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Viacom's Italian Job

ROME - Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) has today announced its expansion in Italian TV with the acquisition of a free-to-air digital terrestrial frequency.

 

Channel LCN 49 was acquired from Scripps Networks Interactive in order to launch a local version of its Spike TV network. VIMN has also confirmed it has entered into a joint venture with De Agostini Editore for the kids’ TV channel, Super!which is also available free-to-air on digital terrestrial TV in Italy. VIMN now has a 50% stake in the channel.

“Our pay TV partnerships remain the priority for Viacom, but free-to-air distribution is helping us grow ratings and revenues in TV markets where free-to-air networks are predominant,” said David Lynn, CEO of VIMN. “Free-to-air channel launches have helped us significantly expand our reach amongst Italian TV viewers and we’re ambitious for future share growth in this valuable and important TV market.”

Raffaele Annecchino, head of VIMN Southern & Western Europe, Africa and the Middle East, added: “I’m pleased to confirm this latest step in our ongoing strategy to scale-up our business in Italy, which has the highest number of free-to-air channels of any European TV market and is the third biggest in terms of advertising revenues. These new free-to-air channels, combined with our strong distribution relationship with Sky, give us a great balance between free-to-air and pay TV in this market and allow us to reach all demographics with distinct and competitive offers.” 

Launching at the end of October, Spike Italy will target adult viewers with a mix of Viacom’s global TV hits alongside international acquisitions and local productions.

Viacom already owns and operates two free-to-air digital terrestrial TV channels in Italy – Paramount Channel and VH1. Since launching Paramount Channel in February 2016, Viacom has grown its average monthly reach in Italy by more than 19 million and is now approaching close to 30 million viewers each month.

The company has also expanded its local advertising sales operation, VIMN Pubblicita' and Brand Solutions, signing deals to represent TV channels owned by Scripps Networks Interactive, De Agostini Editore and Sony, as well as its own portfolio of 11 channels including MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and Nick Jr., which are all distributed on Italy’s leading pay platform, Sky.

 

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Venice Film Festival Winners

VENICE - The Venice International Film Festival has presented its top award to a fantasy film romance between a mute cleaning lady and her amphibious lover. Lucy Kale

 

The Golden Lion award went to “The Shape of Water” directed by Guillermo del Toro (pictured). The film received virtually unanimous pro reviews from critics and all eyes are now on its British star, Sally Hawkins.

 

Javier Bardem, Fernando Leon de Aranoa and Penelope Cruz on the "Loving Pablo" red carpet 

Charlotte Rampling continued the British success theme, winning Best Actress for “Hannah” which tells the story of her husband detained on murky grounds. Best Actor went to Palestinian Kamel El Basha for “The Insult”.

Xavier Legrand won the Silver Lion for best direction of “Custody”. Veterans Jane Fonda and Robert Redford received lifetime achievement awards.

 

Jennifer Lawrence at the screening of her film "Mother"

New prospect Charlie Plummer won the Marcello Mastroianni Award, for the year’s most promising emerging actor. And old hand, Stephen Frears the director of “The Queen” was given the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker award.

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Hard Rock Plans Davos Hotel

DAVOS - Hard Rock International is expanding its hotel portfolio to the Swiss Alps with plans to open Hard Rock Hotel Davos. Chris Page

December 2017 is the anticipated opening date which will see the transformation the 130-year-old building which houses the recently renovated Spenglers Hotel. Hard Rock Hotel Davos honours  Dr. Alexander Spengler and Willem Jan Holsboer both pioneers in medicine and rail engineering,  respectively.

The historic luxury boutique hotel will continue to celebrate its musical moorings thanks to a team of design experts tasked to evolve the venue to the local music scene and the region’s art, style and culture.
“As Hard Rock continues to grow globally, the brand targets expansion in influential cities and
resort destinations around the world, especially in Europe,” said Dale Hipsh, senior vice president of
hotels for Hard Rock International. “Famed for its pristine climate, cultural offerings and vibrant
entertainment scene, Davos is a distinguished destination that draws in tourists from all over.”

