news digest


Another Oscar party canceled

You can add another party to the list of canceled Oscar-night bashes. The late-night after-afterparty hosted by Endeavor's Patrick Whitesell, the Firm's Rick Yorn, producer Mike De Luca and SBE's Brent Bolthouse is joining the Vanity Fair bash and Ed Limato's annual pre-Oscar party on the sidelines this year. Held at a private residence, the quartet's throwdown is a press-free affair but has generally pulled in A-list talent — Martin Scorsese was on hand last year with his best picture Oscar in tow. No reason was given for the cancellation.

Blog buzz builds album business

Blog posts can triple future album sales, according to a new study from researchers at New York University. NYU Stern professor Vasant Dhar and former student Elaine Chang sampled 108 albums released from January 2007-March 2007 to determine the impact of blog chatter on record sales. Using sales rankings, albums were tracked four weeks before and four weeks after release. Researchers found that when an album got mention in more than 40 legitimate blog posts, sales were three times the average. If those albums were associated with major labels, sales jumped five times the average. Albums that got more than 250 blog mentions saw sales increases of six times the average.

Star power, docus added to SXSW

NEW YORK — Billy Bob Thornton, Dwight Yoakam, Jeffrey Tambor and two new documentaries are among the additions to the South by Southwest Film Conference & Festival's upcoming lineup. Eva Norvind's "Born Without" and Everardo Gonzalez's "The Old Thieves" have been added to the new international Global Doc Days section. In addition to "A Conversation With Billy Bob Thornton & Dwight Yoakam" and "An Actor's Workshop With Jeffrey Tambor," other new panels include "Drugs, Politics, and Race: A 'Harold & Kumar' Panel" (along with a screening of the sequel "Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay"), "What the Writers Strike Taught Us" and "Coming Soon: The Making of a Trailer." The Austin fest runs from March 8-11.

Internet a risky affair for EU kids

BRUSSELS — Forty percent of European children who have been on the Internet have seen porn there, according to figures released Tuesday to promote Safer Internet Day. The figures, released by EU Kids Online and produced by the London School of Economics, show that children in Poland were most likely to have encountered pornography (71%), followed by those in the U.K. (51%).

Banff fest to fete Plowman for BBC work

TORONTO — Departing BBC comedy chief Jon Plowman will receive a lifetime achievement award at the upcoming Banff World Television Festival, organizers said Tuesday. Plowman will receive his tribute June 9. The Banff World Television Festival, an annual TV conference and market in the Canadian Rockies, is set to run June 8-11.

NBC Uni's iVillage trims 13 positions

Following an organizational streamlining, 13 positions have been eliminated at NBC Universal-owned iVillage, representing 4% of the company's 300-person work force, an iVillage spokesperson confirmed Tuesday. Sources said the move is intended to reduce duplication among positions and streamline operations at iVillage, which insiders said was operating as 15 disparate businesses when NBC Universal acquired it in 2006 but has since seen 18 months of year-over-year growth.