World Briefs

CANADA

CTV network announced Friday the appointment of Louise Clark as head of independent production for Western Canada.

Clark has more than 15 years experience as a film and TV producer working for such companies as Cadence Entertainment, TVOntario, Rhombus Media and Atlantis Films. She replaces Wayne Sterloff, who has completed his one-year contract with Vancouver TV.

Canada’s largest cable company, Rogers Communications Inc., has fired Jos Wintermans, the head of its cable TV division, less than a year after hiring him.

Rogers has lagged below the industry average in the number of sign-ups to both its new tier of specialty channels and its high-speed Internet service, and its board decided that Wintermans lacked the cable TV experience to gain the numbers it’s aiming for.

Ted Rogers, president and controlling shareholder of the company, will step into the position until a replacement is found.

JAPAN

Japanese video game maker Sega Enterprises and Microsoft will team up to launch a new home video game console that will carry the software maker’s Windows CE operating system.

The 128 bit video game console called Dreamcast will hit Japanese stores on Nov. 20, then go overseas next year, Sega said. The company did not disclose the expected retail price or sales targets for the new game console.

Sega has been fighting a losing battle in the Japanese video game market with its 32 bit player, taking a beating at the hands of Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s 64 bit player. Sales of its Sega Saturn have also been falling in overseas.

AUSTRALIA

Oz’s highest-rated TV drama series, “Blue Heelers,” has been sold to the U.S., where it will air each afternoon on satellite and cable channel Trio, launching in September.

Trio VP Kristine Layfield, who bought 40 episodes of the rural cop show, says it fits with the channel’s mandate to provide quality English-language dramas and will be counterprogrammed against the U.S. soaps.

Produced by Southern Star and aired on Australia’s Seven network, “Blue Heelers” has been sold to 85 countries.

AUSTRIA

Sony Corp. has started production of recordable minidiscs at a plant in Austria. The Sony DADC Austria facility was built at a cost of about $14.7 million. Sony is expecting a sharp rise in demand for discs and players in Europe. The plant will enter full scale production later in the year.

RUSSIA

Rustam Ibragimbekov, head of the international Filmmakers’ Union, has announced formation of a new Eurasian Film Academy, bringing together filmmakers of the CIS and Baltic states.

The Academy will stage an annual international fest, titled “Eurasia.” First fest is scheduled for October in Alma Ata, capital of Central Asian Kazakhstan.

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