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Fests look West

ROME — Italy's two most visible film festivals are looking West this year, with organizers of both fests announcing retrospectives of Westerns for their lineups. The Venice International Film Festival, scheduled for Aug. 29-Sept. 7, will feature a retrospective of Westerns filmed in Italy as part of its ongoing Secret Stories of Italian Films series. The Oct. 18-27 RomaCinemaFest plans to follow suit with its own retrospective of Spaghetti Westerns. The collaboration between the two fests is part of an ongoing effort to peacefully coexist after a rocky start.



'Who's' in first

LONDON — The success of the BBC's revamped "Doctor Who" franchise continued to beat expectations as almost 9 million viewers tuned in Saturday for the family drama's season debut. The 7 p.m. broadcast, which featured the debut of Freema Ageyman as the good doctor's new sidekick, earned a 40% audience share — up 200,000 viewers from David Tennant's debut in the role last April. ITV's 6 p.m. repeat of "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" failed to make a dent against "Doctor Who," pulling in 4.7 million viewers and a 24% share.



IPTV growing up

LONDON — The number of European homes equipped with IPTV is set to double to 5.6 million in 2007, with subscription revenue from the fast-growing pay TV platform accounting for more than €1 billion ($1.3 billion) by the end of the year (from €470 million in 2006), according to new research from Screen Digest. Growth will be driven mainly by France this year, which is expected to add a million extra subscribers. The U.K. is predicted to expand from 80,000 to 300,000 subscribers.
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