Global Showbiz Briefs: Foxtel Gets BBC Programs For Australia; ‘Almost Human’ Headed To UKTV’s Watch; More

BBC Programming Heads Down Under With Foxtel
Australia’s Foxtel is getting a burst of BBC programming beginning in August. The BBC First channel will be the new home of premium British drama and comedy in Oz, grouping a bevy of shows together in one place Foxtelfor the first time. Launch titles include recent British hits The Musketeers and Peaky Blinders, along with The Politician’s Husband, single drama Burton And Taylor and the new Alan Partridge mockumentaries. Returning series including Call The Midwife will start airing in 2015. BBC First will be the first window in peaky-blinders-fin_2705945bAustralia, with programs debuting there before potentially moving to terrestrial television at least 12 months later. Oz is the first territory to launch BBC First, one of three new global brands announced by BBC Worldwide in October 2013. Banished, written by Jimmy McGovern, will be the first local production for BBC First. Co-commissioned with BBC Two in the UK and produced by RSJ Films/See-Saw Films, the epic seven-part series is loosely inspired by events in 1788 when Britain established a penal colony in Australia. BBC First joins existing BBC channels – UKTV, BBC Knowledge, CBeebies and BBC World News – on the Foxtel platform

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Oscar Nominees ‘War Witch’ & ‘Buzkashi Boys’ In LA, New 007 Novel, French Critics ♥ ‘Amour’, & More

By | Wednesday February 20, 2013 @ 11:24pm PST

‘War Witch’ Actress Granted Visa For Oscars
Rachel Mwanza, who won best actress prizes in Berlin and Tribeca last year for her lead performance in War Witch, has been granted a visa to travel from Congo to North America in order to attend the Oscars on Sunday and other awards shows. War Witch is nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Mwanza was a non-pro when she was discovered living on the streets of Kinshasa and was cast in the movie about a 12-year-old girl who is kidnapped by African rebels, forced to kill her parents at gunpoint and then fight as a child soldier against the government. According to Tribeca Film, which acquired War Witch for North America, the filmmakers continue to provide her with a caregiver and oversee her education. The film is directed by Kim Nguyen is also nominated as Best International Film at Saturday’s Independent Spirit Awards, has 12 nominations for Canadian Screen Awards on March 3 and 9 nominations for Québec’s Jutras on March 17. Tribeca is platforming the film starting March 1 in New York, then March 8 in Los Angeles and in select cities thereafter. It will be available VOD from February 26.

Afghan ‘Buzkashi Boys’ Arrive In LA For Oscars
After an Internet campaign raised money for expenses and Turkish Air Lines donated tickets for them and a shaperone, the two teenage stars of the Oscar-nominated short film from Afghanistan arrived in Los Angeles today. The 28-minute film is the first to be produced by the Afghan Film Project, a non-profit that aims to train filmmakers in Afghanistan. It focuses on two children growing up in Kabul who dream of becoming Buzkashi riders, horsemen who compete in the dangerous Afghan national sport similar to polo in which riders try to carry a headless goat across a goal line. The film earned U.S. director Sam French a nomination for Best Live Action Short Film. Producers said they launched the campaign because they lacked a travel budget for Fawad Mohammadi and Jawanmard Paiz, who will attend the Oscars Sunday night. Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Hamdy’s ‘Anomaly’, Foxtel, ‘Common Denominator’, ShortsTV

By | Monday February 18, 2013 @ 10:00pm PST

‘Pulp’ Director Lines Up ‘Anomaly’
Adam Hamdy, who co-directed Brit indie Pulp, the first feature to premiere on the Xbox platform, has inked a deal for his next film. He’ll write and direct sci-fi thriller Anomaly for L.A.-based production firm Alexander Content and UK-based Dare Productions. Principal photography is scheduled for a September start on the story of a young man who wakes up in the hospital after a terrible car accident and sets out on a quest to discover the truth about what really happened to him. Producers are Alexander Content principal Rick Alexander and UK-based Phil Bland. Exec producers are Syndicate Works principal Pat Nelson and Hamdy. Pic is financed by UK-based accountancy Smith & Williamson.

