Berlin, is another step in Granada Media’s plans to expand its production operations outside the U.K. Two years ago Granada launched a U.S. production arm, Granada Entertainment USA, and last year acquired Artist Services in Australia.
Von Gagern, who’s 32, will take up his post early next year and is now assembling his team. Plans call for Granada Produktion f-r Film und Fernsehen GmbH to be up and running in January.
Granada Media is no stranger to Germany and is currently in production with Tresor on a local version of the entertainment show Don’t Try This At Home.
The new company will have a wide-ranging remit. As well as exploiting Granada’s back catalog, it will be ‘open to all ideas and genres,’ according to a spokeswoman. That includes documentaries.
Von Gagern, who is Austrian, graduated in law from Salzburg and Vienna universities, specializing in media. He started as a development executive at Tele-M-nchen, Germany’s second largest TV and film rights dealer in 1993, becoming managing director in 1997. Simon Kingsley
MCQUEEN DISCOVERS CTV
Trina McQueen has been appointed executive VP at Canadian national broadcaster, CTV, leaving her post as president of the Discovery Channel Canada. In her new role at CTV she will oversee programming, sales and the running of the CTV network, stations and specialty channels.
McQueen’s history in Canadian television is eclectic, highlighted most recently by the 1995 launch of the Discovery Channel and her subsequent presidency of the non-fiction broadcaster. The move, she says, should come as little surprise to those who have monitored her career.
‘I don’t think I have ever had a job for more than four years in my life and I’ve been with Discovery six years, going on seven,’ McQueen says. ‘Discovery needed some fresh ideas and so did I. While I was kind of thinking about that but not doing too much about it, because it is really wonderful here at Discovery, Ivan [Fecan, President and CEO of CTV] offered me the job and that was just great.’
McQueen says her affiliation with Discovery ended when she arrived at CTV, regardless of the pending decision by the Canadian regulatory commission regarding the transfer of NetStar (which owns the Canadian share of Discovery Canada and sports broadcaster tsn) to CTV. Her new responsibilities as exec VP will keep her hands full, and McQueen says that her new job is both exciting and terrifying.
‘I’m excited because I think CTV has the assets and the team to be the most interesting place in Canadian television for the next five or ten years,’ she says. ‘There’s a willingness there to do things differently, to have big ideas and to grow in different ways.’
Although McQueen has been successful in performing many of the duties that now go with her CTV title, she admits a lot has changed during her time at Discovery when she dealt with documentary and non-fictional programming nearly exclusively.
‘I really don’t know the difference between Felicity and Tom Green and I am going to have to do a lot of getting up to speed,’ she laughs, saying that life beyond Discovery will be a welcome challenge. ‘There has been a huge amount of change at CTV and I am sort of plunging into the deep end of the lake. That’s the part of the terror.’
McQueen also served at the CBC for 25 years, starting as an on-air host and reporter, working her way up to vp of television news, current affairs. She also helped to launch CBC Newsworld. McQueen actually began her career at CTV where she co-hosted the long-running public affairs program W-Five.
McQueen’s replacement as president of The Discovery Channel is Ken Murphy, Discovery’s VP of production and administration. Murphy has been with Discovery since the launch of the channel in 1994.
Other changes in the Discovery company directory include Meg Pinto, who has been bumped up from VP, sales and marketing, to senior VP of sales and marketing. Paul Lewis has been named VP, programming, leaving his post as executive producer of in-house productions. John Panikkar has been promoted to VP of production at Discovery from director of programming. Dustin Dinoff, Playback
EYE ON ASIA/INDIA
by Bhuvan Lall
BBC TO LAUNCH NEW CHANNELS IN ASIA
The BBC is to launch a science and technology channel, a global educational channel and a travel channel in the Asian region. ‘We want to dominate the non-fiction, factual-based international viewing,’ announced Peter Kenyatta, BBC Worldwide director of new channel development during a press conference in India. The launch of People+Arts in Asia has been delayed due to the economic crisis in the region. Kenyatta says, ‘People+Arts would also require cultural-specific programming for a 24-hour channel on art and people-related issues in the region.’ According to the BBC’s in-house research, audiences in Asia have an appetite for international programming in documentary style. ‘There is a hunger for education in Asia,’ Kenyatta adds. BBC currently broadcasts BBC World, a news and documentary channel, in Asia.
