SAT-ITALY - EDITION 33/97 - September 12th 1997 -
Italian Satellite and Media news edited by Branislav Pekic
TELEPIU SUBSCRIBERS PROTEST
It seems that the relaunch of Telepiu's premium services at the beginning
of September was not well received by a large number of subscribers. They
have inundated Telepiu's HQ with angry telephone calls and e-mail messages
and some of them have even threatened to cancel their contracts. The main
reason for this reaction has been the virtual closing down of Telepiu's
premium sports channel. Some sports events (including live Italian league
football) are now carried on the first channel, Telepiu Nero, but they are
just a drop in the ocean compared to the previous 24-hour sports service.
The CEO of Telepiu, Mario Rasini in an interview with Italian daily "La
Repubblica" has confirmed that they have received a large number of
requests from unsatisfied subscribers. He said some changes were to be
made, but Telepiu's policy from now on will be to transmit only major
sports events such as the Superbowl final, the NBA final as well as other
important football, basketball, box and tennis matches.
- Molti abbonati hanno protestato chiamando Telepiù minaciando di disdere
il contratto per protesta contro la mancanza degli eventi sportivi sui
canali Telepiu Nero e Telepiu Bianco. L'amministratore delegato di Telepiù,
Mario Rasini ha dichiarato che in futuro Telepiù transmetterà solo i grandi
eventi sportivi come la finale dell'NBA, la finale del Superbowl, calcio,
basket, boxe e tennis.
NEW DIRECTOR FOR CECCHI GORI GROUP
The Italian media company Cecchi Gori Group which operates two TV channels,
TMC and TMC2 (transmitted terrestrially and via satellite) has nominated
Biagio Agnes as its president. Mr. Agnes is an experienced manager,
previously having held important posts at state television RAI (director
general from 1982) and state telecommunications operator Stet (director for
His arrival at the head of CGG is very important for the group for two
reasons. First of all, he has influence in Banca di Roma, one of the
banking institutions which has in the past given money loans to the owner
of CGC, Vittorio Cecchi Gori. The bank has in recent times expressed
anxiety about the financial situation of CGC. Also, during his presidency
at Stet, Agnes had established important contacts with the major European
telecommunications operators and this fact may help him in finding a
strategic foreign partner for CGC.
- L'ex presidente di RAI e Stet, Biagio Agnes e stato nominato il nuovo
presidente della Cecchi Gori Communication. Agnes gode della fiducia della
Banca di Roma, da mesi preoccupata per la situazione finanziaria del gruppo
di Vittorio Cecchi Gori. Lui potrà dare un importante contributo per
trovare un partner straniero per il gruppo fiorentino.
INTERNET VIA SATELLITE
As of this month, Eutelsat will make available 2 Mbit/s channel which will
enable it to offer Internet services to customers throughout Europe. Thanks
to an agreement with the University of Salzburg, everybody who has a PC and
a TCP/IP connection to the Internet will be able to link up to the new
service. The data will be transmitted in Digital video broadcast mode
(DVB); i.e. the same standard used by digital TV services.
Several companies including Italtel, Philips and Dassault have announced
that they will produce the necessary DVB boards for the PC, which will
probably cost around 300 dollars US.
In Italy, Com.Net (a subsidiary of Telespazio) will offer the service in
partnership with Telecom Italia. An uplink station which is connected to an
Internet server has already been installed. According to the director
general of Com.Net, Cosimo La Rocca, the Internet service will initially be
offered to businesses and Intranet users where there is more use for this
kind of service (broadcast quality transmissions using high band p to 40
Mbit/s). There are already other Internet via satellite services available
in Europe such as DirectPC (a Hughes/Olivetti venture) which is distributed
in Italy by Bologna based company Nettuno which offers customers a 400
k/sec satellite channel which is not DVB-compatible (the cost of the kit is
around 2,500 DEM). Intel and Astra are also preparing their own
Com.Net will offer its customers two types of Internet services. The first
one is interactive by which users can make use of the satellite channel to
receive a response from the Web in real-time. Estimates are that one
satellite transponder will be enough for serving 50,000 users, which will
pay around 50 dollars a month for 100 Mb. The second possibility offers
subscribers only the multimedia services for which he is subscribed and
this means the cost will also be lower.
