New York-based footage house Sekani has secured key deals with Corbis (Bill Gates’ Seattle-based stills business and a Sekani investment partner) and SWR Media (a German prodco supported by ZDF, Deutsche Welle and Unesco). As part of the Corbis deal, Sekani takes over the Sharpshooters division and exclusive licensing rights to the Sharpshooters collection. The SWR deal gives Sekani representation rights for the German company’s ‘Treasures of the World – Heritage of Mankind’ moving image collections. For more on Sekani, see the Nov/Dec issue of RealScreen.
The BBC has announced it will cut 129 jobs from its Factual & Learning Division. The move represents a 5% reduction in personnel from management, administration and program-making. The three areas of output affected are religion and ethics (based in Manchester), arts, and documentaries (both London-based).
The American Public Broadcasting Service has announced it will reduce its 565-person staff by 10% as part of its restructuring efforts. In addition, PBS will close its Midwest programming office and eliminate PBS Select (an optional programming service available to member stations). Midwest programming VP Alyce Myatt will relocate to PBS’ Alexandria offices.
Women in Film and Television International is offering a special series of cash or in-kind film finishing grants for projects (fiction and doc) that deal with themes evoked by the tragic events of September 11. Application s for the WIFTI Film Finishing Fund can be downloaded at http://www.wif.org. The deadline is January 11, 2002.
British Sky Broadcasting has reported that while its subscriber numbers have failed to meet analyst expectations (the service has 5.498 million digital subscribers compared with forecasts of 5.5 million), its operating profits for the first quarter rose 23%. Average revenues per user are also said to have increased by eight percent. BskyB switched off its original analog signal at the beginning of October.
According to a report in The Guardian, a senior Whitehall source has confirmed that the British government no longer considers 2006 a realistic target date to switch off the analog TV signal. The switchover to digital broadcasting was to have started in 2004, but a slowdown in the growth of pay digital services, such as SkyDigital and ITV Digital, and slow progress of government-sponsored initiatives, such as Go Digital, have apparently delayed plans.
California-based cable channel TechTV has added Malaysia, New Zealand, Japan and Israel to its channel and branded block satellite distribution roster.
Zone Vision, the London-based thematic channel producer and distributor, reports an increase in revenue of over 60% this year.
Brasil Documenta, an international documentary forum held in Rio de Janeiro, comes to a close this Friday. The event, which began on November 5, is an initiative to promote the debate of ideas and the exchange of experiences related to the creative process, production procedures and fundraising techniques. Canal GNT/Globosat organized Brasil Documenta in partnership with Brasil Telecom.
Among the winners at the 26th annual Banff Mountain Film Festival (October 29 to November 4) were: Yellowstone – America’s Sacred Wilderness (Hugh Miles and Shane Moore for ABC/Kane Productions) which won the US$4,000 Grand Prize; Mountain Men: The Ghosts of K2 (Mick Conefrey for BBC and TLC), which took the Special Jury award; and Wild Asia: At the Edge (Alan D’acrcy Erson for NHK, Natural History New Zealand, Discovery Channel and NDR), which won the $2,000 award for Best Film on Mountain Environment.