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  • Monday, Jan. 13, 2014
European Commissioner for Competition Joaquin Almunia gestures while speaking during a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels, Monday, Jan. 13, 2014. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
BRUSSELS (AP) -- 

The European Union's antitrust watchdog is investigating whether major U.S. film studios' practice of selling rights to European pay TV broadcasters for only one country at a time is hurting competition.

The studios typically demand clauses in their contracts with European pay TV broadcasters limiting film rights to only their home country, rather than across the EU's 28 states. The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, said Monday it is investigating the legality of such clauses.

"Such provisions might constitute an infringement of EU antitrust rules," said Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, the bloc's antitrust chief. "More and more European citizens watch films, use pay TV services broadcast by satellite and increasingly available through online streaming," he told reporters in Brussels.

The probe covers Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. studio, Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal, Viacom Inc.'s More

  • Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- 

The Bible is still hot, at least as a television property.

The WGN America network said Sunday that it has ordered a 10-part series, "Ten Commandments," with a unique twist. Over 10 nights, 10 different filmmakers will take on a single commandment with a modern interpretation of its meaning. Five filmmakers already committed for episodes are Gus Van Zant, Lee Daniels, Jim Sheridan, Wes Craven and Michael Cera. Bob Weinstein and Bruce Cohen are producers.

WGN America is available in about 75 million American homes, or about two-thirds of the country.

The network is not saying when these films will be ready to air.

  • Friday, Jan. 10, 2014
Lena Dunham on stage during the "Girls" panel discussion at the HBO portion of the 2014 Winter Television Critics Association tour at the Langham Hotel on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 in Pasadena, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell Invision/AP)
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) -- 

The nudity that's a part of HBO's "The Girls" has raised eyebrows. A question about it raised the ire of the show's producers.

At a Thursday session with the Television Critics Association to promote the comedy's new season, a reporter asked Lena Dunham, the show's creator, executive producer and star, why her character was so often naked and for no apparent reason.

"It's because it's a realistic expression of what it's like to be alive, I think, and I totally get it," Dunham replied. "If you are not into me, that's your problem, and you are going to have to kind of work that out."

Filmmaker Judd Apatow (the "Anchorman" movies, "The 40-Year-Old Virgin"), who's an executive producer of the show about 20-something friends, jumped in, asking the reporter if he had a girlfriend and suggesting she wouldn't appreciate his question.

At another point in the session, producer Jenni Konner said More

  • Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014
BRUSSELS (AP) -- 

The European Union's antitrust authority has approved the merger of Omnicom and Publicis, clearing a deal that will create the world's largest advertising firm.

The European Commission, the 28-nation bloc's competition watchdog, said Thursday the merger raises no significant antitrust concerns thanks to the presence of other large competitors and the advertising and communication market's bidding nature.

Omnicom Group Inc., based in New York, and France's Publicis Groupe SA have said they are combining in a "merger of equals" that will create the Publicis Omnicom Group, a firm worth more than $35 billion.

Omnicom owns BBDO Worldwide, DDB Worldwide Communications Group and TBWA Worldwide, among other agencies. Paris-based Publicis runs its namesake agency as well as Leo Burnett Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi and DigitasLBi.

More
  • Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- 

The chiefs of Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Inc. will meet to discuss settling a bitter two year legal battle over designs and technologies of smartphones and tablets.

A filing with the U.S. District court in San Jose showed Thursday that senior legal executives from Apple and Samsung agreed earlier this week that the CEOs will meet by or before Feb. 19.

The agreement was made in response to a court order to submit a proposal for settlement discussions before a new trial begins in March. The March trial involves more recent mobile devices than previous cases.

The same court ordered Apple and Samsung CEOs to meet in 2012 for settlement talks.

Samsung declined to comment.

Many industry watchers predict the two companies will ultimately settle their patent lawsuits outside court.

The world's top two smartphone makers have waged legal battles over mobile devices since Apple More

  • Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Amazon will have exclusive ad-free streaming rights in the U.S. to a CBS thriller this summer starring Halle Berry.