Starting from next year, more new services will be offered. Any editor or
Internet provider who would like to transmit via satellite will be offered
an uplink station by which he could send his signal via the Eutelsat Hot
Bird 4 satellite, which will be operative during 1998. One transponder (out
of a total of 20) on the new satellite will be reserved for the Skyplex
service, which will be capable of organizing several uplinked signals onto
one transponder ready for reception down on Earth. This revolutionary
technology will enable users to transmit their own signals directly to the
satellite, bypassing uplinks and Earth stations.
There is also the prospective of a full Internet service via satellite,
using a low-cost transmitting antenna. The pilot project called Isis is
currently in its development phase and Eutelsat is working on it together
with Alenia Spazio. The major problem is that the cost of the transmitting
dish is still high.
But what does all this mean for normal Internet users? The Internet
connection will still continue to use a normal telephone cable via modem,
but the return channel will be 500 times more powerful. At the cost of an
Internet subscription today, subscribers will receive enormous data,
choosing between having an interactive channel (more costly, for
professional users of the Internet) or just opting for some multimedia
According to Eutelsat estimates, the cost of the service could be around
100 DEM a year, but this does not include the satellite dish and the card
needed to connect to the PC which will cost 800-900 DEM. Currently, a
typical Internet user in Italy spends around 100 DEM a month for the phone
bill. The satellite service will speed things up which will in turn mean
lower phone bills.
- Dal questo mese, Eutelsat, grazie a un accordo con l'Università di
Salisburgo, dispone del software che, su qualsiasi pc, consente il
collegamento Internet (Tcp/Ip) via satellite. Il trasporto dei dati è
affidato al Dvb (Digital video broadcast). Italtel, Philips e Dassault
stanno producendo le schede Dvb per pc (da 300 dollari). Il gestore
italiano del servizio è Com.Net qui si è assicurata per l'Italia
l'esclusiva del software di Salisburgo e ha annunciato un solo partner:
Cosimo La Rocca, direttore generale Com.Net ha dichiarato che punteranno
soprattutto verso gli utenti professionali e delle Intranet. Ci sono due
possibili modalità del servizio Internet via satellite di Eutelsat. Il
primo è il classico uso interattivo in cui gli utenti possono servirsi del
canale satellitare per ogni risposta in tempo reale dalla rete. Gli utenti
avranno per esempio 100 megabyte al mese a 50 dollari di abbonamento. La
seconda modalità è quella dove l'utente riceve soltanto i servizi
multimediali a cui è abbonato e paga, ovviamente, meno.
Dall'inizio dell'anno prossimo, chiunque, editore o Internet provider,
potrà comprare la sua antenna di "uplink" e emettere il suo segnale via il
satellite Hot Bird 4. Il nuovo satellite avrà su un transponder un sistema
intelligente chiamato Skyplex, capace di assemblare segnali da terra
disparati e di organizzarli convenientemente per la ritrasmissione a terra.
Il costo? A Eutelsat, stimano che si possa scendere anche sotto le 100mila
lire annue, esclusa antenna e carta di collegamento per il pc, (prezzo
800-900 mila lire).
MEDIASET INTERESTED IN TELECOM STAKE
The Italian state telecommunications operator Telecom Italia (formerly
known as Stet) is getting ready to be privatised in October of this year.
Already several major Italian industrial groups have expressed an interest
in buying a stake in the telecoms giant. One of them is Mediaset, the
Italian private TV holding company whose majority shareholder is media
mogul and ex-Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.
According to unconfirmed reports, Mediaset would be ready to invest a huge
sum of money, around 2,000 million DEM for a minority stake in Telecom
Italia. Possibly Mediaset could form an alliance with other companies.
