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SPORTS

Global sports streaming service DAZN and leading Spanish broadcast group Movistar Plus have acquired the audiovisual rights to the country’s top soccer division, LaLiga, from the 2022/23-2026/27 seasons at a total cost of €4.95 billion ($5.6 billion). The deal represents a slight increase – around €10 million ($11.30 million) or 1% per season – from the previous cycle. That number is a point of pride for La Liga, which says that it has managed to keep its audiovisual revenues steady at a time when many other major European leagues have peaked in valuation and are likely to decline in future rights cycles.

Under the joint deal, Movistar Plus and DAZN will each broadcast five games per matchday, with Movistar taking three full matchdays for themselves. Details about which matchdays will go exclusively to Movistar have not yet been shared, but it seems likely that the final week of the season will be one, as teams battle out to finish top of the table, to avoid relegation and to qualify for European competitions.

“The award of these LaLiga rights represents a strategic local investment for us in a key market and is all part of the global momentum that we are driving across our business, which continues at pace,” said James Rushton, co-CEO of DAZN Group. “This is further proof that we are well past the tipping point in the migration of fans from viewing sports on linear pay TV, to streaming services.”

REBATES

The Saudi Film Commission has announced a cash rebate of up to 40% of qualifying costs for feature films, docs, and animation projects filmed in Saudi Arabia. Though further details of the generous incentive are still being hammered out, it’s clear that the kingdom is keen on luring international shoots. “Our ambition is high,” said film commission CEO Abdullah Al Eyaf in a statement. “We want Saudi to become a global hub for film, creative production, and industry talent.” Hollywood productions that are currently shooting in Saudi comprise blockbuster “Desert Warrior” toplining Anthony Mackie, and Gerard Butler-starrer “Kandahar.” – Nick Vivarelli

LINEAR

Who said linear TV channels are dead? CJ ENM HK and Wilbros Entertainment are to launch a revamped version of linear Korean pop culture channel tvN in The Philippines. The channel will be available from this week on GigaPlay, a sports and entertainment app recently launched by mobile phones group Smart Communications. The company claims 70 million subscribers and has previously licensed CJ ENM’s Mnet Asia Music Awards (MAMAs) and KCON online events. The channel will include a mix of Korean dramas and variety programs and, from January, will upload a new movie each week. Among the series is Gianna Jun-starring mountain rescue drama “Jirisan” which was marketed as a tvN and iQiyi original. In recent days, it has been reported that Chinese-owned iQiyi will scale back its operations in The Philippines, following group-wide financial problems that have led to sweeping jobs. – Patrick Frater

NFT

Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment, Graphic India and Orange Comet have jointly launched the Chakraverse limited edition NFT collection in partnership with GuardianLink and BeyondLifeclub. Looking to harness the popularity of Bollywood’s superhero craze and connect it to Hollywood, the launch is inspired by one of Lee’s first international superhero co-creations, Chakra The Invincible. Orange Comet will work with NFT technology company GuardianLink to auction off a collectible series of 7,000 Chakraverse art pieces based on characters from the comics, and a series of original animation gallery pieces and NFT of Lee’s first “Chakra the Invincible” graphic novel have been created for the auction.

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Chakraverse NFT Credit: POW! Entertainment, Graphic India, Orange Comet

APPOINTMENT

Jin Woo Hwang, president and executive producer at Seoul-based international format agency Something Special, has been named as the new chairman of the Korean Format Alliance, taking over for outgoing chairman Il Joong Kim, director of SBS Global production and senior VP of SBS FormatEast. Hwang will lead the execution of the organizations mission to promote Korean format development while protecting format rights in global markets and fostering greater international cooperation on Korean formats. Founded in 2016, the organization is supported by the Korean government’s KOCCA (Korea Creative Content Agency) and counts among its members several major broadcast and production companies including KBS, MBC, SBS, EBS, CJ ENM, JTBC, Channel A, TV Chosun, MBN, Tcast, IHQ, CEN Media, diTurn, IMTV, and Something Special.

STREAMING

Avod streaming service Pluto TV has extended its content partnership with Channel 5 to bring three new channels to its service in the U.K. later this month. Additionally, existing Channel 5 programming on Pluto TV from My5 Crime and My5 GPs has been repackaged into two new channels. The five branded channels on Pluto TV consist of: 5 Cruising with Jane McDonald, 5 Destination Britain, 5 Building Britain, 5 GPs Behind Closed Doors (formerly My5GPs) and 5 Cops (formerly My5 Crime). Both Pluto TV and Channel 5 are owned by ViacomCBS, and the deal represents a strengthening of the company’s plan to improving its streaming proposals with content from its own catalogs as well as third party content.

AWARDS

The International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Weekend & Awards have revealed that Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island will host the 22nd edition of the ceremony on March 18-19, 2022, in collaboration with the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) Abu Dhabi and Miral, a leading event coordination company in the region. The awards will be hosted by Bollywood star Salman Khan and held in the Etihad Arena on the Yas Bay Waterfront. The 2022 edition will be the seventh in a row produced by Nexa and Miral with DCT AbuDhabi.

FIRST LOOK

Disney Plus Hotstar has dropped a series of characters teasers for its first-ever Hotstar Telugu special “Parampara” from celebrated Indian filmmaker Krishna Vijay L (“Akhanda”). Produced by Arka Mediaworks Production (the “Baahubali” franchise), “Parampara” is described as an action-packed series driven by familial infighting and generational bad blood which ignites emotions. The special stars established talent in its two leads Jagapathi Babu (“Akhanda”) and Sarath Kumar (“Mandela”) who work alongside young newcomers Naveen Chandra, Ishan and Aakanksha Singh.