SAT-ITALY 17.01.1997


A new news and information channel has started broadcasting via satellite to
Europe from January 6th. Bloomberg Italy is a joint-venture between
Bloomberg Information Television, Telepiu and Italian news agency Ansa. The
channel is broadcast as part of Telepiu's digital package DSTV via the
EUTELSAT 13 degrees East satellites. Viewers who have bought the new digital
receivers/decoders will be able to see Italian and world news as well as
information about politics, finances, culture, and sports results. Bloomberg
Italy is a 24 hour service and will show news bulletins every half-hour live
from Ansa's Rome headquarters.
Like other Bloomberg services, the screen is divided into several so called
"windows". On the lower part of the screen, viewers can see a continuous
flow of financial information about currency exchanges and market news. In
the central left part of the screen is a constant update of the
meteorological situation while in the upper left angle the latest news in
textual form is carried non-stop. Finally, on the right of the screen,
Bloomberg transmits real-time video news summaries presented by journalists.
Currently the textual news content is updated 24 hours a day, while the
video news are carried from 07:00-09:00 and 18:30-24:00 hours. It is
expected that the video content will go 24 hours in the next six months. The
news journals which are prepared by Ansa in Rome are then transmitted via
satellite to Bloomberg HQ in London to be distributed via satellite.
Bloomberg Television which is the major supplier of economic and financial
news in the world has several satellite and cable TV services which can be
seen in over 118 million households around the world. In Europe, Bloomberg
TV channels are present in the UK, France and Italy and regional services
are expected to start in Spain and Germany by the end of the year. 

Italian state-run television RAI has finally been awarded the broadcast TV
rights for all home matches (four in total) of the Italian national team to
be played during 1997. The Italian football federation decided to award the
contract to RAI without opening a bidding process. RAI's principal rival
Mediaset withdrew earlier from the contest, but Vittorio Cecchi Gori (owner
of TMC and TMC2/Videomusic channels) said he was to appeal against this
decision. It is estimated that RAI payed around 48 billion lira (48 million
DEM) for the matches.

From February, the very popular Italian private TV channels Canale 5, Italia
1 and Rete 4 are to end analogue broadcasting via the INTELSAT 602 satellite
located at 63 degrees East. The rumor that the three Mediaset channels were
to start digital broadcasts were finally confirmed in an interview with
engineer Corrado Riccio published in the Italian monthly satellite magazine
Riccio who is in charge of business development at Mediaset said that his
company has already started transmitting its three channels in the European
digital standard DVB via the recently launched EUTELSAT HOT BIRD 2
satellite. Parallel analogue transmissions on INTELSAT 602 will continue
until February 19th, after which reception of Canale 5, Italia 1 and Rete 4
will only be possible with a digital receiver/decoder.
The digital service on HOT BIRD 2 is aimed primarily as a feed for
terrestrial transmitters and regional TV centers and is not intended as such
for direct reception. Nevertheless, it is estimated that around 50,000
Italians depend bought satellite dishes in order to receive the three
channels via the INTELSAT 602 satellite. Now they will have to invest a
large sum of money into new digital reception equipment.
However, Riccio has confirmed that Canale 5, Italia 1 and Rete 4 will not be
scrambled and will not form part of any digital package. All three Mediaset
channels can already be found on the EUTELSAT HOT BIRD 2 satellite,
frequency 11.919 GHz/Ver.

It seems there is an undeclared war going on between Italy's two leading
media barons Silvio Berlusconi and Vittorio Cecchi Gori. Cecchi Gori has
already called his principal rival Berlusconi a "cowboy", and Berlusconi has
promptly responded accusing Cecchi Gori of founding a company party. The
reason for this animosity is that Cecchi Gori feels he has been treated
unfairly concerning the assigning of frequencies for terrestrial TV channels
in Italy. Berlusconi's 3 Mediaset channels have been assigned 4,921
frequencies throughout Italy (RAI has 4,971) while Cecchi Gori's 2 channels
have only 945 frequencies. This in practice means that TMC and
TMC2/Videomusic are seen in only 75% of Italian households compared to
nearly 99% coverage for Canale 5, Italia 1 and Rete 4.
One year ago, the TV frequency market was opened up but it is not very easy
for an interested party to buy a frequency. They have first to take over the
company which owns the specified frequency. This has created a rather unique
situation since there is currently only one major buyer, Vittorio Cecchi
Gori and in each area of Italy, usually one seller. This has forced an
increase in prices, so that even for small coverage areas prices do not go
under 1 billion lira. In practice this means that if Cecchi Gori wants to
obtain coverage for his channels similar to for example Rete 4 or RAI 3
(around 1,500 frequencies), this could cost him between 50 and 100 billion lira.
However, all these investments may prove futile in the long term. In the
next few months, it is expected that Mediaset will give up one of its three
terrestrial channels (if the new Broadcasting bill stays as it is) and
pay-TV network Telepiu will be forced give up its terrestrial frequencies to
concentrate only on broadcasting via satellite. In fact all of this should
have been done by December. But after the extension of existing TV licenses
was approved by the Government, the time limit has been moved till next
August. Cecchi Gori is worried that in the meantime Berlusconi will succeed
in obtaining the right to operate a third TV channel and that Telepiu (which
is involved in a strong lobby campaign) succeeds in obtaining a reprieve for
several years taking in account the fact that subscriptions to its satellite
service are not going as planned. Telepiu certainly doesn't want to give up
its 800,000 subscribers who currently watch three channels without a
satellite dish.
Finally, the government has promised to publish a definite national plan of
frequencies by this summer. When it is approved, it is expected that TMC and
TMC2/Videomusic, as channels with national coverage, will be
administratively granted the necessary frequencies. 
In the meantime, Cecchi Gori has decided to act on two fronts. The first is
legal while the other is to use a populist strategy of winning the hearts of
TV viewers in order to create a sort of popular movement in his favor. That
is why he is fighting so hard to obtain TV rights for Italian football matches.