Foxtel Shuffles Exec Deck
Foxtel Networks Australia announced a series of executive changes on Monday, orchestrated by executive director of television Brian Walsh. The restructure follows the January 1 launch of the Foxtel-branded movies and premium drama channels. Brendon Moo takes the role of general manager, general entertainment channels, responsible for Fox8, Arena, Fox Classics, The Comedy Channel and 111 Hits. Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Foxtel Pricing, Oz Media Outlook, ‘Berlin File’ Release Date

By | Monday January 21, 2013 @ 11:00pm PST

Australia’s Foxtel Rejigs Packages And Pricing
Responding to subscriber complaints that it had reduced its movie channels on January 1 without reducing fees, News Corp.-controlled Foxtel has unveiled new packaging and pricing. More than 1,000 viewers complained on the paybox’s Facebook page after it axed seven channels owned by Warner Bros., Disney, Village Roadshow and MGM. Those channels and the Showtime channels which Foxtel acquired from Sony, NBCUniversal, Fox, Paramount and Liberty Media last October were replaced by six thematic channels and Foxtel Movies Premiere, resulting in four fewer channels. From March 1, the monthly price for the movies and premium drama package and World Movies drops from $A32 ($33.60) to $25, but the basic tier, renamed Essentials, goes up from $45 to $47. Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Aeon-Warner Japan, ‘Anger Management’ India And More

By | Thursday December 20, 2012 @ 10:30pm PST

Aeon Buys Out WB Stake In Japan Cinemas
Japanese retail giant Aeon Group will acquire Warner Bros Entertainment’s 50% stake in the Japanese theater circuit Warner Mycal, Film Business Asia reports. A major exhibitor in Japan with 60 theaters and 496 screens, Warner Mycal was launched in 1993 as a partnership of Warner and Aeon, which was known at the time as Mycal. Aeon’s purchase is expected to close in February or March. Aeon separately owns some 70 complexes with 600 screens. Bringing the Warner Mycal theaters under its wholly owned umbrella is expected to make Aeon the largest movie theatre operator in Japan. Current market leader is Toho Cinemas. Aeon did not disclose the value of Warner Mycal. Warner Bros International Cinemas has been a multiplex cinema pioneer, opening more than 170 theatres with almost 1,600 screens in 11 countries including Portugal, Japan, Holland, Italy, China, and Taiwan. Most have been sold to local companies.
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Global Showbiz: Foxtel Adds Roadshow, CBS At Banff, Nine Restructuring

By | Wednesday December 19, 2012 @ 11:14pm PST

Foxtel Adds Roadshow to New Unified Movies Service
Roadshow Films, Australia’s largest distributor, has licensed its films to paybox Foxtel’s unified movies service which launches January 1. Roadshow, Disney, Warner Bros and MGM are losing their home on Foxtel on December 31 when their jointly-owned service The Movie Network goes dark. Foxtel refused to renew TMN’s deal as it moves forward with its own service of seven channels after buying the other major movies provider, Showtime, from partners Fox, Paramount, Sony, NBCUniversal and Liberty Media in October. Foxtel said it’s in advanced negotiations with other distributors. A WB deal appears to be imminent. Read More »

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WB, Disney, MGM, Village Roadshow Near Deal With Foxtel

By | Thursday December 6, 2012 @ 9:44pm PST

Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.

Warner Bros, Disney, Village Roadshow and MGM films may not be missing from Australian pay-TV screens for long, despite the decision to dissolve their joint venture The Movie Network. Each studio is negotiating … Read More »

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Warner Bros, Disney, Roadshow & MGM Dissolve Aussie Pay TV Movie Partnership

By | Wednesday December 5, 2012 @ 10:18pm PST

Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.

