News in Brief

ITN Archive adds C4's clips collection to its roster; Vivendi Universal posts a net loss for 2001; and historian David Starkey seals a £2 million deal with Channel 4.
March 7, 2002

The London-based ITN Archive has signed an exclusive deal with the U.K.’s Channel 4 to represent the broadcaster’s 20-year accumulation of film and program clips, which includes programs made for C4 and E4, and films made by Film Four. This is ITN’s first foray into the wider broadcast clips business; the archive already contains 250,000 hours of news footage, including the entire Reuters TV archive.

Vivendi Universal, parent company to Canal+, posted a net loss for 2001, amounting to US$12 billion.

According to a report in The Guardian, the U.K.’s Channel 4 has signed David Starkey to a four-year deal that will see the historian net £2 million (US$2.8 million). Starkey has committed to act as the presenter for an 18-hour series on the history of the monarchy (the series will likely be divided into three or four mini-series) and seven hour-long history docs on other topics. The total value of the deal between C4, Starkey and Granada TV‘s factual division is £4.5 million.

The results of the Blue Ribbon task force are in, and NATPE hopes its suggestions will be enough to turn the tide for the ailing market. Included in the recommendations were cost-efficient (i.e. cheaper) booth packages, more design flexibility for stands, increased privacy and financial benefits for companies that display. Also recommended by the task force was better room accommodation and registration arrangements for top program buyers.

British doc-maker Brian Lapping will be a special guest at this year’s MIPDOC (April 13 and 14). Lapping, of Brook Lapping Productions, is known for films such as Death of Yugoslavia and Watergate.

Reed Midem has announced that next year’s MIPTV will be earlier – much earlier. The annual event will move back almost four weeks, running from March 24 to 28, 2003. This year’s event takes place April 15 to 19.

Now that BBC4, the British Broadcasting Corp‘s digital arts and culture network, has debuted (March 2), it has some work to do attracting an audience. As noted in The Guardian, ‘BBC4 News at 8p.m.’ did all right, attracting one million viewers (though the program aired simultaneously on BBC2). But, the doc Goya, Crazy Like a Genius pulled in only 14,000. Though ratings were modest, a BBC spokesperson reportedly said ‘it was a very encouraging start to the channel.’

ABC, the U.S. underdog network, might be facing yet another shake-up. The Alphabet network is reportedly trying to lure David Letterman and his show away from CBS for the slot currently held by 22-year-old current affairs mainstay Nightline. Ted Koppel, Nightline‘s host, is understandably perturbed, less by the business rationale of the move – as he wrote in a New York Times op-ed piece – than by the assessment by ABC execs that Nightline has ‘lost its relevance’. CBS isn’t ready to part with Letterman yet, however. According to a report in the Washington Post, sources close to CBS say the Eye network has offered the late-night host US$31 million per year to stay.

Sister channels Discovery Channel and Animal Planet are collaborating for the first time in a simultaneous cross-network movie marketing partnership, for Twentieth Century Fox‘s upcoming animated movie Ice Age. The programming aspect of the arrangement will see Discovery Channel re-broadcast Walking with Prehistoric Beasts on March 13, and Animal Planet will air episodes from Planet’s Funniest Animals over a two-hour block on March 14. Both programs will be introduced by actor Ray Romano, who provides the voice for Manny the Mammoth in Ice Age.

Discovery Networks Europe has struck a five-year deal with Nowa Cyfra Plus in Poland for DTH distribution of Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. The subscriber base is said to be 600,000.

U.S. cablecaster A&E has signed on to broadcast the 2002 Salt Lake Paralympic Winter Games, which will run from March 9 to 16.

E! Networks has signed a one-year deal that will see it provide Delta Air Lines with in-flight programming. The agreement, arranged through Spafax Inflight Entertainment, will see the broadcaster offer four 30-minute shows per flight, as well as a dedicated channel for Delta’s Business Elite cabin.

London’s Extreme Group has signed a deal with Fox Sports Net that will see it launch a twice-weekly, one-hour extreme sports slot in the U.S. dubbed ‘EX TV’.

After 25 years, the International Wildlife Film Festival in Missoula is taking a leap into the world of real estate, and is planning to buy the historic Roxy Theater in downtown Missoula. If the festival can raise the necessary US$400,000, the Roxy will be turned into an international wildlife media center which will be open to the public throughout the year. For donations, sponsorship opportunities and information, visit

Britain’s Prince Edward – or Edward Windsor, as he’s known professionally – has announced he will be stepping down from his role as director of production and co-managing director of London-based Ardent Productions. His nine-year prodco is known for such docs as Crown and Country and Edward on Edward.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.