Mike Darcey is to leave BSkyB to take Tom Mockridge’s role as CEO of News International as part of the restructuring of News Corp into two companies looking after publishing and media and entertainment respectively.News Corp has also confirmed that Robert Thomson, the managing editor of the Wall Street Journal, will become the CEO of the new publishing entity, to be called News Corp, while Rupert Murdoch will serve as chairman and CEO of Fox Group, the umbrella group for film and TV activities, and chairman of News Corp. Chase Carey will serve as president and chief operating officer of Fox Group, while James Murdoch will continue as deputy chief operating officer.Darcey has been chief operating officer at BSkyB since 2006. “I’m delighted that Mike Darcey has agreed to take the reins as News International’s new CEO,” said Rupert Murdoch. “Mike is a world-class executive with unprecedented strategic and commercial experience and I look forward to benefiting from his many talents. His broadcasting background will provide important leadership in the development of our already impressive suite of digital products at News International.”News Corp expects to complete the split by the middle of next year, pending approval of the board and shareholders, as well as regulatory approvals, favourable rulings from certain tax jurisdictions on the tax-free nature of the transaction to the company and its stockholders, and certain other conditions. News Corp expects to make preliminary filings with the SEC on the separation shortly.Bedi Ajay Singh, the former finance chief at MGM Studios, will become chief financial officer of News Corp. Paul Cheesbrough, News Corp’s chief technology officer and a former digital media chief at the BBC, will continue in his role for the publishing company.“This is an incredibly exciting time, for me personally, and for our companies’ ambitious futures,” said Murdoch. “The challenges we face in the publishing and media industries are great, but the opportunities are greater.”
UK subscription-free satellite TV service Freesat has launched a new low-cost Freesat HD box that includes its connected TV service freetime. The Humax-manufactured box goes on sale today at a recommended price of £99 (€118) from retailers including John Lewis, Currys PC World.Freesat’s Chief Technology Officer, Matthew Huntington, said that the new Freesat HD with freetime box was a “natural extension of our award-winning TV service.”Freesat launched freetime a year ago and the service offers a roll-back TV guide, daily TV recommendations and on-demand services including the BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD, Demand 5 and YouTube.“The affordable Humax HB-1000S brings the seamless freetime TV guide to cost-conscious consumers, opening up the opportunity for more people to benefit from this leading subscription-free satellite service,” said Graham North, commercial director of Humax.
The British Film Institute is set to make hundreds of films available online with the launch of the new BFI Player next week. The online platform, which has been optimised for the web and tablets, is due to go live nationwide in the UK on October 9 and will offer content on a free and pay-per view basis.At launch the BFI Player will include seven curated collections of content spanning cult movies, archive film footage from the early twentieth century, as well as interviews and behind the scenes action from this year’s BFI London Film Festival.This will amount to “over 1,000 items, including hundreds of feature films in the launch period,” according to the BFI. Speaking at a launch event in London, BFI chair and former BBC director general Greg Dyke said the service “will fully blossom in 2014” with a second launch phase planned for early next year.“[The BBC iPlayer] transformed broadcasting. It was a public service intervention that enriched the lives of millions by bringing them content when they wanted it. The BFI plan has the potential to do the same for film, all across the UK,” said Dyke.“When we launched our five year strategy plan ‘film forever’ last year, which laid out what we’re trying to do for the next five years, our number one priority was to put audiences at the heart of anything that we did and ensure that as many people as possible had choice and access to films across the UK.”At the player launch, the BFI also announced plans for day-and-date releases for new or reissued films through the service.Filmmaker Clio Barnard’s new movie The Selfish Giant will launch on the BFI Player simultaneously with its UK theatrical release on 25th October. The BFI restoration of the 1924 film The Epic Of Everest will also launch on the BFI Player on the same day as its premiere at the BFI London Film Festival and UK cinema release on 18th October.The seven curated collections of content that will launch on the service are: BFI London Film Festival Presents; Backed by the BFI; Gothic – The Dark Heart of Film; Edwardian Britain; Sight & Sound Selects; Cult Cinema; and Inside Film.Edward Humphrey, BFI Director of Digital said that library titles would cost viewers £2.50 to watch in SD and £3.50 in HD. Shorts will be priced at around £1, while day-and-date releases will cost £10. However, the BFI stressed that approximately 60% of the content available on the site will be free.Content will be streamed using adaptive bitrate technology. The BFI is working with Ooyala, which will provide online video playback, and Capablue, which has designed the web interface of the BFI Player.“The BFI has spent a six-figure sum on this, this year, which is coming from our core budget. DCMS [Department for Culture, Media and Sport] has very kindly granted us some capital funding which arrive in 2015/16 to support this – that’s £500,000,” said Humphrey.
