MEDIA - December 1999

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  • HOLLYWOOD HANDS OUT: The LA movie industry has gathered 40,000 signatures in three months on a petition to California governor Gray Davis asking for tax credits for the movie business. Credits will help keep more movie productions from leaving LA, backers say. Variety 12/31/99 
  • NOT PLAYING AROUND: EToys, the online toy retailer sued Etoy, the European conceptual artist group to get the latter to stop using its name. Even though the artists got to cyberspace first. Now EToys offers to drop its trademark infringement suit. New York Times 12/30/99 (one-time registration required for entry)
    • And: NOT OVER YET: EToy artists not ready to accept terms. Wired 12/30/99
  • SERIOUS OVERBUILDING: It's been a record year for movie admissions. Yet theater owners are bleeding red ink after a binge of theater-building. The 24-screen mega-plexes have led to the over-screening of America. Philadelphia Inquirer 12/30/99
  • HD CINEMA: The world's first high definition portable movie projector gets a formal debut tonight in a concert by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. CBC 12/29/99
  • MOVIE MANIA: "Record box office receipts, the best attendance in four decades and one of the most diverse lineups in a long time. Even that prescient kid from The Sixth Sense could not have foreseen the year Hollywood had." (AP) Detroit News 12/28/99
  • ARMY: Universal gives $100,000 to hard-core fans of Andy Kaufman to run their own rogue marketing campaign to promote movie about the comedian's life. Washington Post 12/27/99
  • OF SHEEP AND DOGS: Millions of Brits will tune in this week to a throwback of a kinder gentler BBC program. "Strangely, it's not boring," said Paul Latham, spokesman for the Countryside Alliance, speaking fondly of a show in which spectacularly taciturn shepherds compete to see whose dog can most neatly herd some sheep into a pen. BBC 12/27/99
  • MINE IS LONGER THAN YOURS: Movies are getting longer in the belief that longer is weightier. It's a sign of the growing clout of directors. USA Today 12/23/99
  • SWEET AND LOWDOWN: Woody Allen's portrait of the Jazz Age.
  • L'AFFAIRE FRENCH FILM: As Hollywood's shadow keeps getting darker and longer, the question `What is cinema?' becomes more and more insistent. "The real fight is over taste, over affirming strange, original and singular films versus routine films." Village Voice 12/22/99
  • PRODUCTION COSTS for making film and professional quality video have plummeted to the point that that they're now within reach of those without studio budgets. A new business model is needed. Financial Times 12/22/99
  • RADIO REVENUES up a robust 34 percent annual rate, fueled by acquisition mania; film revenues up 19 percent. Variety 12/21/99
  • THAI FILM CENSORS ban "Anna and the King," deeming it disrespectful to the country's royal family. BBC 12/21/99
  • NO SUCH THING AS FREE: Contrary to popular belief, American television has never been free. The question is: when will broadcasters start paying us for the use of public airwaves? *spark-online 12/99 
  • AMERICAN TV NETWORKS avoid NAACP boycott on diversity after meeting. Los Angeles Times 12/20/99
  • ALL DIGITAL: From shooting to editing to promoting, 1999 is likely to go down as the year that digital took over every aspect of the movie business. Next: goodbye celluloid. BBC 12/19/99
  • I-CRAVE-LAWSUIT.COM: Toronto man rebroadcasts every TV station available in Toronto over the internet on, and networks have a fit. "It's all perfectly legal,'' he claims. Wired 12/17/99
  • MAKING IT ON MOZART: Anatomy of a classical music radio station. LA's KKGO turns ten-years-old. Los Angeles Times 12/16/99
  • MOVIES AND MEXICO: And the censors. New York Times 12/16/99 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • ALL ARTS RADIO CLOSES: Atlanta's quirky alternative all-arts station WGKA-AM will go off the air after three years of "the city's most diverse and unpredictable programming." Atlanta Journal-Constitution 12/15/99 (moved to archives)
  • NEW CABLE CHANNEL offers international news from Beijing to Belfast. Variety 12/15/99
  • SURVIVING AMERICAN MOVIES: French film has survived the Americans but is increasingly threatened. Is the dirty little secret that the French prefer American? Are French movie makers spoiled? What to do, what to do...New York Times 12/14/99 (one-time registration required for entry)
  • WEB DIVE: Disney lost $1 billion on its web operations this year. Variety 12/13/99
  • TAKE US TO YOUR LEADER: PBS begins the search for a new president. Los Angeles Times 12/13/99
  • PASSING THE MANTLE: It's your moment - whatever you're going to do, do it now. A new generation of directors comes of age in Hollywood. Los Angeles Times 12/12/99
  • JOHN IRVING'S NOT PARTICULARLY A MOVIE FAN but he had some very particular ideas how he wanted his "Cider House" treated on the big screen. National Post 12/12/99
  • UNDEREMPLOYED: A new study by the Directors Guild of America says that women and minorities are severely underemployed and the situation is getting worse. Women directors work only 10 percent of the days of a typical Director's Guild member. Black directors work only 8.4 percent and Hispanics 2.3 percent. NAACP calls the numbers "shameful." Variety 12/10/99
  • CANADIAN ENTREPRENEUR begins rebroadcasting every TV channel available in Toronto live on the web. The picture quality ain't great, but networks have a fit. They're suing to prevent from continuing the service. CBC 12/9/99 
  • MUSICAL REDUX: Musical hackers have been mining recordings to digitally remix music of all sorts and re-release it. Latest object of their affection - world music. Says one: "It is from such encounters that the most beautiful projects are born." CBC 12/7/99 
  • REMOTE WRITE: Collaborating over the web is redefining artistic partnerships. These screenplay writers collaborated on a script and never met until the first day of shooting. Wired 12/7/99
  • TALK AMERICAN: American movies have been shot in Canada for some time. But Canadian actors have been frustrated in not getting roles because of their up-north accents. So some of them have hired a coach. Toronto Globe and Mail 12/7/99
  • RADIO DAZE: It's been a good year and times are good for the radio industry. But, warns a consultant, total audience has shrunk since 1990 and proliferation of ads (1980's average: 10-12 per hour; Now: 20) could help chase away more. Chicago Tribune 12/7/99
  • MOVIE MARKUP: "Slowly, with inevitable exceptions, 1999 has emerged a landmark year for good movies. Maybe it's millennial, maybe not, but we're seeing more vitality, more inventiveness, more intellectual enterprise than at any other time since the 1970s." San Francisco Chronicle 12/6/99
  • IN OUR OWN IMAGE: The century's dominant art form? The movies of course, though sprockets and celluloid are on the fast track to extinction. Boston Globe 12/5/99
  • PRIVATIZING THE PUBLIC: Government-subsidized broadcasting is under attack everywhere - in the US, in Canada and in the UK. A commercial broadcaster tells British MPs that the BBC should be privatized. BBC 12/3/99
  • CRACKING THE TOP TEN: India's Bollywood film industry is ready for international prime time. It's become big business in England. And Hollywood's big players are now casting greedy eyes on India's hottest export. The Guardian 12/2/99