Sunday, March 21, 2010

TONY ABBOTT ON Q&A – Monday 5 April live (AEST) at 9.30pm on ABC1

AusTV News: Opposition Leader Tony Abbott will join host Tony Jones for a unique Q&A on Easter Monday, 5th April, live (AEST) at 9.30pm on ABC1.

This will be Abbott’s first appearance on Q&A since rising to the leadership of the Liberal Party.

Fresh from the health care debate, he will face an audience of 200 plus voters asking him the full gamut of policy questions, in this election year.

To register to be part of the the Q&A studio audience go to Viewers can also submit video or written questions online – full details on the website.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

SBS Extends its Tour De France contract until 2017

AUSTRALIAN TV NEWS: SBS Extends its Tour De France contract until 2017

SBS today announced it had once again extended its Tour de France contract with the owners and organisers, Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), securing the event on free-to-air until 2017.

In addition to being the official EXCLUSIVELY LIVE Australian television broadcaster, SBS announced that the extended contract would also include online and mobile delivery, until 2017.

“2010 marks SBS’s 20th anniversary for its Tour de France coverage so the extension of our contract for another seven years is a significant way to celebrate this milestone,” said SBS Director of Content, Matt Campbell.

Whilst the Tour de France is the obvious “jewel in the crown” of global cycling events, SBS’s stable of cycling properties continues to expand.

Following on from the network’s successful coverage of this year’s Santos Tour Down Under, 2010 will prove to be another huge year at Cycling Central, as SBS broadcasts more of the world’s greatest cycling events including the Paris-Roubaix, Giro D’Italia and La Vuelta a EspaƱa – ensuring fans never miss a moment of the most exciting cycling action from Australia and across the globe.

SBS Managing Director, Shaun Brown, said he was elated with the deal which effectively cements SBS’s position as the Cycling Network in Australia. “We love the Tour de France and so does our all Australian audience”, he said.

ASO Directeur General, Yann Le Moenner said, “We have had a fruitful partnership with SBS for the past 20 years and there is still a lot to come. This is great news for the Tour de France and Cycling. We share the same passion for the Tour de France and will continue to collaborate together to deliver the best experience to Australian viewers.”

Four Corners, “Mexico’s Drug Wars”

ABC1 / Monday 22nd March 2010 at 8.30pm

This week on Four Corners, “Mexico’s Drug Wars”: a horrifying account of the brutal war that’s raging in the towns that dot the border between Mexico and the United States.

BBC’s This World reporter Katya Adler reports from the frontline of the conflict involving rival drug gangs and the Mexican government. In every sense it’s a major battle. On one hand the drug cartels are fighting each other in a vicious turf war for control of the multi-million dollar drug trade. Meanwhile, the Mexican Government has vowed it will stop the fighting and bring them to heal. So far no one is winning the war and the death toll keeps rising.

In Tijuana a middle aged Mexican couple are weeping. They believe their eldest son is dead, killed by a drug gang. They tell how they were sitting at home one evening when they heard a knock at the door. A gang of heavily armed men, claiming to be police, came into their house and took their son away. They quickly discovered these were not police but a drug cartel militia. Their son has never been seen again.

They are not alone in their torment. Each year thousands of Mexicans are dying as a result of their country’s drug war.

Tijuana is now effectively ruled by the country’s most powerful drug runner, Joaquin 'Chapo' Guzman. “Chapo” as he is known, began his life as a drug trafficking boss in the centre of Mexico but quickly decided he would move north and take control of the border regions. The result? A major battle as his men took on rival gangs. At one point “Chapo” was captured and put in jail. His time there was short. Last year he simply disappeared from a maximum security jail and police say he is now back running his drug empire.

The government’s response to the crisis has been to declare war on the gangs. From a distance it sounds like a good policy. But as Four Corners reports the heavily armed drug militias have responded with their own brand of force. As a result citizens have been caught up in what amounts to a civil war.

