MEDIA - Film/Radio/TV/Web - January 2002

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Friday February 1

SEE KOREAN: Since 1967, Korea has had a film quota that requires local theaters to screen Korean films at least 146 days a year. The local film industry has been doing well, so now the government wants to drastically reduce the quota. Filmmakers are protesting. Korea Herald 02/01/02

BBC RADIO AT RECORD LISTENERSHIP: BBC Radio listenership is up, beating out all commercial radio stations. "The number of people listening to BBC Radio each week has risen by 300,000 since September, taking the total to 32.7 million - a record since new monitoring methods were introduced in 1999." BBC 02/01/02

Thursday January 31

POOH FIGHT: Disney has helped turn Winnie the Pooh into a merchandising juggernaut. But the family of the literary agent who "bought the rights to Pooh from author AA Milne in 1929, have filed a suit to terminate Disney's licence and to claim damages for 'hundreds of millions' of dollars." The Guardian (UK) 01/30/02

THE BATTLE FOR WNYC: When New York public radio station WNYC lost its FM tower on the World Trade Center, its classical music programming got compressed to late night hours on its sister AM band. Now that FM is up and broadcasting again, the classical music hasn't expanded to its former proportions again. Changes at the station signal a rift between WNYC's ambitious corporate-style managers and more traditional staff. New York Observer 01/30/02

Wednesday January 30

LACK OF DIVERSITY: A new report chides the television industry once again for its white-maleness. "The report, which examined the 40 most popular series of the 2000-2001 season, reported that about 80% of drama and comedy episodes—or 663 of the 826 installments—were directed by white males. Black males directed 27 episodes, or about 3% of the total, while Latino males directed 15 episodes, or about 2%. Asian American males directed nine episodes. White females directed 87—or 11%—of the episodes." Los Angeles Times 01/30/02

ARGENTINA - THE FUTURE IN FILM: Could anyone have predicted the collapse of Argentina? Bankers maybe. Also filmmakers: "The 1990s were a very false period. There was a lot of money around in a country that wasn't growing. This feeling of menace that was coming was very clear many years ago. All these films are of course related to the situation." The Guardian (UK) 01/30/02

VOTING WITH YOUR FEET: The ultimate, definitive criticism of a movie is simple and direct, and it's available to anyone. Get up and walk out; if it's really bad, demand your money back. People do it all the time. Well, some of the time. "The movie doesn't even have to be a bomb. The films people leave the most are frequently also the most admired." Los Angeles Times 01/30/02

Tuesday January 29

BAFTA NOMINEES: The British Bafta Award nominations are out. Nominated for best fim are: The Lord Of The Rings and Moulin Rouge (each picked up 12 nominations), the French-language hit Amelie, A Beautiful Mind, the animated adventure Shrek. Winners are announced Feruary 24. BBC 01/29/02

HOW TO WIN AN OSCAR: "It is Oscar season, when the great and the good of California's Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gather, ponder the relative merits of the year's best actors and films, and finally, amid great fanfare and weird interpretative dance numbers, give the Oscar to someone else." So, if making a great film doesn't get it done, what rules must be followed to take home the little gold man? Hmmm, where to begin? National Post (Daily Telegraph) 01/28/02

Monday January 28

HARD STUFF/HARD DECISIONS: "Last month, NBC began accepting ads for Smirnoff vodka, marking the first time such ads are appearing on broadcast networks since the programmers adopted a voluntary ban on the products shortly after the Second World War. Almost immediately after NBC's announcement, an avalanche of attacks came crashing down onto NBC's peacock tail, sending the billion-dollar network into a fetal position." But the policy about hard liquor ads and TV is deeply conflicted... The Globe & Mail (Canada) 01/28/02

Sunday January 27

DANGEROUS TO BE SO BIG? Clear Channel Communications now has its fingers in more and more of the average American's entertainment choices. The company "garnered relatively little attention as it evolved during the 1990s from a family owned San Antonio radio chain into an international conglomerate that is now the size of NBC. Today it is the nation's largest radio owner, and a world leader in outdoor advertising. And it is the largest promoter and presenter of live entertainment on the planet; CCE promotes and/or produces 26,000 events a year, drawing 62 million people to its 135 theaters, arenas, and amphitheaters around the globe, the company says." Boston Globe 01/27/02