Share72CONTACT: B.J. AlmondPHONE: (713) 348-6770E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org‘CAROL OF THE BELLS’ WASN’T ORIGINALLY A CHRISTMAS SONG Rice University anthropology student is studying the song’s genealogy Although “Carol of the Bells” has become a popular tune during the holidays, the original lyrics had nothing to do with Christmas. The song with a haunting four-note melody was originally a Ukranian folk song written as a “winter well-wishing song,” said Anthony Potoczniak, a Rice University anthropology graduate student who is studying the song’s history. Written in 1916 by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovich and titled “Shchedryk,” the song tells the tale of a swallow flying into a household to proclaim the plentiful year that the family will have. The song’s title is derived from the Ukrainian word “shchedryj,” which means “bountiful.” “The swallow is a herald of spring coming,” Potoczniak said, referring to its possible pre-Christian origins. The original lyrics describe the swallow calling out to the master of the home and telling him about all the wealth that he will possess — healthy livestock, money and a beautiful wife. For a Christmas concert, a choir director by the name of Oleksander Koshyts commissioned Leontovich to write a song based on Ukrainian folk melodies. Using the four notes and original folk lyrics of a well-wishing song he found in an anthology of Ukrainian folk melodies, Leontovich created a completely new work for choir – “Shchedryk.” “Very few people realize that the composition ‘Shchedryk’ was composed and performed during a time when there was intense political struggle and social upheaval in Ukraine,” Potoczniak said. The same choir director who commissioned the song formed the Ukrainian National Chorus, mandated by a fledgling Ukrainian government, in 1919 to promote Ukranian music in major cultural centers in the West. Touring across Europe and North and South America, the chorus performed over 1,000 concerts. Meanwhile, back in Ukraine, the original folk melody that Leontovich used to compose his work was one of many well-wishing tunes sung in many Ukrainian villages on Jan. 13 — New Year’s Eve on the Julian calendar — usually by adolescent girls going house to house in celebration of the new year. As the girls sang the tune predicting good fortune, they were rewarded with baked goods or other treats. The Ukrainian National Chorus did not limit its performances of “Shchedryk” to the Julian New Year, and the song became popular in other parts of the world as the choir introduced it to other nationalities, including the United States, where they first performed the song to a sold-out audience in Carnegie Hall Oct. 5, 1921. When American choir director and arranger Peter Wilhousky heard Leontovich’s choral work, it reminded him of bells; so he wrote new lyrics to convey that imagery for his choir. He copyrighted the new lyrics in 1936 and also published the song, despite the fact that the work was published almost two decades earlier in Soviet Ukraine. In the late 1930s, several choirs that Wilhousky directed began performing his Anglicized arrangement during the Christmas holiday season. Now called “Carol of the Bells,” the song has become associated with Christmas because of its new lyrics, which include references to silver bells, caroling and the line “merry, merry, merry, merry Christmas.” American recordings of the song in English began to surface in the 1940s by such notable groups as Fred Warring and his Pennsylvanians, the Roger Wagner Chorale and Phil Spitalny’s “Hour of Charm All-Girl Orchestra.” Since then the song has become a popular Christmas tune, particularly among choirs for whom the soprano-alto-tenor-bass arrangement of the song seems custom-made. The song’s opening lines, “Hark! How the bells, sweet silver bells,” coupled with the “ding, dong, ding, dong” countermelody, have been recorded in a variety of formats and styles – from standard choir arrangements to improvisational jazz to sultry soul. Last year at least 35 recordings of the song were available, Potoczniak said. Despite the song’s ubiquitous presence during the holidays in the West, “Shchedryk” remains less popular in its country of origin, where songs like it are still performed on the eve of the Julian New Year. In fact, when Potoczniak was directing a small group of amateur carolers in Ukraine, he was told that it was “out of place” for them to sing melodies like “Shchedryk” at Christmastime. He had moved there in 1992 to study ethnomusicology at the Lviv State Conservatory after earning a bachelor’s degree in music composition at Rice’s Shepherd School of Music in 1991. Potoczniak remembers that the first piece he had to learn for his choral conducting course at the conservatory was Leontovich’s original “Shchedryk.” At the time, he was unfamiliar with the song’s origin; however, he immediately recognized the melody as “Carol of the Bells.” Potoczniak recalls how he and singers were caroling door-to-door with a “Shchedryk”-like melody he collected in a Western Ukrainian village. “One family told us it was too early to sing that song,” he said. Because of his Ukrainian heritage, Potoczniak was motivated to investigate how a simple folk song performed in a remote Ukrainian village became a “super holiday hit” in the United States, and he incorporated tracing the song’s genealogy into his current graduate studies at Rice University. # # # FacebookTwitterPrintEmailAddThis