MTV does docs
Gearing up to challenge rival music cablecaster VH1 on the doc front, New York-based MTV is developing a non-fiction unit of its own. Lauren Lazin, VP of MTV news and specials, said at Sundance that although the channel has traditionally produced most programs in-house, the door is now open to acquisitions and possibly copros. Feature-length films will be of particular interest, she added.
History in Japan
The History Channel has announced plans for a four-hour branded block on the Let’s Try channel in Japan. The channel is distributed through the Super Network and is operated by the Tohokushinsha Film Corp. The partners intend to grow the block into a stand-alone themed channel by 2001.
New CBS distribution arm
In the U.S., CBS Television has merged King World Productions, Eyemark Entertainment and CBS Broadcast International into a focused distribution arm. Dubbed CBS Enterprises, the new entity will be responsible for domestic syndication, international distribution and Productions, as well as media sales and video services. CBSE will be headed by Roger King, as chairman and CEO. Ed Wilson has been picked as president and COO.
Blockbuster, the video rental conglomerate owned by Viacom, has partnered with the Sundance Channel for a three-year deal which will see them jointly buy and license films screened at Sundance and other fests. After they have finished a 30-day run at Blockbuster, the films will screen on the Sundance Channel under the ‘Sundance Channel Presents’ banner. While both partners say deals will vary between filmmakers, the plan sees Sundance claiming an 18-month exclusivity window for broadcast, and Blockbuster a six-month window on video rights. Blockbuster also increased their sponsorship in the Sundance Festival this year, becoming one of five `presenting sponsors’, along with Apple computers, Mercedes-Benz, AT&T and Entertainment Weekly.
Granada moves to block
Rumors in the U.K. suggest Granada is considering breaking up the planned US$12.6 billion merger of Carlton Communications and United News & Media by buying one of the two companies. While regulatory bodies in the U.K. have yet to rule on the move, the prospective partners have indicated their intention to continue with the merger.
BCE applies to distribute five Euro-channels
BCE Media has applied to the CRTC (the Canadian media regulatory body) to distribute five French-language European channels into Canada on both analog and digital platforms. The channels include EuroNews, Muzzik, Paris Premiere, Planete and Tropic.