THE OSCAR SECRETS: Want to win an Oscar? Here's how: "We all know that the Oscars bear scant relation to the merits of the films in question. So what do they bear relation to? In order to answer this question, we processed the winners and losers of the past 20 years into a computer and asked it to come up with a set of rules as to how you win an Oscar." Some hints - it helps to be disabled and have a rousing end to your film. The Telegraph (UK) 01/26/02

Friday January 25

PRODUCE THIS: Movies and TV shows seem to be overrun with various types of 'producers' in some form or another. "Who are these people? What do they do? Do they get paid? Why do they need so many of them? These are legitimate questions. For while there are thousands of people roaming the streets of Los Angeles claiming to be producers, it takes more than a business card and an ugly sports jacket to truly merit the title. Moreover, even real producers carry less weight now that a few giant companies have swallowed Hollywood." Los Angeles Times 01/24/02

THE SAD SACKS AT THE GOLDEN GLOBES: Why does anyone care about the Golden Globe Awards. They're voted by the foreign press - "which is comprised of 80 journalists about whom movie folk could not care less during the other 11 months of the year. I have lived in Hollywood; I have seen the foreign press, and a more motley consortium of lumpy, hard-boiled, cocktail-happy flacks you could never meet. Agents, publicists and stars, do their best to avoid them (except during awards season), meeting them only in strictly supervised round-table interviews, chuckling behind their backs at their softball questions." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 01/25/02

TALK ABOUT REALITY: A Russian "reality TV" program shows a dozen young men and women living together in a single apartment. Cameras record their every action, and one-way mirrors let passers-by in the street watch as well. And it continues, regardless of the fact that the channel which used to broadcast it has been shut down. Moscow Times 01/24/02

Thursday January 24

MINORITY RECRUITING: Two years ago the major American TV networks came under fire for their lack of minority actors on programs. Now the networks are hosting "talent workshops" in an effort to recruit more minority actors. Critics say it's about time: "We expect to see real change in the new shows, or else we're going to have a real problem. The new shows will be announced in May, and we see it as a make or break time for the networks." Toronto Star 01/23/02

Wednesday January 23

AMÉLIE OVERTAKES LA CAGE: "Amélie, the little French movie that could, has broken a longstanding record to become the highest-grossing French-language film to be released in the United States. Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet's whimsical tale has grossed $20.9 million, breaking the previous record, $20.4 million, held by La Cage Aux Folles since 1979. Last week Amélie crossed the $100 million mark for worldwide box-office receipts." New York Post 01/23/02

BRITISH FILM INDUSTRY SAGS: According to the British Film Commission, "British film production dropped sharply in 2001, largely because of the threat of a strike by members of the U.S. film actors' union; overall Britain's film industry was worth about $602-million last year, compared with $1.1-billion in 2000." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 01/22/02

AUSSIE ASSAULT: With Australian movie folk cleaning up awards at the Golden Globes this week, "the Aussie assault was the main topic of conversation at the Globes' after parties and on entertainment shows this morning." The Age (Melbourne) 01/23/02

  • AUSSIE HOTBED: Everyone's talking about the film talent coming from Down Under right now. Says Steven Spielberg: "Australia has produced the most amazing new wave of talent since, probably, Britain in the 1940s." The Age (Melbourne) 01/23/02

MORE THAN EVER, ART IS GROUNDED IN SCIENCE: "Increasingly, science, math and technology have emerged as serious themes in creative endeavors such as the current film A Beautiful Mind, recent plays such as Proof, Copenhagen, Arcadia and Q.E.D., the novels of writers Richard Powers and Andrea Barrett, and the visual artwork of Eduardo Kac. You cannot hope to understand contemporary life without a hard look at the ways that science and technology have overhauled every aspect of material existence." Chicago Tribune 01/20/02

THE BBC AND ARTS: The BBC has come under fire recently for its arts programming. Some charge the corporation is lessening its commitment to the arts and plans to "ghettoize" the arts on the BBC's new digital service. But BBC head Greg Dyke denies the charges: "Arts programmes would continue to take up a minimum of 230 hours a year across BBC One and BBC Two, he said, instead of being shifted to new digital channel BBC Four when it launches in March." BBC 01/23/02

  • SIGNAL TO NOISE: Has the BBC been reducing the quality of its digital audio bitrate signal? The music hasn't been as crisp... Gramophone 01/23/02

Tuesday January 22

NOT MUCH OF A STRIKE, THEN, IS IT? The UK film industry is reeling from the effects of an actors' strike that has been going on since December. Or is it? Despite calls for British actors to refuse all work until a settlement is reached, the union has allowed some studios to cross the picket line and sign individual deals with stars so current big-budget Hollywood productions are not halted. BBC 01/22/02

