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Int’l News Briefs: Racial Diversity in U.K. Showbiz Drops, More

Approximately 2,000 people from minority backgrounds have left the industry since 2009

United Kingdom: While Blighty’s creative industries are seeing a boost in employment, the biz isn’t as ethnically diverse as it should be.

According to an employment census by U.K. industry org Creative Skillset, the tally of creative-media workers is up 2% to 192,200 in the past four years. But the number of black, Asian and minority ethnic workers in the sector has dropped from 6.7% in 2009 to 5.4%.

The overall 2% increase is roughly double the growth rate in jobs across the wider U.K. economy; however, approximately 2,000 people from minority backgrounds have left the industry since 2009, which translates to a reduction of almost 18% when considering just the sector’s minority workers, compared with job losses of 9% for minorities across the U.K.’s wider working population.

On the plus side, women now represent 36% of the total workforce in 2012 compared with 28% in 2009: The number of women working in the creative sector has increased from 53,750 in 2009 to 69,590 in 2012. This reverses the previous decline over the 2006-09 period.

“It’s hugely positive that employment levels within the creative industries have grown despite the challenging economic climate,” said Creative Skillset CEO Dinah Caine. “We welcome the increased representation of women within the workforce. However, clearly more needs to be done to encourage greater diversity in our workforce.”

Caine said the org aims to work closely with its partners, including the Creative Diversity Network, to help address the under-representation among minorities within the creative media industries.

Minority employment is highest in commercials production, independent radio, cable and satellite, and terrestrial broadcast; and lowest in special physical e ects, VFX, corporate production, and studios and equipment hiring.

The study also found that there are major variations in minority representation by occupational group. The highest proportion of minorities in the creative-industry sector are employed in legal, content development, technical development, and libraries and archives; the lowest proportion work in servicing, manufacture, transport, audio/sound/music, lighting, animation, and engineering and transmission.

The recent census repped the eighth that Skillset has compiled, with 832 respondent companies across television, film, interactive media, radio, facilities, animation, corporate production, libraries and archive, computer games and VFX.

– Diana Lodderhose

Saidel to Boost Rome Pic Mart

Italy: The Rome Film Festival is beefing up its market, with veteran sales agent Massimo Saidel joining the team, a clear sign the battered Eternal City event, headed by Marco Mueller, is alive and kicking.

Saidel’s 30-year career includes stints as topper at TF1’s international sales division and, more recently, world sales partner at Madrid-based Latido, which he founded. While at Latido, he sold foreign-language Oscar winner “The Secret in Their Eyes” (2009) globally. Saidel’s expertise should help relaunch Rome’s informal Business Street mart, which is positioned right after AFM — a tough timeslot.

The Rome Festival, which has seemingly overcome a variety of political obstacles, will run Nov. 8-17 in a tweaked format. Mueller, in his second year at the helm, has done away with his previous requirement that all entries must be world preems. Business Street and its New Cinema Network sidebar, dedicated to co-productions, will run Nov. 13-17.

– Nick Vivarelli

Pubcaster Back on Air, Barely

Greece: Greek pubcaster ERT returned to the air July 11, one month after prime minister Antonis Samaras pulled its plug in a radical cost-cutting move. But ERT viewers got to watch only old movies and documentaries, which were interspersed with news bulletins.

Meanwhile ERT’s Athens headquarters remains under the occupation of many of its 2,700 fired former employees. Parliament is debating how much funding to give the pubcaster’s leaner reincarnation, and how many of those jobs will be reinstated.

The new Greek network will be called New Hellenic Radio Internet & Television, or Nerit.

– Nick Vivarelli

Prod’n House Seeks Formats

Columbia: RTI Prods., one of Latin America’s biggest TV production houses, is hunting for material from other countries via a first-look/development deal with Miami-based Pomodoro Stories, founded last year by ex-Sony exec Brendan Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald described Pomodoro as a story broker, searching for hit scripted formats — telenovelas from Israel, soaps from Turkey, for example — to be adapted for Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic market.

Content focus will be on telenovelas, said Hugo Leon Ferrer, RTI senior veepee of development. But the deal also encompasses dramatic and comedy series, miniseries and TV movies, and Pomodoro can offer worldwide distribution via its partner, Germany’s Beta Films, plus potential co-financing and co-production on adaptations.

RTI’s move follows its seven-year production agreement with Mexico’s Televisa. The Pomodoro deal reflects a thorough restructuring at RTI, which has overhauled its management, and is offering production services on foreign shoots in Colombia. The company will move into movie production and, under new production director general Alejandro Garcia, will upgrade its TV production technology.

– John Hopewell

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