news digest


Baumberger tapped to run Par studio unit

Randall Baumberger was named president of Paramount Pictures' studio group Thursday. He will oversee the group's day-to-day operations, which include environmental health and safety matters, legal and finance affairs, facilities and plant operations and technical services. Baumberger begins his new post Monday, reporting to Paramount COO Frederick Huntsberry.

Urie adds CEO at UMG

NEW YORK — Jim Urie has been promoted to CEO of Universal Music Group Distribution, the company's sales, marketing and distribution arm. Urie will keep his title as president of UMGD while adding CEO. Based in Universal City, he reports to UMG chairman and CEO Doug Morris and president and COO Zach Horowitz. Urie joined the company in August 1996 as executive vp and GM and was upped to president in August 1999.

CBS News writers OK WGA pact

CBS News writers have ratified their new contract with the WGA, voting 98% in favor of the agreement, which runs through April 1, 2010. The pact covers 500 newswriters, editors, news desk associates, production assistants, graphic artists, promotion writers and researchers working in national and local TV and radio in New York, Los Angeles, Washington and Chicago.

Sony's next game play: TV on UMD

The Universal Media Disc, a proprietary format for Sony's PlayStation Portable, may have failed as a movie format, but Sony is trying again to portray the PSP as a multimedia device, this time with TV shows. Sony Computer Entertainment America said Thursday that it is offering popular MTV programming in the UMD format, marking the first collaboration between SCEA and a major TV content provider. Headed for UMD are collections of "Beavis & Butt-head," "Jackass," "Wildboyz," "Viva La Bam," and "Aeon Flux."

Auction set for Axium

An auction for bankrupt payroll service company Axium International is set for Thursday, with an opening bid of $2.5 million, according to court-appointed trustee Howard Ehrenberg. He expects multiple bidders. Ehrenberg added that he has worked to get Axium's W2 form to employees. Ensemble Chimes Global, the staffing arm of Axium, was sold at auction Wednesday for nearly $8.1 million to MPS, a Florida-headquartered staffing company. Axium filed for liquidation this month under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

Nielsen watches VOD

Nielsen Co. is launching a new service tracking VOD usage culled directly from set-top boxes. Nielsen On Demand Reporting & Analytics will be integrated with additional data from other branches of Nielsen, including VideoScan. Comcast already has signed on to provide data to NORA, which will supplement Nielsen's National People Meter VOD Audience Measurement service.