news digest


'06 revenue, royalties up at ASCAP

NEW YORK — ASCAP reported record revenue of $785 million in 2006, when it made $680 million in royalty payments to members and had an all-time low operating expense ratio of 12%, the performing rights organization said Tuesday. Revenue exceeded 2005 by $37 million, a 5% increase. Total royalty distributions increased by $34 million from the previous year; U.S. distributions totaled more than $486 million, and international distributions reached $211.7 million. ASCAP also signed up 40,000 members during the year. Contributing to the revenue growth was ASCAP's recently negotiated licenses with terrestrial and satellite radio and a new license agreement with ABC.

Pair tapped to run new Pathe ops

LONDON — French-owned Pathe, which operates production and distribution on both sides of the channel, is shaking up its management structure and upping Pathe U.K. managing director Francois Ivernel to oversee the marriage of its British and French film distribution and production arms. Ivernel will run the revamped and enlarged operation in tandem with Marc Lacan, the previous head of Pathe Distribution in France. Ivernel will be tasked with overseeing all things celluloid, while Lacan will oversee general management for the company. Cameron McCracken will step into Ivernel's shoes as Pathe U.K. managing director.

'Lost Tomb' discovers viewers

The national media attention given to Discovery Channel's "The Lost Tomb of Jesus" in the days leading up to its premiere paid off Sunday when an average of 4.1 million total viewers tuned in from 9-11 p.m. to watch the documentary. "Lost Tomb," from executive producer James Cameron and director Simcha Jacobovici, had been garnering attention because of its findings regarding new scientific evidence supporting the possible discovery of Jesus' family tomb.

ProSiebenSat.1 sale to equity funds done

COLOGNE, Germany — Private-equity funds Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Permira closed their $4 billion deal Tuesday to buy a majority stake in leading German commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 from Haim Saban's German Media Partners. The deal, signed in December between German Media Partners and KKR/Permira holding company Lavena Holding 4, will give the equity firms 88% of ProSieben's voting common stock, about 13% of its nonvoting preferred stock and a 50.5% overall stake.

Picture This! gets ready for 'Summer'

NEW YORK — Indie distributor Picture This! Entertainment has acquired North American rights to the Taiwanese gay-themed drama "Eternal Summer" from Three Dots Entertainment. "Summer" is director Leste Chen's sophomore feature after his 2005 horror film "The Heirloom." It won the best new performer prize for Bryant Chang at Taipei's 2006 Golden Horse Awards. The distributor said it will screen at North American festivals before a theatrical release this year.

Users get shot at 'Galactica' short via Web

Sci Fi Channel has launched a videomaker tool kit through its Web site that allows fans of "Battlestar Galactica" to create their own shortform content based on the show. The new video tool, at, will provide users with visual and audio effects and cuts from the show's soundtrack to create a four-minute short for the site. "Galactica" executive producer David Eick will select his favorite to air during a future broadcast episode.