SAT-ITALY 24.10.1997

SAT-ITALY - EDITION 39/97 - October 24th 1997 -
Italian Satellite and Media news edited by Branislav Pekic

The fourth annual cable and satellite exhibition, Comisat Expo'97 was held
in the northern Italian town of Vicenza 16-19 October. During the event, a
working group comprising Telepiù, Eutelsat, Mediaset, and Rai/RaiSat was
formed with the goal of developing the Italian digital  market. The four
companies agreed to work together towards promoting the expansion of SMATV
systems, i.e. central distribution systems in  which one satellite dish can
serve a whole block of apartments. Viewers will then be able to choose
whether to watch the free RAI digital channels or to subscribe to digital
bouquets such as Telepiù's D+. 
The working group has put as its goal the realization of pilot SMATV
systems covering 400,000 apartment blocks throughout Italy. The technical
specifications for building the systems will soon be published and it is
expected there will be special incentives for installers. According to the
director of RaiSat, Carlo Sartori this will enable the realization of two
goals: a large number of viewers will have access to digital TV services
and will help safeguard the landscape in the historical Italian cities, by
preventing an explosion of satellite dishes on the roofs. 
One of the main supporters of this project is the European
telecommunications organization Eutelsat. It's director general Giuliano
Berreta said in Vicenza that his company is already involved in the first
pilot projects already underway in Vicenza, San Giminiano and Sorrento. 
- Nel corso di Comisat Expo'97, a Vicenza è nato un "working group" con
rappresentanti di Telepiù, Eutelsat, Mediaset and Rai/Raisat, unite nel
comune interesse di sviluppare il mercato della televisione digitale in
Italia. E' stato presentato un ambizioso progetto di  dotare
quattrocentomila condomini in diversi centri d'Italia di una sola antenna
parabolica in grado di servire tutti gli appartamenti (la cosidetta
cablatura leggera), 
"In questo modo - ha detto Carlo Sartori, direttore di Raisat - si
raggiungeranno due obiettivi; quello della diffusione ad una massa critica
di popolazione degli strumenti necessari per la ricezione delle
comunicazioni digitali e quello della tutela di centri storici di
particolare pregio, che potrebbero altrimenti essere invasi da decine di
parabole sui tetti".

The first Italian hard-core porn channel, Satisfaction Club Television
(SCT) has announced that it will start a digital bouquet of channels from
November. The channel which has up till now been broadcasting via the
EUTELSAT II F2 satellite (10 degrees East) will continue to transmit in
analogue mode, but has also leased a digital transponder (frequency 12,149
GHz/Ver) on the recently launched EUTELSAT HOT BIRD 3 satellite (13 degrees
East). SCT's new digital service will offer three "thematic" channels,
dedicated to "classic porn", "gays and lesbians" and "bizarre porn". These
new channels will be on the air 3 hours every night of the week. For
reception of the new channels any MPEG-2 compliant digital receiver will do
and subscribers will get an additional NS1 decoder which can be plugged in
the Scart socket of the digital box. 
- Dal prossimo mese, la emittente hard-core Satisfaction Club Television
(SCT) offrirà un bouquet digitale di tre canali tematici, dedicati al porno
classico, ai film gay e lesbo e a quelli "bizarre" Trasmetterà dal
satellite  EUTELSAT HOT BIRD 3, frequenza 12.149 GHz/Ver. SCT continuerà a
trasmettere in analogico via satellite EUTELSAT II F2. Il nuovo decoder
digitale per ricevere SCT si chiamerà NS1. 

The director general of RAI, Franco Iseppi recently declared that a single
Italian digital platform is still the objective of RAI, Telecom Italia,
Mediaset and Cecchi Gori. These Italian companies are for some months now
involved in laborous discussions with the French company Canal Plus in view
of reaching an agreement on a single digital platform. Iseppi defined the
talks as "difficult" but said that the Italian partners have been pressing
for such a platform in which they would hold a majority interest. He added
that a single platform is the only perspective in economic terms and
investment-wise. According to Iseppi, an agreement has not yet been reached
because the French are not prepared to give up majority control.
- Il direttore generale della RAI, Franco Iseppi ha dichiarato che la
trattativa con Canal Plus e dificile perchè i francesi non sono disponibili
a cedere la maggioranza. "Pensiamo che la piattaforma digitale unica sia
l'unica prospettiva logica in termini economici e di investimento" ha detto

The private Italian TV holding group Mediaset which operates the Rete 4,
Italia 1 and Canale 5 channels has recently bought a package of 40 recent
movie titles. The package, which was acquired from the leading Italian film
production and distribution company Cecchi Gori, is said to be worth around
300 million DM. 
Among the movie titles in the package are "Il ciclone" and "Nirvana", two
Italian productions which had much success at the box-office.
Mediaset will also have the opportunity to air more than 250 movies
belonging to the Penta distribution group (a subsidiary of Cecchi Gori).
They include such titles as: "Scream" and "Deconstructing Henry"
- Il gruppo Cecchi Gori ha ceduto un paccheto di circa 40 film per 300
miliardi lire a Mediaset. Questo significa che presto vedremmo sulle reti
Mediaset film come "Niirvana" e "Il ciclone".

