Sat-ND, 7.6.96

Sat-ND 96-06-07 - Satellite and Media News

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"(c) Copyright 1996 by Sat-ND, http://www.sat-net.com/pck/"
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Peter C. Klanowski, Fax +49-451-5820055, pck@LyNet.De

This issue is sponsored by TELE-satellite, Europe's Satellite Magazine 
Have a look at their homepage! >> http://www.TELE-satellit.com/ <<

Go East
Luxembourg based commercial satellite operator SES will use the orbital
slot 28.2E for a new satellite system which is, not at all surprisingly,
called ASTRA 2. The new position, which will allow SES access to the
Russian and non-European markets, will be occupied by ASTRA 2A and 2B by
the end of 1997.
The next satellite due to be launched, however, is ASTRA 1G. It will be
put into orbit by a Russian Proton rocket in June 1997. ASTRA 1H, the
eighth satellite for the 19.2E slot, will be modified by its manufacturer
Hughes Space and Communications International to include a Ka-band
payload, providing point-to-point or point-to-multipoint interactive
applications across Europe. It will be launched during the third quarter
of 1997. Actually, this will be the first commercial Ka-band payload
manufactured by Hughes.
Before that, ASTRA 2A will embark on its journey to space. It will be
launched with an Ariane rocket in August 1997.  ASTRA 2A is an upgraded HS
601HP model, similar to ASTRA 1G and 1H. 2A, however, will have a xenon
ion propulsion system, called XIPS, for orbital control. ASTRA 2A also
will have 28 active Ku-band transponders operating in the Broadcast
Satellite Service frequency band, equipped with 100-watt travelling-wave
tube amplifiers.
ASTRA 2B will be the first ASTRA satellite since 1990 that was not built
by Hughes, and it will be the first one built in Europe. Matra Marconi
Space will deliver the spacecraft due to be launched in the first quarter
of 1998.
Quite a lot of changes, but one thing never seems to change. Whenever SES
announces a new satellite, Rupert Murdoch has already secured his share of
available transponders. Actually, BSkyB has already leased 14 transponders
on 28.2E. 

NTV gets cash injection for future plans
Russian news channel NTV plans to set up a five-channel satellite TV
package called NTV Plus. It will do so with a little help from an unlikely
partner. The Russian company Gazprom, largest gas producer in the world,
has acquired an undisclosed number of NTV shares from the Most Group, so
far owning a controlling stake in the channel. It seems by no means
unlikely that GALS 1 will be used for NTV Plus. The direct broadcasting
satellite was recently repositioned at 36.1E.
While NTV moves ahead on satellite with Gazprom's cash injection, it still
has some problems down on Earth. The channel has to share its terrestrial
network with the Russian Universities programme. According to the Russian
State Television and Radio Company, the issue will be decided at the
governmental level.

Nothing changes but the price
A normal soccer match still lasts about 90 minutes, there are usually some
22 players involved, and the game in itself probably hasn't become more
interesting during the last few years. How come that each of the clubs in
the English Premier League will cash in at least seven million pounds from
1997, almost the fourfold of the current amount, without doing anything
but what they always did? Well, ask Rupert Murdoch. British Sky
Broadcasting Plc won the right to screen English Premier League football
from 1997 through 2001 worth 670 million pounds (US$1 billion.) While
matches are shown live by BSkyB, the BBC will continue to broadcast
recorded highlights. It will pay 73 million pounds for the four-year term,
outbidding their commercial competitors ITV. According to Premier League
chief executive Rick Parry, "This was a deliberate decision on our part to
continue to secure a fair balance between terrestrial and satellite
Actually, the only new about this deal is the price that BSkyB and BBC
have to pay; both are already holding the respective transmission rights
until 1997. A consortium led by United News and Media Plc was also bidding
for live transmission rights, a second one included Carlton Communications
Plc and Mirror Group Newspapers Plc. 

ASA instead of ESA?
The Malaysian Science, Technology and Environment Minister has called for
an Asian Space Agency. "By pooling our resources, Asian countries could
save on funding and catch up with development of the aerospace
technology," Minister Law Hieng Ding told reporters today. By co-operating
in their own aerospace programmes, they would no longer have to depend on
the European Space Agency. The first Malaysian communications satellite,
MEASAT 1 (91.4E,) was launched with a European Ariane rocket in January.
MEASAT 2  is due for launch in October, again using European services.

New marketing approach for digital TV
In some countries such as Germany, you can get cellular phones for free 
almost. The expensive hardware is given away for ridiculous prices down to
DM10, just as long as you sign a contract with a service provider at the
same time. This will of course cost you much more than what's the
hardware's worth. Nonetheless, it's a successful marketing model that may
very soon be used for digital TV as well. EchoStar Communications Corp.
now offers its DISH network reception hardware in a few test markets in
the USA. The receiver is given away for US$199, just a third of its normal
price. At the same time, customers have to subscribe to a package of 40 TV
and 30 radio channels for at least one year, amounting to US$300.

Zeros and Ones

* Want a free CompuServe account? No problem. Get yourself a radio or TV
station, mention CompuServe on the air, and it's yours. The online service
offers their free accounts not only to newsrooms but occasionally also to
print media who mention CompuServe. Just ask cibn@cis.compuserve.com.
(Er... do I get a free account now?)

Copyright 1996 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De. All rights reserved.

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