The Following’ Gets Killer Ratings On Sky Atlantic
Kevin Bacon serial killer drama The Following had a solid debut on Fox in the U.S. on Monday and on Tuesday premiered on UK pay channel Sky Atlantic. In the 10PM-11PM slot, the violent horror thriller drew an average of 270,000 viewers for a 1.4% share. The numbers may not sound earth-shattering but they were more than 636% higher than the slot average over the past three months, The Guardian reported. Meanwhile, the premiere of Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes’ reality show about English manses, Great Houses With Julian Fellowes, drew 2.2M viewers on ITV at 9PM for an 8.8% share on Tuesday.

China Media Ad Costs Set To Spike By 14%
Media rates in China are set to jump by 14% this year and TV broadcasters are expected to grab 50% of the total ad spend, according to global consultancy R3. That 14% spike is double R3’s original projection after polling advertisers and ad agencies. The cost of digital ads is predicted to rise by 18%, with TV and radio rates going up by 5%, outdoor 6%, newspapers 3% and magazines 2%. The firm, which has offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, New York and Chicago, notes that state broadcasters CCTV and Hunan, provincial network Anhui and satcaster Zhejiang Satellite TV are experiencing robust demand. – Don Groves

Filmmakers Oren Moverman, Taika Waititi and Lucy Walker will judge the 27 qualifying films for the Berlin Film Festival‘s Best First Feature prize. The award, to be handed out during the closing ceremony February 16, comes with a purse of €50,000 ($66,500), split between the producer and director of the winning film. Debut films across the Competition, Panorama, Forum, Generation and Perspektive Deutsches Kino sections compete. Moverman won the Silver Bear in Berlin in 2009 for The Messenger; New Zelander Waititi’s Boy was the Grand Prize winner of the Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk at the 2010 Berlinale and documentarian Walker’s Blindsight (2007) and Waste Land (2010) each won prizes in Berlin’s Panorama section. Wong Kar Wai is leading the main jury at the fest with his fellow judges to be announced next week.

Murdoch’s News Intl. Wins Rights To Post Soccer Clips
News International has snagged rights to embed online clips of action from English Premier League soccer games to help drive subscriptions to newspaper websites. “Goal! We won the rights in the UK to show clips of all 380 Premier league matches on the Sun, Times & Sunday Times digital/mobile apps,” Murdoch Tweeted earlier today. The three-year agreement covers clips on both the Internet and mobile devices. News International operates websites of The Times and Sunday Times on a subscription basis and also has a paid-for app for its Sun tabloid. Clips rights previously had been split between Yahoo for online and ESPN, which had them for mobile devices. Yahoo also sold clips to a number of British newspapers who are now set to lose that access.

UK Culture Minister Wants Sky To Cut Retrans Fees
Britain’s Culture Minister Ed Vaizey has called on News Corp.-controlled BSkyB to “level the playing field” by ceasing to charge carriage fees to public broadcasters. Vaizey stopped short of saying the government would step in to regulate the situation if a deal can’t be reached, but he did say it would look for “options of intervention” if an arrangement is not made in 12-18 months. At present, the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 pay no fees to be carried on Sky rival Virgin Media. Speaking at the Oxford Media Convention, Vaizey said, “Public service broadcasters and license fee payers have paid large amounts to satellite providers for the content to be carried”. According to The Guardian, it’s believed that BSkyB makes £10M ($15.8M) a year from the retrans fees.=