News in Brief

Granada Visual debuts; the BBC and Discovery commit to a 10-year deal; docs feature prominently at the Oscars.
March 28, 2002

Searching for footage held by any of Granada Media‘s ten libraries just got easier. After months of planning, the U.K. company has centralized its library clip sales business and launched Granada Visual. Granada Visual’s collection amounts to about 100,000 hours, which includes wildlife footage from former prodcos Survival and Partridge (now part of Granada Wild). Amanda Deadman is Granada Visual’s general manager, Bryn Downing is the new business manager, and Mark Leaver is head of sales and marketing.

The BBC, BBC Worldwide and Discovery Communications have extended their joint venture arrangement 10 years, following a successful five-year collaboration. The stated purpose of the partnership is to develop TV channels and factual programming for the international marketplace.

Documentaries featured prominently at the 74th Academy Awards last Sunday, from Errol Morris‘ opening segment to Nora Ephron‘s visual tribute to New York. This year’s Oscar winning docs were feature Murder on a Sunday Morning (a copro of HBO, Maha Productions, Pathe Doc and France 2, directed by Jean-Xavier de Lestrade) and short Thoth (also an HBO film, directed by Sarah Kernochan). Murder‘s Academy Award win ended a 14-year dry spell for French docs; the last winner was Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie (Marcel Ophuls) in 1988.

Among the winners at the 61st annual Peabody Awards were ABC News, for its coverage of September 11 and the tragedy’s aftermath; and CNN Productions, Channel 4 International and Hard Cash Productions, for docs Beneath the Veil and Unholy War. ABC’s embattled Nightline and Boston-based WGBH each received a special institutional award.

U.K. media giant Granada has reason to feel optimistic, The Guardian reports. Brokers Numis Securities estimate that Granada will see a nine percent year on year increase in ad revenues for May. While acknowledging that the entire year cannot be judged on one month, Numis predicts the worst of the ad slump is over.

Germany’s Telcast Media Group has secured US$8.3 million from equity investment firm Apax Partners Funds to further develop Earth Television Network, a broadcast strand that employs proprietary technology to provide live coverage of locales around the globe every 30 to 60 seconds.

The number of journalists killed in the line of duty increased in 2001 to 37, up from 13 in 2000, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a U.S. non-profit organization. The number jailed also increased last year, to 118 from 81 the previous year.

New York’s IFP Market is scaling back the number of projects it accepts to a maximum of 220, a 40% drop from last year. However, event organizers have essentially exempted docs, stating that the main sections for non-fiction films – Spotlight on Documentaries and No Borders – will be ‘virtually unchanged’. This year’s event will take place from September 27 until October 4.

After 14 years in the business, U.S.cablecaster E! Entertainment Television is getting a facelift. The channel has a new tagline (‘Enjoy the Show’), new colors (red, black and white, with silver and gold accents), and a new name for E! News Daily (now E! News Live). E!’s image rebranding campaign also includes a series of 30-second vignettes in which Hollywood stars reenact a scene from their favorite movie, directed by Robert Altman.

BBC One also recently updated its look. The old BBC One balloon has been replaced by a series of idents focusing on movement and world cultures. Another new innovation is the placement of the BBC One logo in the bottom left of the screen.

The National Film Preservation Foundation in the U.S. will provide grants to preserve 39 films, including docs about artists Jean Tinguely and Nikki de Saint Phalle. In total, 26 archives will benefit from the federally funded awards.

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