SAT-ITALY 27.06.1997


After the recent accord between the two leading German media companies,
Kirch Gruppe and Bertelsmann, there has again been talk of Kirch giving up
his stake in the Italian pay-TV network Telepiu. The Kirch-Bertelsmann deal
would see the German pay-TV network Premiere merging with Kirch's fledging
DF-1 digital package. Besides Kirch and Bertelsmann, the French pay-TV
network Canal Plus is also one of the shareholders of Premiere and they also
own a stake in Telepiu. A possible solution would be that Canal Plus would
give up its 25% stake in Premiere and in return would ask for Kirch to give
up his 45% stake in Telepiu.
It's in Kirch's interest to give up his Telepiu stake since he could get
more money which he could use to invest in the DF-1 service.

It seems that a deal concerning the future of digital television in Italy
will be reached in the next few days. If everything goes as planned, Italy
will have only one digital platform which will be operated by the two
principal TV networks RAI and Mediaset, by the state telecommunications
operator Stet and the French media group Canal Plus which operates Italy's
only pay-TV network Telepiu. This solution would in fact be the most logical
solution. Instead of continuing to invest separately hundreds of millions
DEM into the very expensive new digital technology, the principal operators
would concentrate forces on offering separate software (ie. programming) but
retaining a single digital platform.
The agreement could meant that the shareholding structure of Telepiu
(currently the only company offering digital services) could drastically
change. Telepiu is currently owned by Canal Plus (45%), Kirch (45%) and
Fininvest (10%) and there is a strong possibility that Kirch's stake could
be taken up by RAI and Stet. If that happens, Telepiu would once again
become an Italian owned company. The new thematic channels planned by
RAI-Stet and Mediaset could also join the Telepiu digital package.

The Italian pay-TV network Telepiu has had all its capital put under pawn by
the Comit bank (Banca Commerciale Italiana). In fact this means that all the
stakes owned by the four prinicipal shareholders have been deposited at the
bank and estimates are that the whole operation is worth around 1,000
million DEM. According to a Telepiu spokesman, this intervention by Comit is
"part of an operation which will be announced by the end of the month".
Recently, Telepiu which is controlled by the French pay-TV giant Canal Plus
has received a loan of around 400 million DEM from a pool of banks headed by
Paribas. It is very probable that the Comit deal will result in a new loan
(around 500-600 million DEM) soon to be granted to finance the increasing
costs of operating a digital service.
Despite being owned by 3 big European media groups, Telepiu is currently
facing a severe financial crisis. It has lost more around 220 million DEM in
1996 and the total debt towards banks on December 31st last amounted to
around 190 million DEM. This sum has probably increased to around 300
million DEM today. Telepiu has an option on a mediumtern loan of 180 million
DEM guaranteed by a pool of banks headed by Comit, but it is probable that
this loan has already been absorbed by the losses made during the first
months of this year.

The president of RAI, Enzo Siciliano recently visited the UN in New York
where he put the finishing touches to the Forum of multimedia and public TV
stations in the world which will be sponsored this year by the Italian
public broadcaster. The Forum will take place on November 21st, and RAI has
already proposed that a multimedia archive be formed which would contain the
registered material of all public TV stations around the world.
In other RAI news, there are plans to launch a thematic satellite channel
(from January 1st, 1998) which would broadcast the proceedings of the
Italian Parliament. Also the Parliamentary Commission in charge of
monitoring RAI has recommended that RAI should devote annually 60% of its
airtime to news and information, culture, childrens programs and sport.


29.VI - RAI UNO, 20:45h - Lawman (USA-1991), starring: Lee J. Cobb, Burt
29.VI - RAI TRE, 20:50h - The man who knew too much (USA-1956), starring:
James Stewart, Doris Day
30.VI - RAI UNO, 20:50h - East of Eden (USA-1955), starring: James Dean,
Raymond Massey
30.VI - RAI DUE, 22:30h - The killer (Hong Kong-1989), starring: Cho Yunfat,
Danny Lee
1.VII - RAI DUE, 20:50h - Scusi, lei e favorevole o contrario (Italy-1966),
starring: Alberto Sordi, Anita Ekberg
1.VII - RAI TRE, 20:50h - Il conte Montecristo (Italy) - Part III, starring:
Corso Salani, Mario Scaccia
3.VII - RAI DUE, 20:50h - Fergie and Andrew Behind the palace doors
(USA-1992), starring: Sam Miller, Editha Bricha
3.VII - RAI TRE, 20:50h - Der Sandmann (Germany-1995), starring: Gotz George
4.VII - RAI DUE, 20:50h - Amarcord (Italy-1973), starring: Bruno Zanin,
Pupella Maggio
4.VII - RAI TRE, 20:50h - The dead pool (USA-1988), starring: Clint
Eastwood, Liam Neeson
5.VII - RAI DUE, 20:50h - Addicted to love (USA-1995), starring: Ami Dolens,
Carrie Genzel

Note: all movies transmitted in the prime-time slot on RAI UNO are subtitled
in English on RAI Teletext page 778

29.VI - RAI DUE, 09:25h - Formula 1: GP France - heats
29.VI - RAI DUE, 13:30h - Formula 1: GP France - the race live
4.VII - RAI TRE, 16:30h - Tennis: ATP Tour from Mestre
5.VII - RAI TRE, 16:00h - Motorbike: GP Imola
5.VII - RAI TRE, 18:30h - Tour de France

4.VII - RAI UNO, 20:50h - Te voglio bene assaje - music concert live from Naples
Participating: Zucchero, Lucio Dalla, Antonello Venditti, Steve Winwood and
5.VII - RAI DUE, 22:35h - Il tabarro by G. Puccini from the Metropolitan in
New York
Participating: Teresa Stratos, Placido Domingo, Juan Pons

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