In an effort to build its brand throughout Europe, Los Angeles-based Stratus Media Group Inc., which produces and promotes sporting events, car shows and concerts, recently acquired Swiss-based Exclusive Events S.A. in a cash and stock transaction valued at about $1.6 million.


Exclusive Events organizes noncompetitive auto racing experiences for high-end corporate and private clients throughout Europe, Dubai and Southern Asia providing professional race-car driving coaches, high-performance Ferraris and Formula 1 race cars and the tracks they race on.

The acquisition of Exclusive Events provides Stratus with an office in Geneva and expands its VIP Stratus Rewards programs to Europe. The rewards program offers luxury travel, hotel and culinary benefits to those who have a Visa White Card or Visa Signature credit card.

Paul Fuller, chief executive of Stratus Media, said the company plans similar agreements with the Grand-Am and Indy racing associations in the United States.

Stage Craft

Members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the people behind the cameras that do the heavy lifting, are hoping that new union leadership will put some pressure on the Screen Actors Guild to agree to a contract with Hollywood's major studios.

Matthew Loeb, the alliance's former international vice president, was elected to the union's top slot last week when alliance President Thomas Short announced his retirement during the alliance's mid-summer board meeting in San Diego.

Short and the alliance have not been outspoken about SAG's leadership or its current negotiations lately, so alliance union members are hoping that Loeb will become more aggressive.

Loeb has been the director of the union's Motion Picture and Television Production division for the past decade and has long established relationships with Hollywood's major studio executives, some of whom are currently involved in SAG negotiations.

Adaptation Dilemma

Is the Motion Picture Association of America trying to tune out early adopters of high-definition technology?

The MPAA, representing Hollywood's major studios, recently urged the FCC to allow what's called "restricting technology" that would help protect high-definition movies and TV shows from being pirated on first-generation digital set-top boxes.

Many early digital cable boxes lacked the type of technology that supports advanced encryption technology that content owners want to include in new video-on-demand programming.

The Consumer Electronics Association and a consortium of consumer-rights groups argue that allowing content owners to manipulate delivery would effectively "turn off" certain boxes at will, giving them veto power over the type of equipment consumers can use to watch content that they have legally acquired as paying cable subscribers.

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