THE MAGAZINE OF INTERNATIONAL MEDIA • DECEMBER 2009
DECEMBER 2009/ASIA TV FORUM EDITION
Publisher Ricardo Seguin Guise Editor Anna Carugati
departments WORLD VIEW
Executive Editor Mansha Daswani
A note from the editor. UPFRONT
Managing Editor Kristin Brzoznowski
New shows on the market. SPOTLIGHT
AETN’s The People Speak. WORLD’S END
In the stars.
Production and Design Director Lauren M. Uda
Editor, Spanish-Language Publications Elizabeth Bowen-Tombari Online Director Simon Weaver
CANAL+ TURNS 25 The French pay-TV service, which has consistently offered enticing content and innovation and kept its customers satisfied, is celebrating an important milestone. —Anna Carugati
Executive Editor, Spanish-Language Publications Rafael Blanco Art Director Phyllis Q. Busell Sales and Marketing Director Tatiana Rozza Sales and Marketing Manager Kelly Quiroz Business Affairs Manager Rae Matthew
TV Asia Pacific appears both inside World Screen and as a separate publication.
Sales and Marketing Assistant Cesar Suero
ASIA’S BRIGHT FUTURE
Distributors are finding new opportunities for program sales across a variety of genres. —Kristin Brzoznowski
A PASSION FOR ASIA
Latin American distributors continue to find strong demand for novelas in Asia. —Elizabeth Bowen-Tombari
INDIA DANCES TO A FORMAT BEAT
Channels in India are using international formats to give themselves a competitive edge.
Senior Editors Bill Dunlap Kate Norris Jay Stuart George Winslow Contributing Editors Grace Hernandez José Miguel López Gerry Regan Contributing Writers Dieter Brockmeyer Chris Forrester Elena Mora David del Valle David Wood
MADE IN MALAYSIA
The government-backed MSC Malaysia has set its sights on turning the country into a major content exporter.
Ricardo Seguin Guise, President Anna Carugati, Executive VP and Group Editorial Director Mansha Daswani,VP of Content Strategy
INTERVIEWS MediaCorp’s Chang Long Jong Disney-ABC’s Rob Gilby FremantleMedia Enterprises’ Jon Penn
54 56 60
AXN Asia, SBS Australia,Asian Food Channel and Hallmark Channel Asia. —Kristin Brzoznowski
THE LEADING ONLINE DAILY NEWS SERVICE FOR THE INTERNATIONAL MEDIA INDUSTRY. For a free subscription, visit: www.worldscreen.com/pages/newsletter
WORLD SCREEN is a registered trademark of WSN INC. 1123 Broadway, Suite 1207 New York, NY 10010, U.S.A. Phone: (212) 924-7620 Fax: (212) 924-6940 Website: www.worldscreen.com ©2009 WSN INC. Printed by Fry Communications No part of this publication can be used, reprinted, copied or stored in any medium without the publisher’s authorization. WORLD SCREEN is published seven times per year: January, April, May, June/July, October, November and December. Annual subscription price: Inside the U.S.: $70.00 Outside the U.S.: $120.00 Send checks, company information and address corrections to: WSN INC. 1123 Broadway, Suite 1207 New York, NY 10010, U.S.A. For a free subscription to our online newsletters, please visit www.worldscreen.com
ALL3MEDIA International: All For Independents
Piers Morgan On… More incisive, entertaining, informative views on dynamic cities – Piers Morgan (America’s Got Talent, Britain’s Got Talent) offers a unique insight into the dynamics of Shanghai, Las Vegas and Marbella. Part travelogue, part exposé – always compelling.
World Kitchen World Kitchen is a fast paced contemporary food/travel series, where presenter Nici Wickes travels the world to gain ideas and inspiration for new dishes to recreate in her kitchen back home. The series showcases a wide variety of international food experiences – from glamorous Michelin star restaurants to humble back alley food stalls. Completed
Undercover Boss, USA USA and UK versions available for completed programme sales – this hit format from the producer of Wife Swap sees a boss going on a voyage of discovery into their own company to get their hands dirty, see what’s working and not working and to unearth and reward hidden talent.
