News round-up: David Olusoga to give Edinburgh TV Festival keynote; Bambu launches on Xumo; NHK releases international wildlife co-pro projects

David Olusoga

Historian Olusoga to deliver Edinburgh TV Festival keynote speech

British-Nigerian historian and broadcaster David Olusoga will deliver the keynote speech at the Edinburgh TV Festival, The MacTaggart Lecture, next month.

Known for presenting shows including A House Through Time, Black And British: A Forgotten History and Britain’s Forgotten Slave Owners, Olusoga is a professor of public history at Manchester University and has worked in television both in front of and behind the camera for more than 20 years.

His speech on 24 August will address the “unprecedented” challenges faced by the industry, and the world, in the face of the pandemic and the death of George Floyd and subsequent Black Lives Matters protests.

He commented: “I am enormously honoured to accept the invitation to deliver this years’ MacTaggart Lecture. We are living through an extraordinary moment.

“The pandemic has exposed deep economic and racial divisions and demands for profound and systemic change are louder now than they have been for half a century. Like every industry, television faces a moment of reflection and decision. I’m honoured to have the chance to contribute to that important debate.”

Bambu launches on Xumo

LA-based Cinedigm’s AVOD channel Bambu has launched on the Xumo streaming service.

Launched in 2019, Bambu features Chinese movies and TV series, including Journey To The West, Nirvana In Fire and A Bite Of China. Following the launch, it is now available in more than 45 million US households through smart TV’s, mobile, online and streaming boxes.

Aside from Bambu, Xumo carries other Cinedigm channels including CONtv, Docurama and Dove Channel.

“The launch of Bambu on Xumo underscores our continued effort to expand our channel portfolio to address the needs of viewers and advertisers across all segments. XUMO’s scale and reach will allow us to significantly reach a much wider audience,” said Tony Huidor, Cinedigm’s GM of digital networks.

Okavango – A Flood Of Life

NHK launches international wildlife co-pros

Japanese pubcaster NHK has launched several wildlife co-production projects with international partners.

The 5 x 48-minute Mysterious Planet was made by NHK and NHNZ in association with ARTE France for Discovery Channel and Youku, with international distribution handled by Discovery Channel and NHK Enterprises.

It delves into mysteries such as what a meteorite has to do with the world’s largest gathering of whale sharks and why are Komodo dragons only found in one location.

Okavango – A Flood Of Life (1 x 52-minutes) was made in partnership with Icon Films, Natural History Film Unit and Fremantle, which is also handling distribution.

The one-off special follows veteran filmmaker Brad Bestelink as he explores the Okavango Delta in Africa through the eyes of the region’s indigenous people.

Meanwhile, Wild Tokyo (1 x 58-mins) was produced by Oxford Scientific Films and NHK, with distribution handled by ITV Studios. It takes a look at the wide array of incredible wildlife that co-exists with people living in the Japanese city.

NHK Enterprises Executive Producer Masa Hayakawa said: “Over the years, NHK’s natural-history team has done international coproductions with lots of overseas partners in some very distinctive ways. That kind of diversity is symbolized very strongly by our work in 2020.”

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