SAT-ITALY 25.07.1997


* A note to all subscribers of SAT-ITALY *
I will be on vacation during the month of August. On August 1st, I will
prepare the last edition of SAT-ITALY and the service will then return again
on August 29th. I am considering some additions to the service such as for
example a news summary in Italian for the benefit of our Italian readers and
news about new digital satellite receivers on sale in Italy. Thank you for
your kind comments and suggestions and please feel free to contact me. 

The Italian pay-TV network Telepiu has announced on July 18th that it will
launch a new 24 hour music channel for Italy called Match Music Satellite.
The channel will be based in Verona, where it first operated as a local
channel before starting to produce music programs for other Italian TV
channels. Match Music Satellite will join Telepiu's digital package from
October and it will be offered to subscribers as part of the Basic package
of channels. The channel will offer at least 60% of Italian music and that
will be the principal difference in comparison to the Italian version of MTV
which is currently part of the same package.
Telepiu has also confirmed the launch of other thematic channels: Marco Polo
channel devoted to travel and tourism (from September), a classic Italian
movies channel called Cineclassics Italia, NBC Europe and Canale Disney, the
Italian version of The Disney Channel (to start in December). Another
horseracing channel is also in the planning stages as are channels dedicated
to nature, hunting, classical music, economy and cars. All of these new
channels will also join the Basic package which is offered to subscribers at
the price of 15,000 lire (around 15 DEM) a month.

One of Italy's leading companies in the communications sector Fininvest
(whose principal shareholder is Silvio Berlusconi) has signed on July 18th a
strategic technological alliance with the U.S. computer giant IBM. According
to the terms of the deal, a joint company will be formed. ICT (Information
Communication Technologies) which will be owned 80% by IBM and 20% by
Fininvest will start operating from January 1st 1998. It will have 150
employees and expected revenues of 150 million DEM in six years.
A Fininvest manager, Ubaldo Livolsi commented that "this is a venture in the
technological field similar to other important partnerships already
established by our group in other sectors". The general manager of IBM
Europe, Bill Etherington however has denied news reports that IBM will take
a financial stake in Fininvest. The deal will see the two companies
co-operating in the fields of network computing and asset management. IBM
will also help Fininvest to develop new services such as video-on-demand,
home-banking and insurance on-line and there is also the possibility of some
sort of Cupertino in the digital television sector. 

The president of the private TV holding company Mediaset, Fedele
Confalonieri has said that talks are still going on with the hope of
reaching an agreement on a single Italian digital platform centred around
Telepiu. He also confirmed that his company is still negotiating with other
interested companies and hopes that a letter of intent will be signed very
soon. Currently, Canal Plus owns 90% of Telepiu with the remaining 10% in
hands of Fininvest-Mediaset.

The director of RAI's movie department, Sergio Silva has announced an
ambitious production plan which will see 20 mini-series, 16 TV movies, 3
soap operas, 30 Italian movies and 15 movie coproductions realised by the
end of the year. This is a dramatic increase if compared to 1996 when only
60 projects were realised. The total investments for this years projects
will total 330 billion lire (around 330 million DEM) compared to 140 billion
lire (140 million DEM) last year. Among the mini-series to be filmed are
"Mamma per caso" with Rafaella Carra and "La piovra" 8 and 9. Silva also
announced that an agreement has been reached with Polygram which will give
RAI some movie titles but will invest 15% of proceeds into the Italian film

The Italian TV channels RAI and TMC have expressed their opposition to the
proposal for televising Italian Premier League soccer on Saturday nights.
According to the proposal, the pay-TV network would be able to additionally
air live on its sports channel Tele+2 a second Premier League game on
Saturday nights at 20:30h. Up till this year, Tele+2 transmitted live a
match on Sunday nights. For the additional 34 live games, Telepiu has said
it would be ready to pay 15 billion lire (around 15 million DEM) which is
far less than the Football league has asked - 30-34 billion lire (around
30-34 million DEM).
An additional problem is that RAI and TMC, who hold the exclusive broadcast
TV rights to Italian league soccer games which are played on Sunday
afternoon, feel that the package they already bought will be impoverished if
one of the games is played on Saturdays instead of Sundays.

