Sat-ND, 5.9.96

Sat-ND 96-09-05 - Satellite and Media News

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Hughes may buy PanAmSat
Finally, there seems to be a buyer for PanAmSat Corp. which has been up for
sale for a few months.
Hughes Electronics Corp. has confirmed it was in talks with PanAmSat to
take over the satellite operator in a deal estimated at US$3 billion.
According to reports, both companies have been in negotiations for some
time. Now that PanAmSat share prices have been falling continuously for
almost half a year, an agreement becomes more likely than ever.
A spokeswoman for Hughes would ''neither confirm nor deny'' reports
indicating that an agreement was close. News reports indicate, however,
that a deal may be announced within the next two weeks.
The merger would create the third-largest satellite company in the world.
It would also give Hughes electronics, which so far is operating satellites
mainly in the US, the world-wide presence it has been looking for.

No evidence for Intelsat conspiracy
An attempt by PanAmSat to cash in US$1.5 billion has failed today. A United
States federal court today cleared the US' Intelsat signatory Comsat Corp.
of charges it had conspired to prevent PanAmSat from entering the
commercial communications satellite market.
The court said PanAmSat had failed to present sufficient evidence for a
conspiracy of Comsat and other Intelsat signatories. The suit was filed by
PanAmSat seven years ago following the launch of their first satellite, PAS

Small is beautiful
The launch of a Russian Kosmos-3M booster was expected today, lifting the
Mexican satellite UNAMSAT into orbit. According to news agency Itar-Tass,
Russia will cash in US$112,000 for the launch, adding to the US$200,000
from last week's launch of the Argentinean MICROSAT. The commercial
launches help the Russian space industry survive in conditions of
insufficient state funding, Tass said.
It was also reported that talks with Brazil on the launch of its SCD-2
satellite from the Russian Svobodny launch site in the Far East are
underway. Future launches include the Indian remote-sensing spacecraft
IRS-1D and the Russian SPEKTR-RG which is financed by an international
consortium of ten countries.

TCI to take over DMX
US cable giant TCI Inc. wants to take over pay-radio operator DMX Inc. TCI,
which already holds 45 percent of DMX, today proposed acquiring the
remaining 55 percent of the common stock. Although TCI wouldn't have to pay
much anyway, the deal doesn't call for cash. Instead, a new company called
Music Co. would be created. DMX shareholders would receive Music Co. shares
in return for their DMX shares.
DMX offers some 60 niche music channels in its international version.
Repeated promises of an expansion to 90 channels so far weren't fulfilled.
The service, available in the Americas, Europe, South Africa and Israel,
has a technical reach of 40 million households.
DMX has been reporting considerable losses for the last few years, mainly
deriving from its European operation distributed via ASTRA (19.2E.) The
company has embarked on a new European strategy lately, offering its basic
tier of some 30 channels to subscribers of digital TV packages as Germany's
DF1. It won't change the situation immediately: While DMX is said t have
12,000 direct subscribers in Germany, rumours has it that DF1 has just

By Dr Sarmaz (DrSarmaz@aol.com)

Decoder wars, Japanese style
Rupert Murdoch is once again in Japan, looking after his multi-channel
digital satellite broadcasting service JSkyB, to be offered through a joint
venture with Japan's Softbank Corp. A spokeswoman for Mr Murdoch's News
Corp. said he was proposing a common decoder standard used by JSkyB as well
as its rival PerfecTV.
While JSkyB will launch its 150 channels on JCSAT3 one year from now,
provided a license is granted, PerfecTV is expected to start in October
this year. Yes, just for once somebody was quicker than Rupert, although
the service is offering just 60 channels.
A spokeswoman (the third one in this Sat-ND) for PerfecTV said there has
been no request by JSkyB concerning a common decoder so far, while
acknowledging it "would benefit our subscribers."
Observers noted that new digital TV services will face tough competition
from a large number of freely available terrestrial channels. And above
all, US company Hughes has announced to export its digital service DirecTV
to Japan by the end of 1997. 

ESPN targets Mexico
ESPN International has launched another 24-hour Latin American sports
network called ESPN2. Available in Mexico and Central America, the new
channel will carry sporting events of interest to its Mexican audience.

Canada okays cable channels
The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission has granted
several licenses for TV niche channels to be carried on cable, covering
everything from gardening and history to sports and animation. They include
Canada Learning Television, Sportscope Plus, MuchMore Music, and Home &
Garden Television Canada. 
Out of 22 US applicants, it was one of only four to be approved by the
commission. HGTV has more than 17.1 million television households under
contract, including DIRECTV, EchoStar and C-Band packaged satellite
subscribers nation-wide.
However, most of the applicants will have to wait until cable systems are
upgraded to digital distribution. Only four were given priority access to
the available analogue cable channels

Kirch wants to conquer Italy
While Leo Kirch has set up what many observers regard a bogus digital TV
service in Germany, intended just to impress US companies that sell him
distribution rights for movies, his Italian operation Telepiù has so far
attracted more subscribers. According to the Wall Street Journal, the
analogue Telepiù package has 800,000 subscribers, while there are just
6,000 for the company's digital package. Telepiù hopes to boost
subscription figures by transmitting live football (soccer) games as from
next Saturday. However, set-top boxes reportedly have been largely
unavailable at retail.

Nigeria on the Internet?
For all Nigeria fans: Eleven companies have been licensed by the National
Communications Commission to provide value-added telecommunications
services. According to the Nigerian Daily Times, they including pay-phone
and Internet access providers.

AOL cancels junk mail
America Online (AOL) said it will shield its customers from junk mail,
blocking the reception of electronic messages from a few well-known
David Phillips, associate general counsel at AOL admitted that this measure
could "potentially restrict a legitimate E-mail." But he added that this
was "the price that members appear willing to pay to put a limit on the
number of junk e-mails that they receive." 
The world's largest online service will also offer its members an option to
individually blot out unsolicited e-mail soon. AOL said it will release an
update to its access software later this month, allowing members to
customise their e-mail preferences and refuse mass mailings.

Re: Sat-ND, 4.9.96 (KOSMOS launch)
You know, there are neither cosmodromes, nor Baikonur in Ukraine. They are
in Kazakhstan. May be, the satellite is Ukrainian? Ukraine launched
military satellite while do not have any civilian? I can't believe it.
Alexandr Dvorkovoy <dekan@chrgoblr.centre.energy.gov.ua>
Sorry! It's all so complicated since the Soviet Union has ceased to exist.
Of course, it's Kazakhstan. It's not the first error of this kind... Did
you know I once claimed that French-Guyana was in Africa? Fortunately, my
readers know geography better than I do. -- Ed.

Re: Sat-ND, 4.9.96 (Grandpa Zheng)
>I'm sure Grandpa Zheng will try these as soon as he's got hold of an
>Internet access. -- Ed.
Nice to make fun of people like that, but you may anyway remark that his
e-mail in marked neither in the newsletter nor on the website. It's not so
easy to send him something without!
Robert Lundemo <http://www.unik.no/~robert/>
It's not a joke, you simply cannot send him e-mail. Grandpa Zheng prefers
to live without an Internet access for "professional reasons." He claims it
would affect his impartiality as he was one of the pioneers bringing
BBC-style "Anglo-Saxon journalism" to the Internet. However, he has
promised to set up some Web pages as soon as he's back from undergoing some
urgent brain surgery. His pages will be accessible at
http://www.sat-net.com/pck/zheng/ -- Ed.

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

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