DISCOVERY TO INVEST IN HINDI DUBBING
Discovery Communications India has obtained clearance from the Indian government to increase its equity cap to US$25 million over a period of five years from the start of its operations. The company, which had started with an investment of $5 million, had been allowed a cap of $12 million. A major portion of Discovery’s investment is towards the dubbing of programs. Discovery Channel has a dual audio feed in English and dubbed Hindi, which has allowed it to increase its viewership base. Almost 60% of its audience watch the Hindi version. Animal Planet, the 24-hour pay channel launched on March 29 in India, has reached a subscriber base of 2 million in the country. Discovery Channel India, a pay-tv service launched in August 1995, reaches out to an estimated 4 million subscribers. Speaking at a press conference in India, Dawn McCall, president, Discovery Networks International, said, ‘There is a huge untapped market for reality-based entertainment in India, and we intend to tap it to the full potential.’
DOORDARSHAN EXPANDS AT NETWORK
India’s state broadcaster Doordarshan plans to launch three new Doordarshan channels on news and current affairs, movies and arts, and culture and leisure. The channels will be launched within the next six months. Doordarshan is also revamping DD Metro channel to make it a dedicated entertainment channel. Doordarshan’s terrestrial reach is 65 million homes, compared with 20 million cable homes. Doordarshan has also requested the government to promulgate an ordinance to amend the Cable Networks Amendment Act to make it mandatory for cable operators to carry DD-I and DD-II on the prime band as satellite channels.
GOODBYE TO TWO FAT LADIES
The popular cooking series Two Fat Ladies, will not go on without Jennifer Paterson, one half of the dynamic, motorcycle-riding duo, who recently died of lung cancer at age 71. ‘We had completed four of a series of eight and those will be shown on the bbc in September, but there won’t be any more,’ says Martha Delap of the Ladies production company, London-based Optomen Television. ‘We’re not going to be re-casting.’ Paterson’s counterpart, Clarissa Dickson Wright, may ride solo in a show of her own at some point, but her partner will be sadly missed. Susan Rayman
WWF STALLS ON TRIBUTE TO OWEN HART
The World Wrestling Federation has refused to comment on whether it will cooperate with Toronto-based High Road Productions on Owen Hart: Biography (w/t), a one-hour one-off tribute film about the deceased pro wrestler. Hart died earlier this year performing a stunt at a WWF event in Kansas City – he fell 21 meters when his quick-release harness opened prematurely as he was being lowered into the ring.
WWF senior VP and general counsel Ed Kaufman says, ‘We’re currently in litigation, and that’s really the reason I can’t comment.’ Hart’s family, including his wife, Martha, and parents, Stu and Helen, have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the wwf.
The US$250,000 (CDN$370,000) film includes clips from a 75-minute interview with Hart, ‘the last anyone did,’ according to High Road’s Paul Jay. Hart was interviewed at length for Wrestling With Shadows, the film about his brother (Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart), though he barely appears in it.
Owen Hart: Biography airs in Canada on Toronto-based TVOntario and Calgary-based The A Channel in October, and on A&E (in Canada and the U.S.) in November. Jay says a video distribution deal is in the works as well. Susan Rayman
FOX ACQUIRES LAST 20% OF TVNZ’s NHU
In an expected move, Twentieth Century Fox has acquired the remaining 20% of TV New Zealand’s Natural History Unit. An 80% majority share of the Unit was sold to the California-based broadcaster in December 1997, after over ten formal offers for control of the Unit were fielded from the likes of media conglomerate United News & Media and Australia’s Beyond Distribution.
According to Michael Stedman, managing director of Natural History New Zealand, the desire to be owned by an international company was strong within the Unit from the beginning. ‘It [the Unit] started to go international about five years ago and our view was that to continue to be owned by a small domestic broadcaster would impede growth, given that there were strategic alliances forming all over the world i.e. Discovery and BBC, etcetera. So, it was our view – and TVNZ shared that view – that if we were to continue to grow then it made sense to be owned by an international company.’
Stedman, who credits Fox for opening many doors internationally for the Unit, says under the broadcaster production has doubled. ‘Under Fox ownership we have enjoyed pretty significant growth over the last two years,’ he admits.
The reason TVNZ was initially reluctant to part with the remaining 20% of the Unit, according to Stedman, was due to the political reaction it might invoke, given tvnz’s status as a state-owned organization. ‘There was no political reaction,’ Stedman says, ‘so they dropped the other 20%.’ Christine Cowern
MORE NH FOR HIT
U.K.-based HIT Wildlife has invested US$2.5 million in four new natural history productions from indie producers. The latest slate brings hit’s total outlay on factual shows to $6 million this year.
