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SAT-ITALY 29.08.1997




SAT-ITALY - EDITION 31/97 - Italian Satellite and Media news
- August 29th 1997 -
edited by Branislav Peki}

* After a brief summer break, SAT-ITALY is back. From this edition, for the
benefit of our Italian subscribers, I am including a short summary of the
week's news in Italian. If you have any suggestions for improving this
service please feel free to write to me at b.pekic@itaca.com.


MEDIA GROUPS SIGN LETTER OF INTENT
The principal Italian companies operating in the media sector - RAI,
Telecom Italia/Stream, Telepiu, Canal Plus, Mediaset and Cecchi Gori have
signed on July 28th a letter of intent in which they express the will to
reach an agreement on a single Italian digital platform by September 30th.
The meeting was held in Rome at the headquarters of Telecom Italia at which
were present Michele Thoulouze (CEO of Canal Plus), Mario Rasini (CEO of
Telepiu), consultants from Lehman Brothers, Adriano Galliani (CEO of
Mediaset), Fedele Confalonieri (president of Mediaset), Umberto De Julio
(general director of Telecom Italia), Giovanni Pomella (director general of
Stream), Franco Iseppi (director general of RAI), Giorgio Mengozzi
(vice-director general of RAI) and Francesco Nespega (CEO of Cecchi Gori
Communication).
According to the letter of intent, the new Italian shareholders of Telepiu
will have a 45% stake to which the existing 10% Mediaset stake is to be
added, but the question of final control of the company has not yet been
defined. Another unresolved question is the asking price for the 45% stake
in Telepiu which Canal Plus is ready to sell to the Italian companies. It
seems that Canal Plus's asking price is the same Kirch paid originally for
the 45% stake - i.e. 1,600 billion lire (around 1,600 million DEM) which is
judged to be far to high by the Italian partners.
- I grandi gruppi italiani - RAI, Telecom Italia/Stream, Telepiu, Canal
Plus, Mediaset e Cecchi Gori hanno siglato una lettera di intenti il 28 di
luglio, con cui le parti si sono impegnate a chiudere l'accordo entro il 30
settembre. La lettera d'intenti parla di un assetto a maggioranza italiana
(45%) più il 10% di Mediaset, ma non è definita la questione del controllo.
Ci sono anche complicazioni sulla questione del prezzo per il pacchetto
d'azioni (1,600 milliardi di lire).


MTV VIA TERRESTRIAL TRANSMITTERS
From Monday September 1st, the 24-hour a day global music channel MTV will
start broadcasting it's programs all over Italy via the terrestrial
transmitters of the private Italian TV network Rete A. This follows a deal
reached some months ago between MTV's parent company Viacom and the Italian
editor Alberto Peruzzo, owner of the Rete A network. Rete A will abandon
it's TV shopping formula and will rebroadcast nearly all of MTV Europe's
programmes (including several hours of Italian programming). The only
programs that will remain unchanged will be a half-hour news bulletin and
an hour of TV shopping programs in the morning slot.
- Dal 1 settembre, l'emittente di Alberto Peruzzo, Rete A diventerà la
versione italiana di MTV. Rete A continuerà a transmettere per mezz'ora al
giorno un telegiornale e per un'ora alla mattina delle tele-vendite.


ITALIAN GOVERNMENT OPTIMISTIC ON SINGLE DIGITAL PLATFORM
The Italian government has expressed cautious optimism that a deal will be
reached which could see RAI, Telecom Italia and Cecchi Gori Group entering
as shareholders of the pay-TV network Telepiu which is currently controlled
90% by Canal Plus. According to Giovanna Melandri who is in charge of media
at the leading political party PDS, "if two rival digital platforms were to
be developed, this would delay significantly the development of digital
television market, with negative consequences for the viewers on one hand
and the technological development of the country on the other hand".
Commenting on the news that Canal Plus is asking for an exorbitant sum for
selling a 45% stake in Telepiu, Melandri said that the government's
position is clear: a single digital platform is the preferred option but
not at all costs.
-  Il governo italiano appoggia la piattaforma unica per la TV digitale è
fiducioso sull'esito della trattativa per l'ingresso di RAI, Telecom Italia
e Cecchi Gori in Telepiu. I francesi di Canal Plus oggi controllano 90%
delle azioni della unica TV a pagamento italiana. 


MEDIASET GETS NEW SHAREHOLDER
The U.S. based commercial bank Salomon Brothers has taken a 3,66% stake in
the Italian TV holding company Mediaset that operates the TV channels
Canale 5, Italia 1 and Rete 4. This development comes after news that Leo
Kirch has entrusted Salomon Brothers around 1% of Mediaset shares out of a
total of 5,46% which are in hands of the German media magnate. It is very
probable that the Salomon Brothers stake has been passed on to them by
Kirch. According to some market reports, Kirch has already informed the
majority shareholder, Fininvest, that he plans to sell a 4,1% stake in
Mediaset and would only keep a 1,4 % stake.
- Il magnata tedesco Leo Kirch ha ceduto un pacchetto di titoli Mediaset
(pari al 3,66%) alla banca d'affari americana Salomon Brothers. Kirch
probabilmente manterra una quota dell' 1,4%.


