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BBC News – Hammersmith Apollo in London sold by HMV to Stage C

Entertainment venue Hammersmith Apollo, which has held concerts by bands from The Beatles to Queen, has been sold by its owner HMV.

HMV agreed to sell the west London art deco venue to American-German joint venture Stage C for £32m.

The 5,000-capacity venue was taken over by entertainment retailer HMV in 2010.

HMV chief Simon Fox said: “The Hammersmith Apollo is an iconic London venue and it has been a privilege to own it over the last three years.”

The venue opened in 1932 as the Gaumont Palace cinema, as part of a wider turnaround.

It has played host to many famous performances, including David Bowie’s last concert as alter-ego Ziggy Stardust in 1973.

It is also the eponymous venue in the BBC stand-up comedy series Live at the Apollo.

Stage C is jointly owned by London’s indigO2 operator Ansco Music Club, a subsidiary of US company Anschutz Entertainment, and a subsidiary of Munich-based CTS Eventim.

The sale is conditional on banking approvals, shareholder approval and Stage C securing regulatory approvals.

With 252 stores in the UK, HMV said the sale allowed it to focus on its core retail business, while the proceeds from the disposal would be used to reduce the group’s outstanding debt.

via BBC News – Hammersmith Apollo in London sold by HMV to Stage C.

Strange Random Concert Quote:

“All my concerts had no sounds in them; they were completely silent. People had to make up their own music in their minds!” – Yoko Ono (Japanese Artist and Musician wife of John Lennon, b.1933)


BBC News – Making a fortune by distributing Nigerian films online

Jason Njoku studied chemistry at university and would probably be working as a scientist had he not thought of a magic formula that he has translated into a huge success: Nigerian films plus online distribution equals big money.

It all started when he realised that his mother sometimes found it difficult to get the latest Nigerian “Nollywood” films in London and he reasoned that many other people around the world would be in the same boat.

The company that he put into motion in December 2010, Iroko Partners (formerly Nollywood Love), has become the largest distributor of Nigerian movies and music.

Currently the firm has more than 3,000 Nollywood titles in its library and, according to its website, it is Africa‘s largest content partner on YouTube and Dailymotion.

The company has 81 employees in Lagos, London and New York, and it recently raised $8m £5m, mainly from the US-based hedge fund Tiger Global.

“We’re the first guys to actually legally reach out in Lagos to the production houses, the owners of the movies and negotiate and sign deals with these guys so they can finally get remunerated for their hard efforts,” Mr Njoku told the BBC’s series African Dream.

“Primarily, Nigeria’s movie distribution has been via DVD so we’ve basically created another way for them to make money. They’re very very happy about that.”

Fifty films a week

Nollywood is the second largest film industry in the world by volume and its estimated annual revenue is $590m (£364m).

The low-budget films, often involving love-triangles and/ or witchcraft, are hugely popular across the continent.

According to data from Iroko Partners, approximately 50 movies are produced each week and they cost $25,000-$70,000 to make.

via BBC News – Making a fortune by distributing Nigerian films online.

Strange Random Film Quote:

Nobody will ever notice that. Film-making is not about the tiny details. It’s about the big picture. – Ed Wood

BBC News – Crackdown on Barclays tax schemes

English: East entrance of HM Treasury Français...

All Britain’s big banks have signed a code committing them not to engage in tax avoidance.

So it is highly embarrassing for Barclays that it has been accused by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs of designing and using two schemes designed to avoid substantial amounts of tax.

The government yesterday closed two tax avoidance schemes, to retrieve £500m of lost tax and safeguard payments of billions of pounds more tax in the future.

One of the outlawed schemes was a way of avoiding tax payments when a bank buys back its own debt. David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, described this scheme as a transaction that a bank which has adopted the anti-tax-avoidance code “should never have adopted.”

The other outlawed scheme, exploiting provisions of regulations on Authorised Investment Funds, seeks to generate tax credits when tax has not been paid in the first place.

The measure taken to ensure tax is paid on debt repurchases or buybacks is highly unusual in having retrospective effect: it claws back tax already saved.

via BBC News – Crackdown on Barclays tax schemes.

Strange Random Tax Quote:

“Next to being shot at and missed, nothing is really quite as satisfying as an income tax refund.” — F. J. Raymond, humorist

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BBC News – The authors who are going it alone online – and winning

Books Books

“Company policy, not mine. Were it up to me, we would. The revolution is not yet complete.”

A change in policy at the 164-year-old Chicago Tribune is not something to be taken lightly.

But when Julia Keller, the newspaper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning cultural critic, calls something a “revolution”, you sense things may be about to change.

She’s referring to her newspaper’s policy on reviewing self-published books. It’s a simple one: they don’t.

And until recently, it would be unthinkable to even consider over-ruling it as an obvious method of quality control.

After all, why would any newspaper – particularly one of the world’s most respected – be bothered reading the work of an author who for whatever reason couldn’t find anyone to publish their work?”

There was a definite stigma clinging to it,” Ms Keller continues.

“A bad odour that reeked of desperation and flagrant ego.”

But as more self-published authors hit the big time, that reputation is perhaps beginning to drift away.

“That odour is almost completely banished.

“Now, I think of a self-published author as an entrepreneur, an energetic soul determined to forge her or his own destiny in the cultural world.”

‘Complete transition’

Tailored services like Amazon CreateSpace, Lulu and Smashwords have put creating and distributing a book firmly into the hands of anyone and everyone.

via BBC News – The authors who are going it alone online – and winning.

Strange Random Publishing Quote:

“To write what is worth publishing, to find honest people to publish it, and get sensible people to read it, are the three great difficulties in being an author.” – Charles Caleb Colton (English sportsman and writer, 1780-1832)

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BBC News – The history of royal wedding souvenirs

With all eyes turning to London for the royal wedding, the shops are full of William and Kate souvenirs. In fact it is thought we will spend over £200m on mementos of their big day. But buying royal wedding cups, tins and tea towels is not a new phenomenon. Robert Opie is the director of the Museum of Brands in London – and as he explains, companies have been cashing in on royal weddings for decades.

We’ve been having a lot of problems getting the video to work properly, so we have left it in the Vodpod player which is down the page on your right. If you can’t see the video, try clicking the button “Follow me on Vodpod” to see more videos. Sorry about that, looks like the BBC are being a bit restrictive …

Strange Random Souvenir Quote:
“Souvenirs are perishable; fortunately, memories are not” – Susan Spano

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