news digest


Ontario sees drop in foreign production

TORONTO — U.S. runaway production in Ontario continued its downward slide in 2006, the Ontario Media Development Corp. said Tuesday. The provincial government agency said that total foreign production — mostly U.S. movie and TV shooting — fell to 32 projects last year, worth CAN$338.7 million ($287 million). That compares with 41 shoots worth CAN$458.8 million completed locally by foreign producers in 2005. Last year was down from a record CAN$574.4 million left by U.S. producers in Ontario in 2002, when major studios and independent producers completed 69 shoots locally in large part to stockpile product before a threatened industry shutdown in Hollywood.

Island Records lands Dupri

NEW YORK — Jermaine Dupri is the new president of urban music at Island Records, sources said Tuesday. A formal announcement is expected today. Dupri stepped down as president of urban music at Virgin Records in October. At Virgin, he was responsible for signing Dem Franchize Boyz and pacted with OutKast member Big Boi's Purple Ribbon imprint. Dupri exited Virgin after lackluster sales of girlfriend Janet Jackson's latest album, "20 Y.O.," which Dupri co-executive produced.

Viacom's Famous Music unit up for bids

NEW YORK — Viacom Inc. on Tuesday put its music-publishing unit Famous Music on the auction block, saying it has hired investment bank UBS to explore strategic alternatives for the business to maximize its value. Such alternatives typically include joint ventures or spinoffs as separately traded entities, but a sale seems likeliest in this case as analysts have repeatedly suggested that Viacom could end up divesting Famous Music as a noncore asset.

Parkinson picked for vp at 900 Films

Tony Hawk's 900 Films has hired Krista Parkinson as vp development and media sales. One of Parkinson's mandates is to take the company into the realm of film, television, online and other media. 900 Films already has a strong presence in the skateboarding and action-sports world and produces DVDs and series for the likes of ESPN and Fuel. Parkinson founded First Step Media, a company designed to help recent college graduates obtain their first jobs in Hollywood and also was an agent at WMA.

Turner adds mobility via Ericsson deal

Turner Broadcasting System International is collaborating with Ericsson to develop Internet, broadcast news and entertainment content for mobile multimedia environments. The partnership will combine the delivery of Turner news and entertainment — including CNN International, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim — with the hosting and management technology developed by Ericsson. The first of these services will launch Monday at the 3GSM World Congress trade fair in Barcelona and initiate the availability of a new mobile service to users in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Fox gets ball rolling for Stones rights

LONDON — 20th Century Fox is rolling with the Stones after snapping up rights Tuesday for the U.K., Australia and New Zealand to the Martin Scorsese documentary on the ageless band. The studio picked up the territories after sealing a deal with international sales and financier Fortissimo Films on the eve of this year's European Film Market in Berlin. The documentary began filming in October at the Beacon Theatre in New York, where the Rolling Stones performed during their A Bigger Bang tour. Scorsese is in postproduction, working with a team of editors to assemble the film, which also will feature historical and current behind-the-scenes footage and interviews.