news digest


Peacock Equity invests in 4Info

NEW YORK — Peacock Equity, the venture-capital arm of NBC Universal and parent company GE, is taking a significant stake in the interactive-services firm 4Info. As part of the deal, 4Info will pact with NBC for a host of messages and advertising services. 4Info will be responsible for handling voting on interactive shows on NBC and NBC Uni cable shows, a roster that includes "The Apprentice" and "America's Got Talent." 4Info sends information and advertising via SMS, opting for the messaging format over the Web-based application WAP.

Canada mulls foreign-ownership rules

TORONTO — The Canadian government has established a blue-ribbon panel to examine a possible reduction or end to foreign-ownership restrictions on domestic broadcasters. The review of Canada's competition policy moves the country one step closer to first-time foreign control of over-the-air TV channels. "The panel will focus on the impact of such restrictions and limitations on Canada's competitiveness," a 50-page paper released Tuesday by the federal government reads.

Ascheim goes from Nick to Newsweek

Nickelodeon Television GM Tom Ascheim has been named CEO of Newsweek. Ascheim, a 17-year veteran of Nickelodeon and Viacom, joined the network as its first business development executive in 1990 and worked his way up the ranks. He will report to Washington Post Co. vp and Newsweek managing director Ann McDaniel.

Camera House in Post's office

The privately owned PostStart2Finish-branded group of postproduction companies, which includes Hollywood's the Post Group and IO Film, has acquired the Camera House. The purchase price was not disclosed. The acquisition of the North Hollywood-based film and digital camera rental facility also includes Camera House's Hollywood-based sister post facility Digital Film Co., which will be merged into IO Film.

Dog days good for 'Ellen's' ratings

"The Ellen DeGeneres Show" saw a bump in its ratings thanks to publicity over the host's recent dog-adoption drama. DeGeneres, who made headlines after an adoption agency said she and her partner violated a contract by giving away their adopted dog, saw her household rating jump 5% to a 2.1 from the previous week, according to Nielsen Media Research for the week ending Oct. 21, during which DeGeneres addressed the situation on-air. That rating marks a season high for the daytime talker.

'Payne' rides with Chrysler

NEW YORK — TBS said its "House of Payne" sitcom from Tyler Perry is "carpooling" with Chrysler. A multiplatform branded-messaging campaign this fall will include custom promos featuring the 2008 Chrysler Town & Country along with the cast of the show and product integration in two of the show's mobisodes available on Starting today and running through Nov. 21, a custom-produced "Payne" tune-in featuring the cast and Chrysler product messaging will be featured during the show's time slot.