news digest


Sirius cuts Q1 loss, but Street isn't wowed

Although Sirius Satellite Radio dramatically narrowed its first-quarter loss by increasing its subscriber ranks, few on Wall Street seemed impressed Tuesday, and the stock sank 3%. Sirius added 988,000 gross subscribers, or 556,490 net subs, to end the quarter with 6.6 million, more than many analysts predicted and up from 4.1 million a year ago. The company lost $144.7 million, down from a loss of $458.5 million in the same quarter last year on revenue that surged 61% to $204 million. Bank of America analyst Jonathan Jacoby discounted Sirius' achievement and panned it for not raising its year-end subs guidance of 8 million.

Turner, SPT join Joost's TV offerings

NEW YORK — Joost, the highly anticipated Internet television service from the creators of Skype, has signed several key content partners, including Turner Broadcasting and Sony Pictures Television, the company said Tuesday. Joost also is edging closer to launch, saying that the service has begun "commercial availability," allowing beta testers to invite others to join. The new content will be available to consumers Thursday.

NBC Uni will park itself in Dubai in '10

NBC Universal has announced a licensing deal to create a Universal-branded theme park in Dubai that will be set for a grand opening in 2010. The $2 billion-plus project by Dubai developer Tatweer — dubbed Universal City Dubailand — will feature Uni-themed rides and attractions as well as 4,000 hotel rooms, 100 restaurants, retail outlets and office space as well as residential units, officials said.

'Handbook' walking along GreeneStreet

GreeneStreet Films has optioned Craig Clevenger's suspense novel "The Contortionist's Handbook" through its development finance deal with Sriram Das. The 2002 international best-seller follows a man who changes identities to cover his tracks as a master forger but becomes conflicted after falling in love with a woman who is not all she appears to be. GSF vp business and legal affairs Brian Kornreich negotiated the deal with Jeff Aghassi of the Alpern Group.

'Experiments,' 'Office' take top Webbys

The winners of the Webby Film and Video Awards were announced Tuesday, with NBC's "The Office Webisodes" and's "The Extreme Diet Coke and Mentos Experiments" taking top honors. Additionally, "Ninja" of the online comedy series "Ask a Ninja" and Jessica Lee Rose of the video diary "lonelygirl15" were named best actor and actress, respectively. The awards honor original film and video premiering on the Internet.

Ginsberg joins vp ranks at PMK/HBH

Public relations veteran Lee Ginsberg has joined PMK/HBH as vp. Before PMK/HBH, Ginsberg was vp at Block-Korenbrot Public Relations, where he worked on publicity campaigns for such films as "Capote" and "Layer Cake" and specialized in promoting foreign-language movies, including "House of Flying Daggers" and "Volver." Ginsberg will be based at PMK/HBH's Los Angeles headquarters and will report to managing director and partner Simon Halls and Joy Fehily.

Starz adding three channels to HD family

Starz Entertainment president and COO Bill Myers said Tuesday that the premium television company is launching three additional high-definition channels, bringing to four the number of HD channels it offers. The three new channels offered in HD will be East Coast feeds of Starz Comedy, Starz Edge and Starz Kids & Family; all three are expected to launch by summer's end.