The Hard Rock Hotel Davos is situated in the heart of the town, providing easy access to
popular attractions, close to the train station and nearby boutiques and dining options. The hotel
is also walking distance from ski lifts and museums, as well as the city’s convention centre.

 “We are very pleased to welcome the Hard Rock Hotel team in Davos,” said Alessandro Lardi,
president of the board of collaborator International Hospitality Service AG. “The high calibre of the Hard Rock International brand ensures that both Spenglers Hotel and Holsboer Residences – soon to run under the Hard Rock brand – will benefit from the professional expertise and unique music solutions that Hard Rock International offers, combined with style and the region’s culture.”

Andrey Yakunin, co-founder of VIYM, financial and hospitality consult on the deal,
added, “As a hospitality investor with a long-standing track record, I believe Davos provides unique
opportunities for both hoteliers and tourists, as it has a lot to offer to its business and leisure guests in any given season. Therefore, on behalf of our investors in this hospitality asset, I trust this franchise will allow both IHS and Hard Rock International to build a successful and profitable resort, attractive to new guests, including those already loyal to the Hard Rock brand.”

Hard Rock Hotel Davos will feature 111 lavishly redesigned rooms, including 31 serviced one to three bedroom apartments. In addition to three conference rooms for dynamic meeting space, an on-site, historic chapel will also be available for booking, containing a modern sound system, natural acoustics, fully functioning organ and adaptable lighting, ideal for banquets, weddings, private concerts and events.

The restaurant will provide a high-end lobby bar and sophisticated private bar, perfect for private dining and tastings. The hotel will also feature an exclusive rooftop bar for panoramic
360-degree views of the mountains and city.

Guests can enjoy signature brand offerings including The Sound of Your Stay® music amenity program with complimentary vinyl players and records or rock out on a Fender guitar during an in-room jam session, complete with an amp and head phones. Additionally, the property will boast a wellness centre, including a Body Rock® workout facility and a Rock Spa®, complete with the music-infused Rhythm & Motion spa menu, five treatment rooms and a yoga studio.

See: www.hardrockhotels.com.

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Isle of MTV Malta 2017 - Review

Red Carpet is back from a scorching Malta where we watched the 11th Isle of MTV music party led by artists Raye, Jonas Blue, DNCE and the Chainsmokers. Sat Bal  

We weren’t the only ones feeling the sun; DJ Jonas Blue also cited the sweltering heat when quizzed about his first impression of Malta at the pre-show press call, earlier that afternoon. Later at the show the UK DJ’s set threw out a rendition of By Your Side and then stepped things up by inviting British breakthrough artist Raye onto the stage to perform a duet.

 

The limo bus complete with bartenders whisks us to the venue for the show. Cheers MTV!

Raye had made her debut earlier and unwittingly became a showstopper when a technical hitch imposed a short tea break on her set. We just scuttled off to get more drinks from the VIP bar, Raye resumed the music soon enough and the 50,000 or so music fans were unperturbed, so who cares? What’s more this office denies rumours that the hitch was built-in by MTV just so that Raye could have a longer set.

 

Raye makes her IOM debut

 

Her show rolled on with the single Shhh, followed by a rousing cover of Gotta Get Through This and her current single The Line. The tempo changed by the time Raye staged up with Jonas Blue who was then joined by Liza Owen for singalong reworkings of Back In The Day and Fast Car. Jonas Blue’s set culminated with current single Mama, accompanied by Aaron before launching crowd-pleaser Perfect Strangers, aided by fellow Brit, JP Cooper.