In a recent interview with the Italian daily "Il Manifesto", the commercial
director of EUTELSAT, Giuliano Beretta confirmed the news that several
transponders on their new EUTELSAT HOT BIRD 3 satellite have been booked by
Italian TV companies.
Beretta said that the HOT BIRD 3 transponders are more powerful than those
on the previous satellites and that a 60 cm dish will be enough in most of
Europe to receive its programs. According to him, their third HOT BIRD
satellite will mean the consolidation of several digital operators, such as
Telepiù (which has leased two new transponders) and the French company TPS
(one transponder). The new satellite will for the first time offer the
possibility of an independent digital platform; i.e. individual channels on
a digital transponder will be leased to various companies. A one-year
contract for a 4,5 Mbit digital channel will cost between 1,1 and 1,3
million-DM. According to Beretta, this is a good opportunity for local TV
stations in Italy to form a digital bouquet (Telecapri has already
expressed interest in the project)
According to official EUTELSAT figures, the number of Italian households
equipped to receive satellite TV has reached 950,000, which is an increase
of 34% compared to the same period last year.
- In una recente intervista, il direttore commerciale della EUTELSAT ha
parlato del nuovo satellite HOT BIRD 3. Giuliano Beretta ha detto che i
ripetitori di HOT BIRD 3 sono più potenti degli altri satelliti in orbita;
un'antenna di 60 cm sarà sufficente per ricevere i suoi programmi. Con il
HOT BIRD 3 assistiamo al consolidamento di alcuni operatori, in particolare
di Telepiù (che eredita due transponder) e del francese Tps (un nuovo
Hot Bird 3 ufficializza un'idea originale: la piattaforma digitale
indipendente. A differenza dei bouquet, che comportano un'alleanza con un
gruppo di operatori, una piattaforma digitale è controllata da un ente non
necessariamente televisivo (gli organismi di telecom) che subaffitta
porzioni del transponder a reti indipendenti ad un costo più interessante.
Un contratto di 1 anno con una banda passante di 4,5 Mbit al secondo (buona
qualità) costa da 1,1 a 1,3 miliardi. Berretta insiste sull'interesse
potenziale di questa soluzione per le emittenti locali italiane. Emittenti
come Telecapri hanno gia manifestato interesse in questo progetto. 

Telepiù has been using a digital satellite transponder on the EUTELSAT II
F3 satellite (16 degrees East) for live feeds from Italian league games on
Sunday afternoons. Here are the details: frequency 11,163 GHz/Hor, symbol
rate 5632 and FEC   
-- Telepiù usa un canale digitale di servizio su EUTELSAT II F3 (16 gradi
Est) per trasmettere le partite di Serie A. I dettagli tecnici: frequenza
11,163 GHz/Hor, Symbol rate 5632, FEC .   

Donald Koeleman from the Netherlands wrote in with information about his
new Web site devoted to satellite news from around the world. It includes
satellite news from Europe, Asia and the U.S. as well as hack news, cable
news and information about satellite equipment.
"Donald's big dish corner" can be found at:

- The director of RAI's thematic channels, Carlo Sartori announced in
Vicenza that by the end of 1998, there will be at least six RAI thematic
channels and none of them will carry no advertising.
- According to recent estimates, there are at least 500,000 pirate decoders
and smart cards in use in Italy for the reception of scrambled satellite

(All times Central European)

RAI UNO, 20:45h - Mamma per caso - Part III (Italy-1997), starring:
Raffaela Carra
RAI UNO, 20:50h - French kiss (USA-1995), starring: Meg Ryan, Kevin Kline,
Timothy Hutton
RAI DUE, 00:25h - Quattro irresistibili brontoloni (USA-1995), starring:
Olympia Dukakis, Cloris Leachman
RAI DUE, 00:35h - Abissinia (Italy-1992), starring; Enrico Salimbeni
RAI UNO, 20:50h - My son is innocent (USA-1996), starring: Nick Stahl, Matt
RAI TRE, 20:40h - Maverick (USA-1994), starring: Jodie Foster, Mel Gibson
RAI TRE, 22:55h - Peggio di cosi si muore (Italy-1995), starring: Carla
RAI DUE, 20:50h - Poliziotti (Italy-1994), starring: Michele Placido, Kim
Rossi Stuart
RAI UNO, 22:50h - Othello (Italy-1986), starring: Placido Domingo, Katia
RAI DUE, 20:50h - Der Parkhausmorder (Germany-1996), starring: Barbara
Rudnik, Marita Marschall
RAI UNO, 00:35h - Urga (France/Russia-1991), starring: Bayartu, Badema

RAI DUE, 09:25h - Formula 1: GP Europe from Jerez - heats
RAI DUE, 13:30h - Formula 1: GP Europe from Jerez - live
RAI DUE, 19:00h - Basketball: Italian league, Mash Verona-Kinder Bologna
RAI TRE, 16:25h - Box: World championship for amateurs - finals
RAI UNO, 18:00h - Football: World Cup qualifiers, Russia-Italy
RAI TRE, 15:40h - Basketball (women): Italian league, Energy Priolo-Giano
RAI TRE, 16:20h - Volleyball (women): Italian league 
RAI TRE, 16:25h - Volleyball: Italian league, Piaggio Roma Volley-Lube
Banca Marche

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