SAT-ITALY 06.06.1997


Italian state television RAI has announced plans to launch a new information
TV channel covering news of interest for the Mediterranean countries. The
new channel which is set to start broadcasting by the end of the year will
be similar to Euronews - it will have a multilingual news service and will
based in Naples. Most probably the channel will be transmitted as part of
RAI's digital package on the EUTELSAT HOT BIRD 2 satellite.

According to the Italian daily "La Repubblica", the Italian private TV
holding company Mediaset is planning to expand its operations in the
Americas. The project is part of a long-term strategy in co-operation with
foreign partners (such as British Telecom) and some results have already
been accomplished in Spain and Venezuela. The Italian manager in charge of
Spain's private channel Telecinco (in which Mediaset has a 25% stake),
Maurizio Carlotti says there are currently three principal TV markets -
Anglo-Saxon countries, the Islamic countries and Latin America (covering 800
million people).
Telecinco has plans to expand its operations into North America by producing
family-orientated programs. Several coproduction agreements have already
been signed in Venezuela. Carlotti also claims that thematic TV channels
will occupy at most 30% of the TV market in the future and that the
financial risk of starting such services is still big.

One of the managers of Italian media group Cecchi Gori Group, Francesco
Nespega has said that the group's two TV channels TMC and TMC2/VIDEOMUSIC
are set to end this year with a loss of around 60 million DEM. The main
reason for such a performance are the financial resources invested in buying
up the TV rights to Italian league football (to be shared with RAI).
However, the Florence based media group expects an increase of 23% in
advertising profits and total revenues will amount to 100 million DEM.
According to Nespega, in the last three months of this year, the company has
reported revenues of around 45 million DEM, 10 more than the three previous
The search for potential foreign partners is still going on according to
Nespega, and talks are currently underway with Merril Lynch and other banks.
He has promised new details on this issue in the following weeks.

It seems that hardly a week goes by without some news about new services
starting in Telepiu's digital satellite service. The principal shareholder
in Telepiu, French media company Canal Plus is using all of its experience
in the French market to boost the number of subscribers to the Italian
pay-TV service which currently stands at around 80,000.
The Italian daily "Corriere della Sera" reports that several well-known
thematic channels will start broadcasting from September. They include:
PLANETE (documentary and nature programs), SEASON (programs about hunting,
fishing and other outdoor hobbies), CINECLASSIC (movie classics),
CINECINEMAS (movies from he 70's-90's), CANAL JIMMY (classic TV programs and
golden oldies). There will also be a new music channel based on programming
from MCM and local Italian TV channel MATCHMUSIC.
Previous plans of adding five thematic channels produced by Mediaset to the
Telepiu package have now been dropped. The channels would have included: a
children's channel, CANALE JUVE (for Juventus fans), CANALE MILAN (for Milan
supporters), CANALE 5 PIU (similar in concept to NBC SUPER CHANNEL).
As we reported last week, Telepiu's managers are still considering the
possibility of changing the CAM module in the digital receivers necessary
for the reception of Telepiu's digital services. If this happens, in
practice it would mean the Irdeto system would be abandoned in favour of the
Seca system used by Canal Plus in France for its digital package Canal
Satellite Numerique. A big advantage of the Irdeto system is that it allows
the launch of "impulse pay per view" services - ie. the possibility of
ordering single events, by directly contacting the broadcaster via modem. 

