SAT-ITALY 07.02.1997


Another new channel has joined Telepiu's digital bouquet transmitted via the
EUTELSAT 13 degrees East satellites. Hallmark Entertainment, a general
entertainment service started broadcasting on February 1st. Hallmark
broadcasts 24 hours a day and it shows mainly self-produced TV movies and
mini-series, since Hallmark Entertainment is the biggest producer of TV
fiction in the world. All the programs that are transmitted are translated
into Italian. Among the most successful production feature "Gulliver's
travels", "20,000 leagues under the sea" and "Rosella". 

RAI's satellite TV service for viewers in North and Central America has
recently started experimenting with live Italian football transmissions. The
program which is called "La giostra dei gol" is transmitted Sunday
afternoons and switches between live feeds from Italian league soccer
matches every time somebody scores a goal. Since the start of this
experimental transmission, RAI International's switchboard has been
inundated by calls of viewers throughout North America expressing their
satisfaction for this move.
Currently, "La giostra dei gol" is only seen on the pay-TV service for the
Americas, but there are plans to extend the service to viewers in Oceania.
However, the program will not be transmitted on RAI International's European
service. However, Andrea Bassani, director of pay-TV network Tele+2 which
holds the rights for live Italian league soccer has expressed serious doubts
that RAI has the rights to transmit live Italian soccer for an international
audience adding "all of this seems illegal".

Italy was well represented this year in New Orleans where the annual TV
market NATPE (National association of television producers and executives)
took place. RAI, Mediaset, Telecom, APT (Association of TV producers) and
RAI International all used this opportunity to buy new programs as well as
sell some of their own productions.
Like in previous years, the lion's share of the acquisitions went to
Mediaset. The holding TV company controlled by Silvio Berlusconi signed an
agreement with Spielberg's company Dreamworks for the first 50 movies of
this studio, including the movie "Amistad" whose production is set to start
soon. Mediaset has also bought the TV rights for "Don Quixote" (with Robin
Williams), "Michael" (starring John Travolta) and thanks to long-term
contracts with Fox and Paramount will be able to air on its flagship channel
Canale 5 such hits as "Independence day" and "Mission impossible". Italian
TV viewers will also be watch recent Castle Rock Entertainment productions
"Striptease", "Hamlet" and "City Hall" among others.
Mediaset's principal rival, state-run TV RAI concentrated its attention on
TV movies and series (such as "E.R.". RAI Tre used this opportunity to
consolidate its strategic alliances with foreign media companies. The
vice-director of RAI Tre, Gianfranco Comanducci met with representatives of
The Discovery Channel, NBC, The History Channel and Turner Broadcasting and
agreed several co-productions to produce TV documentaries (nature, science
and history).

The Italian satellite manufacturer Alenia Aerospazio has been granted the
contract to produce 56 satellites for Globalstar, the global mobile
telecommunications company. The satellites will be built over the next 20
months, at the rhythm of a four satellites a month. In order to meet the
demand, Alenia will build a new 6,000 sq. meter production center in Rome.
The satellites which are of small dimensions due to technological
innovations will be principally used for telecommunications links and
scientific research.

After launching a U.S. service last year, the US space giant Hughes
Electronics has recently introduced the DirecPC service in Italy. This data
satellite transmission system (with speeds of 400 K a second) through a
joint-venture called Hughes Olivetti Telecom. It's shareholders are Olivetti
Telemedia, Hughes Network Systems and EUTELSAT.
Subscribers to the new service (currently only business users) are offered
to opportunity to access the Internet via satellite. The name of the new
service is called Turbo Internet and more details can be found on the
following address: http://www.nettuno.it/direcpc

Italian state television RAI and satellite operator Nuova Telespazio are
being sued in court by their  former partners in the pay-TV venture RAI
International aimed at viewers in North America according to Italian daily
"Corriere della Sera". The court action has been undertaken by Christian
Viertel, a former movie director of German origin but currently living in
the U.S.
The whole affair goes back to 1990 when RAI executives came up with the idea
of starting a satellite TV service for Italians in North America. They
signed an  agreement with Christian Viertal, a representative of a Swiss
company called Kayfourcast headed by Swiss financial expert Pierre Hafner.
According to the agreement, RAI was responsible for the programming,
Telespazio was in charge of satellite transmissions while the Geneva-based
company offered its know-how for running a pay-TV service. Unfortunately,
Italians living in the U.S. did not subscribe in such large numbers as
expected and the financial situation of the venture is not good.
Viertel and Hafner are not in a situation to continue financing the venture
and in 1993 they seek the help of Saudi sheik Saleh Kamel. A deal is reached
since Kamel has for a long time dreamed of starting a satellite service for
Saudi Arabia. The Saudi businessman buys a 40% stake in the autumn of 1994
and several months later takes a controlling interest. In the meantime, he
is joined by the Tunisian-born movie producer Tarak Ben Ammar, who is in
fact a close friend of Italian media mogul Silvio Berlusconi. Kamel teams up
with Saudi prince Al Waleed, one of the minority shareholders of
Berlusconi's TV holding company Mediaset. Interestingly, Waleed's satellite
venture for viewers in the Middle East called ART starts using Telespazio's
uplinking facilities located at Avezzano.   
The two former partners, Hafner and Viertel quarrel with Viertel accusing
Hafner of illegally signing contracts with RAI and Telespazio. Hafner
finishes in jail in 1995 due to fraud charges by former clients while
Viertel starts a court action his former Italian partners for not fulfilling
their part of the deal. A court decision is expected in the next few months.