 

DNCE axe attack

Bright sun gave way to brighter neon as dusk fell over the Il-Fosos Square venue. Hostess Becca Dudley bounded on to present multi-platinum selling band DNCE. Led by Joe Jonas DNCE took it all filmic with a dramatic Star Wars intro fronted by stormtroopers. DNCE covered tributes to David Bowie including Let’s Dance  and George Michael’s classic Freedom, before performing their much-loved single Kissing Strangers. Huge DNCE-branded inflatables, confetti launches and Co2 jets pleased the ever-dancing crowd. These were tempered by on-screen warnings not to be alarmed at imminent booming sounds, in a nod to the real-world situation. Security had also been beefed up around the site keeping the fun safe.

 

No intro needed to our headliners

The visuals were amped up by headliners the Chainsmokers whose electro buzzed the crowd amid  flame machines and confetti streamers. They opened with huge hit Break Up Every Night making way for  bangers Roses and Young. The circa six-hour night of music was finally brought to a close with their single Closer.

 

 

And with the final reverberations of music hailing the balmy air it was off to the afterparty at the al fresco surrounds of UNO Village until sunrise.

 

See more at www.isleofmtv.com

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The Rolls-Royce "Me"

Rolls-Royce Torpedo
Photo: James Lipman / jameslipman.com

The malleability of automotive luxury has been unveiled on the shoreline of Lake Como in the form of the striking Rolls-Royce ‘Sweptail’ - short on background detail but long on presence.

The car represents the vision of a very wealthy Rolls-Royce customer who worked with the marque to commission his very own coachbuild. The cost of the car, like the name of the owner, is undisclosed but reportedly exceeds £10 million. And so it was, this weekend at Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este that the one-off Sweptail was presented at a press call by Rolls-Royce CEO, Torsten Müller-Ötvös. The name of the car emerges from the swept tail of vintage Rolls-Royces from the 1920s.

The most striking feature of the car is its panoramic glass roof which is unobstructed and one of the largest and most complex ever seen on a car before, with a smooth end-to-end curvature that floods the cabin with natural light.

 

 

The secretive customer approached Rolls-Royce in 2013 with a very specific request informed by his background as a connoisseur and collector of distinctive, one-off items including super-yachts and private jets. The client collaborated closely with design director Giles Taylor who helped bring the vision to life: a coachbuilt two-seater coupé featuring a large panoramic glass roof.

““Our job was to guide, edit and finely hone the lines that would ultimately give our client this most perfect of Rolls-Royces,” said Giles Taylor. “Sweptail is the automotive equivalent of Haute Couture. It is a Rolls-Royce designed and hand-tailored to fit a specific customer. This customer came to the House of Rolls-Royce with an idea, shared in the creative process where we advised him on his cloth, and then we tailored that cloth to him. You might say we cut the cloth for the suit of clothes that he will be judged by.”

 

The iconic Rolls-Royce Pantheon grille, the largest of any modern era Rolls-Royce, is milled from solid aluminium before being painstakingly polished by hand to a mirror finish. The size and scale of this regal-looking coupé is imposing; from the leading edge of the windscreen, the roofline accelerates as it fires backwards towards the rear of the motor car, overshooting the boot lid edge to emphasise its length.

The car comes with identifier and registration number, 08, two individual digits milled from ingots of aluminium and hand-polished.

 

The two-seat configuration simply adds to the image of a car that isn’t concerned with pragmatism, just bygone opulence for the hell of it or as Rolls-Royce puts it, it “exudes the romance of travel for its own sake.”

Inside, precedence goes to the exquisite materials with switchgear kept to a minimum lest it divert attention from the visual luxury of the cabin. It’s a haven of polished Macassar Ebony and open-pore Paldao, creating visual and tactile contrasts for the owner, both classical and contemporary. This contrasting dark/ light, Ebony and Paldao, is set off by light Moccasin and ‘Dark Spice’ leathers that cover the seats, armrests and dashboard top.

