Covid-19 round-up: German broadcasters to shoulder costs; Oprah launches Apple show; Rakuten TV adds free films

Apple’s Tim Cook & Oprah Winfrey

Apple launches Oprah Talks Covid-19

Oprah Winfrey has launched an Apple TV+ show exploring the Coronavirus pandemic, with Idris Elba the programme’s first guest.

Oprah Talks Covid-19 launched over the weekend and featured the veteran talkshow host, who has an existing deal with the streamer, interviewing Elba and his wife who are in quarantine after the actor tested positive for Coronavirus.

The show is available via Apple TV+ for free for free and further episodes are set to launch on a weekly basis.

Apple started working with the talkshow host last year with Oprah’s Book Club, which debuted 1 November and sees Winfrey interviewing authors of selected books.

German broadcasters offer aid to producers

German broadcasters ARD, RTL, ZDF and ProSiebenSat.1 have offered to help share in the costs of halted productions as companies face financial ruin.

In particular, ProSiebenSat.1 is understood to be in discussions with producers of more than 120 productions at various stages of development, with plans to share the “unavoidable costs” incurred by those facing stopped or postponed productions due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The difficulty for German production companies comes due to the government making no official ban on filming, with shooting still permitted on private premises, such as studios. This leaves those producers liable to the financial burden.

Berlin-based X Filme is calling for an official ban so that companies can qualify for state aid.

“(As) long as it is not legally prohibited, we as German producers are not in a position to cancel ongoing productions on our own initiative and liability without damage in the millions and thereby endangering the survival of the company,” read its statement.

Rakuten TV adds 150 free movies

Spanish-based VOD service Rakuten TV has added more than 150 new movies to its ‘free’ section for audiences across Europe who may currently be stuck at home.

In a statement, the streamer explained: “The addition of new free content is among the measures Rakuten TV is taking to offer viewers their personal in-home cinematic experience, with on-demand content as a key formula to help make the stay at home better.”

Among the new content are children’s films Back To The Sea and Snowflake: The White Gorilla; dramas Ides Of March, In The Name Of The King and Knowing; and action flicks The Expatriate and Bangkok Dangerous.

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