After the recent merger with Nethold, the French pay-TV giant has inherited
a 45% stake in Italian pay-TV network Telepiu. What's probably more
important is that they also took over the right to nominate the whole
management of the network. However, Canal Plus has decided to confirm Robert
Hersov (one of the heads at Nethold) as vice-president of Telepiu for
another 3 years. They have nominated two new managers to assist him -
Roberto Fargion (previously at Walt Disney) in charge of marketing and Pino
Borea (ex-Nokia) in charge of sales.
Other nominations include Francesco Bizzarri (from Videomusic) who will be
responsible for the launch of thematic channels and Soune Wade, director of
international affairs. The later has been nominated by the other big
shareholder of Telepiu, German media group Kirch.

                                   FOR THE WEEK FEBRUARY 9-15

09.II - ITALIA 1, 20:30h - Crocodile Dundee II (AUS-88), starring: Paul
Logan, Linda Kozlowski
09.II - RETE 4, 20:35h - Regarding Henry (USA-91), starring: Harrison Ford,
Annette Bening
09.II - RAI DUE, 20:50h - Die Katze (GER-88), starring: Gudrun Landgrebe,
George Gotz
10.II - ITALIA 1, 20:30h - Blink (USA-94), starring: Aidan Quinn, Madeleine
10.II - RAI UNO, 20:50h - Forever young (USA-93), starring: Mel Gibson,
Jamie Lee Curtis
10.II - CANALE 5, 20:50h - Robin Hood: Men in tights (USA-94), starring:
Cary Elwes, Dom de Luise
10.II - RETE 4, 22:40h - Una spina nel cuore (ITA-86), starring: Anthony
Delon, Sophie Duez
11.II - ITALIA 1, 20:30h - Major league (USA-94), starring: Charlie Sheen,
Tom Berenger
11.II - RAI DUE, 20:50h - Fast money (USA-95), starring: Yancy Butler, Matt
11.II - CANALE 5, 20:50h - Little man Tate (USA-91), starring: Jodie Foster,
Adam Hann-Bird
11.II - RETE 4, 23:30h - Reservoir dogs (USA-91), starring: Harvey  Keitel,
Tim Roth
12.II - RETE 4, 20:30h - The trouble with angels (USA-66), starring:
Rosalind Russell, Hayley Mills
12.II - ITALIA 1, 20:30h - Oscar (USA-91), starring: Sylvester Stallone,
Ornella Muti
12.II - RAI UNO, 20:50h - To each his own (USA-89), starring: Julia Watson,
Robert Lang
12.II - RAI DUE, 20:50h - Mani di fata (ITA), starring: Renato Pozzetto,
Eleonora Giorgi
12.II - RETE 4, 22:45h - Twin Peaks: Fire walk with me (USA-92), starring:
Sheryl Lee, Kyle MacLachlan
13.II - RAI DUE, 20:50h - Royce (USA-93), starring: James Belushi, Peter Boyle
13.II - RETE 4, 22:35h - War of the Roses (USA-89), starring: Danny de Vito,
Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner
14.II - ITALIA 1, 20:30h - Beverly Hills Cop II (USA-87), starring: Eddie
Murphy, Judge Reinhold, Brigitte Nielsen
14.II - RAI TRE, 20:45h - Terminator (USA-84), starring: Arnold
Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton
14.II - RETE 4, 22:30h - The greek tycoon (USA-78), starring: Anthony Quinn,
Jacqueline Bisset
15.II -  RETE 4, 20:40h - Medicine man (USA-92), starring: Sean Connery,
Lorraine Bracco
15.II - RAI DUE, 20:50h - Bloodline: Murder in the family (USA-93),
starring: Elliott Gould, Mimi Rogers
15.II - RAI DUE, 23:10h - Sputo (ITA-96), starring: Sergio Rubini
15.II - CANALE 5, 23:15h - Strane storie (ITA-94), starring: Ivano
Marescotti, Silvia Cohen

09.II - RAI TRE, 09:50h - Alpine skiing: World championships, Super G (w)
from Sestriere
09.II - RAI DUE, 19:00h - Basketball: Italian league BENETTON
11.II - RAI TRE, 12:50h - Alpine skiing: World championships, superG (w)
from Sestriere
12.II - RAI TRE, 09:50h - Alpine skiing: World championships, super G (m)
from Sestriere
13.II - RAI TRE, 11:50h - Alpine skiing: World championships, downhill (w)
from Sestriere
13.II - RAI TRE, 22:55h - Alpine skiing: World championships, slalom (w)
from Sestriere
15.II - RAI TRE, 12:50h - Alpine skiing: World championships, downhill (w)
from Sestriere
15.II - RAI TRE, 15:20h - Volleyball (m): Italian league COLMAR BRESCIA-LUBE
15.II - RAI TRE, 17:50h - Alpine skiing: World championships, slalom (m)
from Sestriere

13.II - CANALE 5, 20:50h - Gala della pubblicita - Gala event during which
the best Italian ads will receive awards. 
14.II - ITALIA 1, 23:30h - Free Pass - Eros Ramazotti
Music program focusing on the career of Italian pop star Eros Ramazzotti

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