Completed and Format
Hairy Bikers Jumping on their motorbikes to search for the tastiest regional food specialities, the loveable, hirsute, food enthusiasts provide great entertainment in this blend of cookery and travelogue. Travelling from county to county across the British Isles, they visit local food producers, cook traditional favourites for the locals and face a cook-off against each county’s best chefs. Completed
WA$TED USA Households are incentivized with a challenge to adhere to simple earth-saving suggestions as strictly as possible for three weeks. Results are then tabulated into the estimated savings that going green for the entire year would bring, which is awarded as a cash prize. Big entertainment fun too!
Completed and Format
Midsomer Murders The county of Midsomer may be green and leafy, but over 225 inhabitants have now died there before their time. Inspector Barnaby, the worlds’ favourite detective, is as busy as ever...
ALLNEWPROGRAMMES ALLNEWFORMATS ALLNEWCONCEPTS
A NOTE FROM THE EDITOR ANNA CARUGATI
The Power To Do Some Good Two recent anniversaries have reminded us of the positive power of television and the medium’s capacity to innovate, enlighten, entertain and educate. The first is the 25th anniversary of the French pay-TV platform Canal+. It changed the TV landscape in France. It gave subscribers access to first-run movies, cutting-edge documentaries and hit foreign series not available up to then on free TV. It revolutionized sports coverage, and along the way provided a much-needed financial shot in the arm to the French film industry. The other anniversary is a bit more poignant, because it hits closer to home for many, reminding us how quickly time passes. Sesame Street, the show that has taught generations of children their ABCs and 123s, while enthralling children through the playful antics of the lovable Muppets, is 40 years old. Sesame Street is not just an American phenomenon, it has been seen in 140 territories throughout the world, either in the form of a co-production or through sales of the American show. The co-productions clearly point to the power of television to do good. Northern IF USED THE Ireland’s version, Sesame Tree, encourages children’s self-esteem, openness as well as RIGHT WAY, respect and appreciation of others. From encouraging healthy habits to dealing with the aftermath of a flood, Jalan Sesama has IT’S AMAZING tackled issues impacting the children of Indonesia. In Bangladesh, Sisimpur has TO SEE WHAT THE embraced the joy of learning about literacy and numeracy, as well as topics such as health, hygiene and gender equity. In South Africa, MUCH-MALIGNED Takalani Sesame featured Kami the HIVpositive Muppet. Plaza Sesamo in Mexico has “BOOB TUBE” dealt with the dual nutrition challenge the country has been facing—obesity as well as under-nourishment for some kids. CAN DO. Even in the U.S., Sesame Workshop, the company that produces and distributes Sesame Street, has been actively involved in promoting healthy eating habits and has also been reaching out to children whose parents in the military have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. If used the right way, it’s amazing to see what the much-maligned “boob tube” can do, and I was pleasantly surprised to see the venerable Foreign Policy magazine dedicate the cover of its November issue to “How TV Can Still Save the World.” It is chock-full of interesting information and statistics about the positive power of television, especially in developing nations. 8
First, it pointed to the ubiquity of television. In 2007, there was more than one television set for every four people on the planet, and 1.1 billion households had one.Another 150 million-plus households will be tuned in by 2013. In Indonesia, within two years of electricity being provided to villages, average television ownership rates reached 30 percent. Within seven years, 60 percent of households had TVs.This was reported in an area where the residents’ average income was about $2 a day. Fewer than 5 percent of these same households owned refrigerators. In vast areas of the world where there is no electricity, people power up their TV sets with batteries. In fact, in poor areas of Peru, more homes have television sets than electricity. Looking at two of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) nations, in India about half of all households have a television, up from less than a third in 2001, while only 7 percent of Indians use the Internet. In Brazil, four-fifths of all households have TVs while onethird have Internet access. Not surprisingly in developed nations, the countries of North America and Europe,TV penetration exceeds 90 percent, but what is surprising is that in poor countries like Algeria and Vietnam, penetration runs about 80 percent. Of course, the television set without the programming is useless, and the Foreign Policy article documented several cases of the benefits to society brought about by good content. In countries like India and Brazil, television has been an effective form of birth control, either because people stay up so late watching shows that they are too exhausted for any other activity, or by depicting empowered women who choose to put off childbearing. Credit is given to Rede Globo’s telenovelas, whose portrayal of believable female characters with few children have been powerful role models. In India, another nation that loves soap operas, women are captivated by female characters who are well educated, work outside the home, even run businesses, and have few children. Researchers have found that simply providing a village access to cable TV has the same effect as increasing by five years the length of time girls stay in school. And in Brazil, a study by the World Bank found that children in favelas who watch TV are considerably less likely to consume drugs or get pregnant. So here’s to television’s ability to help create a better world.