RECORD YEAR FOR AUSTRALIAN MOVIES: The Australian movie business did well last year. "Australian box office takings leapt to a record $812 million from $689.5 million in 2000. However, the news for locally made films was not entirely positive, with their market share slipping marginally from 7.9 to 7.8 per cent in 2001." Sydney Morning Herald 01/22/02

Monday January 21

MOULIN ROUGE/BEAUTIFUL MIND BIG WINNERS AT GLOBES: Golden Globes, as chosen by the Hollywood foreign press, are given out. Best movies awards go to A Beautiful Mind and Moulin Rouge, which can be considered front-runners for the Academy Awards. Los Angeles Times 01/21/02

  • COMING OUT PARTY: For many, the frivolity seemed to mark a psychic turning point for the industry. Hollywood was not only buffeted by the terrorist attacks, but also a slowdown in production due in part to a flood of activity in the first part of 2001 spurred by the threat of strikes. "The Hollywood movie business was completely stalled out for very good reason after 9/11. Now that there's becoming enough distance between that tragic event and today, people are feeling very eager to work. Los Angeles Times 01/21/02
  • TEDIOUS EXERCISE: The "59th Annual Golden Globe Awards, which anointed Ron Howard's A Beautiful Mind as the flick to beat at the Oscars in March, was about as tedious as the longest Academy Award show. Ever." Atlanta Journal-Constitution 01/21/02

SUNDANCE FINISHES STRONG: Expectations were definitely not high for this year's Sundance Festival. But then, "the dark and innovative films that made up much of this year's roster began to create a stir, and suddenly the odor of infirmity drifted away. Movies were selling left and right last week for more money than anyone would have predicted before the festival began on Jan. 10." The New York Times 01/21/02

  • THE MOST-HATED FILM AT SUNDANCE: Director Gus Van Sant used to be an art-film director. Then, after a breakout hit, he wasn't. At this year's Sundance he was back in high-art form again. "His feature Gerry may be one of the most hated movies in American film-festival history." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 01/21/02

Sunday January 20

AND THE WINNER IS... "Personal Velocity, a movie trilogy about three women confronted with momentous life crises, won the Sundance Film Festival's grand jury prize Saturday, taking top dramatic honors at the 11-day independent cinema showcase. Sundance jurors gave the documentary grand jury prize to Daughter From Danang, which follows an Amerasian child of a Vietnamese woman and U.S. soldier who searches for her natural mother years after she was adopted by an American woman." Nando Times (AP) 01/19/02

  • SUNDANCE DOOR OPENS A LITTLE WIDER: The Sundance Film Festival is arguably the most successful showcase of independent film in the U.S. But for an event that purports to give voice to those normally shunned by major studios, Sundance has a fairly spotty record when it comes to screeing films by racial minorities. This year, however, the tide may be turning. Washington Post 01/19/02

LET'S HEAR IT FOR VOLTRON! "Japanese film has probably never been as popular internationally as it is right now. Its popularity, though, is not grounded in live action films, but in the animated features and television series that have come to be known as anime. It has been estimated that anime now account for 60 percent of Japanese film production." The New York Times 01/20/02 (one-time registration required for access)

Friday January 18

THE GLORIES OF NEPOTISM: How do you get a job of have a movie made in Hollywood? You gotta know someone. "In fact, Hollywood happens to be one of the more democratic places to make it, so eager are they for the next big thing, so willing to believe that you could be It, or you, or you. It's standard practice in L.A. that no phone call goes unreturned (even if it means rolling calls, deliberately returning them when they know you'll be out), because everybody could end up working with anybody at any time." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 01/18/02

Thursday January 17

GOING TO PRAGUE: Where are all the movies going? To Prague. "A multi-million-dollar film industry has made Prague, the Czech capital, a European moviemaking mecca, second only to London. Since the fall of communism 11 years ago, hundreds of foreign productions have come here to take advantage of its extraordinarily low costs, highly skilled technicians, and stunning locations." Christian Science Monitor 01/16/02

Wednesday January 16

THE DECLINE OF DISNEY? "After a renaissance in the mid-80s and for much of the 90s, Disney has been sliding. Its movie business is scoring fewer hits, attendance at theme parks has been disappointing of late. The company had its fingers severely burnt online and was forced to close an ambitious internet portal early last year and dissolved what was a separate new-media division." The Guardian (UK) 01/15/02