                                   FOR THE WEEK JANUARY 19-25

19.I - RAI TRE, 20:30h - Non parlo piu (ITA) - Part I, starring: Lorenza
Indovina, Toto Onnis
19.I - RETE 4, 20:40h - Fourth story (USA-91), starring: Mimi Rogers, Mark
19.I - ITALIA 1, 20:40h - Roba da ricchi (ITA-87), starring: Renato
Pozzetto, Francesca Dellera, Serena Grandi
19.I - RAI DUE, 20:50h - Ice blue (USA-92), starring: Michael Caine, Sean Young
19.I - RAI DUE, 20:50h - Sissi (AUT-55), starring: Romy Schneider, Karlheinz
19.I - RETE 4, 22:30h - Il toro (ITA-94), starring: Diego Abatantuono,
Roberto Citran
20.I - ITALIA 1, 20:30h - Rambo (USA-82), starring: Sylvester Stallone,
Richard Crenna
20.I - RAI TRE, 20:40h - Non parlo piu (ITA) - Part II, starring: Luigi
Diberti, Lorenza Indovina
20.I - RETE 4, 20:40h - 7 chili in 7 giorni (ITA-86), starring: Carlo
Verdone, Renato Pozzetto
20.I - RAI UNO, 20:50h - Stakeout 2 (USA-93), starring: Emilio Estevez,
Richard Dreyfuss
20.I - CANALE 5, 20:50h - Indecent proposal (USA-93), starring: Demi Moore,
Woody Harrelson, Robert Redford
20.I - RETE 4, 22:40h - Wise guys (USA-86), starring: Danny de Vito, Joe
Piscopo, Harvey Keitel
21.I - RAI DUE, 20:50h - Turner & Hooch (USA-89), starring: Tom Hanks, Craig
T. Nelson
21.I - RETE 4, 23:30h - The conversation (USA-73), starring: Gene Hackman,
Harrison Ford
22.I - ITALIA 1, 20:30h - Big (USA-88), starring: Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins
22.I - RETE 4, 20:40h - Danielle Stelle's Vanished (USA-95), starring:
Ashley Peldon, George Hamilton
22.I - RAI UNO, 20:50h - Lightning in a bottle (USA-93), starring: Lynda
Carter, Allison Chalmers
22.I - RAI DUE, 20:50h - V.I.Warshawski (USA-91), starring: Kathleen Turner,
Jay O.Sanders
22.I - RETE 4, 22:40h - After hours (USA-85), starring: Griffin Dunne,
Rosanna Arquette
23.I - RETE 4, 20:40h - Chicago hope (USA-95), starring: Hector Elizondo,
Roxanne Hart
23.I - RAI DUE, 20:50h - The immortals (USA-95), starring: Tia Carrera, Eric
23.I - RETE 4, 22:40h - Scandalo segreto (ITA-89), starring: Monica Vitti,
Eliott Gould
24.I - ITALIA 1, 20:30h - Mask of death (USA-95), starring: Lorenzo Lamas,
Billy Dee Williams
24.I - RETE 4, 20:40h - Going underground (USA-93), starring: Lisa Rinna,
Robert Hayes
24.I - RAI TRE, 20:45h - Batman returns (USA-92), starring:  Michael Keaton,
Danny de Vito, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken
24.I - RAI UNO, 22:35h - Verso sera (ITA-90), starring: Marcello
Mastroianni, Sandrine Bonnaire
25.I - RETE 4, 20:40h - Thunderball (UK-66), starring: Sean Connery,
Claudine Auger
25.I - RAI DUE, 20:50h - Payback (USA-94), starring: C.Thomas Howell, Joan
25.I - CANALE 5, 23:15h - Kamikazen (ITA-87), starring: Paolo Rossi, Silvio

19.I - RAI TRE, 09:20h - Alpine skiing: World cup, special slalom (w) from
19.I - RAI TRE, 10:10h - Alpine skiing: World cup, special slalom (m) from
22.I - RAI UNO, 20:50h - Football: ITALY-NORTHERN IRELAND (friendly), live
from Palermo
24.I - RAI TRE, 09:55h - Alpine skiing: World cup, downhill (m) from Kitzbuhel
24.I - RAI TRE, 10:55h - Alpine skiing: World cup, super G (w) from Cortina
24.I - RAI TRE, 12:55h - Alpine skiing: World cup, super G (m) from Sestriere
25.I - RAI TRE, 10:10h - Alpine skiing: World cup, super G (w) from Cortina
25.I - RAI TRE, 11:55h - Alpine skiing: World cup, downhill (m) from Kitzbuhel
25.I - RAI TRE, 15:20h - Volleyball (m): Italian league, SISLEY-LAS DAYTONA

21.I - CANALE 5, 20:50h - Miss & Mister 97 - Part I 
40 young men and women fight for the title of Miss & Mister Italy '97. Live
from Montecatini Terme (Pistoia)
23.I - CANALE 5, 20:50h - Miss & Mister 97 - Part II

[Other mailing lists]