But the question on the mind of any potential investor is whether this
operation will bring any profit. Rumours are that a 1,5% stake in Telecom
Italia will cost around 800-850 million DEM, but will also give the
shareholder a seat on the administrative council.
- C'è grande agitazione tra i maggiori gruppi industriali italiani per
acquistare una quota della Telecom Italia che sarà privatizzata in ottobre.
Uno di questi gruppi è la Mediaset. Secondo alcune voci non confermate, la
Mediaset sta studiando la possibilità di pagare 2000 miliardi di lire per
acquistare un piccolo pezzo della Telecom. Secondo indiscrezioni, per
comprare l'1,5% servono 800-850 miliardi e si ottiene un posto in consiglio
ITALIAN WEB WATCH
A new and very informative Italian web site, which covers the Italian
digital sat-TV scene, can be found at http://www.itasatdigitale.com. Thank
you to Fabio Gangarossa for this information.
NEWS IN BRIEF
- After 18 months at the head of Telepiu, Robert Hersov has left the
Italian pay-TV network. His post as CEO has been taken up by Michel
Thoulouze, vice-president of Canal Plus which currently holds a 90% stake
in Telepiu. Thoulouze has also taken up the position of president of the
group, a post previously held by Jan Mojto from the Kirch Group which
recently sold it's 45% stake in Telepiu to Canal Plus.
- RAI has announced that it will invest 50 million DEM during '97-'98 in
movie productions as well as 100 million DEM for European coproductions and
180 million DEM for the production of TV series and mini-series.
- Med TV is a new satellite channel aimed at Mediterranean countries which
is due to start broadcasting during 1998. It will be a joint venture
between public TV stations in Italy (RAI), France, Spain, Egypt, Morocco
and Tunisia. It will be broadcast via a EUTELSAT satellite.
* PROGRAMME HIGHLIGHTS FOR RAI CHANNELS FROM SEPTEMBER 14-20 *
RAI UNO, 20:45h - Breakhart pass (USA-1976), starring: Charles Bronson,
RAI TRE, 20:50h - Of love and shadows (Argentina/Spain-1994), starring:
Jennifer Connelly, Antonio Banderas
RAI UNO, 20:50h - Once upon a time in America (USA-1983), starring: Robert
de Niro, James Woods
RAI TRE, 20:50h - Dietro la facciata (USA-1993), starring: James Brolin
RAI UNO, 20:50h - For the love of Nancy (USA-1994), starring: Tracey Gold,
RAI DUE, 20:50h - Primo cittadino - Part II (Italy), starring: Tullio Solenghi
RAI DUE, 20:50h - Everybody's baby (USA-1989), starring: Jennifer Loesch,
RAI TRE, 20:50h - Indecent seduction (USA-1996), starring: Gary Cole
RAI TRE, 20:20h - The dirty dozen (USA-1967), starring: Charles Bronson,
RAI UNO, 22:50h - Zelig (USA-1983), starring: Woody Allen, Mia Farrow
RAI UNO, 20:50h - I love trouble (USA-1994), starring: Nick Nolte, Julia
RAI DUE, 20:50h - Cupid (USA-1996), starring: Ashley Laurence, Zach Galligan
Note: all movies transmitted in the prime-time slot on RAI UNO are
subtitled in English on RAI Teletext page 778
RAI DUE, 19:00h - Basketball: Italian Supercup, Benetton Treviso-Kinder
RAI DUE, 18:25h - Football: UEFA Cup, Widzew Lodz-Udinese
RAI UNO, 20:40h - Football: UEFA Cup, Inter-Neuchatel Xamax
RAI UNO, 22:45h - Football: UEFA Cup, Sampdoria-Atletico Bilbao
RAI TRE, 11:00h and 15:30h - Tennis: Davis Cup, Sweden-Italy
RAI DUE, 13:55h - Tennis: Davis Cup, Sweden-Italy
RAI DUE, 14:00h - Tennis: Davis Cup, Sweden-Italy
RAI TRE, 15:15h - Tennis: Davis Cup, Sweden-Italy
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