World Briefs

AUSTRALIA

Village Roadshow has cut the size of its board by a third as it wraps a noncore asset sale program.

Deputy chairman Robert Kirby, exec director Peter Ziegler and director Terry Jackman are retiring, reducing the board to just six members. Kirby remains chairman of VR’s 47% shareholder Village Roadshow Corp., while Ziegler joins VRC’s board and Jackman remains chairman of Village’s Warner Bros. Movie World and Sea World theme parks.

Meanwhile, Scanbox Asia-Pacific is reportedly set to install Bo Norholm and Colin Barnes as joint managing directors of the Sydney-based subsidiary of the Dutch group. General manager Devesh Chetty will remain executive producer.

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Yoram Gross-EMTV, the Australian animation house half-owned by German major EMTV, has created a licensing division, YG-EM Licensing, helmed by Jo Pill.

The move ends a successful 20-year association between Yoram Gross and Oz licensing giant Gaffney Intl., which launched such animated products as “Blinky Bill” around the world. In addition to licensing Oz products, the new division will also handle rights in Australia and New Zealand for EMTV’s Junior programming catalog.

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Sabina Finnern has been tapped manager of marketing at premier government marketing and development agency the Australian Film Commission.

Her appointment comes as the agency completes a radical revamp to boost coin for development. The restructuring resulted in the pink-slipping of marketing director Diana Berman and AFC Europe rep Pressanna Vasudevan.

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Becker Entertainment has acquired a 30% stake in key video and DVD player Magna Pacific’s Rocvale Entertainment. Rocvale will handle video and DVD rental and sell-through for all films from Becker’s REP and Dendy theatrical releasing banners beginning in January. Becker has an option to acquire a further 19% of Magna over the next four years.

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Despite the difficulties faced by most of Australia’s TV production and distribution companies, Intl. Management Group’s TWI Prods. is setting up an Oz-Kiwi operation to be captained by former pro rugby player Richard Scotts.

The Sydney office of TWI, which is said to be the world’s largest independent producer and packager of sports programming, joins a global network consisting of London, New York, Hong Kong and New Delhi outposts.

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