Even the customer’s laptop has been taken into account in the tailored design phase. Secreted in the outboard walls of the car, behind the opening of the coach doors, are two identical panniers. Each pannier deploys forward to present the owner’s bespoke made attaché case which has been carefully packaged to exactly house his personal laptop. The case has been hand-constructed and wrapped in the finest leather to match the car’s interior.

Another personalised ‘wow’ is that the entire centre console houses a one-off hand-built mechanism that, at the touch of a button, will deploy a bottle of the owner’s favourite vintage champagne – the year of his birth – and two crystal champagne flutes. As the lid of the chiller opens, the mechanical action positions the bottle to the perfect position for the owner to pick up. No spillages there, then.

Torsten Müller-Ötvös, said the car is “in the pantheon of the world’s great intercontinental tourers. We are listening carefully to our most special customers and assessing their interest in investing in similar, completely exclusive coachbuilt masterpieces. At the same time we are looking into the resources which will allow us to offer this unique service to these discerning patrons of luxury.”

Photos: James Lipman

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Cannes Film Festival Closing Round-Up

And so another year of Cannes is in the can as the parties drew to a close and the winner of the all-important Palme d'Or was announced.

While The Meyerowitz Stories by director Noah Baumbach played out well, it was satirical comedy The Square that won the big prize, awarded by jury members including Jessica Chastain and Will Smith. It was directed by Swede Ruben Östlund and tells the story around an art installation in a gallery.

 

 

Joaquin Phoenix won Best Actor for You Were Never Really Here while Diane Kruger took Best Actress for In The Fade. The actress plays a wife who seeks revenge for her husband's death in a terrorist bombing.

Sofia Coppola become only the second woman to win the best director award at Cannes for The Beguiled. 

Elsewhere, Amfar threw the closing big party of the event sponsored by Moët & Chandon. Here are pictures from party...

 

Model Bella Hadid gamely pours the champagne on stage

 

 

Guests glam it up, just look at those shoes - hers, not his!

 

Valery Kaufman, Hailey Baldwin, Carine Roitfeld, Bella Hadid, Elsa Hosk and Hana Jirickova

 

Shimmering at the gala

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Killing Of A Sacred Deer Premiere In Cannes

The film premieres and parties continue apace in sunny Cannes with the afterparty for The Killing of a Sacred Deer this week.

 

Attendees included Colin Farrel, Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban, Barry Keoghan, Raffey Cassidy, Sunny Suljic and writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos.

Nikki Beach, the linchpin pop-up venue of the Cannes Film Festival, hosted the event and here's what we saw...

 

Colin Farrell and Barry Keoghan get joyous

 

Nicole and Keith Urban

 

Sunny Suljic and Raffey Cassidy at the party

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Island Yachting

You don’t have to travel to the other side of the globe for crystal clear waters and luxurious stays. Specialist tour operator, The Discerning Collection makes that clear with the addition of luxury yachts to its portfolio. Abigail Parkin

The privately owned company features exclusive, hand-picked hotels and villas across a number of Greek islands. Its yacht announcement this month only adds to the indulgence with two yachts and a catamaran ready to cast off for those island tours.

 

 

Based in Corfu, two yachts, Jeannous a 65’ super yacht (sleeps 6), Argentous, a stunning 57’ luxury yacht (sleeps 8) and a state-of-the-art catamaran, Aurous (sleeps 10) will all be available for sole charter from May – October 2017.

They come with skipper and private chef so you can try sailing alongside your skipper or group around the  BBQ, all, of course, while enjoying the lush scenery en route. Guests can dine on board throughout the day, but can later sample one of the charming tavernas on shore in a picturesque Greek village. Head north to the Faraway Islands or south via Paxos and Anti-Paxos down to Kefalonia or east towards the mainland.

 

 

Facilities include equipment such as wakeboards, water skis, paddleboards and inflatables – perfect for the youngsters.
 
The Discerning Collection offers seven nights aboard Argentous from £1,460pp (based on 8 sharing), Jeannous from £1,580pp (based on 6 sharing) and Aurous from £1,400pp (based on 10 sharing).

