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Thread: Daily Satellite TV News

Quickflix maps recovery Editor 02/06/2013 Quickflix, Australia’s only online DVD rental and subscription VoD service, is bleeding red ink but

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    Quickflix maps recovery
    Editor 02/06/2013

    Quickflix, Australia’s only online DVD rental and subscription VoD service, is bleeding red ink but insists it will turn profitable after restructuring and slashing costs.

    Founding chairman and CEO Stephen Langsford outlined the company’s strategy at stockbroker BBY’s Telecommunications, Media & Technology conference in Sydney this week.

    “Consumer appetite is rapidly building for on-demand entertainment, take-up of smart TVs, tablets, mobiles and faster internet, supporting growth in streaming,” he said.

    The company’s “financial turnaround is underway, driven by a major restructure of board, management and costs,” he said.

    Langsford acknowledged the service, in which US cablecaster HBO has a 14% stake, had made a number of mistakes, including running up large overheads, spending too much on TV advertising, offering a subscription service that wasn’t deep enough and incurring high churn.

    He noted the company had replaced its entire marketing team and switched its focus to direct marketing and below-the-line promotional activity.

    New initiatives to grow the business will include a resumption of promotional activity with partner brands, the launch of current-season TV in the June quarter, expanding the service to Freeview in New Zealand and offering redemption of UltraViolet digital rights.

    Quickflix has about 120,000 customers. Langsford said it had reduced “cash outflow” from A$1.5m (US$1.4m) per quarter to less than A$400,000. Its shares are trading at record lows of 1.6 cents per share, valuing the company at less than A$9.5m.

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    Pirate toon sails for Finland

    A broadcaster in Finland has picked up a children’s animated slapstick comedy set onboard a pirate ship from local producer Studio Outo.


    Hullabalooba
    Finnish pubcaster YLE has taken Hullabalooba (13x5′), which is aimed at six- to nine-year-olds and is being produced by Studio Outo in partnership with the Finnish Film Foundation.

    “There is no recognisable language on the show, only pirate nonsense language,” said Timo Lampinen, producer at Studio Outo. The toon is due for completion at the end of 2014.

    “First of all, it’s fun to watch. It’s comedy but without the violent action bits. Of course, there’s lots of slapstick but it’s really funny slapstick that makes the target group laugh out aloud,” Vicky Schroderus, acquisitions exec at YLE, told C21.

    “The characters talk gibberish, so there is no need to dub the series. When you look at it from a cost-effective side, it’s interesting. I also believe the gibberish appeals to kids who themselves often come up with their own coded languages,” Schroderus added.

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    Freesat launches in Romania

    A new DTH digital satellite platform has launched in Romania, carrying domestic and international channels for just €23 (US$30) per year.

    Operated by Eutelsat Communications, Freesat carries Romanian public and private TV channels including TVR1, TVR2, ProTV, AcasaTV, ProCinema, Sport.ro, Kanal D, Prima, NationalTV, FavoritTV, TVR HD, TVR3, TVR News, TVR International, Etno TV, Taraf TV and West TV.

    The launch is intended to reach the 3.5 million Romanian homes that do not yet have digital TV of any kind. “Our objective is to give Romanians access to digital television choice at a great price,” said Serban Belenes, general manager of Freesat. “We believe that Freesat’s proposal of no monthly bill and no commitment is a key asset.”

    Eutelsat said the move was preparation for analogue switch-off in Romania. The company operates 31 satellites over EMEA, Asia and the Americas.

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    CBS’s Donovan goes down under
    Editor 02/06/2013

    An Australian pay TV broadcaster has picked up new cable drama Ray Donovan from CBS Studios International (CBSSI).

    News Corp-owned Foxtel will begin airing the 12x60′ series on its Showcase channel from July 2, one month after it makes its debut in the US on CBS-owned cable network Showtime.

    The LA-set drama stars Jon Voight as a criminal recently released from prison and Liev Schreiber (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) as his son, a successful fixer for Hollywood’s rich and famous.

    The show is exec produced by Ann Biderman (Southland), who also wrote the pilot, and Mark Gordon and Bryan Zuriff, through The Mark Gordon Company and CBS Television Studios.

    The Aussie deal follows a recent acquisition of the series by Sky Atlantic in the UK.

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    Hannibal takes a second bite
    Editor 02/06/2013

    NEWS BRIEF: NBC in the US has greenlit a second season of Hannibal, its horror drama based on the cannibalistic character from The Silence of the Lambs.

    The series is produced and distributed by Gaumont International Television and its first season (13x60′) has been sold to broadcasters including Sky Living in the UK and Kanal 5 in Sweden. The 13-episode renewal, co-commissioned internationally by Sony Pictures TV Networks, will air no earlier than mid-season, said NBC.

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    Sky, CW win Rose d’Or gongs

    Programmes from Sky in the UK, The CW in the US and Australia’s ABC were among the winners at the 52nd annual Rose d’Or awards in Brussels last night.

