27% Of Australians Admit To Illegal Downloads
Some 27% of Australians persistently or casually download screen content illegally and at a growing rate over the past 12 months, according to new research from the Intellectual Property Awareness Foundation, a coalition of film and TV organizations. The report showed 86% of people who download or stream illegally at least once a week admit they do so because it’s free. Incongruously, 71% of the 1,654 adults surveyed acknowledge that piracy is stealing but 76% don’t think they contribute to the problem. Some 50% of respondents agree that Internet Service Providers should take more responsibility to prevent the illegal distribution of movies and TV shows online. — Don Groves

Univision Signs New Deal With FiOS
Univision Communications has reached a comprehensive multiyear agrement with Verizon FiOS to continue carrying the U.S. Spanish-language media leader’s Univision and TeleFutura network feeds and owned-and-operated broadcast stations, the cable network Galavisión. Multichannel News reports the deal also includes Univision’s new cable services sports network Univision Deportes, telenovelas network Univision tlnovelas and FOROtv, a Spanish-language news network. The FiOS agreement also includes plans for multiplatform authentication rights for Univision’s upcoming interactive digital video platform for existing and new networks. The FiOS pact is Univision’s third far-reaching affiliate agreement in 2012. Dish Network and AT&T U-verse reached deals in January and May.

Soros To Invest In Brazilian Telecom Biz
Billionaire investor George Soros has received regulatory clearance to enter the Brazilian telecom fray with a $500M investment in local pay-TV provider Sunrise Telecommunications, Reuters reports. Soros’ Cayman Islands-based Soros Fund Management will take control of Sunrise Telecomunicaçoes, a subscription TV service in Sao Paulo state. Soros reportedly is making the investment in order to participate in a broadcast spectrum auction this month. One of the requirements for bidding is the ability to offer advanced wireless services in six host cities for soccer championships next year ahead of the World Cup in 2014.

Greece Financial Crisis Cuts Into Fest Prizes
The Thessaloniki Film Festival (November 2-11) has slashed cash prizes that are usually awarded to winners of the Alexander Awards, Screen reports, due to the Greek financial crisis and uncertainties concerning the future of the country. Production at the Greek Film Centre also is practically at a standstill because of financial woes. The new cuts will be on top of 50% reductions to $25,000 for the Golden Alexander for the best film and $12,400 for the Silver. Festival director Dimitris Eipides already managed to reduce festival debt from the more than $7.4M inherited from previous administrations to between $1.9M and $2.5M. Current funding levels are believed to be enough to keep the festival running until November 2013.