Sat-ND, 12.6.96

RupertWatch -- June 12, 1996
(c) 	Copyright 1996 by Dr. Sarmaz

Here's today's issue of RupertWatch, a daily newsletter solely dedicated
to the activities of the Australian-born media magnate. Watch him adding
country by country to his almost global television empire on an exciting
journey around the world.

Today, it's Japan. Murdoch's News Corp. will launch a 100-channel digital
TV package there within two year's time. Speaking to a press conference in
Tokyo, Murdoch announced that his News Corp. would produce and supply just
a handful of the channels, leaving the rest of the system primarily as a
platform for domestic channels. "We are inviting all the broadcasting
companies to participate, it is open to everybody," added Murdoch. 
This is by no means a new strategy. "BSkyB in Britain owns only six
channels out of 24," Murdoch pointed out. While this is formally correct,
BSkyB holds an equity in most of the theme channels in its Multichannels
bouquet. On top of this, Murdoch's News Datacom controls access to the
scrambling system Videocrypt that has become a de-facto standard for
analogue pay TV in Britain. Whosoever wants to offer pay TV in the UK
simply cannot get around Mr Murdoch.
The media king certainly would be pleased if the same situation arose in
Japan. Not only the tentative name for the package, JSkyB, supports this
point of view. The package will be probably available on one of Japan's CS
satellites (CS 3A on 132E, CS 3B on 136.1E.) From 2000, the next
generation of Japanese broadcasting satellites, BS 4, may be used.
Murdoch's Star TV had started a digital TV channel in Japanese on April 1,
claiming to have attracted 400,000 subscribers through 60 Japanese cable
companies in two months. A movie channel will be added by December this
Murdoch indirectly admitted that Star TV continues to lose money.
Speculations that his "Satellite TV for the Asian Region" will record a
loss between US$80 and US$100 "could be correct", declared Murdoch.

Sat-ND 96-06-12 - Satellite and Media News

This service is provided free of charge for personal use. It may be
reproduced for non-commercial reasons only, provided the following notice
is included:
"(c) Copyright 1996 by Sat-ND, http://www.sat-net.com/pck/"
Please send any contributions and comments regarding Sat-ND to
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/ <<

How it all happened
During the last days, there was ongoing speculation on who actually blew
up Ariane 5 on its debut launch a week ago. Michel Mignot, director of the
Kourou space centre in French Guyana, today confirmed that the sequence of
events happened just the way we published it just a few hours after the
disaster. He told a news conference that "at between 37 and 40 seconds
[after launch] the rocket self-destructed. The order given by ground
controllers at 66 seconds into flight had no consequence on the rocket --
there was virtually nothing left to destroy."
Mr Mignot's statement sounds somewhat familiar to us. In case you would
like to compare it with our version of how it all happened: "Judging from
the video recording of today's live transmission, the rocket more or less
broke apart at second 38 or 39, and fuel already seemed to be spilled at
that point. At second 41, one of the on-board security systems was
automatically activated... Somewhat later, there apparently also was the
famous self-destruct command sent up from ground control, but the video
suggests that there was hardly anything left that could have reacted to
the signal." (Sat-ND, 4.6.96) Besides, we don't have any experts here 
just a video recorder.

Customer is king
PanAmSat is looking for customers in India. The subcontinent is now being
served by PAS 4 (68.5E,) PAS 7 is due to to be in service on the same
position by the end of 1997. There is still time to configure the
satellite to confirm with the customers' needs, senior vice president
Andrew Jordan told reporters in New Delhi: "Up until 12 months before
launch, we can change the specifications. If there is demand in India, we
can focus more beams here. Likewise, for China."

Ministers reject quotas
EU ministers have again rejected European-content quotas for TV channels
in Europe. They overturned a vote by the European Parliament that would
oblige TV channels to screen at least 50 percent of domestic entertainment
programming. While this quota has already been in effect for some years,
it is yet non-binding. Germany, Britain and the Netherlands oppose
mandatory quotas, while France and some smaller nations favour them in
order to protect their cultures from US dominance. The Parliament will now
have to vote again over the issue. If the ministers' view is rejected, a
compromise will have to be sought by a parliamentary committee. 

Wireless money
Put your card into the slot and wait until the money comes out  that's
how cash machines work (if you have money on your account, that is.) One
of the leading banks in South Africa today introduced the first wireless
cash machine that even works in most remote areas of the South African
bush. It connects to the bank via satellite to decide whether the customer
should get the cash he asks for or not. The machines will, however, not be
left on their own. "Wherever we use it, there will always be people or
security guards around," said a spokeswoman for the ABSA bank. And
besides, the banknotes won't be filled up via satellite, either.

Transponder Update
By Norbert Schlammer

INTELSAT 602 (63E)
A fourth TV channel from Iran has launched on 10.962 GHz v. Programming
seems to consist mainly of documentary and educational items. In Berlin, a
3.6 metre dish (4 ft) does not suffice to reproduce a colour picture
permanently. The channel was on air between 1700 and 2115 CEST during the
last few days.

At least in North Germany, the reception of Israel 1 on 11.134 GHz v has
become impossible owing to a FilmNet test card that appeared on the very
same transponder, but in horizontal polarisation mode. The same holds true
for Israel 2 which is disturbed by NRK 1 on the same frequency, using just
a different polarisation.

Zeroes and Ones

Free speech
"As the most participatory form of mass speech yet developed, the Internet
deserves the highest protection from governmental intrusion." This is how
a special US court panel today commented its unanimous decision to block
portions of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), signed by President Bill
Clinton in February. And the judges had to say even more. "Just as the
strength of the Internet is chaos, so the strength of our liberty depends
upon the chaos and cacophony of the unfettered speech the First Amendment
The CDA intended to make "indecent" or "patently offensive" words or
images on the Internet punishable by $250,000 fines and a two-year prison
sentence if accessible by minors. The US government is now expected to
take the case directly to the Supreme Court for a review.
The full text of the decision and further information is available here:

How not to be seen
French pay TV AB Sat has set up an own web site telling people what they
cannot see on EUTELSAT II-F1 (13E.) The site itself is of absolutely no
use for non-subscribers to the package, but at least it contains a few
facts that might be of interest. Currently, eight channels are broadcast
on 12.521 GHz h, still unscrambled. Anybody with a decoder for the Canal +
package can also watch AB Sat, the company says. From September, there
will be 28 channels although very likely not on the same transponder. AB
Sat considers its package "the largest offer of French language theme
channels ever available in Europe" (or something like that.) 

Thanks to our contributors --
Dr. Sarmaz: TAbajo@aol.com
Norbert Schlammer: 100415.3560@compuserve.com

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

For information on how to subscribe or unsubscribe, send email to
majordomo@tags1.dn.net and include the line
in the body of your message.

[Other mailing lists]