Episodes will be available for free on CBS.com and CBS' app with ads the day after they air on CBS. Members of Amazon's $79-a-year Prime service will be able to watch "Extant" ad-free four days after broadcast. Non-Prime members can buy episodes, but only through Amazon.

The deal represents Amazon.com Inc.'s latest effort to bring more exclusive content to Prime as it battles rivals Netflix Inc. and Hulu Plus. It also blocks Apple Inc.'s iTunes for sales of episodes.

The arrangement mirrors that involving "Under the Dome," a surprise hit for CBS last summer. Both shows are produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television.

Financial terms for the deal were not disclosed.

  • Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014
PLASA logo
NEW YORK -- 

PLASA, an international membership body for those who supply technologies and services to the event, entertainment and installation industries, has implemented strategic and operating plans to guide the organization through the next several years of its development. Key to the new initiative is a revised sr. management structure that will see three executive directors (CEO, CFO, COO), plus six divisional directors--of Membership, International Programs, Sales, Marketing, Events, and Media.

Matthew Griffiths and Shane McGreevy currently fill the positions of CEO and CFO, respectively. The COO post will be recruited in the first part of 2014 and will be based out of PLASA’s New York office. Lori Rubinstein will retain her executive director responsibilities in North America during this transitional period until the new COO is fully in place.

After almost 25 years of being responsible for the day-to-day More

  • Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Aereo, a Barry Diller-backed startup that provides broadcast television channels over the Internet for a monthly fee, said Tuesday that it has secured $34 million in additional funding from outside investors.

The money will help Aereo expand beyond the 10 metropolitan areas it currently serves. It will also allow Aereo to develop apps for additional devices, such as Internet-connected TVs and game consoles, while battling copyright-infringement lawsuits filed by broadcasters.

The additional funding, announced on the sidelines of the International CES gadget show in Las Vegas, comes from Aereo's lead outside investor, Diller's IAC/InterActiveCorp, as well as several existing and new investors.

Aereo's service starts at $8 a month and currently covers New York, Boston, Houston and Atlanta, among others. Subscribers get about two dozen local over-the-air stations, plus the Bloomberg TV financial More

  • Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- 

Yahoo is leaning more heavily on its recent acquisitions of technology and talent as CEO Marissa Mayer tries to attract more traffic and advertising to the Internet company's services.

Mayer unveiled the latest steps in her effort to accelerate Yahoo's lackluster revenue growth during an hour-long presentation at the International CES, an annual gadget show held in Las Vegas. She shared the spotlight with two technology whiz-kids, Nick D'Aloisio and David Karp, who joined Yahoo Inc. last year in high-profile acquisitions that cost slightly more than $1.1 billion.

Two other recently hired Yahoo employees, former CBS News anchor Katie Couric and former New York Times technology columnist David Pogue, also took turns on stage to discuss how they plan to make Yahoo's website and mobile applications more compelling. The Associated Press monitored the speeches through a webcast.

Mayer hailed Tuesday' More

  • Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014
NEW YORK (AP) -- 

Hollywood's award season, never known for civility, is roiling from a heckling incident between "12 Years a Slave" director Steve McQueen and film critic Armond White.

At the New York Film Critics Circle Awards on Monday night, White allegedly jeered McQueen as "an embarrassing doorman and garbage man" while he was presented the best director award by Harry Belafonte. McQueen dismissed the outburst, apparently not bothered by it.

In an email Tuesday to "12 Years a Slave" distributor Fox Searchlight, NYFCC chairman Joshua Rothkopf apologized to Fox Searchlight and McQueen for "the crass bit of heckling." In the letter, first posted online by Deadline Hollywood, Rothkopf said he was "mortified" that it came from one of the group's own members and pledged "disciplinary action."

White, an editor for CityArts, is known for his contrarian film reviews. He panned "12 Years a Slave" as "torture porn More

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