Prices include flights and transfers, breakfast and lunch daily as well as tea, coffee and all soft drinks.

See: www.discerningcollection.com)

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The Weekend In Cannes

Seems like just yesterday that we flew to Cannes for the hot-ticket premiere of Arnold Schwarzenegger's then blockbuster, Terminator 3. This time around in Cannes he's an all-at-sea conservationist. Sat Bal

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jean-Michel Cousteau attended Nikki Beach for the Wonders of the Sea 3D press conference on Saturday. From Fiji to the Bahamas, Jean-Michel Cousteau, his team and his children Celine and Fabien embark on a voyage to discover the ocean as never seen before and learn more about the threats that put our ocean at risk.

 

Schwarzenegger selfie

Directed by Jean-Michel Cousteau and narrated by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Wonders of the Sea 3D is billed as a once-in-a-lifetime experience and tribute to the ocean, expected to attract and unite the general public around the need to protect the ocean.

Elsewhere, Mary J. Blige was out for the premiere of The Meyerowitz Stories, the comedy starring Ben Stiller. Mary J. Blige wore a stunning Sautoir necklace and earrings from jeweller Avakian, with kite-shaped and pink diamonds matching her colour diamond cuff bracelet.

 

 

Avakian was also the choice of model Sara Sampaio (below) who wore a striking pair of earrings from the Gatsby Collection set with white enamel, pink tourmalines and diamond.

 

 

She matched it with a bangle from the Victory Collection set in white mother of pearl and diamonds for her arrival at the premiere of 120 Battements Par Minute.

 

Cannes blast from the past - Terminator 3 Party at Pierre Cardin's Bubble Palace villa.

Click image:

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Wonderstruck Afterparty - Cannes Film Festival 2017

 

The 70th Cannes Film Festival is here and yesterday saw the cast of Wonderstruck attend the film’s afterparty at Nikki Beach, Cannes’ pop-up venue du jour.

It was a full house of talent yesterday with Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, Todd Haynes, Millicent Simmonds, Jaden Michael and producer Christine Vachon all present at the party.

For Wonderstruck director Todd Haynes it looked like Cannes déjà vu after his lauded Carol competed for the prized Palme d’Or on the Croisette in 2015. The high anticipation around Wonderstruck, which premiered in competition yesterday, is due in no small part to the sterling screen debut of 14-year old deaf actress, Millicent Simmonds.

 

Julianne Moore and Millicent Simmonds brought close

Naturally it helps that the seasoned Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams led the film but as Todd Haynes told the press when he first saw Millicent Simmonds: “I just shivered.”

The film cleverly interweaves parallel narratives of a young deaf girl (Simmonds) and a boy called Ben (Jaden Michael) in 1920s Manhattan and 1970s rural Minnesota, originally sourced from novelist Brian Selznick. In doing so the film vacillates between colour and monochrome filming and audio and silence.

 

Selfie for Michelle Williams and Todd Haynes

The trick at any film premiere afterparty is to infuse the film into the event. Thus Danielle Pelland’s Brilliant Consulting Group and the production creatives behind the afterparty time-warped Nikki Beach into the 1920s. Cue: film reels lining the walls, antique bird cages and themed memorabilia party venue, with outsized floral fusion.

Not even the Nikki Beach staff were spared, with the girls in demure floral dresses and pearls-and-gloves for women and suspenders and hats for men. They dished out Nikki Beach canapés and a “Belle Époque” champagne cocktail from Perrier Jouët. Even the chandelier was a confection of champagne corks.

 

Child stars Millicent Simmonds and Jaden Michael

 

Julianne Moore arrived at the party in a white studded dress with a fringe-feathered neckline joined by navy-clad co-star Michelle Williams. Guests at Nikki Beach have Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas and Scarlett Johansson, so the week ahead at this iconic venue is looking pretty interesting.