    The awards were the first since the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) regained ownership of the awards from Swiss firm Ringier last year and featured six categories, down from 13 last year.

    BSkyB took the sitcom prize for Hat Trick Productions’ Spy, which focuses on a single father who joins MI5 in order to impress his precocious son. Despite its critical acclaim, Sky did not renew the series beyond its second season.

    Another Hat Trick show, The Revolution Will Be Televised, was beaten to the comedy prize by What If?, a Shelter production for VMMa in Belgium. The show takes hypothetical questions such as ‘What if everybody in the world was blind?’ and acts out the consequences.

    The award for best gameshow went to Oh Sit!, produced by The Gurin Company, 405 Productions, Raquel Productions and Warner Horizon for The CW in the US.

    Make Bradford British, from Love Productions for Channel 4 in the UK, took the reality and factual entertainment prize, while Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender, made by Eagle Rock Entertainment for the BBC, won in the arts category.

    The best entertainment programme award went to ABC in Australia for Gruen Sweat, the latest spin-off in the Gruen franchise, which focuses on the marketing and advertising of last year’s London Olympics. It is produced by Zapurder’s Other Films.

    More than 300 entries were received from over 30 countries this year but the EBU has said it wants to see more entries from outside Europe in future.

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    FremantleMedia magics up iPad app
    Editor 02/06/2013

    NEWS BRIEF: FremantleMedia has paired up with digital developer Magic Ruby on an iPad app for US viewers of its live-action kids’ series Wizards vs Aliens.

    FremantleMedia Kids & Family Entertainment said the app, which synchronises its content with episodes of the show, is the first of its kind for a children’s series. Wizards vs Aliens begins airing on cablenet The Hub tomorrow, having made its debut in the UK on CBBC last year.

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    Sony takes Power drama

    Editor 02/06/2013

    Sony Pictures Television has picked up a miniseries about the kidnapping of a US president to air on its action and entertainment channel AXN in Asia.

    Air Force One is Down (2x120′) will be shown on AXN in South Korea, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The miniseries is distributed by its UK coproducer, Power, and follows the hijacking of the president’s aircraft by rogue Serbian militants.

    The AXN deal follows other recent sales for the mini, which went to Star International Movies and Anchor Bay Entertainment for a further 40 territories in Asia and Australasia.

    In Europe, Power has licensed the show to broadcasters including Pop TV in Slovenia, RTL Klub in Hungary, RTL Hrvatska in Croatia, LRT in Lithuania, Kanal 2 in Estonia and FTV Prima in the Czech Republic, while Universal Networks took the series in a regional deal covering Latin America and the Caribbean.

    The show, an adaptation of an Alistair MacLean novel of the same name, is a coproduction with Sonar Entertainment. Power CEO Susan Waddell said: “This is Power’s first coproduction in a while and paves the way for more ambitious future coproductions.”

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    LA shows cause buzz in Oz
    Editor 02/06/2013
    The LA Screenings ought to generate more hits for Australia’s Nine Network than last year, according to network executives.

    Nine’s director of acquisitions Les Sampson is bullish about the shows flowing from its output deal with Warner Bros and expressed interest in a number of series from NBCUniversal (NBCU) and Sony Pictures TV that are up for grabs.

    Last year’s Screenings generated just two successes for Nine, namely The CW’s superhero series Arrow and, to a lesser extent, Fox crime drama The Following.

    Sampson told C21 he was very pleased with Warner Bros’ new offerings including Hostages, a political drama co-starring Toni Collette; Allison Janney/Anna Faris comedy Mom; Super Fun Night, featuring Aussie import Rebel Wilson; The Vampire Diaries spin-off The Originals; 1990s-set sitcom Surviving Jack; futuristic sci-fi series The 100 and The Tomorrow People; JJ Abrams’ procedural crime drama Almost Human; and fantasy drama Believe.

    Among the Sony shows that are on the open market for Australian broadcasters, Sampson said he was impressed with The Blacklist, a drama starring James Spader, and the remake of Australian legal drama Rake. The NBCU shows that caught his eye included the adaptation of About a Boy, featuring Minnie Driver, and the Ironside remake starring Blair Underwood.

    Sampson was unwilling to specify the shows that Nine may bid for, and said: “In most cases, I would like to see more episodes or read more scripts, and it helps to see the demographic profiles when new series first go to air in the US. When you buy a show you want to make sure it has legs.”

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    Food Network served in Greece

    NEWS BRIEF: Scripps Networks Interactive’s food and lifestyle channel Food Network has launched in Greece for the first time, via Hellas Online’s IPTV network.

    Subscribers will be able to watch content including Guy Fieri’s Diners, Unique Sweets, Food Wars and Jonathan Phang’s Caribbean Cookbook on the channel, which joins Scripps’ Travel Channel and Fine Living in the territory. The deal was brokered by Chello Zone, Food Network EMEA’s distribution partner.


 

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