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Sky Getting Back Into Movie Business

By | Thursday September 2, 2010 @ 3:47am PDT

UPDATE: The pay-TV giant wants to hear pitches for movies and two-part miniseries as it moves back into original feature production. Sky wants to co-produce three big event TV movies each year. The problem, it says, will be finding UK projects of sufficient scale and quality – a problem which Warner Bros also faces developing British blockbusters. Brit producers tend to think small-scale and intimate. “We’re looking for big exclusive events that can add value to the movie subscription,” Ian Lewis, director of Sky Movies tells me. “A lot of the projects we’ve sifted already were easy to turn down.

“We’re looking for the kinds of stories, cast and production values that we would see on the movie channels.”

Sky Movies HD has announced the TV giant’s first foray back into original feature production since the late 90s. Neverland is a Peter Pan origin story starring Rhys Ifans as the young Captain Hook, Anna Friel as his rival Captain Bonny and Bob Hoskins reprising his role as Smee from Spielberg’s Hook. Charlie Rowe (Never Let Me Go) will star as Peter Pan. Nick Willing, who helmed Tin Man for Syfy in the US, is directing. Syfy is co-funding Neverland with Sky. Irish indie Parallel Films is the producer. RHI Entertainment is distributing internationally. Filming starts next week on location in Genoa, Italy and then move on to Dublin.

Most movies only arrive … Read More »

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Sky Faces Splitting Up Movie Business

By | Wednesday August 4, 2010 @ 3:58am PDT

UPDATE: The pay-TV giant could be forced to separate its consumer movie channels and the way it sells those channels to rivals. Ofcom, the communications regulator, has referred Sky’s dominance of the movie pay-TV business to Brussels. The Competition Commission will spend up to 2 years investigating Sky. Separating its consumer movie channels from its wholesale business would be worst case scenario though. What’s at stake are fears that Sky could dominate the coming subscription video-demand movie business the same way it has dominated movie channels for the past decade. Ofcom is concerned that the way Sky sells and distributes movies distorts the market in its favour. “The end result for consumers is less choice, less innovation and higher prices,” says Ofcom.

Virgin Media says: “We’ve long argued that current arrangements for the supply and acquisition of premium movies do not serve consumers well. We’re pleased that these issues are now going to be the subject of further detailed examination by the Competition Commission.”

But Sky slammed Ofcom for yet again seeking to intervene in a sector in which customers are well served. “Further prolonging this unnecessary investigation will only create uncertainty and serve to undermine incentives to invest and innovate, which is bad news for consumers,” BSkyB tells me.

Jonathan Davis, strategy adviser to a number of European public bodies, reminds me that Brussels told incumbent telco BT to separate … Read More »

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