AETN International www.AETNinternational.com
• The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty • Pawn Stars • WWII Lost Films • Nostradamus Effect • After Armageddon
A&E Network’s highly anticipated upcoming series about the Jackson family leads off AETN International’s offerings for Asian buyers. The six hour-long episodes of The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty focus on Jackie, Jermaine,Tito and Marlon as they record new material and gear up for a concert celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Jackson Five. It also sees them in the aftermath of the death of Michael, coping with the loss of their brother and looking for ways to best honor his legacy. The real-life happenings of a family-owned Las Vegas pawn shop set the stage for Pawn Stars. WWII Lost Films uses advanced HD technology to present preserved and restored archival footage. Nostradamus Effect explores prophecies warning of doomsday scenarios, examining today’s global events and relating them back to ancient predictions. After Armageddon looks at how societies have survived extreme devastation and have emerged as renewed communities.
The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty
ALL3MEDIA International www.all3mediainternational.com
Highlights • Undercover Boss USA • Piers Morgan On… • World Kitchen • Hairy Bikers • Wa$ted! USA
Documentaries and lifestyle programming continue to be in demand for ALL3MEDIA International. The company is highlighting Piers Morgan On…, Undercover Boss USA, Hairy Bikers and World Kitchen.“Undercover Boss is a very timely series about businesses improving during the current financial climate by sending bosses undercover in their own companies to see what they are really like,” says Stephen Driscoll, the VP of international sales. He continues, “World Kitchen and Hairy Bikers are food series with appealing characters and travel. Wa$ted! USA is a hit show for Planet Green and has proven that it is possible to make a ‘green’ series which is first and foremost entertaining.” Driscoll has a positive outlook on shoring up sales with these titles. “MIPCOM saw a number of buyers confirming deals that were discussed much earlier in the year so we are encouraged that buyers are starting to acquire programming for early 2010.”
Piers Morgan On...
“ Demand for local themes, topics or hosts continues to be high on the list for all buyers and we meet more and more customers seeking lifestyle programming.
Scripps Networks www.snintl.net Extreme Cuisine with Jeff Corwin
Highlights • • • •
Extreme Cuisine with Jeff Corwin Boy Meets Grill Giada at Home Barefoot Contessa
On the heels of its European expansion, Food Network is headed to Asia, with launch slated for January 1, 2010. Part of the bouquet of Scripps Networks, Food Network in Asia will include original programming from the region. It will also feature well-known food personalities from its U.S. content library, such as Extreme Cuisine with Jeff Corwin, Barefoot Contessa with Ina Garten, Giada at Home with Giada De Laurentiis and Boy Meets Grill with chef Bobby Flay. “Given the remarkable success of the Food Network brand in the United States, it’s natural to bring this popular genre to Asia where food is such an important part of culture and tradition,” says Greg Moyer, the president of Scripps Networks International. “Food Network is an obvious and logical choice for international distribution given its universal appeal and tremendous brand power. Our objective is to aggregate an engaged and growing audience of passionate ‘foodies’ across the globe.”
“ Given the remarkable success of the Food Network brand in the United States, it’s natural to bring this popular genre to Asia, where food is such an important part of culture and tradition.
— Greg Moyer
Telewizja Polska www.international.tvp.pl
Highlights • Seven Gates of Jerusalem • Secrets of the Nile Valley • Katyn´
“ We are proud to offer good-quality brand-new films that have already achieved a spectacular success among Polish and international audiences.
