week in review digest


Big year at Russia, Ukraine cinemas

MOSCOW — Boxoffice revenue in Russia, Ukraine and other former Soviet states grew 30.4% in 2006 to reach $455 million, according to industry magazine Russian Film Business Today (HR 12/27). Admissions totaled 99 million, up 8% from 2005. Ticket prices increased throughout the region by varying amounts. The 293 films in distribution throughout the region included 59 Russian-made movies that accounted for 25.7% of boxoffice sales. The number of Russian-made films was four fewer than last year, but the phenomenal success of the region's top-grossing film, fantasy sci-fi adventure "Day Watch," which took in nearly $35 million, boosted their share of the overall take. Two other Russian movies made it into the top 10: crime drama "Bumer-2" was in fourth place and war film "Svolochi" stood seventh. The No. 1 distributor in the region was 20th Century Fox CIS/Gemini with sales of $106 million.

Venice venue will be ready by 2010

The Venice Film Festival's long and highly publicized wait for an updated venue will be over in 2010, Italy's Ministry of Culture announced Wednesday (HR 12/28). "Without better facilities, the Venice Film Festival will begin to fade away," artistic director Marco Muller said during September's 63rd edition of the festival. The plan, as laid out Wednesday, will be a bit less ambitious than one laid out in September, with a four-year timetable and a price tag of €70 million ($93 million) to be paid for by national, regional and city governments as well as private sources. It is unclear whether the structure will be used while under construction. Ground will be broken on the project early next year.

Soccer bounce for German pubcasters

COLOGNE, Germany — Germany's public broadcasters scored a ratings victory over their commercial rivals in 2006 thanks to soccer's World Cup (HR 12/29). According to ratings announced Thursday by the GfK agency, pubcaster ARD was Germany's most popular channel, with an average 14.3% market share, a jump of 0.8% from 2005. ARD sister channel ZDF took the No. 2 slot with a 13.6% total market share, an increase of 0.1% from the previous year. The July 4 World Cup semifinal game between Germany and Italy drew the largest-ever audience in German history for ZDF. About 29.7 million viewers, or 84.1% of the total audience, tuned in to watch the home team go down 2-0 in the final minutes. Cologne-based RTL slipped 0.4% in the overall ratings with a 12.8% average audience share this year. Sat.1 in Berlin was down 1.1% compared with last year at 9.8%, and Munich-based Pro-Sieben slipped 0.1% to 6.6%.

Deal puts Sogecable on the Movil

MADRID — Spanish film and TV giant Sogecable has signed a deal with Vodafone Espana that will see it launch 10 channels on 3G mobile phones in Spain, Sogecable said Thursday (HR 12/29). The 10 channels, which will air music, comedy, series, sports, movies, news and documentaries, make up a new platform called Digital Plus Movil that will run 24-hours-a-day and launch immediately. The 10 channels, which include mobile versions of Sogecable's free-to-air net Cuatro and pay channel Canal Plus, can tap into premium pay product from Canal Plus and Digital Plus — Sogecable's satellite platform — including key sports shows. An initial launch offer makes the Digital Plus Movil service free until the spring. Thereafter, it will cost €6 ($7.90) for unlimited access.