World Briefs

ITALY

The seven-year bond issue secured by the Cecchi Gori Group’s film library and presented by Merrill Lynch to investors in Milan and London last month was successfully completed this week, with all shares offered being fully subscribed. The deal brings a cash influx of $294 million to the Italian entertainment industry leader.

GERMANY

German television will have its own version of the Emmys starting next year. Public and private webs will sponsor a joint German Television Awards in 1999. Currently, German pubcasters put on the Telestar awards ceremony, while commercial web RTL presents the Golden Lion. Private networks SAT1 and RTL and pubcasters ARD and ZDF have agreed to found an academy to select winners.

ARGENTINA

Argentina’s congress is debating the introduction of a 21% tax on cable subscriptions as part of a general tax-hike initiative. The government, suffering from a perennial budget deficit, hopes to reap some $400 million a year from the levy.

With monthly cable fees already high at $35 in the capital and up to $40 in the provinces, the tax initiative has met with consternation from cable operators.

A majority of legislators reportedly support the tax, but lobbying from Grupo Clarin and Citicorp-backed CEI, owners of the country’s two largest MSOs, is working against the taxation.

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