Telewizja Polska (TVP) has a broad slate to accommodate different tastes across the Asia Pacific. Marcin Oginski, the head of film licensing and program sales for the international relations and trade department of the Polish outfit, says he’s noticed a particular interest for feature films, animation and documentaries. Seven Gates of Jerusalem is a concert piece of the latest symphony of Krzysztof Penderecki. Secrets of the Nile Valley reveals the history of ancient cultures as well as the life of contemporary inhabitants of the Nile Valley. As for war titles, there are The Secret of the Cipher Tower and The Days of Honour, as well as Andrzej Wajda’s Katy´n, which has sold to more than 60 countries all over the world.“Our programs are high- and medium- budgeted products that suit the Asian market. We are proud to offer good-quality brand-new films that have already achieved a spectacular success among Polish and international audiences.To sum up, we offer programs of high quality and competitive price,” says Oginski. 12/09
The French certainly know about revolution. In the 18th and 19th centuries they lived through several in the political arena and in the 20th century they were at the forefront of an upheaval in the television business. In 1984, a small group of French TV executives and journalists, including André Rousselet and Pierre Lescure, had the idea of a premium pay-TV service whose broadcast signal would be encrypted and then decoded by a set-top box placed near the TV set in the home. The name of the service was Canal+, the channel that was more than an ordinary channel because of its premium, can’t-miss content.The programming concept seemed almost too simple: feature films, sports— mainly football—and, as added value to the paying subscriber, quality documentaries and other types of programming not found on conventional networks; a recipe that became the basis for every successful payTV operation around the world. While this program menu seemed appetizing enough, management’s huge marketing challenge consisted of persuading French consumers to pay for it. But Canal+ carried out this revolution in television brilliantly. As Pierre Lescure, then CEO, told World Screen in 1998, “our biggest concern is always the subscriber,” consequently, “the service’s overall strategy was built on three cornerstones—subscriptions, entertainment and technology. We put that strategy in place on the first day of the first year when we began operating, in November of 1984.” HALLMARKS OF SUCCESS
The French pay-TV service, which has consistently offered enticing content and innovation and kept its customers satisfied, is celebrating an important milestone. By Anna Carugati 12
Today, as Canal+ celebrates its 25th anniversary, subscriptions, entertainment and technology remain the hallmarks of the service’s success. In 2008 it broadcast 400 movies and more than 35 previously unaired films every month to its 5.3 million subscribers. It reinvigorated French football on TV, raised the bar for televised sports coverage and continually offered must-see programming, from original productions to the top acquired shows. And in the field of technology, it not only pioneered digital television in Europe, it has followed viewers’ need to watch content wherever and whenever and developed, among many innovations, the Canal+ key, a pocket set-top box in a USB format. In order to understand Canal+’s huge contribution to the TV industry and its success, it helps to go back to its beginning. Mark Kaner, today the president of Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution, was hired as a consultant by Lescure, a role Kaner retained for eight years.“At its inception, Canal+ was the most innovative company in continental Europe. Between Canal+ and BSkyB in the U.K., they were leading the way in pay TV in Europe. No other group even touched them in terms of innovation and execution,” Kaner says.
Canal+ was unique from the beginning. It was created when France had only three networks, all of them state owned. Given its freedom from political influence and because it was the first pay-TV channel ever launched in France, it became a hallmark for freedom of speech and antiestablishment sentiments. “Everything they did was cutting edge,” says Kaner. “They took chances. They dared to take on the establishment. Look at what they did with [the political satire show] Les Guignols. It wasn’t a puppet show, it was a political revolution.The whole country would be talking about the political satire created on this program. No other institution could have or would have dared do that in France at that time.”
“Over the past five years, Canal+ has been at the forefront of the digital revolution while expanding outside of France again and developing new growth opportunities.” —Bertrand Mehuet “cool factor” associated with it that people just wanted to be a part of it. With the subscribers hooked and satisfied, the trick for continued success was to keep them happy and feeling that they were part of a special TV “in crowd.” Canal+ has kept its customers satisfied in two ways: first by investing
