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November 23, 2017

November 22nd News Report from your Los Angeles Representative

Happy Wednesday everyone,

I'm sending my report early this week, as I'll be enjoying the American Thanksgiving holiday with my family tomorrow and Friday.

The U.S. Department of Justice made a not unexpected, but still momentous, announcement this week that it has sued to block AT&T’s proposed $85-billion purchase of Time Warner Inc. — one of the largest media mergers in American history. As detailed in the L.A. Times below, the DOJ will face an uphill battle as it argues that a bulked-up AT&T would stifle competition and lead to higher prices for consumers, as AT&T has declared its intention to vigorously defend the merger.

The continuing return of big-budget production to California was heralded by the film commission this week as it announced the latest recipients of the state's production tax credits. As detailed in Variety below, Fox's “Call of the Wild” and Quentin Tarantino’s “Untitled #9” will receive a combined $35 million in tax credits.

The details of a lawsuit, pitting Atlanta-based Tickbox TV against eight entertainment companies — Universal, Columbia, Disney, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Warner Bros., Amazon and Netflix — made for a juicy feature in the Sunday edition of the LA Times last weekend. As reported below, Tickbox TV, and the glamorous power couple behind it, is accused of being one of the most prominent and fastest-growing facilitators of online piracy.

Canada's attempt to facilitate unbundling and stem cord cutting were presented as a "cautionary tale for Hollywood" in the Hollywood Reporter this week. The story below posits that "the cash cow of traditional pay TV has been too lucrative for Canadian cable giants like Rogers, Shaw and Videotron to give up" and says "the lesson for the U.S. market is that in order for cable unbundling to be successful it has to meet consumer demand".

Finally this week, a recently-released studio space study by industry consortium FilmOntario has caught the attention of Ontario screen-industry stakeholders. As detailed in Playback below, it says Toronto studios turned away an estimated $130 million in production activity over the past year, a total that could have created more than 1,000 jobs.

Warmest regards,

Kelly Graham-Scherer
Los Angeles Representative
Toronto/ Ontario Film Office

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