Tuesday January 15

CLAIMS FOR FLOP INSURANCE: Banks financing Hollywood movies are going to court to try to collect on insurance claims worth more than $1 billion for movies that were flops. "Hundreds of cases are stacked up on both sides of the Atlantic, as London's insurance market resists paying out on a slew of cinematic turkeys. Banks had lent money for productions with "shortfall insurance" - "policies that pay up if a film fails to make its projected revenue within (typically) two to three years." Financial Times 01/14/02

CLOUDS AT SUNDANCE: The Sundance Festival is in full bloom, and there's lots of good fare. But "the combination of several factors has shaped feelings about the festival beyond this. There is the important anniversary for an event that has visibly altered the shape of filmmaking, and there is the residue of the slumping economy. Though Main Street was a scramble of visitors dashing from one party to the next, as it was last year, a bit of a cloud hangs over the festival." The New York Times 01/15/02

  • A SERIOUS FOCUS: The opening festivities at Sundance this year have been dominated by films with extremely sober subjects. One focuses on the murder of Matthew Shephard, beaten to death in Wyoming because he was gay. Another, a documentary, examines the brutal dragging death of James Byrd in Jasper, Texas. Throw in a dark comedy about a sorority girl in love with a handicapped discus-thrower, and the festival is looking awfully edgy, even for independent film. Dallas Morning News 01/15/02 (one-time registration required for access)

SCORE ONE FOR THE CLASSICS: Okay, so country music may not exactly be Mozart. But in Nashville, and indeed across much of America, country is as classic as it gets, and "regular folks" are as loyal to it as opera fans. So when a legendary Nashville AM station (flagship of the Grand Ole Opry) announced it would be moving to a talk format, the listeners revolted. None of this, of course, is unusual in an age of huge broadcasting conglomerates. What is unusual is that the effort worked, and WSM will stay country, and stay unique in a sea of generic radio blather. Nashville Tennessean 01/15/02

RIPPING OFF EGYPTIAN MOVIES: Video piracy isn't only a problem for American movies. Egyptian filmmakers estimate they lose $15 million in revenues a year due to video pirates. "Pirates manage to get a copy of a movie as soon as it is released, either on video cassette (mostly from Saudi Arabia) or on imported laser discs, sometimes recording them from the cinemas directly using a camcorder. These are then duplicated and distributed to the 2,000-odd video rental stores and clubs that specialize in selling pirated cassettes." Middle East Times 01/11/02

INDEPENDENT FROM WHAT, EXACTLY? "Independent film companies Intermedia and Spyglass Entertainment Group on Monday announced a merger agreement that will form one of the world's largest independent film companies. The merger is expected to be completed by the end of February." Dallas Morning News (AP) 01/15/02 (one-time registration required for access)

Monday January 14

TAX BREAKS FOR HOLLYWOOD: California governor Gray Davis proposes tax breaks for movie companies shooting their productions in California. "Hollywood's unions have pushed for years for state and federal incentives to fight runaway production. Canada's weak dollar, combined with government incentives, make shooting there about 25% cheaper. Roughly one in four U.S.-developed productions shoot in foreign countries, mostly Canada. Los Angeles Times 01/13/02

Sunday January 13

THE RE/SELF-EDITED MOVIE: Fans are editing commercial movies on their own computers. A new artform, as some claim? Nope. "Digital technology may make it easier to appropriate and reinterpret existing art. But the tendency itself, the urge to do so, is a psychologically crucial element of contemporary thinking, and has more to do with zeitgeist than with technology. Quite simply, reappropriation is what we do these days, in high art and mass media: It's part of postmodernity." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 01/12/02

GETTING TO THE THEATRE ON TIME: It has a script, then it doesn't have a script. It has a $20 million budget, then it has a $6 million budget... how do movies ever get made? Here's the chronicle of one movie-making experience. The Guardian (UK) 01/12/02

Friday January 11

DIGITAL IS YESTERDAY'S NEWS: The past two years, "digital" was the word at the Sundance Festival. "But the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, which opens here Thursday, looks to be relatively free of new-tech buzz. Press releases trumpeting the latest digital video innovations - a fax-jamming feature of Sundances past - have slowed to a trickle, and the Sundance press office seems to be barely keeping track of which films are digital and which aren't." Wired 01/10/02