heavily in content, and then by continually innovating and offering subscribers new and better ways to enjoy the service. THE COOL FACTOR “In the very beginning of Canal+, we understood that our main asset— Over the years, Canal+ has evolved the key card that we could play in the away from its protesting, iconoclastic television game—was the rights that debut, but it still remains different, we owned, the rights we had for which is very important when attracting customers, especially in a business movies and sports,” said Lescure in where people have to pay for some1998.“So after we made our first dolthing they can otherwise get for lar of profit, in 1986, we decided to free—namely, television. This is why, put 50 cents [of each dollar] into in addition to offering the best condeveloping new product. We began tent, Canal+ had to provide someby putting money into the film thing extra, a special touch, an industry in France.” Today StudioCanal, a whollyoffbeat tone that some people owned subsidiary of Canal+ Group, call the Canal+ spirit. is the European leader in the proAs a result, Canal+ created duction, acquisition and distribution a service, a sense of community, actually, that had such a of motion pictures in all media: theater, video, audiovisual, and video on demand. Having established itself as a European mini-major, it has a catalogue of over 5,000 French, British and American films, including Basic Instinct, French-Fried Vacation, The Pianist and Podium. Alongside Canal+, StudioCanal is a key partner of the French movie industry, helping to finance twothirds of all films produced in France each year. StudioCanal also operates directly in the other two largest European markets— in the U.K. through its subsidiary Optimum Releasing, and in Germany through its subsidiary Kinowelt, acquired Pulling strings: Les Guignols de l'info is Canal+’s best-known show, offering political satire in puppetry in January 2008. form, with characters that include PPD, a caricature of the news anchor Patrick Poivre d'Arvor. 14
Canal+ also invests significantly in productions for the small screen. “Original programming has been at the heart of our editorial strategy for the past two to three years,” says Rodolphe Belmer, the VP of content for the Canal+ Group and also COO of Canal+.“This is part of our wider strategy to be a general-interest channel rather than a basic sports/movies channel.” Indeed, today one-third of new subscribers join Canal+ for reasons other than just sports or movies. “We started off with hard-hitting fiction drawn from France’s recent past— political or financial scandals like the Elf scandal or the Rainbow Warrior bombing, to controversial events in French history, such as May 1968 or the brutal repression of Algerian demonstrators in Paris in 1961,” continues Belmer.“From there,we moved to realistic TV series, like Braquo, currently airing on Canal+ to historic ratings, which contrasts sharply with usual French TV productions that tend to cater to the broadest possible audience, which is the whole purpose of commercial TV. Now we are involved in even bigger projects, such as XIII, which aired in prime time on NBC, or Engrenages (Spiral), which became the first French TV drama sold to the BBC. Since 2005, our investment in drama series has increased from €5 million per year to over €40 million.” Canal+ has 25 years’ of experience in sports coverage. It follows 60 dif-
Congratulations to Canal + on 25 years of success ÂŽ
World Wrestling Entertainment is proud to have been with you at the beginning and today. We look forward to many more great years.
TM & ÂŠ 2009 World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
“Original programming has been at the heart of our editorial strategy for the past two to three years.” —Rodolphe Belmer
ferent sports, most importantly football but also rugby, tennis, golf, and other major disciplines. When acquiring sports rights, the channel’s main focus is on long-running, nailbiting competitions, such as championships like France’s Ligue 1, the English Premier League and Spain’s Liga, which keep sports fans on their toes and longing to experience the upcoming match. This has been key in driving customer satisfaction and loyalty. Whether on the editorial side, with quality reporting and analysis provided by experts, or technological improvements, such camera placement, on-screen data, or slow motion, Canal+ over the years has set new industry standards. It is widely recognized as the best sports channel in France, and that is part of the reason people are willing to pay for it. NEW AND IMPROVED
Technology and Canal+ have always been inexorably linked. From the very beginning, in order to watch the channel, subscribers needed more than a TV set—a set-top box was also required. Innovation is therefore part of Canal+’s genes, and this has been evident to all in the media industry, even outside France.“Canal+, one of the original pioneers in pay television in Europe, continues to innovate by creating new offerings for its subscribers using the latest technology,” says Jeffrey Schlesinger, the president of Warner Bros. International Television Distribution.