The seven Movie Network channels owned by Warner Bros, Disney, Village Roadshow and MGM will go dark on January 1 following  a decision today to dissolve the partnership. The end of the service, which was a mainstay in Australia pay-TV since its inception, follows the inability of TMN to negotiate a new deal with the dominant platform Foxtel as the current contract expires December 31. A Foxtel spokesman confirmed the TMN channels will disappear from its service on January 1. Foxtel wants to launch a single movie service in 2013 after buying the other major movie service Showtime from Paramount, NBCUniversal, Fox, Sony and Liberty Media in October. The Foxtel spokesman told Deadline that negotiations are continuing with individual studios, adding, “Our preferred position is to have a single service with improved quality for viewers.” He said a new line-up of movie channels and repricing would be announced soon.

Related: Deadline Looms For US Pay Movie Channels In Australia Read More »

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Deadline Looms For US Pay Movie Channels In Australia

By | Friday November 16, 2012 @ 12:01pm PST

Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.

Could seven Hollywood-owned pay movie channels go dark in Oz on January 1? That seems a distinct possibility as The Movie Network’s contract with Foxtel expires on December 31. TMN is owned by Warner Bros., Disney, MGM and Australia’s Village Roadshow. Foxtel is trying to use its clout as the dominant pay-TV force by cutting out the middleman and buying films direct from each studio and owning and producing all its major movie channels. The TMN studios are presenting a united front, reasoning they will have a stronger bargaining position collectively than if each tried to do separate deals. Last month Foxtel went a long way toward achieving its goal when Sony, NBCUniversal, Paramount, Fox and Liberty Media agreed to sell their Showtime channels to Foxtel. Foxtel has been seeking to drive down the historically inflated license fees by as much as 40% and to end the output arrangements which enabled the studios to cram the schedules with telemovies and direct-to-DVD titles.

Related: Australia’s Foxtel To Majors And Indies: Take A 40% Haircut On Movie Deals Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Gersh, Viacom, Shine, Universal, News Corp-ESPN Star

Aussie Comedy Creators Sign With Gersh
Trent O’Donnell and Phil Lloyd, who created Australian TV comedy Review With Myles Barlow, have signed with the Gersh Agency just as the show’s U.S. adaptation, Review With Forrest MacNeil, goes into production for Comedy Central. O’Donnell is a writer-director and Lloyd is a writer-actor who played the lead in Review with Myles Barlow. O’Donnell says he and Lloyd plan to travel to the U.S. early next year to look for opportunities as creators-showrunners. The pair, who are partners in Australian production company Jungleboys, also created A Moody Christmas, a comedy series for Australia’s ABC-TV in which each of the six episodes focuses on the dysfunctional Moody family on Christmas Day one year apart. DCD Rights is the international distributor of A Moody Christmas.
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Global Showbiz Briefs: CAA’s Frank Jung Joins CAPE Board, Foxtel Launches Foxtel Go, Youku, Sony, Shine’s Dragonfly

By | Tuesday November 6, 2012 @ 8:00pm PST

CAA’s Frank Jung Joins CAPE Board Of Directors
CAA’s Frank Jung has joined the board of directors for the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE). Jung, a television and digital packaging agent at CAA, joins YouTube’s Bing Chen and Dancing With The Stars’ judge Carrie Ann Inaba as new CAPE board members. Jung’s clients include Mike Sussman, co-creator of TNT’s Perception, Sang Kim, writer/producer of The Walking Dead and Paranormal Activity producer Jason Blum. In September CAPE, in partnership with NBCUniversal, hosted the 12th Annual New Writers Awards. Other executives and artists on CAPE’s Council of Advisors and Board of Directors include Ang Lee, John Woo, Dean Devlin, David Henry Hwang, Lou Diamond Phillips, B.D. Wong, Janet Yang, and Teddy Zee.