Tijuana is not the only city feeling the impact of the violence. The city of Ciudad Juarez to the east is also a battleground. There, reporter Katya Adler discovered a city under siege. Last year 2,500 people were killed in drug related assassinations. The situation in the city was so bad that a new mayor, elected on a law and order ticket, was forced to sack all the city’s senior police. Now he has been forced to train an additional 1,000 officers in the hope of stemming the corruption within his force.

The question is, can the war against the cartels succeed and will the new police officers in Juarez keep their pledge to uphold the law, or will they too be sucked down into the pit of corruption, siding with the drug traffickers?


AUSTRALIAN TV NEWS: The ASTRA Industry Excellence Awards Winners were announced today at the ASTRA 2010 Conference ‘The Future Is Now’. The awards specifically recognise excellence in the promotion of subscription television.

Entries for the Industry Excellence Awards were sought from television channels, operators, production houses, media, advertising and creative agencies that contribute to Australian subscription television.

Panels of senior subscription television executives and marketing specialists judged the entries and determined finalists and winners in all categories. Entries were scored on a set of benchmark statements and then by peer review. Benchmark components included campaign objectives, budget, target audience and use of media. The judges reviewed each entry and assessed its merits based on the strength of the campaign strategy, implementation, results and creativity.

This year there were 150 entries and 28 judges from across the subscription television industry involved.

And the winners are:

Awarded to the most creative and effective on-air program promotion for a single subscription television program, series or event.

oThe Contender Australia Launch, FOX8

Judges comment: The Contender delivered event scale and status and broadened the appeal of the concept. It fulfilled marketing objectives with a clear effective message.

Awarded to the most outstanding Australian consumer marketing campaign used to encourage customer retention and loyalty.

o FOXTEL Multiroom, FOXTEL

Judges comment: The Multiroom campaign was very clear in its message as to why subscribers should retain the service and gave a further incentive. The service meets many people’s needs. The campaign used striking imagery and has a clever sense of humour.

Awarded to the most outstanding integrated consumer marketing campaign to promote Australian subscription television channel identity, platforms, programs or customer retention/acquisition.

oI Love Food Awards 2009, LifeStyle FOOD

Judges comment: The I Love Food Awards 2009 promotion executed the elements of the different mediums exceptionally well and demonstrated creativity to cut-through.

Awarded to the most creative and effective stand-alone PR or Communications campaign to promote an Australian subscription television channel, platform, and program and/or drive subscription sales/subscriber retention.

oAustralia’s Next Top Model, FOX8

Judges comment: An outstanding use of PR to drive series 5 of Australia’s Next Top Model through use of multiple talent and story lines.

Awarded to the most outstanding Australian consumer marketing campaign used to drive
subscription sales.

Judges comment: The campaign created an event that became part of the vernacular. From creative thinking to overall result it was outstanding. The campaign built a landmark in a tough year. It was copied by other industries in terms of concept and tone.


Awarded to an organisation for the most outstanding use of the Australian subscription television
medium in a consumer advertising campaign.

oYates, The Party Garden, The LifeStyle Channel - XYZ Networks

Judges comment: This campaign nailed the brief of outstanding use of subscription television. It stitched the entire entry from outline to execution and delivered on results. Yates had all the elements to pull off something from conception to execution.

Awarded for the most creative and effective use of technology for consumer use.

oZeke & Luther Website & Skateboard Creator, Disney Channel

Judges comment: Disney continues to be a benchmark in this technology category; the technology was innovative and highly engaging for target market kids. Demonstrated strong impact.

Awarded for the most creative and effective use of interactive television for consumer use.

oAustralia’s Next Top Model Game On, FOX8

Judges comment: The FOX8 ANTM application was impressive. It demonstrates continuous innovation in an existing series and succeeded in giving a series in its 6th season a fresh look.

Awarded to an organisation for the most creative and effective channel image spot designed to
define, launch, build awareness, or change perception of the channel brand.

oNat Geo Wild, National Geographic Channel

Judges comment: There was some spectacular creativity amongst the finalists but Nat Geo Wild really stepped up to evoke passion for the channel image through music and imagery and that was the difference.

