Sat-ND, 20.8.96

Sat-ND 96-08-20 - Satellite and Media News

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Some like it hot
...but not so the American weather satellite GOES 9 (134.8W.) Launched
only 15 months ago, it has already lost a backup motor following
overheating. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
today said it would start a two-week experiment designed to keep its
satellite cool.
The spacecraft, normally facing the earth all the time, will periodically
be turned into another direction. At certain times, the sun is directly
above the edge of the Earth and thus seen by the satellite. For the
two-week period, it will now instead be turned away for six hours a day to
avoid the sunlight. Four such periods are planned every year. Of course,
the satellite won't be able to deliver any pictures during that period. On
the other hand, NOAA controllers hope for an increased lifetime. They
consider similar measures for GOES (75.2W.)

Globalstar adds GPS to its services
Loral Space & Communications Ltd. will add navigation and positioning
capabilities to its Globalstar telecommunications service. It will combine
the with the Global Positioning System satellite network to give customers
position accuracy within ''a few inches anywhere in the world,' a Loral
spokesman said today.
The new service is due to be launched in 1998.

Brazil, Argentina co-operate
Satellite operators Embratel (Brazil) and Nahuelsat (Argentina) have signed
an agreement for joint operations, Brazil's newspaper Gazeta Mercantil
reports. Besides its own BRASILSAT satellites, Embratel will also operate
the NAHUELSAT spacecraft the first of which will be launched in the last
quarter of this year. 

By Dr Sarmaz <TAbajo@aol.com>

More Money
Yes, Rupert makes some money now  finally. Profits for his pay TV company
British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) for the fiscal to year to June 30 have hit
an all-time high at 257 million, up 67 percent from last year. The number
of subscribers in the UK and Ireland rose by 500,000 to hit the 5.5 million
during the same period. The company's agreement with Kirch Gruppe to
develop a digital network in Germany gave BSkyB "a great opportunity" to
expand its business into continental Europe, said BSkyB chief executive Sam
Chisholm. He also announced a major launch of a pay-per-view service for
the UK this autumn while refusing to give any details: "I want to surprise
you." It probably was a bit closer to the truth when he added that "we have
not decided finally what we will be offering."
Mr Chisholm pointed out that "the mechanics are already in place and there
is a big silent majority out there who think that pay-per-view is something
they want and which they showed with the Frank Bruno v Mike Tyson fight."
In March, Murdoch made 5million from the match without lifting a finger by
showing it as a pay-per-view event. More than half a million BSkyB
subscribers agreed to pay 9.95 each to watch the fight. There were
additional revenues from sales of the event to clubs, pubs and cinemas.
And, yes, there will be digital TV.
"When the digital service is fully launched in just over a year's time,
BSkyB will be offering subscribers 200 channels which it hopes to sell to
subscribers alongside the analogue service offering 50 channels. We will
find innovative ways of encouraging people to take both propositions", said
By the way: He did not want to comment on rumours that the BBC was in talks
with BSkyB over a digital TV venture. "It is for the BBC to indicate,"
Chisholm said.

CBS announces reality channel
US network CBS so far has been the only major player on the market that
hasn't announced an all-news channel. Of course: Others like ABC, NBC and
Fox were faster, the market is already crowded. After having delivered
confusing and contradictory statements for quite a while, CBS and its owner
Westinghouse Electric Corp. now seem to have come up with a new idea. CBS
will launch a new entertainment and information channel call "Eye On
People" on March 31, 1997. It will feature original reality-based
programming about contemporary and historical people. Westinghouse also
announced  a program agreement with Discovery Communications Inc. for the
production of the channel's programming. It will also use programming and
production resources of existing CBS and Westinghouse divisions.

MED TV jammed?
The rumour had been around for a few days, and there is even an official
statement by MED TV, claiming to have become a victim of transponder
piracy. The press release states that MED TV's "transmissions are being
disturbed illegally by what was up to now an unidentified source and the
first four hours of broadcasting on the 15th August were jammed. Intelsat
took steps to alleviate the problem and the jamming was stopped, but there
is no guarantee that interference in our broadcasting will not be repeated.
"We suspect that the Turkish state is responsible for the previously
mentioned illegal attempts to silence MED TV. Earlier this year, certain
Turkish newspapers reported that the state is entitled to use such methods
and to use the occupied northern part of Cyprus as their headquarters for
such operations."
Last year, MED TV already claimed its transmissions were sabotaged. On
December 14, 1995, a second carrier responsible for the jamming was spotted
after MED-TV's own transmission carrier was intentionally dropped to
identify the origin of the pirate interception. Secam color bars, implying
deliberate jamming, were momentarily seen but an identification of origin
could not be made." 
Many thanks again to Chris <chris@channel9.demon.co.uk> for sending me the
press release.

Re: Sat-ND, 19.08.96
Bavarian radio station Antenne Bayern will be back tomorrow on ASTRA. The
station said its disappearance was simply caused by maintenance work at the
ASTRA uplink site.
Dirk Rodemer <rodemerd@interest.de>

Zeroes and Ones
By Grandpa Zheng

The End
The first attempt to launch an Internet based online service ended in a
complete disaster just nine months after its launch: Europe Online SA (EOL,
Luxembourg) went offline today. Just 25,000 subscribers (instead of 200,000
expected at the end of 1996) weren't enough to make the service
commercially viable.
Founded back in 1994, EOL constantly suffered a busy come and go of
shareholders as well as many strategy changes. In the end, there was
nothing  no money, no strategy, and (almost) no subscribers. German
publisher Hubert Burda was more or less funding EOL until last month. But
by then, his company officials came to the conclusion they could make much
more money with old-fashioned web sites by selling advertising space.
Some major players such as ITT, CompuServe, Inc. and Deutsche Telekom AG
were interested in taking a stake in EOL, which meanwhile was declared
bankrupt after the company told a Luxembourg court it was insolvent.
CompuServe and ITT offers had not been "completely acceptable" to the
court, and Deutsche Telekom closed talks with EOL last week without any
The company had said in the past it expected to be profitable in four
years' time, by then reaching 1.7 million subscribers. Well, one shouldn't
believe everything, right? Of course, the Internet will never be a medium
used in each and every home by couch potatoes, navigating through it with a
remote control. It will definitely be an interesting way of reaching some
target groups, but not majorities. Maybe some other companies will come to
this conclusion before they start losing money just as Hubert Burda did
with EOL.
The company's collapse definitely has a positive element to it: It could
mark the beginning of the end of the Internet hype.

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

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