PLAY ME AGAIN SAM: Now there's no need for old actors to die on screen when they die in real life - they can just be digitized and live forever. The practice is growing in movies and in TV commercials. "With technology being where it is, hearse-loads of dead people could get in on the act. Computer graphics imaging (CGI) can create very convincing replicas of specific human beings. At the same time speech generation software replicates voices so successfully that to our merely human ears the sound is an exact duplicate." Sydney Morning Herald 01/11/02

UNFRIENDLY? A Canadian conservation officer shut down an expensive film shoot in the Canadian Rockies for an American TV commercial this week because the crew didn't have a required $57 permit. The incident has become very public and critics are charging that the government isn't being helpful enough in helping American productions that want to film in Canada. "It's just bad public relations. It's an embarrassment to the Alberta tourism and film industry." National Post 01/11/02

Thursday January 10

BACKING AWAY FROM THE FAMILY: Family-friendly programs been a centerpiece of TV programming since day one. But no more, at least not at NBC. "We don't see them as really the kinds of shows that are in our wheelhouse," says the network's west coast president. As for those successful family shows on Fox and ABC, "They don't have the upscale demos that we want that would allow us to keep them on the air." Nando Times 01/09/02

Wednesday January 9

SAGGING SPIRITS: "Hollywood's actors union, The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) has announced plans to re-run its hotly disputed presidential contest. Former Little House on the Prairie star Melissa Gilbert was elected president last November by a large majority over rival actress Valerie Harper, who starred in Rhoda. However it has since emerged that the vote violated the union's constitution." BBC 01/09/02

Tuesday January 8

BUILDING A CULTURAL INFRASTRUCTURE: The Canadian government wants to invest in the "construction of a Canadian cultural infrastructure on the web." But how to build it? "This is the medium that will be the chief means to reach people now in the 13-17 age group." One group of multimedia artists thinks they have the answer. Toronto Star 01/07/02

JUST WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS: "Leni Riefenstahl, who produced masterful propaganda films for the Nazis, plans her first movie release in nearly 50 years to coincide with her 100th birthday this summer. Impressions Under Water, a 45-minute film about the underwater world of the Indian Ocean, is the result of dives between 1974 and 2000, Riefenstahl told Germany's Die Welt newspaper in a rare interview." Toronto Star (AP) 01/08/02

Monday January 7

DVD'S ARE HOT: "The number of films sold on DVD more than doubled last year, to more than 37 million, according to industry figures. Almost 2.4 million DVD players were also bought in the past year, 550,000 of them in the run-up to Christmas, the British Video Association (BVA) says." BBC 01/06/02

DIGITAL RADIO: Will people pay for radio? Apparently: Digital radio is hot. "Since its national debut in mid- November, XM Satellite Radio has sold 25,000 to 30,000 subscriptions to its new national radio service, XM Radio. In the same period, consumer electronics stores sold nearly an equal number of the specialized radios necessary to receive the signals, making national satellite radio one of the fastest-growing new products the audio industry has seen in years." The New York Times 01/07/02

BEST FILM OF 2001: The National Society of Film Critics voted Mulholland Drive as the best movie of 2001. "Robert Altman's satirical Gosford Park came in second as best picture, while the fantasy hit The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was third." Nando Times (AP) 01/06/02

SELF-CENSORSHIP IN SPADES: Don't like a scene in a movie you'd like to watch at home? Three companies in Utah "have developed technology that allows DVDs to be manipulated and cleaned up." You can edit out that offensive sex scene or clean up the violence. "Wouldn't it have been easier, perhaps, to skip the movie? Why not say to young Jimmy, 'Son, The Matrix is too violent. We're not going to buy that DVD for you. But here, have this Lassie movie instead. Now, let's go get some hot cocoa." San Francisco Chronicle 01/06/02

THE VALUES THING: The White House is encouraging filmmakers to make movies with "American values." But "what would a film bursting with 'American values' actually look like? Probably what the president and his advisors had in mind are films that celebrate patriotism or wholesome attributes such as family togetherness, self-sacrifice and courage under fire. But are any of these upright virtues inherently American?" Los Angeles Times 01/06/02

FEEDING ON ITSELF: The FBI's famous internet surveillance program has become inspiration for a group of new-media artists. "In a collaborative art project called, creatively enough, Carnivore, Flash guru Joshua Davis and digital artist Mark Napier, along with other artists, have crafted programs that create audiovisual representations of data traffic that’s observed and hijacked from a local area network." Wired 01/06/02

