TV: Military showdown
Two new nets devoted to all things military launched in January: A&E Network’s Military History Channel and Discovery’s The Military Channel (formerly Discovery Wings). Both will feature library fare and original programming – and given current events, there should be a plethora of new docs from which to choose. A&E’s channel will air specials and series on the history of battles, weapons and life behind the lines. Discovery will air specials and series on battlefield strategy, military technology and the personal stories of soldiers. Looks like war has been declared.
Licensing: You Are What You Eat
Enter a supermarket and the move towards organic produce is immediately apparent. Or, at least the marketing of foods as organic is now big. Seems like we all want to start eating better. Celador Productions in the U.K. jumped on this trend early with its factual format You Are What You Eat, which sees a tough-love nutritionist diagnose and transform the eating habits of volunteers. The Channel 4 series is also performing off-screen: a branded two-disc DVD details a healthy eating and fitness plan, a second cookbook is forthcoming from Penguin, and a monthly magazine on smart eating is being published by the Brooklands Group.
Report: The culture of clearance
Last fall’s IFP market featured a symposium called Copyright vs. Creativity that was the scene of many a fiery discussion. Now, the Center for Social Media has published a report titled ‘Untold Stories: Creative Consequences of the Rights Clearance Culture for Documentary Filmmakers.’ The study concludes that clearance costs are escalating, that lawsuit-leery gatekeepers have unreasonable clearance expectations, and that creative works are being limited both in terms of content and distribution. To drain the quagmire around rights, the study recommends, among other things that doc-makers make the most of fair use, and suggests the creation of a non-profit rights clearinghouse. Chances are good this hot button issue is just heating up.