Банкеръ Weekly

Briefs

BNT AND BTV CROSS SWORDS IN CANNES

WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE TO BE VIEWED THROUGH MOBILE PHONES SOONBulgarian televisions crossed swords with each other at a film market organised in France. At the annual commercial exhibitions of feature films and TV programs, MiPTV and MILIA, which ended in Cannes last weekend, the Bulgarian National Television (BNT) and bTV ordered one and the same package of films owned by the US 20th Century Fox company. As well as the bTV representatives, we gave an offer to acquire the 20th Century Fox 1999 films, Alexander Donev, Deputy Program Manager of the national television responsible for the film and program selection on Channel 1, said. The results from the negotiations will be known in June or July and the films will be on air in the autumn and next year.It's curious that 20th Century Fox is among the companies controlled by the Australian billionaire with an American passport Rupert Murdoch who is considered the owner of the Bulgarian bTV. Nevertheless, it's BNT's Channel 1 that has been broadcasting 20th Century Fox films in the past years. I expect that this tendency will continue and that we will broadcast the titles currently being negotiated in the autumn, Alexander Donev commented. It's true that 20th Century Fox is owned by Murdoch and that this fact somehow links it to bTV. At the same time, however, it is an independent company and its aim is to achieve good financial results.Our strategy on such markets is not to allow the prices go beyond a reasonable level, explained Evelina Kirilova, bTV Program Coordinator. We tried to do so this year, too. Of course, we also depend on the behaviour of our competitors. Anyway, we are not going to allow another situatuon like the case with the European Soccer Cup in Portugal for which BNT raised the price too much in order to gain the broadcasting rights. bTV always takes the market reality into account.The Cannes exhibition over, it can be seen that next season Bulgarian televisions will remain faithful to their previous program policies. BNT has prolonged its agreement with RAI, Italy's state TV giant, from which it has been buying series like the popular Incantesimo for several years. BNT's Channel 1 will keep broadcasting ER, too. The licence for broadcasting BBC documental series has been extended as well. The first among them will be called The World War II Gladiators and will be dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the victory over fascism. bTV will go on showing TV series in the same season in which they are popular on the US market, Evelina Kirilova told the BANKER weekly. Currently, the program of the private channel includes a few series that are simultaneously shown in Bulgaria and the USA, such as Miss Match, for example. bTV is not going to search for another popular transmission for its program this year, Mrs. Kirilova added. The television will instead develop the titles that are already familiar to the audience. In this aspect, we rely on the local producers, too, she explained.For a few years, there has been a crisis for new TV formats in a world scale. The Cannes exhibition was just another evidence for that, commented Niko Tuparev, manager of an independent producing company. The trend is to rediscover things that have been done in the past. The other popular approach is to make shows with a single plot - like Donald Trump's The Aprentice, on NBC, in which he looks for well-paid employees for his company. This broadcast is a great hit in the USA but its adaptation to the Bulgarian reality is practically impossible. First of all, people here have different problems, and second, there is no Bulgarian television ready to finance the creation of sets that can only be used once or twice. I think there will be nothing really new in the Bulgarian TV air in the next year.The first soap opera to be viewed through a mobile phone was shown at the Cannes exhibition. It is called the Franklin Hotel and is produced by a company again run by Rupert Murdoch. According to the world information agencies, there is great interest towards the new product, mainly on the part of the world biggest mobile operators, Vodafone and Telefonica. The show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire is developed for mobile broadcasting, too. Next year it will be offered to the consumers in Western Europe and USA.

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