Sat-ND, 27.6.96

Sat-ND 96-06-27 - Satellite and Media News
*NEW* Now with footnotes!

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

A word in Spanish
European satellite viewers may still remember the channel from INTELSAT K
where it was broadcast in clear PAL a while ago. Now, as expected (Sat-ND
23.05.96,) the world's leading Spanish-language news channel TeleNoticias
becomes CBS TeleNoticias. 
Westinghouse/CBS announced today it has acquired the company which will
continue to expand distribution of the s channel in Latin America and
Spain. In addition, CBS TeleNoticias will introduce a 24-hour
Spanish-language news service in the United States later this year.
"The acquisition of TeleNoticias is a strategic move by Westinghouse/CBS
to further develop the reach and scope of our broadcasting business," said
Peter Lund, President and Chief Executive Officer, CBS Inc. "This is the
first in a series of steps we plan to expand CBS into cable and satellite
markets," he indicated without further commenting on forthcoming
Florida-based TeleNoticias, launched December 1, 1994, now reaches more
than 20 million households in 22 countries. But a Spanish-language news
channel also has a potential audience in the USA where there are 27
million Hispanics preferring Spanish.
Andrew Heyward, president of CBS News, said that "the opportunity to
contribute some of the vast resources of CBS News -- including the world's
largest satellite newsgathering service -- will further enhance the
quality of [TeleNoticias] and promote its growth in Latin America, in the
United States and beyond. The Latin American market expansion is
comparable to that of broadcast television in the 1950s and cable in the
'70s and '80s."
However, the deal wasn't that easily accomplished. There were legal
disputes between 42-percent owner Telemundo and their partners Reuters
Television (42 percent,) Artear Argintina Corp., and Antenna 3
International Inc. from Spain (8 percent each.) Telemundo has acquired all
of the interests in TeleNoticias from its former partners, resolving
outstanding legal disputes.

Alphastar launches MPEG-2 service next week
Digital transmissions in MPEG-2 DVB compliant world standard will hit the
US consumer market next Monday when Alphastar will officially launch its
direct-to-home satellite television service.
Murray Klippenstein, President and CEO, today announced "a phased roll-out
with a gradual ramp up of production until we hit our peak production
capacity in time for the fall season when we expect consumer demand to be
at its highest."
"We have been rigorously testing our Star Trak(TM) 1000 receiver for more
than 6 months," said Al Bahnman, Chairman and CEO of Tee-Comm, a Canadian
digital satellite communications company who runs Alphastar. "And now that
we are confident in the receivers performance, we are embarking on an
accelerated production cycle designed to meet escalating demand." In
addition to that, Alphastar recently ordered one million receivers from
TV/COM, owned by a subsidiary of Hyundai Business Group, Seoul, South
Korea. (Sat-ND, 17.6.96.)
Test transmissions began on TELSTAR 402R (89W) on March 31, 1996.
Alphastar has also leased a total of 24 Ku-band transponders on TELSTAR 5
which is scheduled for launch in 1997. The service will then move over to
the new satellite completely.
The introductory package with 90 channels of video and audio from TELSTAR
402R is available for $29.99 per month.

Argentinia prepares for first national satellite
Argentinean satellite operator Nahuelsat has completed construction of its
new monitoring station at Benavidez, Buenos Aires province, according to
the local newspaper La Nacion. The first real NAHUELSAT is due to be
launched this December with an Ariane rocket. It will replace the leased
satellites, mostly Canadian ANIKs, currently operated by the company. 
Nahuelsat, owned by Aerospatiale, Alenia Spazio, DASA and other companies
won a tender for satellite services issued by the government in 1993. 
NAHUELSAT's capacity is to be used for TV purposes (70 percent), data
transmission (20 percent,) and voice communication (10 percent.)

By Dr Sarmaz (Ministry of Truth, Tierra Abajo)

No more soccer for you!*
Yesterday's semi-final Germany v England was one of the more exciting
matches in the current European football (soccer) championship. But it may
have been the last important match the British public was able to watch on
terrestrial TV, Labour MP Chris Mullin warned today at Commons question
time. He asked Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine what plans he had
"to prevent Mr Murdoch's pay TV from kidnapping major sporting events? Or
is this another case of the party that promises more choice delivering
Mr Heseltine replied that "I didn't need to fly 13,000 miles across the
world to try and ingratiate** myself with Rupert Murdoch," which in his
opinion was what Labour leader Tony Blair did when he met Mr Murdoch in
Australia last year. 
Yet, there was no plain answer to the question. Next Monday, the remaining
stages of the Broadcasting Bill will be debated in the House of Commons.
Earlier this year, the House of Lords demanded legislation should deny
subscription channels exclusive rights to broadcast top sporting events
such as the FA Cup final and the Grand National. Labour will probably
table further amendments on sports coverage issues.
* This line was stolen from "Tango Atlantico" by Joe Jackson
** To gain the favour of somebody by flattering him (And just for once,
the German language has a shorter expression for that: "Einschmeicheln".
Or, colloquial: "Schleimen.")