In an interview with Italian daily "La Repubblica" the under-secretary at
the Ministry of posts, Michele Lauria has said that the Italian government
is expecting a compromise decision from Telepiu regarding the question of a
single digital platform. According to him, the government has included
provisions in the new Telecommunications Act which provide a guarantee for
Telepiu's existing terrestrial services to continue broadcasting for some
time also via the terrestrial airwaves.
In compensation, they would like to see a positive signal from Telepiu by
uniting itself with RAI, Stet, Mediaset and TMC around a single Italian
digital platform. This would enable Italian families to save money by
receiving all scrambled services while paying only one subscription. However
if two rival digital platforms were to emerge, according to him, only the
Americans would have reason to rejoice. That is because a bidding war for TV
rights to major movie titles and sports events would certainly happen.
Lauria also said that if no agreement is reached, a new Telecommunications
bill would have to be adopted which would guarantee both consortiums the
frequencies enabling them to transmit their services over the airwaves. But,
there would have to be special guarantees which would prevent major sporting
events such as Italian national team matches from being transmitted by the
encrypted services.
In a recent press interview, Guido Vannucchi, vice-director general of RAI
has expressed his concern that Italy is in danger of being colonised by
foreign media companies planning to produce programs in the Italian language
for Italian viewers. Vannucchi's remarks come at a crucial moment when talks
are going on between the principal media players on the Italian which could
result in the forming of a single digital platform. He has also confirmed
that if no agreement is reached, RAI and Stet will form their own digital
RAI has already announced plans for launching two new thematic satellite
channels this autumn. The first will be a children's service while the
second will be a cultural service.

The only pay-TV network in Italy, Telepiu is celebrating this year its sixth
anniversary. Its movie channel, TELE+1 will air a season of movies from some
of the most famous directors. The movie list includes such titles as: Tim
Burton's "Pee Wee's big adventure" , Neil Jordan's "Angel", John Carpenter's
"Dark star", Mario van Peebles' "Panther", Steve James' "Hoop dreams", Abel
Ferrara's "The addiction", and David Lynch's "Eraserhead".
- According to some estimates, the Italian state telecommunications operator
Telecom Italia is set to loose 270 million DEM by the year 2000. The reason:
the increasing use of the Internet for international phone calls.
- The Italian radio station Italia Vera which can be found on the EUTELSAT
13 degrees East position will change its name this month to Station One Radio.


09.VI - RAI UNO, 20:50h - Honey, I blew up the kid (USA-1992), starring:
Rick Moranis, Lloyd Bridges
10.VI - RAI UNO, 20:50h - The man without a face (USA-1993), starring: Mel
Gibson, Nick Stahl
10.VI - RAI DUE, 20:50h - The distinguished gentleman (USA-1992), starring:
Eddie Murphy, Joe Don Baker
11.VI - RAI DUE, 20:50h - Moment of truth: Stalking back (USA-1993),
starring: John Martin, Shanna Reed
11.VI - RAI TRE, 20:40h - Pappa e ciccia (ITA-1982), starring: Paolo
Villagio, Lino Banfi
12.VI - RAI TRE, 20:30h - Summer of fear (USA-1996), starring: Gregory
Harrison, Glynnis O'Connor
12.VI - RAI DUE, 20:50h - Sacred cargo (USA-1995), starring: Martin Sheen,
Chris Penn
13.VI - RAI TRE, 20:40h - Soldier boyz (USA-1995), starring: Michael Dudikoff
13.VI - RAI UNO, 20:50h - Someone she knows (USA-1994), starring: Gerald
McRaney, Markie Post
14.VI - RAI TRE, 20:40h - A thousand heroes (USA-1991), starring: James
Coburn, Charlton Heston
14.VI - RAI DUE, 20:50h - Discretion assured (USA-1993), starring: Michael
York, Jennifer O'Neal

08.VI - RAI TRE, 15:00h - Tennis: French Open - final live from Paris
08.VI - RAI UNO, 20:25h - Football: BRAZIL-ITALY, live from Lyon
10.VI - RAI TRE, 20:25h - Football: BRAZIL-ENGLAND, live from Paris
11.VI - RAI UNO, 20:40h - Football: FRANCE-ITALY, live from Paris
12.VI - RAI TRE, 22:55h - Boxing: World title in welter category, Alessandro
Duran-Thuiane Malinga
14.VI - RAI DUE, 18:50h - Formula 1: GP Canada - heats


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