The projects in question include Cicada Films’ Wild Family Secrets, MacKinnon Films’ Return of the Unicorn, Wild Dog’s Kruger Tales and Rudolf Lammers’ Africa from the Ground Up – a 13 x 30-minute series.
HIT director of factual programs, Carl Hall, says the new slate demonstrates the company’s commitment to nurturing developing talent and growing the potential of small but better-known producers. ‘These films all come from new wildlife filmmakers or those wishing to spread their wings on the international market.’
In a separate development, HIT has teamed up with three conservation organizations to make films which highlight environmental work in the U.K., Africa and North America. Proceeds from one of the films, Mkomazi Rhino, will go to the Rhino relocation program in Tanzania. The other films are Realm of the Ancient Redwoods and Top Cat. Andy Fry
BBC’S BENNETT TO TLC
Jana Bennett, formerly BBC Production’s director of programs, has joined Discovery Networks as senior VP/GM of TLC (The Learning Channel).
In her new role, she will be responsible for all programming, operational and management aspects for the non-fiction network – which reaches 70 million U.S. households. She replaces John Ford who became head of Discovery Health Media earlier this year.
Bennett has worked closely with senior Discovery execs since the launch of the BBC/Discovery Channel and coproduction joint venture.
Through series like The Human Body and Walking With Dinosaurs, she says that she has ‘come to know and respect the channel teams under Johnathan Rodgers, and the company’s leaders John Hendricks and Judith McHale.’ She adds, ‘My new position will allow me to strengthen the partnership between the BBC and Discovery Communications (DCI) from the other side of the Atlantic.’
Although Bennett is a U.S. native, she started her career as a BBC News journalist in 1979. During 20 years at the corporation, she produced Panorama and Horizon before taking over the BBC’s science department in 1994. It was in this role that she established her reputation as a far-sighted tv executive – capable of grasping the complexities of the multimedia landscape.
Bennett is married to BBC head of news programs Richard Clemmow who will move to the U.S. with her. He plans to work in new media after their relocation. Andy Fry
NAT GEO ANNOUNCES FILMMAKER CONTEST
National Geographic Channels Worldwide will soon announce a new initiative called Blue Planet Heroes, giving independent filmmakers a chance to produce a short film to air on Nat Geo Channels internationally. Twelve winners will be chosen to produce a US$4,000, 4-minute film each, based on their submitted written proposal. Proposals are due October 15th. According to Geo, a `Blue Planet Hero’ is ‘an individual who will leave our planet a better place as a result of their work and commitment… an unsung hero with an inspirational story waiting to be told.’ Part of the submission should include why the filmmaker is best positioned to tell that particular story.
One of the 12 finalists will also be chosen as the grand prize winner and will be flown to Washington to attend the RealScreen Summit in February of 2000. They will also have the opportunity for a face-to-face pitching session with the commissioning panel from National Geographic.
The contest is open to filmmakers who have not previously worked with ngc. For more information on the project, including rules and judging overviews, check www.nationalgeographic.com. Brendan Christie
AMAZON.COM OPENS UP THE ON-LINE VIDEO MARKET TO INDIES
Independent producers who have held on tight to their video distribution rights can now sell their videos and DVDs through Amazon.com. The U.S. on-line video retailer invites filmmakers to sign up with the `Amazon Advantage’ program, via the website, and then submit a copy of the video for review. ‘Everything is accepted, as long as it meets the criteria for violence, nudity [no porn] and production quality,’ says Amazon spokesperson Paul Capelli. Producers supply the videos and set the prices, and Amazon puts up an individual website for each title, free of charge. The video retailer takes 55% of the sales income, and the filmmaker keeps the rest. Since the program was made available to producers in July, Amazon has received hundreds of submissions, Capelli says. ‘It’s an opportunity for independent filmmakers, video producers, to now have an avenue to sell directly to customers. Working with Amazon.com, they can instantly have access to ten million customers on-line.’ Susan Rayman
DONOR SCANDAL ARISES FOR PBS
Twenty-six public broadcasters in the U.S. are embroiled in a controversy over allegedly supplying their donor lists to political parties through list brokers. Among the TV stations under scrutiny are PBS’ WGBH (Boston), WNET (New York) and WETA (Washington), as well as KQED (San Francisco) and KCET (L.A.).
