News in Brief

Liberty Media loses out on German cable; Carlton and Granada confess to merger talks; the BBC commits to change in governance and accountability.
February 28, 2002

U.S. corporation Liberty Media has been denied permission to purchase six German cable TV outlets. Liberty’s deal with Deutsche Telekom was awaiting approval from Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, which cited concerns about diminishing competition within the German cable market and ultimately refused the request. Liberty says it will not appeal the decision.

U.K. media companies Carlton and Granada have acknowledged that they were in secret merger talks, though they ended unsuccessfully. According to a report in The Guardian, both sides said they would consider restarting the discussion in the future.

The BBC has announced plans to change its governance and accountability system. The four main goals are: greater clarity about who does what on the executive committee and board of governors; more focus; greater openness and accessibility; and proper support for governors to fulfill their responsibilities. According to a report in The Guardian, BBC chairman Gavyn Davies has said that support for the governors will come in the form of 10 new advisors.

CBS has found a sponsor – Nextel Communications – to exclusively underwrite its ’9/11′ doc program, which will air on March 10.

The 4th annual Israel Forum for International Documentary Coproduction (April 21 to 22, Tel Aviv) has finalized the line-up for the session. Twenty-two projects were selected from over 100 submissions, pitching to a panel that will include notable names such as Rudy Buttignol (TV Ontario), Marie Natanson (CBC), Diane Weyermann (Sundance Institute), Christoph Jorg (ARTE), Iikka Vehkalahti (YLE), Nick Fraser (BBC) and Esther van Messel (First Hand Film).

In honor of Britain’s contribution to the world of television, the Banff TV Festival (June 9 to 14) will include a special week-long tribute to the U.K.

The 43rd annual CINE Golden Eagle Film and Video Awards in Washington, D.C. will take place on March 8; Ted Turner and Bill Moyers will be honorees.

New York’s Atlas Media has kicked off its docudrama unit with two productions: Caught: The Ice Chest Murder, and Alien Abduction: The Mystery Unveiled.

The NHNZ Stockshot Footage Catalog is now available online at // The site currently houses records for over 90,000 shots.

Studio Hamburg Fernseh Allianz has opened a new online library at //, allowing surfers to examine over 5,000 clips from the comfort of their own computer (with 300 more promised each week).

Lawyers for the defense of Slobodan Milosevic used clips from the documentary Yugoslavia, the Avoidable War in an effort to demonstrate the innocence of their client. In a statement issued to the press, the documentary’s director, George Bogdanich, has expressed his concern over the use of his clips, saying that they were used out of context.

Filmmaker Oliver Stone managed a feat that has stumped every U.S. president from JFK onward – he made a good impression on Cuban President Fidel Castro. Stone was in Cuba for a week to film a documentary about the Communist dictator. When the week was up, Castro saw him off, a gesture generally reserved for visiting heads of state.

CBC Television came out on top during the Olympics. The Canadian pubcaster, which covered the games over its 16-day run, aired the most watched TV show in the country’s history (since Nielsen introduced ‘people meters’ in 1989) – the gold medal men’s hockey game, in which Team Canada triumphed over Team U.S. by a score of 5 to 2.

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