Sales up, copros down in France
A recently published report about the international selling status of French TV programs (The International Aspects of French Production) reveals that while the 1999 sales of French documentaries abroad were up by 16% from 1998, coproduction and pre-sales were down by 15%. Overall program sales and copro/pre-sale figures (including drama and animation) followed a similar pattern, though not as dramatically, with the former up by 4.5% and the latter down by 12.6%. International sales, copros and pre-sales of French docs amounted to ff261 million (us$35.3 million) in 1999. The report is published annually in France by the Centre National de la Cinématographie, the Institut National de l’Audiovisuel and TV France International.
Canadian co to launch U8TV online
Toronto-based Alliance Atlantis Communications and tvforreal.com are attempting to further blur the line between TV and the Internet with U8TV, set to debut later this fall. Billed as a round-the-clock ‘reality-based TV station on the Net,’ U8TV will webcast the lives of eight people inhabiting a Toronto loft. Unlike participants on some other voyeur shows, U8TV ‘lofters’ are responsible for creating real programs that fall into the category of entertainment, information and lifestyle – in their studio/home – in addition to sharing their normal, daily lives. A half-hour edited version of U8TV, called U8Life, will air Monday to Saturday on AAC specialty TV channel the Life Network, and will be simulcast on the Net.
Canal+ extends online reach
CanalNuMedia, the company responsible for Canal+’s internet operations, is working to extend the European broadcast entity’s online presence. By year end, the international rollout of Canal+ websites will include CanalPlus.nl (Netherlands) and CanalPlus.pl (Poland), as well as dedicated sites in Finland, Norway and Denmark. Online sites were launched in Sweden and Belgium last month. Philippe Bismut, chairman of CanalNuMedia, says, ‘Our objective is to construct a European network of sites wherever Canal+ is present.’ Canal+ has around 14 million subscribers to its pay and digital services in Europe. CanalNuMedia, a subsidiary of VivendiNet, launched in January.
BBC gives details for new channels
At this year’s Edinburgh International Television Festival, BBC director general Greg Dyke gave a detailed look at the pubcaster’s channels in the digital era. Under the new plan, bbc1 will remain the flagship but will place more emphasis on heavy-hitting entertainment, drama and factual programs. Programs borderline to bbc1 will move to bbc2, which will showcase specialized factual programs. bbc3 will be geared to youth and bbc4 will focus on arts and cultural. bbc3 and bbc4 replace BBC Choice and BBC Knowledge. During the day, each will broadcast children’s programs. bbc4 will also air rolling breakfast time business news. The fifth channel will be a 24-hour news service – BBC News 24. Over the next three years, a 30% increase in spending for programs will accompany the changes. This amounts to about a £480 million (us$708 million) spending spree.
Park City goes online
The Sundance Film Festival has extended its online presence with the creation of the Sundance Online Film Festival. Set to run concurrent with the real world event (January 18-28), the virtual incarnation will feature works created directly for the Internet as well as highlights of past web efforts. Produced by StreamSearch.com, the site will link from Sundance’s main address at www.sundance.org. The festival is looking for submissions, details for which can be found on the festival site.
Channel Health ramps up production
After debuting on the U.K.’s Alternative Investment market in August, recent TV offering Channel Health has raised £5.1 million (us$7.4 million) to develop new programs and online content. Channel Health, which airs on the Sky Digital platform in the U.K., launched as an eight-hour daily channel in June, but goes to 12 hours this month and 24 hours next year. Channel Health targets women in their thirties, and focuses on lifestyle programming on topics ranging from yoga to medical serials.
ZDTV turns into Techtv
Less than a year after being sold to Vulcan Ventures for us$230 million, ZDTV has been renamed Techtv. Launched in 1998 and named for then-parent Ziff-Davis, the channel reaches about 19 million viewers. Vulcan indicates that content will not undergo any changes, barring a 50% increase in original programming.