SAT-ITALY 18.10.1996


Silvio Berlusconi's TV holding company Mediaset plans to produce 150 hours
of feature programming during 1997, which is an increase of 50% from the
previous period. The first project is the new version of "Odyssey", produced
by Francis Ford Coppola with several international partners (Mediaset, NBC
and Beta). The all-star international cast includes Greta Scacchi, Armand
Assante, Isabella Rosselini, Vanessa Williams. The two-part mini-series will
be filmed on several locations in the Mediterranean and the director will be
Andrej Konchalovski. It is expected that filming will be finished by May
1997 and the mini-series will premiere on Canale 5 next autumn.
Mediaset is also expected to wrap-up by the end of November the filming of
the mini-series "The red and the black". Warner International is Mediaset's
partner for the two-part mini-series "Robinson Crusoe" with a budget of 7-8
million dollars. With its traditional partner, Beta from Germany, Mediaset
will realize two new co-productions. The first is "Tenth kingdom" which is
to be directed by Simon Moore (Emmy-award winner for "Gulliver's Travels")
with special effects realized by Babensberg Studios in Berlin.
Finally, the famous model Raz Degan will play the part of an Egyptian prince
in "The seventh paper". Filming starts in February and one Max van Sydow
will play one of the lead roles.

Italian media magnate Vittorio Cecchi Gori, owner of the TMC,
TMC2/Videomusic channels is looking for a foreign partner for his TV
investments. When Cecchi Gori bought his two channels last year, he also
inherited huge debts that were run up by previous owners. At the recent
MIPCOM festival, rumours circulated that Disney/ABC, Time-Warner, Paramount
and Canal Plus-Nethold are interested in taking a 20-30% stake in the
channels. Cecchi Gori is also looking for political guarantees that his TV
empire will not be penalized by the new Telecommunications bill. 
Cecchi Gori who is the leading film distributor in Italy has an ace which
can be used for bargaining - movie rights. Thanks to them, he recently
signed agreements with RAI (in exchange for sports rights), Stream and
Telepiu (movies in exchange for 4 satellite channels). Cecchi Gori has also
expressed interest in starting a dedicated news channel which would be
broadcast digitally via satellite.
At the recently concluded Mipcom in Cannes, Cecchi Gori beat RAI and
Mediaset in obtaining a very attractive movie package (for terrestrial
broadcast, pay-TV and home video). It includes recent box office hits
"Seven", "Casino", "Up close and personal", "The fan", "Pulp fiction", "The
crow 2", "Long kiss goodbye" and "Evita". The price of this package is
estimated to be several hundred million DM and it will enable flagship
channel TMC to increase its viewership figures which currently are around 3%. 

Italian TV channel RAI Uno has started broadcasting subtitles in English for
programs that are shown in the prime-time slot (i.e. after the evening
news). The service started on Monday, October 14 when the movie "I love
trouble" was broadcast with English subtitles. The new service, according to
a press release from RAI, is intended for foreigners living in Italy and for
students studying English. This teletext service is also available to
satellite viewers - by choosing page 778 of RAI teletext.
This decision is very strange at the least, since it means that English
language movies will continue to be dubbed in Italian but will be shown from
now with English subtitles! The Italian daily newspaper "Avvenire" has
commented that it's common sense that a language is studied better if the
program is transmitted in the original language with Italian subtitles. It
adds that movies cannot be broadcast on TV in the original language because
this would mean that people dubbing them would be out of a job. It finishes
its comment saying that the only solution for people wanting to watch movies
in the original language is to turn to satellite.

At the recent MIPCOM festival, state-run television RAI signed an agreement
with German company Beta and a French partner for a new television
co-production. "The sky and the desert" will be directed by Alberto Negrin
and will be similar to the very successful mini-series "Secret of the
Sahara". RAI has plans for other adventure series - including "The white
elephant", a love story based upon the novel "City of the hunchback king" by
Salgari which will be filmed in Asia.

The launch of the long awaited EUTELSAT HOT BIRD 2 satellite has been
confirmed for November 12 by Robert Hersov, vice-president of pay-TV
Telepiu. At Toulouse, in France he presented his companies plans for the new
satellite which will be able to offer more than 50 new digital satellite TV
channels. Telepiu which has leased 4 transponders plans to use them to
broadcast around 30 channels. Other Italian media companies - RAI, Stream
and Mediaset have also leased transponders on the new satellite.
Thanks to HOT BIRD 2, Telepiu will be able to offer new thematic channels,
including a new news and information channel operated by Ansa and Bloomberg
and a second movie channel with programming similar to Tele +1. This will be
a near-video-on-demand service, showing movies at staggered times, with
viewers being able to choose the movie and the time, paying per single
movie. The new satellite will also enable Telepiu to offer live all Serie B
football matches (with the possibility to pay individually for each match).
There are also plans of starting another dedicated sports channel (similar
to Tele +2) which would entirely be dedicated to Formula 1 coverage.
Depending on the package (bouquet) selected viewers will spend between 80 DM
a year to 57 DM a month.
Hersov expects that by the end of '96 Telepiu will have around 100,000 to
its digital satellite service while this number is expected to rise to
300-500,000 during next year. Telepiu's investments into digital satellite
television are estimated at around 700 million DM, with the network starting
to make profit in three or four years time. Robert Hersov also confirmed
that Telepiu will only focus on Italy with no plans for expansion into other
EUTELSAT HOT BIRD 2 will be the most powerful European telecommunications
satellite and viewers in Italy will be able to receive it with 45 cm dishes
(instead of 120 cm for other satellites).

