Ponzi Fallout: Bâcast Probe
Indiaâs Information & Broadcasting ministry has asked every TV channel to provide details of its equity structure and stakeholders. This follows the late-April demise of the Saradha Group, which operated multiple channels and publications. After the company abruptly shuttered, it emerged that its execs were operating a Ponzi scheme, with losses to investors of up to $6 billion.
* * *
Online Auds Get Porn Toon
A day after India celebrated its cinema centenary May 3, a group of filmmakers released "Savita Bhabhi Movie," the countryâs first animated porn film. Early-bird audiences could get a yearâs access for $24.95 ($30 thereafter). The project began in March 2008 as an online comicstrip about a promiscuous housewife, which attracted millions of daily hits worldwide. Production and distribution of porn is illegal in India; possession and consumption are not.
Sports Pics Score Big
A pic about late hockey star Valery Kharlamov, "Legend" No. 17, tops the local box office, with $16.8 million after two weeks. And in a televised phone-in, President Vladimir Putin was asked about government funding for a biopic of soccer goalkeeper Lev Yashin. Putin said he would consider one made before Russia hosts the World Cup in 2018. Yashin played for the Soviet team in the â50s and â60s, and was named Keeper of the Century by soccerâs world governing body, FIFA, in 2000. His widow Valentine is wary, fearing a negative depiction of her in a fi lm: âTheyâd have me there naked, or dancing, something like that,â she told the Dozhd TV channel.
Fest Fever Spreading
Pedro Gonzalez-Rubioâs Inori docu, produced by Naomi Kawase, shared top honors with Hari Samaâs "Awakening Dust" at the second Riviera Maya Film Festival, which wrapped with Terrence Malikâs "To the Wonder." As the Mexican tourism biz and authorities wise up to the cachet of film festivals, the number of events â and Hollywood invitations â is growing: This yearâs Riviera Maya was attended by several U.S. stars.
Telco Finds Fiscal Balm
Telefonica, one of Europeâs biggest telcos, announced the $500 million sale of 40% of its Central American biz to Guatemalaâs Corporacion Multi Inversiones. That follows confirmation that Telefonica is shelving emergency plans to fl oat part of its overall Latin American biz. Since 2012, investor angst over Spain has eased, reducing Telefonicaâs borrowing costs. It aims to trim debt to â¬47 billion ($61.6 billion) in 2013, but sales may still be in the cards.
Hâwâd Lure OKâd by EU
European governments can continue using public coin to woo Hollywood productions, now that regulators have withdrawn a threat to cap the use of subsidies as bait. A complicated series of caps for non-European productions was proposed last year when the European Commission began revising public subsidy rules. The aim was to prevent European Union countries from using subsidies to compete among themselves for Hollywood projects. The bigger a movieâs production budget, the tighter the cap. These caps have disappeared from the latest draft of the policy, released for comment on April 30. Arguments that additional safeguards are needed to prevent distortions in the European market have also disappeared, leaving the policy with a much more positive attitude to foreign productions and the contribution they make to the local industry. However, the Commission says it will monitor developments in this area.