Awarded to the most creative and effective off-air program promotion for a single subscription television program, series or event.

oThe Contender Australia, FOX8

Judges comment: The off-air component of the program promotion was impressive in terms of the mix of off-air media off-air used. It created the desired buzz around the program with outstanding ratings results.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Galvanized Film Group Acquires Film Rights to Tracy Chevalier’s novel Remarkable Creatures

Heather Ogilvie (Galvanized Film Group) has acquired the option to produce a feature film based on Tracy Chevalier’s novel Remarkable Creatures and will partner with Icon Film Distribution to bring it to the big screen. Academy Award nominee Jan Sardi (Shine, Mao’s Last Dancer, The Notebook) will adapt the book, which was published by HarperCollins Publishers in 2009.

Tracy Chevalier is the author of five previous novels, including the international bestseller Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Virgin Blue, Falling Angels, The Lady and the Unicorn and Burning Bright.

‘I’m thrilled Tracy has entrusted to us the exciting task of adapting her wonderful novel for the screen,’ Heather said. ‘Icon Films have endorsed our conviction that this book will result in an outstanding movie by partnering with us to accelerate its development. Jan Sardi is a gifted, sensitive scriptwriter, and we’re confident he’ll deliver a script that more than lives up to our expectations.’

Tracy comments, ‘I think a joint Australian/UK production is ingenious. Like my very English heroines, Australians have always had a strong emotional connection to landscape, which will serve the film well. Some of the most English of subjects have been beautifully filmed by outsiders: Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility, for instance, or Jane Campion’s Bright Star. I hope Remarkable Creatures joins such impressive company.’

Galvanized Film Group is a Sydney-based production company headed by Heather Ogilvie, producer and executive producer of five features, a drama series for Warner Bros and a movie-of-the-week for the US network CBS.

Icon Film Distribution, Australia’s leading independent film distributor, count among their many successes the acquisition of some of the most acclaimed independent films of recent years, including Crash, The Queen, Slumdog Millionaire, Once, A Single Man and Precious.

About the book:
Elizabeth Philpot spends her days on the windswept beaches of the English south coast in the unladylike pursuit of collecting fossils. It is here that she meets Mary Anning, an illiterate working-class girl with ‘the eye’ for finding fossils. When Mary uncovers an unusual fossilised skeleton she sets the religious fathers on edge, the townspeople to vicious gossip, and the scientific world alight. In an arena dominated by men, Mary and Elizabeth are barred from the academic community. Their relationship strikes a delicate balance between fierce loyalty, mutual appreciation and barely suppressed envy. Ultimately, in the struggle to be recognised in the wider world, Elizabeth and Mary discover that friendship is their greatest ally.

ASTRA 2010 PIONEER AWARD - Kim Vecera Honoured with Inaugural Subscription Television Award

AUSTRALIAN TV NEWS: The ASTRA Pioneer Award was presented to one of Australia’s most highly regarded Executive Producers, Kim Vecera at the Women in Television Breakfast earlier today.

The Australian television industry has benefited from the creativity, inspiration and hard work of many – this inaugural Pioneer award acknowledges contribution through leadership, innovation and creativity and support for the development of subscription television in Australia.

“Kim Vecera is a worthy recipient of the inaugural ASTRA Pioneer Award”, said John Porter, President of the ASTRA Board of Directors and CEO of AUSTAR. “As Executive Producer, Kim has led some of the most innovative and impactful programming in the young history of the Australian subscription television industry. She is in the vanguard of creative talent in television and we are fortunate to have her continuing to contribute to our ongoing success”.

Kim began her career as Project Officer at the Australian Film Commission before being appointed Business Affairs Manager at Roadshow Coote and Carroll, one of Australia's most prestigious film and television production companies. During her ten-year tenure, the company produced over 300 hours of programming including the award-winning Brides of Christ and GP.