plans for expansion. For example, he told World Screen in 2001: “I believe that down the road Vivendi Universal will not be able to stay out of Asia.” Cultural diversity was an important theme for him. “My goal has always been to build a global company, understanding that when you are in the content field—the entertainment field—’global’ means both global and local…I do think that starting from a European base with European roots we have a great advantage, because every day in Europe we are confronted with a diversity—of cultures, of countries…of languages. In all cultural aspects, we are in a good position to understand what cultural diversity is.That is the reason, when I look at [the] criteria for success for Vivendi Universal in the coming years, I obviously consider size and stock price, but one thing that is also important to me is cultural diversity. Globalization needs this global and local combination. “From that point of view,” Messier continued, “Vivendi Universal will not be the apostle of American domination. We will not be the apostle of French ‘exception culturelle’…I would love five years from now, for Vivend Universal to be recognized as the leading world-
In 1996, the company became For all the success of Canal+ and the first satellite operator in the loyalty it elicited from subContinental Europe with CanalSat. scribers, not to mention the huge It was also a very early IPTV player boost StudioCanal was giving the in a country that has been a world French film industry, the channel’s leader in this field. Canal+ was also parent company, Canal+ Group, hit on the cutting edge with HD, per- rocky times at the beginning of the sonal video records (PVRs), VOD new millennium. and catch-up TV. The company had already begun a “All these new services, which process of international expansion. In hardly existed a mere five years ago, the ’90s it had set up services in are the result of constantly advancing Belgium, Scandinavia, Spain and technological evolution,” explains Poland. Then, in 2000, the Canal+ Bertrand Meheut, the chairman and Group became a wholly-owned subCEO of Canal+ Group.“And we can sidiary of the newly merged Vivendi only be amazed at how fast cus- Universal with Jean-Marie Messier at tomers are adopting these changes— the helm. Messier had ambitious and adapting their TV habits accordingly. This is why we need, each time, to be quick off the mark.” A lot of subscribers who opted for HD or the PVR or VOD say they could not do without them today, especially catch-up TV, for which Canal+ does not charge extra; it is included in the subscription fee. “This brings incredible added value to customers who can now fully enjoy what they pay for, at their own pace, without ever missing their favorite show again,” continues Meheut. “Obviously, this is driving up customer satisfaction. Catch-up TV users’ churn rate is 2 points lower than that of average Playing to win: Sports helped put Canal+ on the map and remains a key focus, with Canal Football subscribers.” Club just one of the offerings on the grid. 16
Congratulations from Twentieth Century Fox on 25 Fantastic Years of Breaking The Rules and Changing The Face of Pay Television!
ICE AGE ™ & © 2002 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved. ™ & © 2009 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
wide group in terms of cultural diversity. That’s a strong wish, a strong goal on my part.” Despite Messier’s objectives, the group and the channel began a downward spiral. Because of what many industry insiders describe as Messier’s “megalomania,” Canal+ suffered greatly. When Messier reorganized the company in 2002, the year Lescure left, many other employees left as well. At the time, Canal+ was losing subscribers by the tens of thousands and around €350 million per year, with net debt topping €5 billion, on turnover of just over €4.5 billion. Messier’s reign did not last long. New management stepped in; Meheut joined the group in 2002. Belmer joined in 2003. The new team is widely credited with turning the company around.At the beginning of 2003, a new strategy was implemented: loss-making assets were divested, except for StudioCanal and the promising pay-TV operation in Poland, and the company was streamlined. But while savings were made across the board, the company stepped up its investments in content and subscriber acquisition. The strategy paid off: at the end of
2003, Canal+ Group turned a profit for the first time in seven years, and at the end of 2004, the subscriber portfolio was on the rise again after four years of continuous decline. At the same time, Canal+ renewed its long-running partnership with the French cinema industry and made a game-changing move by investing a massive €600 million per year to acquire exclusive French football league rights, which previously had been shared with a rival pay-TV operator, TPS. A year later,TPS was forced to merge with Canal+ Group, bringing along its 1.3 million subscribers. BACK ON TRACK
“Over the past five years, Canal+ has been at the forefront of the digital revolution while expanding outside of France again and developing new growth opportunities,” says Mehuet. “Today, around 20 percent of the group’s total turnover comes from international operations,” he continues. “Our international strategy is threefold:We want to further develop our profit-making operations in Poland, French overseas territories and [with] StudioCanal. We want to partner with foreign pay-TV players
Getting connected: Canal+ (headquarters pictured above) launched its broadband-enabled set-top box Le Cube in 2008, offering users a new way to interact with their TVs.
to expand existing businesses, as we did recently when we purchased MultiChoice’s Frenchspeaking subscriber base in central Africa. And we plan on launching new operations in rapidly growing countries, such as those in North Africa and in Vietnam.” With the company back on a successful track, Meheut sees plenty of opportunities ahead. “Our priority is to further expand our subscriber base here in France, which still has growth potential, as payTV penetration rates are lower than they are in the U.K., for instance. International expansion will also be a key driver, as well as other growth opportunities, such as diversifying our operations in fields related to pay TV. We already have a foothold in the free-toair market since we launched our 24-hour news channel iTélé on DTT in 2005. We also have created a sports events company, Canal+ Events, to leverage our widely recognized expertUnder the gun: The StudioCanal science-fiction movie Babylon A.D. was the most successful French ise in sports.” cinema export abroad in 2008. 18
“The company today is very different from the one I once lived and breathed, but it is very successful,” observes Fox’s Kaner. “What is remarkable is how it has turned around, and credit must be given to the current management, including Rodolphe Belmer and Manuel Alduy [Canal+’s head of cinema], for the current financial success. They took on the competition from TPS and ultimately absorbed them into the new structure, which supplies a brilliant service to its subscribers. In a dramatically changing world, they have adapted in France as well or better than any media company. They seem to be going from strength to strength, and that’s impressive.”
