Sony Backs UK Consortium Bidding For LondonTV License
A group known as the Channel 6 Consortium has announced that Sony Pictures Television Networks in the UK has agreed to support LondonTV, the Consortium’s proposed local channel. There are currently 6 groups bidding for the license that regulator Ofcom will grant by February 2013. Under the agreement, SPT Networks will be a program schedule provider and deliver creative services for LondonTV in the event of a successful bid. SPT Networks’ UK advertising partner would also handle all advertising sales for LondonTV. The consortium is backed by London newspaper groups Archant, Tindle and Trinity Mirror. LondonTV’s mission is to produce thousands of hours of high quality local news and current affairs programming on an annual basis. Sony’s involvement would add series and films. Chief exec of the Channel 6 Consortium, Richard Horwood, said Sony’s “expertise in the multichannel sector will significantly strengthen LondonTV from the outset.” SPT Networks already operates Sony Entertainment Television and Sony Movie Channel in the UK.

Rebekah Brooks Received $17.5M Severance Package: Report
Former News International chief Rebekah Brooks was given a £10.85M severance when she left the UK newspaper arm of News Corp. amid the phone-hacking scandal, The Guardian reported. The amount is well above the £7M ($11.3M) she was previously believed to have received. Accounts published by News Corp. disclosed the payment in anticipation of an expected public listing when the press and publishing division is spun off from the conglomerate, the newspaper said. The accounts did not name Brooks but rather said a director received £10.852M as “compensation for loss of office” and “various ongoing benefits.” Brooks is currently facing charges in relation to alleged criminal activity at News International’s News Of The World including conspiring to pervert the course of justice and conspiring to intercept voicemails.

Former BBC Host Jimmy Savile Suspected Of 199 Sex Offenses
British TV star Jimmy Savile is suspected in 199 sex offenses including 31 rapes, London police said today. Most have involved young people or children. The revelations about Savile, who died last year, have provoked outrage across Britain where he was once a household name. The scandal led to the resignation of the BBC director general after less than 2 months on the job and has proved awkward for his predecessor Mark Thompson, who recently took over as CEO of the New York Times. Police launched their investigation 10 weeks ago following a TV documentary that said Savile had abused young girls on BBC premises and at hospitals where he did charity work. Some 450 people had come forward with allegations about Savile. Detectives have been looking at three types of cases: those involving only Savile, which make up the majority; those involving Savile and others; and those with no direct link to Savile. London police have arrested six men and questioned another.

Berlin Film Market Space Booked To Capacity
The Berlin Film Festival’s European Film Market is fully subscribed, organizers said today. All exhibition space at the Martin-Gropius-Bau and the Marriott Hotel is completely booked with high-demand forcing the EFM to expand up to the second floor of the Marriot at Potsdamer Platz. Those official spaces don’t include the myriad hotel rooms that are rented along the main drag between the Marriot and The Ritz where most of the bigger U.S. sales companies set up shop. EFM sidebars this year will include Straight from Sundance, American Independents in Berlin, Meet the Docs, German Cinema – LOLA@Berlinale and EFM Industry Debates. The market runs from February 7–15.