Foxtel Launches Mobile Service Foxtel Go
Australia’s biggest TV platform Foxtel today launched Foxtel Go, enabling subscribers to watch 21 live channels including A&E, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, Sky News, Disney and Fox Sports on iPads. The mobile service also includes hundreds of catch-up episodes of series such as The Walking Dead, Gossip Girl, Magic City, Vampire Diaries, Gravity Falls, Spooks and Haven. The initiative is part of Foxtel CEO Richard Freudenstein’s strategy to introduce new services to reduce churn and to grow pay TV penetration from 34% to 50% over the next five years. “The TV landscape has changed, viewers are not just watching TV in the living room, they’re watching TV on the way to work, at the beach or in another room of the house,” he said. “Foxtel Go is the biggest thing we’ve launched since digital and (the PVR) iQ.”- Don Groves. Read More »

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Australian IPTV’s Fetch TV Looks To Expand By Snagging U.S. & UK Channels

By | Monday November 5, 2012 @ 7:13pm PST

Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.

Australia’s dominant pay TV platform Foxtel won’t be able to renew exclusive IPTV deals with more than 60 channels, mostly U.S. and UK entertainment services, when the current contracts expire over the next few years. That’s created an opportunity for fledging IPTV service Fetch TV which aims to secure deals with some of those channels, including those owned by ESPN/Disney, Discovery, MTV/Nickelodeon, National Geographic and the BBC. “As these contracts expire we are able to engage in carriage discussions with those providers,” Fetch TV CEO Scott Lorson tells Deadline. Foxtel agreed to not renew exclusive IPTV deals with those channels in April when it obtained the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s approval to buy regional satcaster Austar. Read More »

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Australia’s Foxtel To Majors And Indies: Take A 40% Haircut On Movie Deals

By | Wednesday October 24, 2012 @ 2:35am PDT

Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney

EXCLUSIVE: Using its clout as Australia’s dominant pay-TV platform, Foxtel is trying to drive a hard bargain with Warner Bros., Disney, Village Roadshow and independent distributors as it negotiates new movie deals. Foxtel is seeking to slash license fees by as much as 40%, Deadline has learned, as it pursues its aim of owning, producing and managing the movie channels on its platform. Buying films direct from the studios and indies, as sister company Sky does in the UK, will enable Foxtel to significantly lower its programming costs after years of paying over-the-odds in output deals negotiated by the two major local platforms, Showtime and The Movie Network.

Sony, NBCUniversal, Paramount, Fox and Liberty Media have agreed to sell the Showtime channels to Foxtel, effective October 31. Showtime’s contract wasn’t due to expire until the end of 2013 but the studios were persuaded to terminate that deal so they could obtain preferential terms as the four majors with which Foxtel is allowed to do exclusive deals under an agreement with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Ending output deals also means Foxtel can refuse to buy sub-standard TV movies and direct-to-DVD titles that were part of those arrangements, further lowering its costs. Foxtel is also negotiating with The Movie Network (co-owned by WB, Disney, Village Roadshow and MGM), whose contract runs out December 31 and is unlikely to be renewed.
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Australia’s Foxtel Seals First-Ever Output Deal With HBO

By | Tuesday October 23, 2012 @ 2:49am PDT

Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney

Foxtel Seals Output Deal With HBOThe new output arrangement with HBO gives Foxtel, Oz’s dominant pay-TV player, a longer hold-back period before shows are available to free-to-air networks and stipulates … Read More »

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Four U.S. Studios Sell Australian Movie Channels To Foxtel; Others Likely To Follow

By | Wednesday October 10, 2012 @ 7:21pm PDT

Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.