With the introduction of subscription television, Village Roadshow appointed Kim as Chief Executive Officer of the new 24-hour music channel enterprise, ARC music TV, which re-branded to MTV Australia in 1997.

In 1999 Kim was appointed as Consultant Production Executive at Fox Studios Australia overseeing all local film and television commissions before being promoted to Head of Production.

In 2002 Kim joined FOXTEL as Head of Production, owned and operated channels which involved supervision of local programming on key Fox branded Channels, including FOX8. Credit highlights from that period include Executive Producer of Australia's Next Top Model, Love Bytes, Dangerous, and Seasons 1 and 2 of the multi award-winning Love My Way.

With a wealth of experience and knowledge, in 2005 Kim joined SHOWTIME as Executive Producer/Consultant on original drama commissions whilst continuing as Executive Producer/Consultant on all FOXTEL original drama commissions.

For SHOWTIME Australia, Kim has executive produced Season 3 of Love My Way, Satisfaction Seasons 1, 2 and 3, and Tangle Seasons 1 and 2. In 2010, she is executive producing the 6-hour television mini-series adaptation of Tim Winton's highly acclaimed novel Cloudstreet.

In 2009 for FOXTEL, Kim executive produced the comedy series Whatever Happened To That Guy? and co-executive produced the narrative comedy :30 Seconds. She is also currently executive producing the new W Channel drama commission Spirited, starring Claudia Karvan.

The ASTRA Pioneer Award is determined by a vote of the ASTRA Board of Directors.

ASTRA CEO, Petra Buchanan said “This award recognises the tremendous talent and leadership within the subscription TV industry. We take seriously the importance of acknowledging and highlighting individuals that are doing great work to grow subscription TV in Australia.”

The Future is Now ASTRA 2010 Conference draws together Australia's subscription television industry for a timely look at the media landscape and what lies ahead. An innovative and thought provoking range of topics and speakers will focus on how enhanced technology and viewer demand is impacting the industry today.

Grandpa Elliott's Debut Album out on April 6

Playing For Change Records/Concord Music Group will make legendary New Orleans street performer and Playing for Change vocalist, “Grandpa” Elliott Small’s debut album Sugar Sweet available at traditional retail outlets nationwide on April 6. Sugar Sweet was previously only available exclusively on Living Blues Magazine recently enthused, "Sugar Sweet will not leave you disappointed."

After nearly sixty years of captivating crowds on the streets of New Orleans, Grandpa Elliott will make his debut at the 2010 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. His popularity has gone global in the last year after the Playing for Change hit viral video for Stand By Me, featuring 37 musicians from around the world, received over 30 million views on sites like YouTube and Vimeo.

After so many years persevering through incredible hardships and performing for free on the streets of New Orleans, Grandpa Elliott has become an unlikely cultural icon. He has performed as part of the Playing for Change Band twice on NBC’s The Tonight Show, The Bonnie Hunt Show and has led the band in an emotional rendition of “Stand By Me” on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report.

Sugar Sweet is produced by Playing For Change founder Mark Johnson and Reggie McBride and was recorded in New Orleans with the Playing For Change Band. Their ability to lay down sturdy, elastic grooves is evident throughout the album, adding sympathetic backing to Elliott’s soulful vocals and sinuous harmonica.

“Grandpa Elliott embodies everything the Playing For Change project is about,” Johnson says. “Soul, talent, and perseverance. He brought the rawness of the street into the studio and cut the tunes in one take, with no set list and made every song his own. There’s a line in ‘Sugar Sweet’ that says ‘I love you more than the blood that runs through my veins.’ That’s how Grandpa feels about music. You can hear it in every note he sings.”

