World Briefs

GERMANY

Andreas Wrede, 41, has resigned as programming director of German pay-TV web Premiere. Industry observers believe that Wrede is leaving his post at Premiere because the service has changed its programming strategy.

After Wrede joined the network in July 1996, Premiere began producing and co-producing high-budget TV movies. But since Premiere shareholders Bertelsmann and the Kirch Group ended their feud last summer, the web’s supply of premium movies has been secured via Kirch’s long-term output deals with the Hollywood majors.

UNITED KINGDOM

A total of 61 albums achieved European platinum status for the first time in 1997, according to new figures from the music industry org IFPI, with an additional 24 previous platinum qualifiers hitting the double or multiplatinum level in the year.

One million units is official pan-European platinum. The total 85 platinum albums for 1997 represent sales of 170 million units. European acts accounted for 65% of the 85 — up from 61% in 1996 — and almost 25% of the total were not in the English language. In 1996, only 15% were not in English.

Despite the strength of domestic fare, the biggest release was still from the Anglo-American camp, with the Spice Girls’ “Spice” doing most of its eight-times-platinum sales for Europe during 1997. Celine Dion had clocked 7 million for “Falling Into You” — a carryover from 1996 — by the end of 1997, and 4 million for her “Let’s Talk About Love,” strictly during 1997.

Of the continental Euro stars in the year, the Italian Andrea Bocelli was the most successful. His eponymous “Bocelli” surpassed the 3 million mark.

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.

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