news digest


EU toughens piracy stance against China

BRUSSELS — China could face a trade war with the European Union if it fails to deal with rampant piracy and counterfeiting, a top EU official warned Tuesday. In a thinly veiled threat, EU Trade commissioner Peter Mandelson said that there will be "impatience and anger" if Beijing fails to take action. Speaking after talks in Brussels with Chinese Trade Minister Bo Xilai, Mandelson urged China to act now "rather than let it get out of hand." "The Chinese have to recognize that their easy access to our market is going to be increasingly questioned," Mandelson said. The warning came less than two weeks after commission figures revealed that seizures of counterfeit movies, music and software leapt 139% last year, with a stunning 93% of them coming from China.

HBO going high def on all channels

HBO said Tuesday that it has committed to making all 26 feeds of its HBO and Cinemax multiplex channels available in high definition. The rollout will begin this year, with anticipated completion by the end of second-quarter 2008. Meanwhile, DirecTV will start rolling the HD feeds of 11 HBO and Cinemax channels nationally in September, among the up to 100 national HD channels the satellite TV provider is planning to roll out by year's end after the launch in July of its D10 satellite.

Rogers buys 5 TV stations for $340 mil

BANFF, Alberta — Rogers Communications, Canada's largest cable company, has agreed to buy five Citytv TV stations from media group CTVglobemedia for CAN$375 million ($340 million) as part of a sale ordered by the country's TV regulator. The all-cash deal was announced late Monday, days after the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission approved CTVglobemedia's CAN$1.4 billion deal to buy rival broadcaster Chum Ltd. on the condition that it sell off the five free-to-air stations (HR 6/10). Acquiring the Citytv stations in Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary will enable Rogers to expand its stable of channels and possibly become a major buyer at the Los Angeles Screenings each May.

First Run opens 'Bible' for N. America

NEW YORK — First Run Features has picked up all North American rights to the documentary "For the Bible Tells Me So," which features interviews with Bishop Desmond Tutu, politician Dick Gephardt and his family on reconciling homosexuality with religious beliefs. First Run plans a platform theatrical release beginning in October for Daniel Karslake's first feature, which premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival. First Run vp Marc Mauceri negotiated the deal with Cinetic Media.

Promotions for three at Focus PR

NEW YORK — Focus Features is bumping three of its longtime publicists upstairs. V.J. Carbone, Harlan Gulko and Kyle Thorpe each have been named vp publicity. Omar Gonzales joins the company as a senior publicist. Former directors of national publicity Carbone and Gulko will remain in their East Coast and West Coast offices, respectively, and former director of field publicity Thorpe will remain in Universal City. Gonzales, a DreamWorks publicist for five years, will be based in New York.

Deluxe sees market for Southland buy

Deluxe Media Management has acquired the assets of Southland Display Co., whose business includes in-theater marketing installations. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Southland Display services about 2,000 cinemas across the U.S. Per the deal with Deluxe, Southland Display founder Steve Claro has been named vp in-theater marketing at Deluxe Media Management, the U.S.-based marketing fulfillment division of Deluxe Entertainment Services Group. Deluxe's Valencia, Calif., operation manages physical and digital marketing materials for studio and television network clients worldwide.