EU COMMISSIONER TO EXAMINE ITALIAN DIGITAL DEAL
The EU commissioner in charge of competition, Karel van Miert has said he
will thoroughly examine the details of the deal for the development of
digital pay-TV and a single digital platform in Italy which includes all
the principal media players (Mediaset, RAI, Canal Plus, Telecom Italia and
Cecchi Gori Group). The European Commission will take action to verify if
any competition (i.e. Antitrust) norms have been violated.
- Il commissario europeo per la concorrenza, Karel van Miert, ha chiesto di
conoscere i dettagli
dell'accordo tra Mediaset, Rai, Canal Plus, Telecom Italia e Cecchi Gori
per lo sviluppo in Italia della televisione digitale a pagamento, la
cosiddetta piattaforma digitale. 


EVERYTHING CHANGES AT TELEPIU
As from tomorrow, August  30th, Telepiu's premium channels (Tele+1 and
Tele+2) are to introduce radical program changes. Tele+1 which has up till
now been Telepiù's movie channel will change it's name into Telepiu Bianco
and will become a general entertainment channel with 60% of the schedule
devoted to movies, 30% to live sports and the rest of the time will
transmit entertainment programs and TV series.
Additionaly, the channel will have a "clear window" during the 19:00-21:00
time slot when it will show sports,  TV series and youth orientated
programs unscrambled. The sports channel Tele+2 will be transformed into
Telepiù Nero, a multiplex of the first channel, with similar programs but
shown at different times of the day. The third Telepiù channel, Tele+3 will
have to give up its terrestrial frequencies by the end of the year and is
set to become a promotional channel that will present 
Telepiù's digital package of channels.
- A partire dal 30 Agosto, Telepiù 1 si trasformerà in Telepiù Bianco, un
canale "generalista", (programmi dedicati al cinema, sport in diretta,
fiction, telefilm, spettacoli e programmi di intrattenimento). Avrà una
fascia serale "in chiaro", dalle 19:00 alle 21:00 ore. Telepiù 2 diventerà
Telepiù Nero, con la stessa programmazione differita negli orari e nei
giorni. Telepiù 3, diventerà un canale promozionale, che presenterà i
canali nel Telepiù Satellite.


FOUR NEW THEMATIC CHANNELS
Beside the changes at Telepiu's existing terrestrial TV services, there
will also be changes at Telepiu's satellite delivered package of channels.
First of all there will be a name change - instead of Telepiu Satellite,
the package of digital channels will now be called D+. Four new channels
are to join the package as of August 30th and they are intended primarily
for movie fans. Cine Cinema 1 and 2 will show recent movie titles, Cine
Classics will air movie classics from the 30-50's (in black and white) and
finally Season is a thematic channel devoted to fans of "hunting, fishing
and nature". Two more channels are to appear by the end of the year -
Planete (documentaries and geography) and Canal Jimmy (cult programs for a
young audience).
All of these new channels are being launched by Multithematiques, a French
company (subsidiary of Canal Plus) which is already present with it's
channels in France, Germany and Spain. The four new channels will have
their headquarters in Rome. The movie channels Cine Cinema 1 and 2 will
broadcast from 09:00-03:00 hr. movies which will be repeated at different
times, film documentaries as well as two magazine programs 
("Hollywood 26" and "Bazar" with the latest movie news). The third channel,
Cine Classic will be on the air from 11:00-01:00 hr and will also show
movies which will be repeated at different times, documentaries and a
weekly program called "Il Club". 
The new thematic channels will be offered as an option to subscribers of
the different packages of channels (Premium, Basic, Super Premium or Super
Basic). Up till October 3rd, as a promotional tool, the option to view
these channels will be free.
- Dal 30 AGOSTO sbarcano quattro nuovi canali via satellite. Cine Cinema 1
e 2 saranno dedicati alla produzione contemporanea, Cine Classics con le
pellicole classiche in bianco e nero e Seasons per tutti gli appassionati
di caccia, pesca e natura. Entro la fine del anno, arriveranno altri due
canali, Planète (grandi reportage e geografia) e Canal Jimmy (programmi per
il pubblico giovanile). 
I canali "Cine Cinema 1 e 2" trasmetteranno dalle 9 alle 3 film in
multidiffusione, documentari e due programmi di attualità cinematografica
"Hollywood 26" e "Bazar". Il terzo canale, "Cine Classic", trasmetterà
dalle 11 all'1 film in multidiffusione, documentari, cronache e un
programma settimanale, "Il Club". I nuovi canali tematici saranno
distribuiti con il bouquet digitale D+ offerto dal Gruppo Telepiù, sotto
forma di "opzione" a da chi si abbona a una delle diverse offerte (Premium,
Basic, Super Premium o Super Basic). 


