news digest


Discovery's digital quest lands HSW

NEW YORK — Discovery Communications said Monday that it has acquired the reference site Published reports said Discovery paid $250 million for the Convex Group-owned site, which averages 3.8 million unique visitors per month, according to ComScore. The sale is expected to close in the fourth quarter. With the acquisition, Discovery clips will be integrated into HSW and amount to a "video Wikipedia," said Jeff Arnold, the site's CEO. Discovery also plans to start a "How Stuff Works" program airing daily on Discovery beginning in the summer.

Dis, TW among Tech Emmy honorees's Xtreme Digital, an interactive service that combines social networking, chat and video, was nominated for two Technology & Engineering Emmys, announced Monday. The service is up for advances in creation of nontraditional programs or platforms and for best "on demand" technology over broadband networks for active "lean forward" viewing. Nominations were handed out in 11 categories. Meanwhile, winners in six categories were announced Monday, among them Time Warner's CNN and Time Warner Cable. The 59th annual Technology & Engineering Emmys will be handed out Jan. 7 during CES in Las Vegas.

Sony ups Ladestro

Sal Ladestro has been promoted from senior vp to executive vp marketing, acquisitions and local productions at Sony Pictures Releasing International. Ladestro, who has been serving in the new position since February, will continue to develop, implement and supervise the international marketing campaigns of films from all SPE divisions.

And now for an important TV ad blitz …

WASHINGTON — Broadcasters are planning a large TV ad campaign designed to inform people that their analog TV sets will quit working in 2009 when programming will begin airing only in the digital format. Valued at nearly $700 million, the effort was announced amid congressional concerns that too little is being done to let the public know that the TV system Americans have known since the mid-20th century will change on Feb. 17, 2009. The effort will include regular PSAs, crawls and news tickers.

Nine, Foxtel to bring home Olympic gold

SYDNEY — Australia's Nine Network and pay net Foxtel have partnered to wrest away Olympic broadcast rights from incumbent the Seven Network in a major multiplatform deal. The Nine-Foxtel bid includes live rights for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and the 2012 Summer Games in London for free-to-air TV, high-definition channel programming and pay TV as well as Internet and mobile rights.

HRTS taps pair of officers

The Hollywood Radio & Television Society has named Kevin Beggs vp and Sarah Timberman secretary of the organization. Beggs, who is president of television programming and production at Lionsgate, has been a board member for two years. Timberman, who is a partner in 25 C Prods., has served on the board since 2001.