In today’s Global Bulletin, BT Group puts soccer rights holder BT Sport on sale; Czech Republic welcomes back international productions; film curator and archivist June Givanni wins BIFA jury award; Universal Music reveals Malaysia appointments; and MTV sets music superstars series.
U.K. telecoms operator BT Group has confirmed reports that a stake in its sports business BT Sport is for sale.
“Further to media reports, BT can confirm that early discussions are being held with a number of select strategic partners, to explore ways to generate investment, strengthen our sports business, and help take it to the next stage in its growth,” said BT Group in a statement. “The discussions are confidential and may or may not lead to an outcome.”
The news was first reported by U.K. newspaper The Telegraph who said that suitors for the business include Amazon, Disney and sports streaming operation DAZN. BT Sport has invested billions in soccer rights including the English Premiere League (EPL), the U.K.’s top domestic soccer league, and Champions League. DAZN chair Kevin Mayer recently talked up the viability of sports-only streaming platforms.
The news of a potential sale follows revelations that the EPL is discussing the possibility of skipping the next auction for domestic TV rights to the competition, and extending its current deal with Sky, BT and Amazon.
With the state of emergency in the Czech Republic ending on April 11, international productions are roaring back and will reach a level not seen since before the coronavirus pandemic, per data from the Czech Film Commission.
Among the projects that are shooting or in prep in the Czech Republic are the serial adaptation of E. M. Remarque’s novel “All Quiet on the Western Front” (Netflix) starring Daniel Brühl and directed by Edward Berger; “Operation Totems,” a Cold War-era story of love between two spies (Amazon, Gaumont); a new adaptation of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ novel “Dangerous Liaisons” (Lionsgate); apocalyptic series “Extinction” (Sky); and the Netflix feature films “Spaceman of Bohemia,” starring Adam Sandler; and “The Gray Man,” a CIA thriller with Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans. In addition, work continues on “The Wheel of Time” (Amazon, Sony) with Rosamund Pike and “Carnival Row” (Amazon, Legendary TV) with Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevigne.
“Foreign production interest was only temporarily held back last year, and we are once again seeing huge demand for filming in the Czech Republic,” said Helena Bezdek Frankova, director of the Czech Film Fund. “The audiovisual industry has an extraordinarily strong capacity to adapt and recover rapidly, so it is also the perfect tool to jumpstart employment and entrepreneurship in the post-coronavirus period.”
Pioneering film curator and archivist June Givanni is the 2020 recipient of the special jury prize at BIFA, the British Independent Film Awards. Givanni is regarded as a matchless resource for African and African diaspora cinema, founding the June Givanni Pan African Cinema Archive, based on her personal collections from years of working in the field.
“This history, this archive needs to be protected and that’s why I’m still working to make sure that happens in the longer term,” said Givanni. “As a custodian, I would like to see the archive reach its full potential. It’s a major responsibility but one that I have been privileged to accept.”
Givanni has been involved in key moments in the development of pan-African cinema across the globe. She has also published a number of books including the edited volumes “Remote Control: Dilemmas of Black Intervention in British Film and TV” and “Symbolic Narratives/African Cinema: Audiences, Theory and the Moving Image.”
Universal Music Malaysia (UMM), a division of Universal Music Group, has promoted Kim Lim to managing director, reporting into Calvin Wong, CEO, Universal Music Southeast Asia and senior VP, Asia. Based at UMM’s headquarters in Petaling Jaya, Lim will oversee UMG’s operations throughout Malaysia. Lim has held a variety of senior roles within the company, most recently serving as senior director of new business and artist management and head of marketing and sales for Malaysia.
In addition, UMM has appointed Hermond Cheng as director of A&R and marketing and head of Def Jam Malaysia; Ivan Koh as director of commercial and digital strategy; and Patrina Wong as finance and operations director. Cheng was previously GM, Sony Music Malaysia. Koh was most recently, director, digital account and business development at Warner Music Group, while Wong has significant Malaysian business and finance experience.
MTV International‘s 10-episode series “My Life on MTV” features a galaxy of stars including Sean “Diddy” Combs, Snoop Dogg, Miley Cyrus, Alicia Keys, One Direction, Backstreet Boys, Linkin Park, Green Day, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Jonas Brothers, Usher, Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Lopez, Coldplay, U2, *NSYNC, Britney Spears, and a season finale featuring Lady Gaga.
Each episode will re-tell the story of two global music superstars through a nostalgic look back in time to present day, all through the lens of the MTV cameras; from their first introduction on “MTV News,” to performances on “Total Request Live,” the VMAs and EMAs. The show will also take in their appearances on “Punk’d,” “Cribs,” and “The Ride,” “Diary,” “YO! MTV Raps,” and several specials.
“My Life on MTV” is produced for MTV by Glass Entertainment Group and executive producers are Nancy Glass and Lauren Flowers. MTV executive producers are Bruce Gillmer and Jennifer Demme.
The series premieres May 21 internationally and May 22 in the U.S.