A LOOK AT INNOVATION IN THE TELEVISION INDUSTRY BY ANNA CARUGATI
Voices of the People This month, HISTORY in the U.S. premieres The People Speak, based on the work of historian Dr. Howard Zinn. World Screen caught up with co-director Chris Moore and AETN International’s Sean Cohan about the innovative new project.
Some documentary films strive to uncover injustice or wrongdoings; others attempt to give a voice to the disenfranchised or reveal truths. The People Speak achieves all this, but it’s more than a mere film, it’s a labor of love. The People Speak is based on the work of Dr. Howard Zinn, the eminent historian who turned the conventional study of history on its head. Rather than tell history from the point of view of generals and presidents, which Zinn argues gives a “distorted view of the past,” he espouses history from “the ground up,” as he did in his groundbreaking book, A People’s History of the United States, published in 1980. Zinn recounts pivotal moments in history from the point of view of people— often oppressed or victims—seeking change. In 2004, Zinn joined Dr. Anthony Arnove to publish Voices of a People’s History of the United States, a collection of primary-source documents that range across the length of American history and feature letters, petitions, poems, speeches and songs from women and slaves, soldiers and students and others who have spoken out against injustice. EMOTIONAL IMPACT
While working on the book, Zinn and Arnove began organizing public performances of some of the selections, and these highly emotional readings inspired the latest incarnation of Zinn’s work—The People Speak.The film weaves archival footage, music, interviews and narrations from Ben Affleck and Zinn, with performances by actors and artists such as Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Danny Glover, Bruce Springsteen, Marisa Tomei and many more, to re-create the emotional impact of these moments in history. The goal of the filmmakers is to present remarkable people from the past to inspire a new generation to act, by illustrating what makes democracy come alive and why civil disobedience needs to be a defining characteristic of Americans. The People Speak airs on HISTORY in the U.S. in December. Chris Moore, producer of the Academy Award-winning Good Will Hunting, serves as co-director of The People Speak and as executive producer, along with Damon, Brolin, Zinn and Arnove. Moore explains that teaming up with AETN provided a great boost to the project.“The important thing for us is that the documentary is not meant to be all encompassing. It’s a two-hour experience and we are not going to cover every moment that people shared in the history of America, particularly when we start with Columbus.
We wanted to have a partnership with a company that would allow people who were inspired to dig deeper, to learn more, to see full versions of readings and learn more about them,” explains Moore. “So for us, HISTORY was a natural partnership. And Nancy Dubuc and other executives across the company all realized that there is a natural synergy.” Sean Cohan, the senior VP of international for AETN, has seen brisk interest internationally for both the finished version of The People Speak and for the format. “The outspoken everyday person, folks who aren’t in leadership positions but speak out, these are very universal themes. And it doesn’t hurt that there is some really established Hollywood talent on the production side attached to the project—that sparks interest at the outset.” Moore acknowledges the timeliness of the project, especially in light of the election of Barack Obama as the first African-American president, when many Americans are reflecting how far the U.S. has come as a nation. “I do think that it’s pertinent because people are trying to define what kind of people they are and what kind of country America might be,” says Moore, who doesn’t believe this process of reflection is only happening in the U.S. “People are trying to figure out what does it mean to be German, what does it mean to be Japanese. If you are a woman in Iran right now, what are you doing? And if we can be part of that conversation, if we can remind viewers that everyday people deciding to act has actually [led to] change, that is amazing.The filmmakers on this project are not arrogant to think that the American story is somehow unique or better or more representative of the world at large.” “There is a sense of timeliness,” agrees AETN’s Cohan. “This moment in time, with key historical anniversaries, such as German reunification, the bicentennials in Mexico and Chile in 2010, the birth of Rome, all drive introspection on the part of communities and people thinking about what it all means.” That sense of introspection resonated with HISTORY in the U.K. which will be producing a British version of The People Speak and actor Colin Firth has already signed up to be part of it. He, too, was drawn to the passion and emotion that is pervasive throughout The People Speak, and that have made the film such a labor of love. 12/09
Star power: Matt Damon is among the celebrities featured in AETN’s The People Speak.
