news digest


Wright getting Vanguard nod

The Producers Guild of America will honor video game designer Will Wright with its 2007 Vanguard Award. Wright will be feted Jan. 20 at the PGA's annual awards gala at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Century City. The Vanguard Award annually recognizes outstanding achievement in new media and technology. Wright is the producer of such games as "SimCity" and "The Sims."

NFL Net balks at TWC audible

NEW YORK — The NFL Network has said thanks but no thanks to Time Warner Cable's counteroffer to carry the Texas Bowl but no other part of the football network on the MSO's basic cable tier. Last week the NFL Network offered its two big New York metro region holdouts, Cablevision and TWC, the opportunity to carry the channel for free from Christmas Eve until the afternoon of Dec. 30. That would include the channel's telecast of the Texas Bowl, which features local favorite Rutgers against Kansas State. TWC and Cablevision jumped at the chance to carry the Texas Bowl but weren't as interested in the rest of the NFL Network, particularly on the most basic cable tier.

Canadian radio dials up more local fare

TORONTO — Canada's broadcast regulator has ordered commercial radio stations to air more homegrown jazz, blues and concert music. But the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Communications Commission, releasing the results of its first commercial radio policy review in eight years, backed away Friday from a previous threat to force domestic radio stations to air fewer popular foreign tunes to make way for indigenous content. The CRTC raised the minimum level for Canadian jazz and blues airplay from 10% to 25% of the broadcast week, while the quota for Canadian concert music will double from 10% to 20%. But the CRTC kept the current minimum level for Canadian popular music at 35% rather than raising it to 40%, as previously proposed.

Bertelsmann confirms sale of BMG unit

COLOGNE, Germany — Bertelsmann AG officially confirmed the €1.63 billion ($2.1 billion) sale of its music publishing arm, BMG Music Publishing, to Vivendi's Universal Music Group. The deal must be approved by antitrust authorities at the European Commission, who have until April 27 to make their ruling. Bertelsmann will use the cash to help pay down debts accumulated from its €4.5 billion ($5.9 billion) buyback of a 25.1% stake in the company held by Groupe Bruxelles Lambert. Bertelsmann this year took out a €4.5 billion bridge loan to complete the GBL deal. Also on Friday, Bertelsmann issued two benchmark Eurobonds with a combined value of €1.5 billion ($2 billion) to help finance the buyback.

CinemaNow pacts with Showtime, A&E

Internet download service CinemaNow has signed new licensing agreements with Showtime Networks and A&E Television Networks to offer TV content through its Web site, the company is scheduled to report today. Beginning this month, customers will be able to legally download a selection of shows from both networks, including episodes from Showtime's "The L Word" and "Sleeper Cell: American Terror," for $1.99 per episode.

Crown Media gets OK in library sale to RHI

Crown Media Holdings said Friday that it has received the necessary regulatory approvals and has completed the sale of its film library to RHI Enterprises. The sale includes all rights in the U.S. to the more than 600 tele-vision movies, miniseries and series in the Crown Media library. Crown Media will have the right to continue to broadcast selected titles from the library on its Hallmark Movie Channel for up to two years.