New Study Looks At Entertainment Media Consumption In The Middle East
Northwestern University in Qatar and the Doha Film Institute are partnering on a research project to explore trends in entertainment media consumption in the Middle East. The survey research will cover entertainment, culture, and sports in six countries including Qatar, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Tunisia. The aim is to learn more about media use and society in the post-Arab Spring era. “The changing social currents in the Middle East have generated a significant shift in what audiences consume, want, and consider appropriate entertainment, but there is not a lot of recorded data to understand these issues in detail,” said Abdulaziz Al-Khater, CEO of the Doha Film Institute. “Producing quantitative knowledge on the subject will help members of the industry make better-informed decisions.”

Helen Mirren, Maggie Smith, Kevin Spacey Among Theatre Awards Honorees
Helen Mirren has scooped yet another prize for playing Queen Elizabeth II. The actress won the top award at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards on Sunday for her role in the West End play The Audience. She previously won an Olivier Award for the role (and an Oscar for playing the monarch in 2007’s The Queen). Best actor was a tie between Adrian Lester and Rory Kinnear, for their respective performances as Shakespeare’s Othello and Iago at the National Theatre. Other nods went to Maggie Smith, who was presented with the Icon Award, and Kevin Spacey for his work as artistic director of London’s Old Vic Theatre. The Book Of Mormon lost the Best Musical prize to a revival of Merrily We Roll Along.

EuropaCorp Battling French Newspaper Over Report On Studio Facility
There’s a skirmish playing out in France between Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp and French daily newspaper Le Parisien. Next stop might be the courts. Over the weekend, Le Parisien reported that the Besson-initiated studio facility La Cité du Cinéma was facing a possible investigation for “embezzlement” of public funds. The newspaper said it had seen a confidential note sent by France’s Audit Court to Justice Minister Christiane Taubira that said “public funding of the Cité du Cinéma, approved by some highly placed public officials … was made to allow for completion of a project brought by a private company for its own benefit.” EuropaCorp quickly denied the allegations, saying it was “surprised” to hear of an alert to Taubira given the company had “no knowledge of an eventual report from the Audit Court” and that it had “not been questioned by anyone.” Europa said it had not benefited from “any public financing.” Rather, the studio facility outside Paris was funded “by a public-private partnership” between the state’s Deposits Fund and construction group Vinci. Europa further said it was outraged, and it vowed Monday to take legal action against Le Parisien. The Cité du Cinéma incorporates nine soundstages, Europa’s headquarters, two film schools, workshops and other offices. Shares in EuropaCorp were down as much as 5% in Paris trading Monday.

ITV Gets Entire James Bond Catalog For UK Television
ITV and MGM International Television Distribution announced today an exclusive, multi-year agreement to bring all 23 James Bond films to viewers in the UK. The films will be available on ITV, ITV2, and ITV4. The deal includes the free-TV premiere of Skyfall next year. “Skyfall is the highest-grossing film of all time at the UK box office and proves not only the enduring popularity of the Bond franchise but also its iconic status.” Said Chris Ottinger, President of International Television Distribution & Acquisitions at MGM: “We are thrilled to partner again with ITV to bring James Bond home to UK audiences. The Bond franchise is a jewel in the MGM library, and we are delighted to share the films with the viewers across the United Kingdom.”

BAFTA Launches ‘Give Something Back’ Campaign
BAFTA on Monday launched a major new campaign to support young people from all backgrounds to enter the film, television and games industries. The “Give Something Back” campaign calls on the BAFTA’s members, award winners and industry organizations to contribute to its charitable activities that share the knowledge and expertise of industry practitioners with new and emerging talent. These initiatives include mentoring, scholarships, guest lectures and summer work placements.