Light Years Ahead
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IN THE STARS
Almost every national constitution forbids the establishment of an official state religion. But this secular bent doesn’t stop people from looking to the heavens for answers to life’s most troublesome questions: Will I succeed? Will I find love? Will I step into the boxing ring with Kim Kardashian? Every day, papers and magazines worldwide print horoscopes—projections for people born in a specific month, based on the positions of the stars and planets. While many people rely on these daily, weekly or monthly messages for guidance in their lives, some readers skip over them entirely. The editors of WS recognize that
Global distinction: Reality TV starlet. Sign: Libra (b. October 21, 1980) Significant date: November 3, 2009 Noteworthy activity: Members of the public bid to
Global distinction: Australian actress. Sign: Gemini (b. June 20, 1967) Significant date: November 4, 2009 Noteworthy activity: The Oscar winner appears
step into the boxing ring with different members of the Keeping Up with the Kardashians clan, who are doing the stunt for charity. Kim gets punched in the face during her bout, and sports a black eye as a result of her philanthropic efforts. Horoscope: “The greatest balancing act is between self and others, and it is here that many Libras focus their energy. In making the needs of others higher than your own, there are times when you’ll be the one suffering.” (horoscopes.aol.com)
scantily clad on the cover of British GQ, revealing steamy information inside the magazine. She admits to exploring “sexual fetish stuff,” and calls her current marriage to Keith Urban “incredibly raw” and “incredibly dangerous.” Horoscope: “Gemini is represented by the twins, and just like their symbol, those who fall under the sign tend to have a dual personality.This multifaceted nature continuously shocks people.” (iloveindia.com)
these little pearls of random foresight
occasionally prove prophetic. But
Global distinction: Troubled English songstress. Sign: Virgo (b. September 14, 1983) Significant date: October 22, 2009 Noteworthy activity: The recently rehabbed singer is
rather than poring over charts of the zodiac to predict world events, our staff prefers to use past horoscopes in an attempt to legitimate the science. As you can see here, had some of these media figures remembered to consult their horoscopes on signifi-
quite a bit bustier after getting breast implants, and her father, in particular, takes notice.When a member of the media asks him how his daughter is doing, he replies: “Fantastic, fantastic. Her boobs are great as well.” Horoscope: “Virgos are very attached to their family and have great respect for their family members, especially their father. Always cherish and guard this family bond.” (iloveindia.com)
cant days, they could have avoided a few surprises.
Global distinction: Entourage’s Ari Gold. Sign: Leo (b. July 26, 1965) Significant date: November 4, 2009 Noteworthy activity: First, the actor swears off sushi
after claiming mercury poisoning forced him to pull out of his Broadway show. And now, the Piv is blaming his sagging physique on soy milk, saying its high levels of estrogen have caused him to grow man-breasts. Horoscope: “This is a perfect time for proud Leo, who always like to look and feel their best.You must work to maintain the desire, drive and power to keep it up, though.” (shine.yahoo.com)
Ryan Seacrest Reese Witherspoon Global distinction: Hollywood leading lady. Sign: Aries (b. March 22, 1976) Significant date: November 3, 2009 Noteworthy activity: The Legally Blonde beauty is
leaving a building after working out when two photographers begin fighting with each other over getting “the shot.” Fists start flying and Witherspoon calls the LAPD to identify herself as an eyewitness to the altercation. Horoscope: “If you are involved in any legal disputes or involvements with government agencies, this is a time when a successful resolution can be reached. Just be honest and stay your course.” (homepagers.com) 74
Global distinction: American Idol host. Sign: Capricorn (b. December 24, 1974) Significant date: October 30, 2009 Noteworthy activity: A man is arrested at the E!
offices after showing up armed with a knife, asking to see the TV personality. It’s the same man who was sentenced to 15 days in jail and three years’ probation after attacking a member of Seacrest’s security detail outside a charity event a month prior. The U.S. Army has issued an apology to Seacrest, as his alleged stalker is a sergeant with the Army Reserves. Horoscope: “While you make a good authority figure, not everyone is so easily intimidated by you. It is not a sign of weakness to then call on the help of others.” (astrology-online.com)
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