news digest


5 mil 'Pirates' DVDs on Day 1

The DVD industry received a healthy shot in the arm this week with reports that Buena Vista's Johnny Depp starrer "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" sold nearly 5 million DVDs its first day in stores. The first film in the franchise, "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," was released on video in December 2003 and sold 11 million units in its first week, 90% of them DVD. It has sold 18 million units to date; industry sources said the Walt Disney Co. shipped 20 million DVDs of the sequel. Its late-in-the- season release prompted retailers to aggressively court impulse buyers with midnight sales, free gifts with purchase and exclusive content.

DirecTV finds new angles for NASCAR deal

NEW YORK — NASCAR and DirecTV will pair up next season to bring racing fans closer to the action than ever before. Early next year, the two will roll out NASCAR Hotpass, an NFL Sunday Ticket-like package that will give subscribers five channels for each of the 38 Nextel Cup series races, each dedicated to a different driver in the race, with a choice of four camera angles per car, audio between the driver and crew and other data. Viewers will get a broadcast crew — including announcers — for each driver. NASCAR Hotpass begins Feb. 18 with the season-opening Daytona 500.

Brown backs Jan. 1 start for U.K. film credits

LONDON — Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown said Wednesday that the government plans to beef-up anti-piracy laws and officially gave his endorsement of a Jan. 1 start date for the U.K. government's new film tax credit system. Brown, delivering his prebudget report to a packed Parliament, said the government will "tighten the penalties for copying and piracy while giving individuals new rights for personal use." He said the move is part of a government-backed drive to bolster protection for such intellectual property as movies, television and books.

Korean bill seeks to unify reg agencies

SEOUL, South Korea — The South Korean government announced Wednesday an early draft of legislation that will integrate the broadcasting and telecommunications regulatory bodies, a move that comes despite strong resistance from existing government bureaucracies. Under the legislation, the government would create a Broadcasting and Telecommunications Committee that would take over all current regulatory bodies and assume responsibility for issuing licenses; establishing, coordinating and enforcing policy; resolving conflicts across platforms; making and managing programming funds; and creating content and advertising regulations.

Meteor brands library content via Pliq Mobile

Branded entertainment company Meteor Worldwide is launching a mobile content delivery service that will distribute original and repurposed content as brand-integrated entertainment. Dubbed Pliq Mobile, the service is set to launch early next year with its first partnership, with production and distribution company Reveille Llc. The service's "Pliq Flicks," as they've been dubbed, will include content drawn from deep libraries including those of Universal and DreamWorks.

Perlman set as head of IMG Media N.A.

Sports, entertainment and media company IMG has named Douglas Perlman president of IMG Media, North America. In his new role, he will oversee all aspects of IMG Media's North American business, including traditional- and digital-media production, distribution and consulting. Perlman, whose appointment is effective Jan. 1, most recently was executive vp media for the NHL. He replaces Robert Dalton, who has been named to the new position of chief creative officer at IMG Media Worldwide.