Sunday January 6

RINGS PICKS UP FIRST AWARDS: The American Film Institute kicks off the awards season by naming the best of the big and little screens Saturday night. AFI decides Lord of the Rings is the best movie of 2001. Chicago Sun-Times 01/06/02
  • WHAT WAS THE YEAR'S BEST MOVIE? There seems to be no consensus "best movie" of the year among American film critics. Here's a list of critics' Top 10 lists for 2001. Chicago Tribune 01/06/02

SUNDANCE TURNS 20: "Sundance used to be shorthand for artistic legitimacy, a way for filmmakers to place themselves firmly outside the corrupt commercial imperatives of the studio system. Then the studios jumped atop the bandwagon. As the Sundance Institute celebrates its 20th anniversary with the start of its annual film festival on Thursday, organizers are grappling with how to maintain the fest's indie appeal and credibility, while accepting the fact that the 10-day event has been co-opted by many of the major studios as just another way to grab attention for a movie." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 01/05/02

THE CAMERA LIES: When Michael Jackson appeared on a TV special last fall, producers thought he looked too white compared to his brothers, so they "color corrected" him on the screen. Then they thought Whitney Houston looked too skinny, so they added a little weight to her in post-production. "Over the past two decades, the advent of digital technology and the increasing sophistication of CGI (computer graphics interface) software has radically transformed production of everything from feature films and television shows to music videos and advertising spots. Now, virtually anything is possible. 'If you can think it or dream it, you can do it'." The Globe & Mail (Canada) 01/05/02

Friday January 4

SAVE OUR SHOWS: A lifeguard frustrated that TV networks canceled some of his favorite shows has started a website ( to allow viewers to vote for retaining their favorites. "The site allows viewers to voice their opinions about their favourite shows, before they're yanked off the air, by using an on-line form. The poll results and suggestions for change are also sent to network executives by e-mail on a monthly basis (although he has yet to hear back from anyone)." Toronto Star 01/04/02

Thursday January 3

REVISIONISTS UNDER ATTACK: "The real Mao Tse-tung hounded critics to death. But in the latest version of history according to China's state film industry, Mao treasures free speech and criticism of his regime." Like most state films featuring such blatant revisionist history, the movie bombed in China. But the widow of an American journalist portrayed in the film is furious over the inaccuracies, and is creating quite a stir. Cleveland Plain Dealer (AP) 01/03/02

GETTING BACK TO WORK: "Afghan filmmakers are shooting their first movie in 10 years following the fall of the Taleban regime. The film, The Speculator, is being specially made for screening on Afghan television because the station is short of material." BBC 01/03/02

Wednesday January 2

RECORD MOVIE YEAR: The movie industry ended 2001 with its best year ever. "Movie-ticket sales for 2001 will total an estimated $8.35 billion by the end of New Year's Eve, up from last year's record of $7.7 billion, according to box-office tracker Exhibitor Relations. Factoring in an estimated 4 percent rise in average ticket prices, admissions were up about 5 percent, the first increase since 1998." Nando Times (AP) 01/01/02

THE END OF CLASSICAL RADIO: When Miami classical radio station WTMI was sold last year for $100 million, it was inevitable the classical format was doomed, no matter what the new owners said. Classical can't hope to produce the kind of revenues a $100 million purchase demands. Sure enough, this week the station abandoned classical for dance music. Miami Herald 01/01/02

BALKING AT THE BONUSES: Fans of DVD's have been attracted to the new format in part because of "bonus" material often included on the discs - interviews with cast and crew, and behind-the-scenes scenes. But the "extra material could start to disappear thanks to escalating costs and demands by talent and guilds. Studios are balking at new fees for script use and star participation, even as overall DVD sales surge and consumers embrace "special edition" packages." Toronto Star 01/01/02

UNDERSTANDING NIELSEN: The Nielsen Company has a new leader. In the US, "from a commercial and perhaps even cultural perspective, few enterprises may be more influential, and less understood, than Nielsen, which provides the television ratings that networks and media buyers rely upon to negotiate advertising rates. Beyond governing more than $50 billion in annual spending on TV ads, the information serves as a cultural touchstone, a tool people use to gauge the prevailing public mood and tastes." Los Angeles Times 01/02/02

BBC SURGES: For the first time, the BBC1 TV channel has scored higher ratings for the year than chief competitior ITV1. "Ratings show BBC One with an audience share of 26.8% compared to 26.7% for ITV1." BBC 01/01/02