BSkyB Confirms Its Interest In Sky Deutschland & Sky Italia Stakes
Britain’s BSkyB on Monday acknowledged speculation over its potential acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s interests in European pay-TV groups Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia. Reports of talks had emerged over the weekend, and BSkyB today confirmed it had “initiated preliminary discussions with 21st Century Fox to evaluate the potential acquisition of its pay-TV assets in German and Italy. BSkyB believes at the right value, this combination would have the potential to create a world-class multinational pay-TV group.” Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox owns 39.1% of BSkyB, 57% of Sky Deutschland and 100% of Sky Italia. BSkyB shares were down 2.42% today, according to The Wall Street Journal, while shares in Sky Deutschland were up some 9.9%. There has lately been a trend toward consolidation across the European TV landscape, notably involving Murdoch frenemy John Malone. A combination of Murdoch’s businesses would have about 20M subscribers. Any deal surely would face serious regulatory scrutiny, but BSkyB was careful to say the talks had “not progressed beyond a preliminary stage.” There has been no agreement on “terms, value or transaction structure and there is no certainty that a transaction will occur.” It added that “all Board discussion of this topic is solely within a committee composed of the Independent Directors of BSkyB, in which Directors affiliated with 21st Century Fox do not participate.” For its part, 21st Century Fox said Monday, “Over the years we’ve had numerous internal discussions regarding the organizational and ownership structure of the European Sky-branded satellite platforms. From time to time these conversations have included BSkyB, however no agreement between the parties has ever been reached.”
Global Showbiz Briefs: BSkyB Confirms Interest In Sky Deutschland & Sky Italia Stakes; Mark Slone Upped at eOne Films Canada; More
BSkyB Confirms Its Interest In Sky Deutschland & Sky Italia Stakes
In early December, I reported that fish-out-of-water dramedy Lilyhammer was closing in on a greenlight for a third season. At the time, Norwegian broadcaster NRK was in the final stages of negotiations with producer Rubicon TV — and Netflix was expected to remain the exclusive U.S. broadcaster. Netflix today confirms that Lilyhammer will head to the streaming service for an eight-part third season this year. The show stars Sopranos alum Steven van Zandt as Frank Tagliano, a mob fixer exiled to Norway in a witness protection program. It was Netflix’s first original series and debuted in the States in February 2012. The second season kicked off in Norway in October, 2013 and via Netflix in December in the U.S., Canada, the UK, Ireland, Latin America, Denmark and The Netherlands. “We are proud to bring back Lilyhammer for a third season,” said Netflix’s Ted Sarandos. It’s “the type of global show that Netflix members around the world have discovered and love and season three will see that world expand even more.” Red Arrow handles international sales. Producers include Trond Berg Nilsen and Agnete Thuland. Executive Producers include Lasse Hallberg and van Zandt.
Fish-out-of-water dramedy Lilyhammer is closing in on a greenlight for a third season. I understand that Norwegian broadcaster NRK is in the final stages of negotiations with producer Rubicon TV in a scenario that would see Netflix remain the U.S. broadcaster, with Red Arrow as the international distributor. I’m cautioned that nothing is confirmed, but Netflix, which was partnered on the first two series, has a deal in place for additional seasons. If S3 goes ahead, it is expected it would run on the streaming service in the U.S. Lilyhammer stars Sopranos alum Steven van Zandt as Frank Tagliano, a mob fixer exiled to Norway in a witness protection program. It was Netflix’s first original series and debuted in the States in February 2012. When it started in Norway in January that year, it had the best ratings for a Norwegian made drama series ever. The second season kicked off in October in Norway and hits Netflix next week on December 13th. The Norwegian Film Institute, which is contributing funding to S3, lists the project with S1 and S2 lead writer Eilif Skodvin penning the third season alongside others. Producer is Anders Tangen. According to the NFI, the budget for the eight-part third season is $19.5M, which would be a record for Norway. Other popular dramas have come in at about half that, per NRK. (For those keeping score, NRK2′s 13-hour Slow TV phenom …
The stars of Norway’s National Knitting Evening did not break a world speed record for stitching together a sweater on Friday night, but they did set a viewing milestone for the NRK2 phenomenon known as Slow TV. About 1.3 million people tuned in to the broadcaster to watch four hours of knitting discussion, followed by 8.5 hours of “long, quiet sequences of knitting and spinning,” network exec Rune Moklebust tells me. That’s on par with a previous Slow TV show about firewood, and slightly more than the one that followed a 7.5 hour train journey. But market share was up dramatically to 15%. Viewers watched an average of four hours of the program which ultimately went to 13 hours, four more than planned. Moklebust says there is aready demand for another – and possibly longer – knitting night. He says he’s also mulling over his next Slow TV options. Those could possibly include clockwatching, another handicraft, or some slow travel TV – from the air.
Is Norway’s Slow TV Phenomenon The Future Of Reality Programming? 9-Hour Knitting Contests, 8-Hour Train Rides
Knit one, purl … eight-plus hours of live stitching? That’s what’s happening tonight on Norwegian public broadcaster NRK2 as folks around the country gather in viewing parties. The show is part of a phenomenon known as Slow TV which has increasingly captivated Norway. The overall gist of the concept, to which LMNO Productions recently acquired U.S. rights, is a hybrid of unhurried documentary coupled with hours and hours of continuous coverage provided by fixed cameras trained on a subject or an event. Prior to tonight, those have included a 7.5-hour train journey, a 134-hour coastal cruise, a stack of firewood and salmon. Tonight, NRK2 will turn its lens on National Knitting Evening. Four hours of discussion on the popular pastime will kick off at 8 PM local, before a sheep gets trotted out at midnight to be sheared and its wool spun into yarn. Making Knitting Evening sound like a breathless frenzy of activity compared to some earlier Slow TV ventures, seven spinners and knitters will then hunker down to stitch a large men’s sweater in an attempt to break a Guinness world record — for speed, no less. NRK programming executive Rune Moklebust tells me the four-hour and 51-minute record will be “hard to break, but we’ll broadcast until the (sweater) is finished.” Moklebust is confident folks will stick with it through the wee hours, “like they’re waiting for election results.”