news digest


Showplace, AccessIT in d-cinema pact

Access Integrated Technologies has announced a digital-cinema deployment and preshow programming deal with Showplace Cinemas. Showplace intends to convert 39 megaplex screens in three locations to digital cinema using AccessIT's Theatre Command Center software and preshow programming and Christie DLP Cinema projectors. The completion of the contract would bring AccessIT's Christie/AIX program to a total of 3,486 screens committed of the 4,000 in the plan. AccessIT has completed the rollout of about 2,700 screens.

Terra Firma gains ground in EMI bid

LONDON — More than a quarter of music giant EMI's shareholders have accepted Terra Firma's takeover offer, the European private equity firm has confirmed. As of Thursday, Terra Firma's proposal had garnered 26.19% acceptance among EMI's total shareholders, the company reported in a statement to the London Stock Exchange. Although short of the 90% required for acceptance, the update represents a vast improvement for Terra Firma, which on July 12 had collected just 3.82% shareholder approval.

Regulator paves way for sale of Sanctuary

LONDON — The U.K.'s Office of Fair Trading has cleared Universal Music Group's acquisition of the financially troubled Sanctuary Group. The clearance comes after Centenary Music Holdings, UMG's bid vehicle, made a June 15 cash bid for 20 pence ($0.41) a share. This values Sanctuary at £44.5 million ($91.2 million). Sanctuary's share on the London Stock Exchange jumped slightly on Friday to 19.75 pence ($0.40) after the news. Sanctuary's portfolio of assets comprises recorded music, merchandising and artist services.

Imax grows Q1 loss, alters accounting

TORONTO — After restating faulty financial results for fiscal 2002-05, giant-screen exhibitor Imax Corp. posted a widening first-quarter loss for 2007. Toronto-based Imax said Friday that it plans to take the input of securities authorities and change the way it recognizes revenue from theater system installations. Imax saw its loss for the quarter ending March 31 grow to $4.9 million, against a loss of $3.7 million in 2006, on revenue of $27.2 million, compared with $23.3 million a year ago. As part of its restatements, Imax said that the way it previously recognized installations led it to overstate earnings for fiscal 2002-2005 by $10.4 million, which now will be pushed to fiscal 2006 and 2007.

Mojo falls for 'Test Drive,' chef series

High-definition network Mojo is expected to announce its fall lineup today, including the renewals of such series as "After Hours With Daniel," "Dr. Danger With Dr. Bob Arnot" and "London Live" for October. The male-targeted network said those programs will be joined by the car-themed "Test Drive," tech-centric series "Technology Jones" and a new project with chef Ralph Pagano that's not yet titled.

Viewers will know score with CBS alert

CBS announced what it called a new "viewer-centric" marketing initiative to keep audiences informed if their favorite television show is delayed because of sports or news broadcasts that run over. CBS Eye-lert, which launches in the fall, will enable viewers to be notified via

e-mail and text message if the start time of a program is delayed.