Four U.S. studios have agreed to sell their Australian movie channels to Foxtel, the dominant pay-TV platform, and three other studios are soon expected to follow suit. Foxtel will gain control of the Showtime channels owned by Sony, NBCUniversal, Paramount, Fox and Liberty Media, on October 31. That deal is in line with Foxtel’s desire to own, produce and manage the movie channels on its platform. Foxtel had been negotiating with those studios for months to buy out their contract to supply the Showtime channels via their jointly-owned Premium Movie Partnership, which was due to expire at the end of 2013. A Foxtel spokesman tells Deadline negotiations are continuing with Warner Bros., Disney, MGM and Australia’s Roadshow, which own the other major movie platform The Movie Network. TMN’s contract with Foxtel runs out December 31. The majority of PMP staff will be offered positions at Foxtel. The spokesman declined to say when or if the Showtime channels will be rebranded.
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U.S. TV Series Now Fast-Tracking To Australia

By | Wednesday September 12, 2012 @ 3:00am PDT

Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.

Australian viewers who griped for years about having to wait to see American TV shows months after their Stateside launches finally are getting their way. Pay-TV platform Foxtel is fast-tracking the premieres of a sizable number of U.S. series beginning this month. They’re marketed under the banner “Express from the U.S.” Then the free-to-air networks do it next month. The first show to jump across the Pacific is Season Five of Sons Of Anarchy, which debuted on pay channel Showcase Wednesday, just 10 minutes after its West Coast premiere. Season Three of Boardwalk Empire kicks off on Showcase next Monday, two and a half hours after the U.S. Read More »

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Consolidated Media Expects $2.1B News Corp. Deal To Close In Six Weeks

By | Tuesday August 21, 2012 @ 2:31am PDT

Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney

consolidated media holdingsNews Corp.’s move to acquire James Packer’s Consolidated Media Holdings is nearing completion. Reporting revenues today, CMH said the deal should be finalized in six weeks, … Read More »

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Australia’s Nine Network Loses Money On Olympics, Foxtel Gains Subscribers

By | Monday August 13, 2012 @ 5:20pm PDT

Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.

The Olympics delivered ratings bonanzas to Australia’s Nine Network and pay TV platform Foxtel although it was a loss-making exercise for Nine and Foxtel reported there was “a tick up” in signing new subscribers. But the halo effect of the Games helped ensure strong launches Monday night for Nine’s Big Brother and Australian crime series Underbelly: Badness. Nine picked up Big Brother after it was cancelled by Network Ten in 2008 after eight seasons and installed a new host in Sonia Kruger. The premiere episode aired at 7 PM and drew an average of 2.25 million viewers nationally, followed at 8.30 PM by Underbelly: Badness, which averaged 2.37 million. Nine’s live broadcast of the Olympics Closing Ceremony (6AM-9AM Australian Eastern Standard Time) averaged 1.48 million viewers. Nine and Foxtel jointly paid $A120 million ($126 million) for the rights to the 2010 and 2012 Games. Jeff Browne, Nine’s managing director, said the network would lose “less than $20 million” on the London Olympics. Foxtel aired the Games on eight dedicated channels, provided at no cost to Fox Sports subscribers, posting record ratings for subscription channels. Read More »

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Sam Worthington Behind Aussie Gallipoli Miniseries

By | Tuesday June 12, 2012 @ 9:53pm PDT

Freelance journalist Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney

Sam Worthington will co-produce and possibly star in a six-hour miniseries that chronicles how a team of Australian and English journalists who covered the infamous World War I battle in Gallipoli were instrumental in the decision to end the campaign against Turkish forces. Worthington’s production company FullClip will produce with Matchbox Pictures, part-owned by NBCUniversal International Television Production, which has first and last rights on all Matchbox’s output. Australian pay-TV platform Foxtel, part-owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, commissioned the mini, which is due to go into production in the second half of 2013 and will air in Australia in 2015 — which marks the 100th anniversary of the Turkey-set battle. Among the casualties were 43,000 British troops, 15,000 French, 8,700 Australians and 2,700 New Zealanders. Co-incidentally, one of the journalists involved was Keith Murdoch, Rupert’s father. Read More »

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