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Mar 7, 2005

The ACCC, Optus and The Alice

Work is underway on planning the start of the $10 million dollar TV series version of the Nine Network's The Alice, after a long hiatus. Last month the ACCC fo

Work is underway on planning the start of the $10 million dollar TV series version of the Nine Network’s The Alice, after a long hiatus.

Last month the ACCC folded and agreed to allow Optus to send its Pay TV drama spend to the Nine Network, thereby allowing Nine to start moving ahead on its production of the series version of the hit local made for TV movie from last year.

Pre-planning for the 22 part series started last week, but there have already been problems with a production that has been problematic, despite last year’s success of the Telemovie which attracted 1.8 million viewers, the most for any movie on TV last year in this country.

A bit of background. If you go to this story from the Crikey archive for February, ACCC probe Optus and PBL over drama, you will get an idea of what’s been going on as Optus and Nine tried to do a funding deal on the cheap!

The proposed deal was objected to by independent TV producers who believe that it will cut the amount of money available to complete funding packages for Free To Air TV series and telemovies.

The independents asked the ACCC to look at it as potential breach of the undertakings Optus gave at the time of the great Pay TV merger back in late 2002 that prohibited Optus from giving any Pay TV production to any group associated with the shareholders in Foxtel. After a somewhat cursory examination, the Commission told the independents late in February that it was doing nothing.

The ACCC says that because of the wording of the Optus undertaking they can give the drama spend to Nine (a Foxtel shareholder within the definition of the undertaking as a subsidiary or related company of PBL).

CRIKEY: Read Dyer’s full story on the site here: http://www.crikey.com.au/articles/2005/03/007-0001-2003.html

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