the world digest
LONDON — Michael Grade has appointed former BBC head of strategy Carolyn Fairbairn as ITV's director of group development and strategy. The move marks Grade's first appointment since taking over as executive chairman of ITV. Fairbairn, currently a partner at McKinsey & Co., will join ITV on March 5 and report to chief operating officer John Cresswell. A senior figure at the BBC for eight years, Fairbairn, is expected to review ITV's on-line strategy as well as the positioning of its digital channels.
BRUSSELS — Italian broadcaster Mediaset said Thursday it will appeal a European Commission order that it reimburse the Italian government millions of euros in state subsidies for digital TV decoders. The broadcaster argues that the subsidies for the transition from analog to digital broadcasting were aimed at consumers. "They had no beneficial impact for the business of the companies," Mediaset said in a statement. The EC ruled that the subsidies broke EU rules by excluding satellite technology and ordered the broadcasters, including Mediaset and RAI, to repay more than €200 million ($259.3 million) in aid.
COLOGNE, Germany — Fredi M. Murer's "Vitus," the story of a young music prodigy who leads a double life as a high-stakes Internet day trader, won best film at the Swiss Film Awards, organizers said Thursday. "Vitus" was Switzerland's official entry for the foreign-language Oscar but failed to gain a nomination. Jean-Luc Bideau won the best actor prize for "Mon frere se marie," while Heidi Specogna took the documentary nod for "The Short Life of Jose Antonio Gutierrez," the story of the first U.S. soldier to lose his life in the Iraq war.