The House of Representatives of the Italian Parliament has approved the
government's amendments to the Telecommunications bill. They now have only
to pass the Senate which will be a simple formality and this process is
expected to end by the end of this month.
A new Authority for the Telecommunications sector will be set up and it will
be in charge, among other things, of the privatisation of the state telecom
operator Telecom Italia, it will apply the antitrust measures and will
co-ordinate the development of digital television services. The Italian
prime-minister Romano Prodi will nominate the president of the Authority in
September while the other 8 members will be nominated by Parliament.
The Authority will also have to decide at what time will one of Mediaset's
three TV networks (namely Rete 4) have to leave the terrestrial airwaves to
concentrate exclusively on digital satellite broadcasts.  This will happen
when the digital reception equipment becomes more widespread in Italy. At
more or less the same time, RAI's third channel,  RAI Tre will have to start
financing itself only from the license fee since commercials will not be
allowed any more.
Thanks to the approval of the Telecom bill, RAI and Telecom Italia will able
to enter the digital television business. They plan to start new thematic
satellite TV channels and to buy a stake in the pay-TV operator Telepiu.
Finally, the bill establishes that no one company can control more than 20%
of the total number of terrestrial or digital satellite channels, neither
can one company gather more than 30% of the total advertising revenues.
The private Italian TV company Cecchi Gori Group has presented the new
autumn schedules of it's two television stations, TMC and TMC2/Videomusic.
The emphasis of the new seasons seem to be Italian league football, movies
and news programs. According to Riccardo Piccioli, director general of
Cecchi Gori Communications, TMC will seek to be "a quality general
entertainment channel" while TMC2 will be the "network for youth
entertainment". For the first time, TMC will have exclusive Italian league
coverage (Sundays during the time slot 19:00-22:30h.) for which it hopes to
gather a billion lire (around one million DEM) in publicity revenues a week.
 Both networks will have access to Vittorio Cecchi Gori's massive film
archive which includes such recent movie titles as "Pulp Fiction" and
"Killing Zoe". 

During last week's visit to Argentina by the Italian minister for culture,
Walter Veltroni, the representatives of the three leading Italian TV
networks (RAI, Mediaset and Cecchi Gori Group) agreed to form a satellite
channel covering all of South America. The project will be realised in
co-operation with Alejandro Romay, the owner of the TV channel Canal 9 which
is based in Buenos Aires. He is prepared to buy 500 Italian movies which
would be transmitted over a new Italian satellite channel and has also
expressed interest of opening a network of cinemas throughout Argentina in
collaboration with Italian partners. Representatives of the Italian networks
that were present at the talks said that there is a strong possibility of
reaching a deal. 
In the past, Romay has already worked with Mediaset by coproducing
telenovelas and Mediaset has also expressed an interested in the
privatisation of the only public TV channel, ATC.

- The cities of Torino and Naples are the leading candidates for host city
to the new Telecommunications Authority that is to be established. In a
recent interview, the Minister of culture, Walter Veltroni expressed his
support for Naples due to its tradition in arts and culture.
- Suzanna Vitelli is to be the program director of the Italian version of
The Disney Channel which is set to start broadcasting by the end of the year.
- Stream, the subsidiary in charge of multimedia of the Italian state
telecommunications operator Stet has reserved two transponders on the
EUTELSAT HOT BIRD 3 satellite to be launched soon. It already owns 2
transponders on the HOT BIRD 2 satellite.


28.VII - RAI UNO, 20:50h - Born on the 4th of July (USA-1989), starring: Tom
Cruise, Tom Berenger
28.VII - RAI DUE, 22:30h - Germinal (France-1993), starring: Renaud, Gerard
29.VII - RAI DUE, 20:50h - I nuovi mostri (Italy-1977), starring: Alberto
Sordi, Ugo Tognazzi
29.VII - RAI TRE, 20:50h - The case of the heartbroken bride (USA-1990),
starring: Raymond Burr, Heather McAdam
30.VII - RAI UNO, 20:50h - Undercover blues (USA-1993), starring: Dennis
Quaid, Kathleen Turner
30.VII - RAI DUE, 20:50h - Some came running (USA-1990), starring: Frank
Sinatra, Dean Martin, Shirley MacLaine
31.VII - RAI DUE, 20:50h - The great race (USA-1966), starring: Jack Lemmon,
Tony Curtis, Nathalie Wood
31.VII - RAI TRE, 20:50h - Murder or memory (USA-1994), starring: Michael
Brandon, Johna Stewart
1.VIII - RAI UNO, 20:50h - The man without a face (USA-1993), starring: Mel
Gibson, Nick Stahl
1.VIII - RAI TRE, 20:50h - Moonraker (UK-1979), starring: Roger Moore, Lois
1.VIII - RAI UNO, 23:05h - Fine dell'intervista (Italy-1994), starring: Pino
Colizzi, Barbara Scoppa
2.VIII - RAI DUE, 20:50h - Fatal charm (USA-1992), starring: Christopher
Atkins, Amanda Peterson
Note: all movies transmitted in the prime-time slot on RAI UNO are subtitled
in English on RAI Teletext page 778

27.VII - RAI DUE, 13:30h - Formula 1: GP Germany - live
27.VII - RAI TRE, 14:30h - Cycling: Tour de France'97
27.VII - RAI UNO, 20:45h - Football: Pirelli Cup, INTER-MANCHESTER UNITED
29.VII - RAI TRE, 16:35h - Tennis: Master Italy 4
30.VII - RAI TRE, 22:55h - Boxing: WBO welter weight title, Alessandro
Duran-Peter Malinga
31.VII - RAI TRE, 16:00h - Formula 3000: Intercontinental championships
2.VIII - RAI TRE, 06:50, 17:15, 20:00h - Athletics: World championships from
2.VIII - RAI DUE, 18:50h - Athletics: World championships from Athens

1.VIII - RAI TRE, 22:55h - Classical music: Beethoven's symphonies (n.8 and n.5)
2.VIII - RAI DUE, 22:35h - Opera: Elisir d'amore by Gaetano Donizetti

[Other mailing lists]