Sat-Birmingham News Report #: 001

Sat-Birmingham News Report #: 001

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Lawmakers Make Final Push On DTH Copyright Fee Proposal
USSB's Net Loss Jumps To $28.1 Million
NextLevel Names New Satellite Unit VP
DirecTV Debuts Its Holiday Installation Special
Globalstar Plans Sale Of $325 Million In Notes
PROGRAM NOTES: ESPN Preps Sports Century

Lawmakers Make Final Push On DTH Copyright Fee Proposal

Days before the Librarian of Congress releases his decision on a
controversial fee proposal affecting home satellite subscribers, 51
members of the House of Representatives sent a letter urging rejection
of the plan. 

In the letter, lawmakers asked Librarian of Congress James Billington to
"refrain from adopting recommendations that will dramatically increase
the price consumers will have to pay for satellite television service." 

In August, the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel recommended that
copyright fees paid by home satellite subscribers for superstation and
distant network feeds jump to 27 cents per month. That fee, if approved
by Billington, will be retroactive from July and will be in place 
December, 1999. 

By contrast, cable operators pay 9.7 cents per-subscriber, per-month
for superstations and 2.7 cents for network signals. 

Billington has until Monday to accept the 27-cent recommendation,
modify it or reject it. 

In their letter, initiated by Democrat Peter DeFazio of Oregon and
Republican Rick Hill of Montana, lawmakers said implementation of the
proposed fee will be a "major setback to Congress' efforts to provide

"This tremendous increase in the satellite carriage fee will increase 
price consumers pay for satellite transmission television service," the
letter reads. "Furthermore, this increase will be specifically unfair on 
rural subscribers who do not have access to cable television service and 
on satellite television service to provide multichannel video services. 

"Moreover, even where cable television service is available, DTH
satellite services provide a competitive alternative to cable television
service," the letter states. "It has been a long-standing objective of
Congress to provide robust competition in the video market." 

In its effort to support the Congressional claims, the National Rural
Telecommunications Cooperative, which provides DirecTV to more
than 650,000 families, applauded the letter and others sent to 
in the past month urging rejection of the fee. 

"It is outrageous that these discriminatory rate increases would target
satellite viewers, many of whom live in rural America and have no other
way of receiving programming," said Bob Phillips, NRTC's chief
executive. "It's gratifying to see that so many members of Congress
recognize that at least the CARP portion of the Satellite Home Viewer
Act needs immediate and radical change." 

USSB's Net Loss Jumps To $28.1 Million

U.S. Satellite Broadcasting reported its net loss for the quarter ending
Sept. 30 was $28.1 million, or 31 cents per share, compared to $23.5
million, or 26 cents per share, for the same period in 1996. 

Revenues were $114.4 million, up from $79.2 million recorded in the
same quarter in 1996. 

USSB's paying subscribers grew by more than 129,000 to 1.584
million. Approximately 113,000 homes were receiving a free month of
USSB Entertainment Plus on Sept. 30. 

Average monthly revenue on a per-paying subscriber basis - exclusive
of pay-per-view - was $24.71, up from $24.86 for the quarter ended
June 30. 

In September, the company changed its fiscal year end from June 30 to
Dec. 31, with a transition period ending on that same date. 

NextLevel Names New Satellite Unit VP

NextLevel Systems named Thomas Lynch vice president and general
manager of its San Diego-based Satellite Data Networks business,
reporting to company president and acting CEO Edward Breen. 

Previously, Lynch was vice president and general manager of the
Transmission Network Systems unit at NextLevel's Broadband
Networks Group. Lynch, a 15-year company veteran, also served as
vice president of marketing for distribution systems, and has held a
number of divisional financial management capacities. 

The company also announced that Randy Roberson was promoted to
Senior Vice President of Engineering for the satellite networks unit. 

DirecTV Debuts Its Holiday Installation Special

In another promotional push towards the holiday season, DirecTV
announced it will offer $100 off the installation cost for home 
equipment or a free self-install kit valued at $50. 

PrimeStar unveiled a similar promotion earlier in the week. 

DirecTV's $100 offer will be available through Jan. 28 to new
subscribers who purchase a DSS system from a participating retailer.
New customers also must subscribe to DirecTV programming. 

Retailers such as Circuit City, Best Buy and Radio Shack will advertise
the promotion throughout the holiday season. DirecTV is supporting the
campaign with in-store print advertisements highlighting the $100-off
installation special, and has created a 30-second television spot that 
air nationwide. Ads also will be taken out in major newspapers. 

Globalstar Plans Sale Of $325 Million In Notes

Globalstar plans to sell $325 million of senior notes due 2004 in an
offering exempt from registration. 

Globalstar said it intends to use proceeds for development, construction
and deployment of its worldwide, low-earth orbit satellite-based
communications system. 

The notes will be offered to qualified institutional buyers pursuant to 
144A and to certain persons in offshore transactions pursuant to
Regulation S under the Securities Act of 1933. The notes have not been
registered and may not be offered or sold in the United States absent
registration or an applicable exemption from registration requirements. 

PROGRAM NOTES: ESPN Preps Sports Century

The following programming notes were compiled during the week. 

*ESPN PREPS SPORTS CENTURY - ESPN will review the top sporting events,
athletes, coaches and sports developments of the past 100 years as part 
of an 18-month series of programming initiatives titled Sports Century. 
The series is set to begin in September 1998 with the show Millennium 
Moments. All vignettes will be shown during SportsCenter or other 
in-studio programming. 
*PLAYBOY, CISNEROS TARGET EUROPE - Playboy Entertainment Group and the
Cisneros Television Group unveiled a joint venture to own and operate 
Playboy TV and AdulTVision networks in Germany and Scandinavia. Cisneros 
Television Group will hold an 81 percent interest in the venture. 
Playboy will hold he remaining 19 percent with an option to increase 
ownership to 50 percent. 
*SHOWTIME VIEWERS PICK MOVIE - Showtime viewers who love medical
mysteries will get the chance to pick a movie via the Internet on 
Thursday, Oct. 30. Flicks viewers can select from are Extreme Measures 
with Hugh Grant and Gene Hackman, Flatliners with Kevin Bacon and Julia 
Roberts, or The Surgeon. 
*COURT TV, WINK IN PARTNERSHIP - Court TV signed a multi-year agreement 
interactive services with Wink Communications. The arrangement will 
allow viewers to activate windows containing background information on 
court cases. 
*HBO READIES NEW LOOK - HBO is set to make the first visual change of 
its on-air look since beginning its service 25 years ago. On Nov. 1, 
viewers will see new on-air promotional breaks with the new look, 
designed by HBO and Iain Greenway, creative director at design and 
animation firm Telezign.

    All contents (C) 1997 Neil Anthony Powell UK SATELLITE CONTROL
     Some material (c) 1997 Dominic Sedghi and Skyreport (c) 1997
     All rights  reserved. The above may not be reproduced without 
     written consent. Information is subject to change and/or may
                            be incorrect.

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