The Italian state-run satellite operator Nuova Telespazio and the US company
Orbcomm Global have signed on October 17th a joint-venture agreement. A new
company, Orbcomm Europe (Nuova Telespazio will have a 64% stake) is to be
founded and it will be responsible for continental telecommunications and
will also market data services, messaging and tracking via the Orbcomm
satellite system.

The Italian TV holding company Mediaset has commissioned a study into the
feasability of buying the Olivetti electronics company. It is principally
interested in taking control of the mobile telephone unit - Omnitel, in
which Olivetti has a majority stake. Mediaset had previously formed a
joint-venture with Albacom (co-owned by British Telecom and the Italian bank
BNL) with the intention for bidding for the third license for mobile
telephony (PCN 1800) which will be soon advertised by the government. Other
potential bidders for this license include Enel and AT&T.

20.X - RETE 4, 20:40h - American gigolo (USA-80) starring: Richard Gere,
Lauren Hutton
20.X - RAI DUE, 20:50h - Marked man (USA-95) starring: Roddy Piper
20.X - RETE 4, 22:40h - Belle epoque (SPA-92) starring: Penelope Cruz
21.X - RETE 4, 20:40h - L'amant (FRA-91) starring: Jane March
21.X - CANALE 5, 20:40h - Patriot games (USA-92) starring: Harrison Ford,
Anne Archer
21.X - RAI UNO, 20:50h - Dennis the Menace (USA-93) starring: Walter Matthau
21.X - RETE 4, 22:45h - Lady Chatterley's lover (UK/FRA-81) starring: Sylvia
22.X - RAI UNO, 20:40h - Free Willy  (USA-93) starring: Jason James Richter
22.X - RAI DUE, 20:50h - The assasin (USA-93) starring: Bridget Fonda,
Gabriel Byrne, Harvey Keitel
22.X - ITALIA 1, 22:30h - Robocop 2 (USA-90) starring: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen
22.X - RAI TRE, 01:20h - Alice doesn't live here anymore (USA-74) starring:
Ellen Burstyn, Kris Kristoferson (in English with Italian subtitles)
23.X - ITALIA 1, 20:30h - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (USA-90) starring:
Judit Hoag, Elias Koteas
23.X - ITALIA 1, 22:30h - El Mariachi (USA-92) starring: 
24.X - ITALIA 1, 20:30h - Pure luck (USA-91) starring: Martin Short, Danny
24.X - RAI TRE, 20:30h - The last seduction (USA-93) starring: Linda
Fiorentino, Bill Pullman
24.X - RETE 4, 20:40h - Buried alive (USA-90) starring: Jennifer Jason
Leigh, Tim Matheson
24.X - ITALIA 1, 22:30h - Innerspace (USA-87) starring: Dennis Quaid, Martin
Short, Meg Ryan, Kevin McCarthy
24.X - RETE 4, 22:45h - Saigon (USA-87) starring: William Dafoe, Gregory Hines
25.X - RAI TRE, 20:30h - Murder on the Rio Grande (USA-93) starring:
Victoria Principal
25.X - RETE 4, 20:40h - A home of our own (USA-93) starring: Kathy Bates,
Edward Furlong
25.X - RETE 4, 22:45h - The electric horseman (USA-79) starring: Robert
Redford, Jane Fonda
26.X - RETE 4, 20:40h - The undefeated (USA-69) starring: John Wayne, Rock
26.X - ITALIA 1, 22:30h - The predator 2 (USA-90) starring: Danny Glover,
Gary Busey

20.X - RAI DUE, 19:00h - Basketball (men) TELEMARKET ROMA-STEFANEL MILANO
23.X - RAI TRE, 15:40h - Basketball (women) FERRARA-SCHIO
24.X - RAI DUE, 20:50h - Football - Italian cup (3 round) CAGLIARI-INTER
24.X - RAI TRE, 15:35h - Rugby - ITALY-AUSTRALIA (friendly)
26.X - RAI TRE, 09:55h - Ski - World cup, Grandslalom from Solden 
26.X - RAI TRE, 15:20h - Volleyball: Italian league  LAS DAYTONA-SISLEY
26.X - RAI TRE, 00:05h - Box: ALESSANDRO DURAN-TERRY MURRAY (from San Remo)

[Other mailing lists]