In an open letter to all public radio and television station general managers, Robert Coonrad, president and ceo of the Washington-based Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), condemned the practise, saying ‘the [CPB] Board expresse[s] its strong objection to the practise of using member or donor lists in a manner which violates the public trust.’ Not only is it now against CPB policy to engage in such a practise, but it is also a violation of U.S. tax laws, which prohibit public stations from participating in political campaigns.
One result of the controversy has been a cancelled vote by the House Commerce Telecommunications Committee, which would have released US$525 million in new funds to public broadcasters across the U.S. No new voting date has yet been scheduled.
For its part, WGBH – which allegedly provided its list to the Democratic Party in exchange for a comparable list of political contributors to the Party – was apologetic and maintained that the list scandal was due to an oversight on their part. Says WGBH spokesperson, Jeanne Hopkins: ‘We hope [the Committee] will recognize that this was in many cases a mistake at stations. . . and that both PBS and CPB have been in touch with stations about putting in stronger policies so that this won’t happen in the future.’ Christine Cowern
Staffers at TBS, one of Japan’s biggest broadcasters, have reportedly been engaging in some bizarre behavior lately. Office orgies and subway groping are but two examples of recent indiscretions. According to a report from The Hollywood Reporter, a TBS doc-maker was recently arrested for sneaking into a private bathroom with a video camera, in order to film a woman taking a bath. His excuse? He was following a cat. SR
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE
Rick Rodriguez has been named to the post of senior vice president, programming and production for Discovery Networks International. Also at Discovery, Enrique Martinez has been picked as senior vice president and general manager for Discovery Communications in Latin America/Iberia. Martinez has been with Discovery since 1994. Most recently he served as VP of affiliate sales and operations.
Discovery has also pegged Neal Kirsch as senior vice president and division chief financial officer for Discovery Networks International. Kirsch has been with DCI since 1994. Prior to that, he worked at the World Bank.
Donald Thoms has been picked to fill the post of director of production at Discovery Health. Thoms was previously the vice president of program management at PBS, and follows ex-pbs’er Kathy Quattrone to the new cablecaster.
Philip Jones, former director of International Relations at Carlton International, has announced that he will strike out on his own to begin a rights brokering business. Jones had been with the London company for 17 years.
London’s Chrysalis Distribution has announced the addition of Robyn Hurd as sales executive responsible for Eastern Europe, and parts of Western and Southeast Asia. Hurd was formerly with Mayfair Television Entertainment, and prior to that, ITEL.
Southern Star Sales has added Swedish-born Gisela Cummins-Minnbergh to their staff, in the newly-created position of sales executive. Most recently, Cummins-Minnbergh worked at Independent Television News in London, and was responsible for the marketing and sales of broadcast services, satellite delivery and editorial support.
Doug Sylvester has been promoted to the role of senior vice president of new business development, strategy and on-line operations at E!. One of Sylvester’s first moves was to hire Laurel Wyner Dunlea as VP of marketing. Sylvester joined E! in 1995 to create the business development department. Wyner Dunlea was president of marketing for Internet startup Bizbuyer.com, and also worked for Ziff-Davis and Grey Advertising.
The U.K.’s ONdigital has announced that Stuart Prebble will replace Stephen Grabiner as chief executive. Prebble was previously editor of Granada’s World In Action, and controller of ITV Network Factual Programs. In 1993, he was appointed CEO of Granada Sky Broadcasting.
Robert Mendez has been named senior VP business affairs & legal for the domestic television division of the Paramount Television Group. Mendez, who is being promoted from VP business affairs, will oversee such series as Real TV and Wild Things. Mendez joined Paramount in 1987 as associate director business & legal for Paramount Domestic Television.
