For the Record

A weekly compendium of news from the non-fiction world.
March 28, 2001

World Wrestling Federation Entertainment has penned an agreement that sees Sekani storing, cataloging and managing the company’s library. The archive includes original live programming, pay-per-view events and home video, among other properties.

Vivendi Universal has sold its 55% stake in AOL France back to AOL Time Warner. The sale has Vivendi units Cegetel and Canal Plus trading their AOL France shares for $725 million worth of junior preferred shares of AOL Europe. The shares pay a 6% dividend until April 2003, when they can then be redeemed for cash or stock.

AOL Time Warner in New York is considering launching a cable TV music channel to compete with Viacom’s MTV franchise. MTV Networks controls MTV, MTV2 and VH1. At present, MuchMusic is MTV’s only competitor in the U.S.

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is taking some heat from Australia’s defense minister Peter Reith for agreeing to drop the contestants of Survivor II: The Australian Outback in a remote forest in northeastern Australia. Reith claims staff and operational costs for the flight amount to $150,000. The RAAF argues the drop was a good training exercise.

Black Entertainment Television has pink-slipped about 50 employees from its programming, communications, administration and marketing departments. The cuts come four months after the outlet was acquired by Viacom for around US$3 billion.

Rome’s Mondo TV has acquired a 30.3% capital share of Hamburg-based Igel Media. The exchange was agreed to for assets paid under the exclusion of pre-emptive rights, and awaits approval from Igel’s supervisory board.

The French government is considering amending a law that currently limits any one shareholder of a national network to 49% ownership. The law is seen as a major obstacle to the development of digital terrestrial TV in France and has been actively lobbied against by TF1. At present, companies can own 100% of cable and satellite channels.

Judge Kimba Wood of the U.S. District Court has rejected Fashion TV Paris’ motion to dismiss the suit filed against them by Toronto’s CHUM. CHUM – parent company of Citytv, producer of FashionTelevision – began litigation against Adam Lisowski and Fashion TV in mid-1998 to prevent the use of ‘Fashion TV’, ‘Fashion Television’ and ‘FTV’ in association with the Paris-based channel. The matter will now proceed to trial.

In related news, ChumCity is getting ready to launch Citytv Barcelona, a co-venture with Grupo Godo in Spain. Broadcasting should begin at the end of April.

The entry deadline for the Northampton Film Festival 2001, which takes place from October 30 to November 4, is June 30. North American shorts and features are welcome. See for further details.

E! Networks has signed licensing deals with Singapore Press Holdings (which is launching an English-language general entertainment channel called TV Works) and the United Broadcasting Corporation in Thailand. The partnerships guarantee distribution of E! signature programming in Asia. Also, the E! series Wild On has been sold to Fox Japan.

AIRIA and Tenzig Communications have partnered to provide airlines integrated live television, email and web services.

King World has decided to eliminate its Curtis Court program. Another of the prodco’s projects, The Cindy Margolis Show, was also recently cancelled.

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.