Global Village: China Gets VOD; France Grapples With Violence, More
Ayan Mukherjee’s “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani” became the country’s top 2013 opener with a $10 million bow. The $7 million drama-romance from Dharma Prods. and Disney UTV (the company’s prolific local shingle) benefi ted from the popularity of star Ranbir Kapoor, who hasn’t had a pic since 2012’s “Barfi” (Bollywood stars are more prolific). Pic also was the first big opener since the May 26 wrap of the two-month Indian Premier League cricket tournament, when producers hold back high-profile releases to avoid competing with cricket mania.
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Media Scrutinizes Rapper
Universal Music South Asia has signed rapper Yo Yo Honey Singh. His 2006 track “Glassy” was a global hit, and his videos have been seen by 210 million on YouTube. He will be under the microscope: Some have protested that his lyrics propagate violence against women, though he denied writing those lyrics (no co-writer was listed). After the Delhi rape case, scrutiny has increased over anything seen as offensive against women.
— Naman Ramachandran
Sino-Yank PPV-VOD Pact
Bob Benya of U.S.-based In Demand and Bruno Wu of China’s Seven Stars Media have sealed a deal to provide content for both countries. In Demand will offer sports, music and lifestyle content in a cable deal that’s innovative for China. The firm will license, process and deliver content to Seven Stars, which will distrib via branded blocks on cable through MSOs in China, with a target audience of 80 million households, and through Internet TV operators and Web portals to reach China’s 500 million Web users. In addition, In Demand will provide Chinese-language on-demand movies to cable systems in the U.S. via its digital and set-top VOD platforms. Chinese Americans are the largest Asian-American group in the U.S., with a population of more than 4 million.
— Variety staff
Int’l Man of Action
Steven Seagal, who usually kicks doors down in movies, seems to have opened them for U.S. lawmakers here. “Because of his black belt in karate and things, he’s gotten to know many of the leaders of Russia, including (president Vladimir) Putin, and was able to use that influence to make sure we got to talk to the very top people, so that we could try to find ways of expanding our areas of cooperation,” Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., leader of the congressional delegation, told CNN. Putin has a black belt in judo.
— Leo Barraclough
The country is backing up the recent claim of Google exec chairman Eric Schmidt that YouTube viewership is overtaking TV. In 2012, “The Late Late Toy Show” on RTE One was the most watched show, with 1.3 million viewers. In comparison, a clip of a Japanese couple making out drew 47 million Irish hits; Metallica’s “Fade to Black,” 30.7 million; Rihanna’s “Cry,” 27.4 million; and Damien Rice’s “The Blower’s Daughter,” 24.1 million. RTE said the two media could not be compared. Ratings body TAM Ireland pegs average television viewership of people above 15 at 3.49 hours every day, with homemakers averaging 4.29 hours daily.
— Naman Ramachandran
God Forgives, Socialists Don’t
Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Only God Forgives,” starring Ryan Gosling, is being used as a political football in France. The French ratings board gave the equivalent of an R rating to the violent revenge tale, but the designation was later changed to a PG-13 certification.