FOR THE RECORD
E! Entertainment has licensed 120 hours of programming to Skycable in the Philippines. * This summer Nat Geo began a 7-day, 24-hour feed on Cable TV’s Channel 23 in Hong Kong. The operator will maintain the weekend feed for viewers without a fibre optic hook-up * Only a few weeks remain to enter a contest to win US$125,000 worth of production funds and air time on Discovery and Animal Planet Asia. The contest will reward a Public Service Annoucement which best draws attention to the effects of deforestation in the Asia Pacific region. * After more than 20 years, the London office of the Australian Film Commission is being closed due to a funds reallocation process. * Unapix Entertainment has received a commitment from GE Capital for a US$40 million line of credit, more than doubling its current line of credit. * NBC Archives has signed on with Footage.net. The network archive currently contains 100 million feet of film. * The 1999 European Media and Marketing Survey shows that BBC World’s audience has grown by one third. This is the third year running in which the service has increased its viewership. * TVNZ is the first international broadcaster to join the North American Broadcaster Association (NABA). The New Zealand company recently joined as an associate member. * Animal Planet has topped five million homes in India in less than six months. * Discovery has launched an integrated educational initiative in Australia. The plan revolves around one-hour blocks featuring a lesson plan library, teacher-to-teacher discussions, classroom activities, and on-line links. * BBC Worldwide has acquired the rights to the library of Hy Gardner, an American newspaper columnist, media commentator and author. The library contains 90 hours of video, and approximately 80 hours of audio. * Nat Geo has formed a National Geographic Expedition Council, dedicated to funding investigations in unknown or little-known areas of science and exploration. n espn2 has topped the 65 million home barrier. * Archive Photos is representing the collection of Photo File Inc., a collection of sports photography. Photo File manufacturers licensed sports photography from Major League Baseball, the NBA, NHL, NFL and their player associations. * Discovery now has a Sunday branded block on Chile’s Channel 13, airing at 12:30 p.m. * Discovery Channel Latin America/Iberia has launched Animal Planet and People+Arts into the Dominican Republic on Telecable Nacional. * The winner of US$10,000 in development funding from NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) is John Curtin of Kaos Films Worldwide Inc., in Montreal, Canada.
BBC welcomes auditors
The BBC will open up its books to outside auditors for the first time, with the hope that they will support a recommended £24 increase in viewer rates for digital services. The BBC claims the audit will reveal a level of efficiency that would make future digital launches impossible without the added income. The Beeb’s competition on digital, BSkyB and ONdigital, have dubbed the proposal a `programming tax.’
Doc-makers gain new access to B.C. credit
British Columbia has waived a requirement for doc producers to spend 75% of their total budgets in B.C. in order to qualify for the provincial tax credit. Since the tax credit was announced in April 1998, doc producers have also been exempt from the requirement that 75% of all principal photography happen within the provincial boundaries. The changes reflect the reality of documentary production, during which producers are taken all over the world to follow a story and spend much of their budget on location.
Documentary titles represent 70% to 80% of the projects receiving provincial funding through British Columbia Film. The value of the province’s documentary production in 1998 was cdn$17.4 million, according to the B.C. Film Commission. (Ian Edwards, Playback)
New BBC current affairs strand
The BBC is to launch a new investigative current affairs strand in the autumn. The move follows criticism from the BBC’s Board of Governors over the broadcaster’s so-called lackluster performance in current affairs, and also the recent decision of ITV to drop World In Action, its flagship current affairs show. Insiders suggest that a number of World In Action staffers have agreed to work on the new BBC show. (courtesy www.docos.com)
HD on the road
North Carolina’s Capitol Broadcasting Company will work with HD Vision of Texas to create and operate a state of the art, 53-foot mobile HD production facility. Construction is scheduled to end in late October. The mobile unit will come equipped with HDTV cameras, VTRs, a character generator, digital switcher with two channel DVE, matrix intercom, and a digital audio mixer with support for both 2-channel and 5.1-channel AC-3 encoding.
Borland named head of Sharing Stories
The international coproduction conference Sharing Stories will have a new head for the 1999 season. Ros Borland, a recent BBC staffer who left to set up Glasgow-based indie Gabriel Films, hopes to ‘put some real energy behind the conference, and make it an exciting event that is truly international in scope and ambition.’ The event will take place in Edinburgh, November 12-14.
More ads for cable
According to a report issued by Competitive Media Reporting in New York, spending on cable advertising in the U.S. for the first quarter of 1999 showed an increase of 27% over the same quarter last year, reaching a plateau of US$1.74 billion. Network advertising grew by 6.4%, hitting the $4.54 billion mark.
Military Channel goes AWOL
Kentucky-based Military Channel faded from the air on July 14th and laid off half of their staff. Management remains optimistic that the black-out will only be temporary, and that the 50 released employees will be called back to work. Currently, the channel is looking for backers willing to help bankroll both day-to-day running of the channel and on-line expansion. According to the station, viewer response was good, with eight million subs signing on in the first eight months, and growth projected to reach 30 million by the end of the year.
THC and MTV win Governor’s Award
Presented by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the 1999 Governor’s Award was handed out to THC and MTV in a ceremony on August 28th. The awards were garnered for THC’s `Save Our History’ campaign, an effort dedicated to historical education and preservation. MTV’s recognition came for their work on `Fight For Your Rights: Take A Stand Against Violence,’ an effort at reducing violence in communities.