World Briefs

ITALY

RAI will sell off music publisher

The administrative board of Italo pubcaster RAI officially has announced it will sell RAI music publishing division Nuova Fonit Cetra. The sale will be handled by KPMG Consulting, and is part of a larger restructuring program for the commercial side of the pubcaster’s operations.

The new owner, following the sale of the music company’s historic archive — which includes Italian recordings of Maria Callas and of actors such as Anna Magnani and Toto — remains unclear.

Also unclear is how the sale will affect long-announced plans to fold Nuova Fonit Cetra and other RAI commercial operations, including audiovisual sales arm Sacis and book division Nuova Eri, into a single unit. Nuova Fonit Cetra’s turnover in 1996 was $10 million, with losses for the year posted at just more than $2.2 million.

LATIN AMERICA

Venevision inks Brazil distrib deal

Weeks after making its first novela sale in Brazil in years, Venevision Intl. has inked a distribution deal with Brazilian consultancy UniMark/ Longo.

The export arm of leading Venezuelan broadcaster Venevision, which is owned by the Cisneros Group, the distribbery is one of the world’s top four exporters of telenovelas.

A marketing and communications consulting firm, UniMark/Longo was founded last year by Walter Longo, the former CEO of Brazil’s No. 2 pay TV player TVA.

The deal comes shortly after Venevision Intl. sold its hit soap “Maria Celeste” to third-ranked Brazilian broadcaster Bandeirantes.

HONG KONG

Star TV bows card

Star TV launched its Channel V MasterCard in Hong Kong and Taiwan this week, making it the first deal of its kind between a credit card company and an Asian broadcaster.

The card is targeted at the young audience for the 24-hour music channel.

Cardholders will receive entertainment and leisure-related rewards including discounts at Tower Records and preview screenings of new 20th Century Fox releases.

In the initial rollout, the goal is to sign up 20,000 card-holders in Hong Kong and 30,000 in Taiwan in the first year, according to Channel V manager Nicki Kenyon.

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