news digest


ProSiebenSat.1 boosts Q1 net, loses viewers

BERLIN — In another sign that German TV is out of its slump, commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 posted strong sales and revenue growth for the first quarter. Revenue at ProSiebenSat.1 jumped 7.7% to €501.2 million ($682 million) in the first three months of the year, and net profits soared 32% to €40.6 million ($55 million) on the back of an ever-stronger ad market. Although the numbers bode well for private-equity groups Permira and KKR — which acquired ProSiebenSat.1 in a $4 billion takeover last year — ProSiebenSat.1 continues to lose market share to local competitor RTL Television. A string of flops, particularly at Berlin-based channel Sat.1, have cut into the group's audience share, which shrank in the quarter from 30.3% to 28.9% for the ProSiebenSat.1 group of channels in the key 14-49 demographic.

CBS Affiliate Relations taps senior vp

NEW YORK — CBS on Wednesday appointed Rhonda Troutman Brockmann senior vp operations and business development at CBS Affiliate Relations. Troutman Brockmann will be in charge of communications and operations at the CBS Affiliate Relations unit as well as business development. She will remain in her job as chief counsel for the unit and report to Peter Schruth, president of CBS Affiliate Relations. She had been senior vp at Affiliate Relations, having been promoted from vp business affairs and administration.

Vin Di Bona picks pair for format push

In an effort to expand its base and bulk up worldwide, Vin Di Bona Prods. has tapped Daniel Lux to oversee plans to grow the company's development across various formats. Lux, who had been focused primarily on movie development, has been named vp development and will report to Vin Di Bona. The longtime friends worked together in the late 1990s, collaborating on "Trump Unauthorized" and "Chicken Soup for the Soul." The company also upped Jeff Foster, previously manager of development since 2005, to director of development.

Murdoch son plants stake in India biz

NEW DELHI — Lachlan Murdoch has partnered with Mumbai-based media company Percept Holdings to launch Percept Talent Management. The joint venture is an equal partnership between Percept Holdings and Murdoch's company Illyria Pty Ltd. and marks Illyria's first investment here. PTM plans to represent talent in films, music, television, sports, fashion and branded entertainment. The concept of talent agencies is relatively new in the industry here, which traditionally has seen stars handled by individual managers.

Initial pact gives look to Continental

Continental Pictures has inked a second-look deal with Initial Entertainment Group. The pact comes on the heels of the launch of Continental, which is financially backed by Citi; Continental president and CEO Colin Cotter is an Initial co-founder and remains a partner there alongside "The Departed" producer Graham King. Under the deal, Continental has the opportunity to board projects not covered by Initial's first-look deal with Warner Bros. Pictures. The agreement also allows for Continental to operate using the existing sales and distribution structure at Initial, where Eric Christenson is president of sales and distribution.

New name for Heartland fest parent

The parent company of the Heartland Film Festival has changed its name to Heartland Truly Moving Pictures. The move, announced by president and CEO Jeffrey Sparks, highlights the organization's Heartland Truly Moving Picture Award as well as its commitment to projects that "address challenging subjects yet provide meaningful story lines and resolution." The 2007 Heartland fest is set for Oct. 18-26 in Indianapolis.