NEW INTERNET PAGES FOR MEDIASET CHANNELS
The Italian private TV stations that form part of the Mediaset TV holding
company, Canale 5, Italia 1 and Rete 4 have announced new Internet services
from the month of September. With the start of the new autumn season, the
flagship channel Canale 5 will also revamp it's existing service and will
include all the new programs. Check out http://www.canale5.com September 8th.
The other two Mediaset channels will have their homepages for the first
time on the Internet. Italia 1 debuts on September 10th and viewers will be
able to find out more about the new sci-fi series "Millenium" which will
debut in Italy this autumn. The adress is http://www.italia1.com
Finally, from October 1st, Rete 4 will also get it's Internet site which
will include information about the films shown as part of the 'Cinema
Festival' and 'I Bellissimi di Rete 4' season. You will be able to find
Rete 4 at http://www.rete4.com. 
- La stagione autunnale di Canale 5 partirà l 8 Settembre completamente
rinnovata, cominciando dalla home page che  presenterà tutte le novità dei
programmi. Dal 10 settembre Italia 1 entra in "rete" ad un nuovo indirizzo:
www.italia1.com. Un sito dedicato esclusivamente ai nuovi programmi a
partire da "MillenniuM", il nuovo serial nato dalla mente di Chris Carter,
il creatore di "X-Files". Dal 1 Ottobre anche RETEQUATTRO avrà il suo sito
internet, il nuovo indirizzo sarà www.rete4.com I primi programmi inseriti
nel nuovo sito saranno  i cicli di film 'Cinema Festival' e 'I Bellissimi
di Rete 4'. Seguiranno i siti de 'La macchina del tempo', 'ES, l'essenza
della vita', 'La ruota della fortuna'.


ITALIAN RADIO VENTURE FOR WALT DISNEY
According to the Italian weekly "L'Espresso", Scandinavian Broadcasting
Systems (SBS) in which the Walt Disney Company has a 22,8% stake is
seriously considering the possibility of entering the Italian radio market.
Talks have been going on between SBS and a media company headed by the
Hazan brothers which operates two private radio stations - RMC and 105
Network.
- Nel suo ultimo numero, il settimanale L'Espresso conferma le voci di un
possibile accordo tra la società SBS (in cui Disney ha il 22,8% del
capitale) e il gruppo radiofonico controllato dei fratelli Hazan, RMC e 105
Network.





* PROGRAMME HIGHLIGHTS FOR RAI CHANNELS FROM  AUGUST 30-SEPTEMBER 6 *

PRIME-TIME MOVIES
01.09
RAI UNO, 20:50h - Quo Vadis (USA-1951), starring: Robert Taylor, Deborah
Kerr, Peter Ustinov
02.09
RAI DUE, 20:50h - Il medico della mutua (Italy-1968), starring: Alberto
Sordi, Claudio Gora
RAI TRE, 20:50h - The case of the lethal lifestyle (USA-1993), starring:
Hal Halbrook, Raymond Burr
03.09
RAI TRE, 20:40h - L'amore molesto (Italy-1995), starring: Anna Bonaiuto,
Gianni Cajafa
04.09
RAI DUE, 20:50h - Piccoli ergastoli (Italy-1997), dokumentarni film
RAI TRE, 20:50h - The liar's club (USA-1993), starring:Will Wheaton, Brian
Krause
05.09
RAI TRE, 20:25h - Never say never again (USA-1983), starring: Sean Connery,
Kim Basinger
06.09
RAI TRE, 20:40h - Man with a gun (USA-1991), starring: Gary Busey, Michael
Madsen
RAI DUE, 21:30h - Full metal jacket (USA-1987), starring: Matthew Modine,
Adam Baldwin

SPORT
02.09
RAI DUE, 20:50h - Football: Italian cup
03.09
RAI TRE, 16:35h - Athletics: Grand prix internazionale
05.09
RAI TRE, 15:40h - Gymnastics: World championships from Lausanne
RAI UNO, 18:30h - Draw for the city host of the Olympiad of 2004 - live
06.09
RAI TRE, 12:55h - Formula 1: GP Italy - heats
RAI DUE, 13:55h - Volleyball: European championships, Italy-Greece

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS
02.09
RAI DUE, 22:40h - Lorenzo'97 - Jovanotti in concert
03.09
RAI UNO, 20:50h - Miss Italia - la moda (1st night)
05.09
RAI UNO, 20:50h - Miss Italia - le emozioni (2nd night)
06.09
RAI UNO, 20:50h - Miss Italia - finals (3rd and final night)
RAI DUE, 20:50h - Venice'97 - award night 



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