Amazon will close down its DVD-by-mail rental service Lovefilm in the UK and Germany on October 31, citing decreased demand. A precursor to Netflix in Britain, Lovefilm was founded in 2002 and acquired by Amazon in 2011 when it had more than 1.4M subscribers (Netflix launched in the UK in 2012). For a monthly fee, members were able to rent a DVD or Blu-ray disc by post and would then send it back once watched. Some content on the service was also available via streaming — that business was ultimately combined with Amazon Prime in 2014. In a statement today, Amazon said, “Over the last few years we’ve seen a decreasing demand for DVD and Blu-ray rental as customers increasingly move to streaming. We are committed to finding alternative roles for all Lovefilm employees within Amazon.” Lovefilm currently employs about 50 people.
Endemol Shine Group and Universal Television Alternative Studio have signed a first series deal for The Wall in Australia. Endemol Shine Australia will make the local version for Seven. The quiz show launched on NBC in the U.S. earlier this year and swiftly received an order for 20 more episodes. In France, the format on TF1 has become the highest-rated game show of the year for the channel. Its debut on Telecinco in Spain was tops in its slot, besting the primetime average across a range of demos. The most recent launch was on RTL Germany last month with an 11% improvement on the slot average. The Wall features two-person teams competing for a cash prize. If a question is answered correctly a green ball falls down the wall, adding the value of the slot to the players’ winning total. If it’s wrong, a red ball will fall and deduct the value from the team. The show hails from Glassman Media, SpringHill Entertainment and UTAS.
Warner Bros International Television Production Sweden has hired Johan Hedman as Head of Drama. Hedman will be tasked with leading development and production of all scripted content. He joins WBITV from SF Studios where he is Head of TV. WBITV in Sweden is one of the company’s 16 local production operations. Recent scripted series from the outfit include international action thriller Farang for TV4, and crime drama Maria Wern based on the Anna Jansson books. Upcoming is SVT’s annual Christmas Calender (Julkalendern), based on the trilogy of novels, Speglarnas Hemlighet, by Erika Vallin.