On the title track, the guitars of Jason Tamba from the DR Congo and Zimbabwe’s Louis Mhlanga play a New Orleans style Rumba with a hint of Ska, while drummer Peter Bunetta lays down subtle percussion fills. Grandpa Elliott’s voice is fluid, with quicksilver phrasing that falls before and behind the beat, playing with rhythm and meter. “Ain’t Nothing You Can Do,” an early hit for Bobby “Blue” Bland, gets a makeover that combines the swing of Tamba and Mhlanga, with an R&B feel, Elliott’s vocal slips from a buoyant tenor to a playful, bluesy growl as he adds subtle harmonica accents. Grandpa Elliott learned “Share Your Love With Me” from an Aretha Franklin recording and the band gives it a stripped down, old school R&B reading. “Fannie Mae” was cut at a rousing live concert performance with Keb’ Mo’ sitting in on electric guitar. It includes a blazing harp solo from Grandpa Elliott and lets the band show off its considerable instrumental prowess.


Grammy-winning producer/engineer/filmmaker Mark Johnson founded Playing For Change on the simple idea that the world can find peace through music. It’s been an incredible year for the project and momentum continues to build as Johnson and the musicians of Playing For Change were named “Persons of the Week” on ABC’s World News Tonight with Charlie Gibson last month and have been profiled many times nationally including NPR’s Morning Edition, CBS News Sunday Morning and PBS’ Bill Moyers Journal just to name a few.

Playing For Change was one of 2009’s most unlikely and startling cultural phenomenons. Hear Music/Concord Music Group’s two-disc CD/DVD Playing For Change – Songs Around the World, released April 28th, stunned the music industry selling over twenty-six thousand copies in it’s first week and landing at #10 on Billboard’s Top 200 Pop chart. This remarkable and unpredicted popular response has been driven by tens of millions of video hits, countless blogs and pure viral communication between fans and followers. The project’s deep emotional resonance, combined with the muscle of the internet and word-of-mouth has struck a profoundly enduring chord world-wide.

Most recently, with the Concord Music Group, Playing For Change announced the launch of a new record label that will support releases from select artists associated with the global music and multi-media collective Playing For Change. The first artist signed to Playing For Change Records/Concord Music Group is Grandpa Elliott.

Sugar Sweet Track Listing

1. Ain’t Nothing You Can Do
2. This Little Light of Mine (Medley)
3. Sugar Is Sweet
4. Baby, What You Want Me to Do
5. We’re Gonna Make It
6. Share Your Love With Me
7. Another Saturday Night
8. Fannie Mae (Live) – featuring the Playing For Change Band
9. Please Come Home for Christmas

*Produced by Mark Johnson and Reggie McBride

Tour Info:

South Park Giveaway - Twitter Exclusive

Over at we are running an exclusive South Park Giveaway for our followers!

Monday, March 15, 2010


US DVD NEWS: Sentai Filmworks has announce that the hit series Clannad will be receiving an English dub. Originally released in a subtitled only format, Clannad is receiving the dub as part of an agreement in which several affiliated groups have come together to create English language versions for five of Sentai’s most popular titles.

In addition to the 24 episode Clannad, the four other series that have been selected for this limited program are: the science fiction drama Blue Drop (13 episodes,) the psychological thriller Ghost Hound (22 episodes,) Legends of the Dark King ~ A Fist of the North Star Story (13 episodes) and the 26 episode historical fantasy Tears to Tiara. English dub production duties for all five series will be handled by Seraphim Digital under the auspices of a team of veteran ADR directors such as Steven Foster, who will oversee the English dub for Clannad.

In appreciation of those who supported the subtitled only release of these shows, Sentai Filmworks is developing an “Upgrade” program which will allow owners of the subtitled versions to upgrade their DVD’s for the new release containing the English dub. The shows will also be available both through broadcast, streaming and retail outlets over the coming months. Further details will be announced as they are available.


Baron Valerie Amos, British High Commissioner to Australia, will join host Tony Jones on the Q&A panel next Monday 22 March, live at 9.30pm AEST.

Joining them in the discussions will be:
John Doyle, comedian and radio presenter;
Nicola Roxon, Minister for Health and Ageing;
Greg Hunt, Shadow Minister for Climate Change;
Tim Wilson, Institute of Public Affairs.

To register to be part of the the Q&A studio audience go to Viewers can also submit video or written questions online – full details on the website.