Silvio Berlusconi To Appeal Wiretap Verdict
Italian media mogul and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was handed a one-year jail term today by an Italian court over an illegal wiretap. It’s highly unlikely the Mediaset chief will do any time as he has appeals available to him and, under Italian law, isn’t expected to go to prison until all appeal attempts are exhausted. Berlusconi is already appealing a four-year sentence that was handed to him in Milan last year over fraud on movie rights deals. Today’s punishment comes for making public the taped contents of a confidential phone call in a case related to a 2005 banking scandal, Reuters reported. Berlusconi has oft been in court before over his business dealings, but he’s always been cleared or seen the statute of limitations expire.
Nicholas Hytner Decries “Downton Ratings Mentality”
The Crucible and History Boys director Sir Nicholas Hytner – also the artistic director in charge of some of the most prosperous of the National Theatre’s years in London – has criticized the BBC for its “Downton ratings mentality” and said it isn’t doing enough for the arts on its broadcast platforms. (It’s not clear if anyone told Hytner that Downton Abbey airs on rival ITV.) “A success at the Donmar [Warehouse] might be seen by 16,000 people, and here [at the National] 75,000,” he said. “So if a performance got a million on TV…” In an interview with The Times, Hytner said, “I don’t see why there couldn’t be a closer relationship between the BBC and this vast performance network – us, the Crucible, the Royal Exchange, Opera North, Broadsides, Live Theatre, the Royal Ballet, everyone!” Hytner’s tenure at the National has seen the Drury Lane theatre transfer an unprecedented four of its productions – War Horse, One Man Two Guv’nors and the Alan Bennett double-bill Hymn/Cocktail Sticks to larger West End engagements. War Horse and One Man Two Guv’nors went on to impressive runs on Broadway. And he pioneered an NT Live initiative, in which the theatre’s performances are broadcast to cinema screens around the country. The BBC presides over crowd-pleasing dramas like Call The Midwife, which draw audiences of up to 10M viewers. – Joe Utichi
India Faces Satellite Capacity Crunch
The Indian TV industry’s revenues jumped from $4B in 2007 to $7.4B last year and the next five years will see the number of channels soar from 821 to more than 1,300. That’s according to a new report from CASBAA, the Asian association of cable and satellite broadcasters. Entitled “Easing India’s Capacity Crunch,” the study estimates the number of satellite transponders required by the DTH industry will rise from 73 in 2012 to more than 220 in 2017. The growth has been fueled largely by a surge in the number of pay-TV homes to about 130 million. CASBAA says 67% of the TV’s industry’s revenues are from subscription services. International TV players are expected to spur additional growth as will the proliferation of HD channels. The Indian Space Research Organization is working hard to launch new satellites and procure more spectrum to meet demand but adds that foreign satellite operators will need to invest in capacity. – Don Groves
‘Vigilante’ Game Launch Ahead Of ‘John Doe’ Movie
U.S. producer Keith Sweitzer and U.S. games developer Chris Ferriter this week launched in the U.S. the interactive game Vigilante: Speak for the Dead, a precursor to the feature film John Doe. The expats who live in Australia jointly developed the game and the movie as alternative versions of the saga of an anti-hero who attempts to rid his community of criminals and sparks a global vigilante movement. Currently in post, John Doe stars Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Galactica), Lachy Hulme, Daniel Lissing and Paul O’Brien, and is directed by Kelly Dolen and scripted by Stephen Coates. The multiplayer online game was created by Divisive Media, a game development studio based in Melbourne launched in 2011 by Ferriter, who worked for EA, Ubisoft and Midway Atari and created games for the C.S.I. franchise and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The game is available initially in the U.S. on iPhones and iPads and will soon roll out on Android and Facebook, as well as across Europe. Divisive Media also plans to bring a localized version of the game to China and other Asian markets. Film Victoria supported the film and the game; Screen Corp. is handling international sales on the movie.– Don Groves