Star TV stays in Hong Kong
Action is where Rupert Murdoch is. It took just a half-hour meeting with
India's new prime minister to spark off a heated debate on whether foreign
media should be allowed into the nation's closed market. Indian newspaper
Business Standard reported that Murdoch planned to invest 50 billion
rupees (US$1.4 billion) in a satellite uplink site for his Asian venture
Star TV (Sat-ND, 21.6.96.) The paper added Mr Murdoch was keen to move
Star TV's operations out of Hong Kong before it reverts to Chinese rule
next year.
Several Indian opposition parties called foreign media "a threat to our
national security" and "a great danger" that will "eventually impinge on
our sovereignty," or simply the "end of our print and electronic media."
Currently, only state broadcaster Doordarshan has permanent authority to
uplink TV channels from India.
It took Star TV almost a week to react. Today, the company stated that
they "have no plan to move headquarters from Hong Kong. Recent reports
suggesting that Star TV will invest over a billion dollars for an
uplinking site in Karnataka are also false." 
Gene Swinstead, managing director of Star TV India and the Middle East,
even called the mere idea "ridiculous" while adding that the company was
committed to expanding its programming in India.

BBC warns government
There are decoder wars going on in many countries in Europe, accompanying
the introduction o f digital TV. Although the United Kingdom still has
problems with being part of Europe, there may be decoder wars, too.
The BBC today warned the Government that the Broadcasting Bill won't
prevent a black-box war that will make consumers the losers. BBC chiefs
told the Department of Trade and Industry that four amendments should be
made to ensure common standards across terrestrial, satellite and cable
markets. The BBC also expressed their concern that public service channels
could still be charged on a per viewer basis for carriage on these new
Meanwhile, BBC Director General John Birt announced to make sure BBC
channels appear on every medium -- cable, digital satellite and digital

Kamasutra* via satellite?
A Russian satellite will deliver adult programming to Indian homes as of
July 1. Commercial broadcaster Global Television from Chandigarh in North
India announced it will launch a service called "Plus 21" on a GORIZONT
satellite. (Again, I don't know which one, but maybe there are readers
even in that part of the world who might want to enlighten me.)
Anyway, this will no be one of the porn channels known in Europe.
According to the Indian weekly magazine Outlook, there will be nudity, but
only if it fits into the story's plot. The stories will mostly be based
upon classical erotic literature. Each day from 10 p.m. local time, the
channel will also give its audience advice on sex. 18-minute segments will
introduce the issues, followed by a five-minute discussion. 
Advertisers seem to have been waiting for a channel like that. Producers
of cigarettes, liquor, underwear and aphrodisiacs** are said to be
interested in promoting their products. However, "Plus 21" plans to
convert to pay TV later. "Once they're hookes, viewers will pay for
programming," managing director Kumar told Outlook.
* Hindu treatise on the art of love, composed sometime between the 1st and
4th century, containing specific sexual information including the arts of
scratching, biting, and pinching(!)
** substances arousing sexual desire

News from The Netherland
By Jitse Groen

The 'commissie-Ververs' has revealed the results of their study on the
Dutch pubcasters. Ververs wants the 'omroepen'* to hold 60% of
broadcasting time. The SON (Stichting Omroep Nederland, now called NOS)
should get 20% for news, sports and events. The other 20% is for the
so-called 'net managers', who will use the time to develop a channel
Ververs also favours 'omroep  elections'. The commission feels that the
current way of dividing broadcast-time is old-fashioned (every broadcaster
has members, but those members are more connected to the omroep TV guide
than to the omroep itself.) According to Ververs, only broadcasters with
more than 10-15% of the votes should be able to get broadcasting time. 
A survey carried out by Nieuwe** Revue shows that only VPRO, VARA and TROS
would get more than 10%, meaning that all other broadcasters (except NOS
and NPS) would have to disappear. Political parties have already said that
these plans are not acceptable. The pluralism that now makes the Dutch
omroep system unique would disappear, and Ned 1, 2 and 3 would all become
RTL-4's, should the omroepen forced to be compete with each other.
* in essence, public broadcasters in The Netherlands

Sport7 and the NOS have agreed to exchange programming. The NOS may view
football from 23.10 on Friday and Saturday and from 22.00 on Sunday. Other
programmes may be taken over moments after they close on either the NOS or
Sport7, thus also meaning that the NOS will allow Sport7 to take over some
of their programming. Sport7 has by the way closed some contracts now, but
still can't reach 80% of the country. Sport7 now allows the cable
companies to relay their signal for free until 1 October, after which the
cable networks have to pay 2 Guilders per viewer per month. This is still
not likely to happen.

Re: Sat-Nd, 26.6.96
Nintendo's affiliate St.Giga will be used [to carry the planned
Microsoft-Nintendo online service in Japan.] They share transponder space
with pay TV channel Wowow on the BS satellite (BS 5ch). [Three BS
satellites are positioned around 110E.  Ed.] There are over 10 million
BS homes in Japan and many more tuners because they are standard on most
videos and TVs now. St.Giga already operates a data service, check out my
piece in Newsbytes (Martyn Williams)

Thanks to our contributors --
Jitse Groen: jgl@dds.nl
Dr Sarmaz: TAbajo@aol.com
Martyn Williams: martyn@twics.com

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

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