news digest


Barkley keeps talking for Turner

NEW YORK — Turner Sports said Wednesday that it has extended its deal with studio analyst Charles Barkley. Barkley, who has worked for TNT as an analyst for eight seasons, will be a part of Turner Sports' new NBA profile that not only includes its TV deal but also the recently announced NBA TV and properties that Turner will operate with the league. Financial terms of the deal weren't announced, but Barkley will appear on TNT's Thursday night games as well as appear on NBA TV and's NBA OverTime.

Done deal for News Corp., Liberty

NEW YORK — News Corp. and Liberty Media on Wednesday completed a long-awaited swap that gives Liberty control of DirecTV and amounts to a $10.1 billion stock-buyback for News Corp., the largest in its history. Liberty chairman John Malone and CEO Greg Maffei have been appointed to the satellite TV giant's board, filling two of the three seats previously held by News Corp. representatives, most likely News Corp. president and COO Peter Chernin and CFO David DeVoe. News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch also has filled the chairman post at DirecTV. Chase Carey will continue to serve as president and CEO.

Microsoft hit hard by EC's $1.4 bil fine

BRUSSELS — The European Commission on Wednesday slapped a record €899 million ($1.4 billion) fine on Microsoft for failing to comply with a 2004 ruling that ordered the firm to change its business practices. The fine comes on top of earlier penalties of €280 million, imposed in July 2006, and €497 million, levied in the commission's March 2004 decision. "Microsoft was the first company in 50 years of EU competition policy that the commission has had to fine for failure to comply with an antitrust decision," EU Competition commissioner Neelie Kroes said.

Ripe to bow 20 new Web series

NEW YORK — Online video platform Ripe Digital is set to unveil a new programming lineup at its "INFront" today in New York, with shows featuring Pauly Shore, Tyson Beckford and other celebrities. Ripe will present more than 20 new shows at the event, the majority of which will revolve around celebrities, the company said. Other shows will feature DJ Funkmaster Flex, rapper Ghostface Killah and professional skateboarder Danny Way. Ripe receives more than 30 million views a month via three broadband sites, its mobile site and through VOD partnerships.

SPE reorganizes video site Crackle

NEW YORK — Sony Pictures Entertainment on Wednesday named Jonathan Shambroom senior vp and GM of its online video site Crackle. Shambroom now lead Crackle, which was founded as Grouper in 2004 by Josh Felser and Dave Samuel. The two had been presidents of the company, which was purchased by SPE in 2006. A spokesman said Felser and Samuel's roles are being worked out and that the company has "let some people go."

AFI lands $10,000 grant

The Frank D. Lanterman Regional Center has awarded the American Film Institute a $10,000 grant to help aspiring artists produce films focused on the world of developmental disabilities. The production grant will be awarded through the AFI Conservatory Master of Fine Arts program.