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Sat-ND, 17.9.96




Sat-ND 96-09-17 - Satellite and Media News

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=========================================================


Rendez-Vous announces comeback
French adult channel Rendez-Vous Télévision today announced it was now
officially broadcasting on EUTELSAT II-F3 (16E) at 10.987 GHz h again.
In a press release, the station said its new uplink was "set up with
another company elsewhere in Europe" but did not give any details.
Rendez-Vous was forced off the air after a decision its the former
uplink provider, Sweden's Teracom, not to renew the uplink agreement.
The change of uplink has no consequences for subscribers' equipment;
neither the frequency nor the encryption system(D2 Mac Eurocrypt S2)
have changed.
Rendez-Vous also announced it was now officially broadcasting from
GORIZONT 31 (40E) at 3.875 GHz rhc in Smartcrypt encryption. The C-band
transmissions on Spotbeam A4 can be received in the Middle East, Europe,
Africa and Asia. Smartcrypt decoders and viewing cards will be available
from October.

HBO doubles Asian output
US companies continue to gain ground on the Asian satellite TV market.
HBO Pacific Partners, a joint venture of Time Warner Entertainment,
Paramount Films, Sony Pictures Entertainment and MCA/Universal, today
announced it would launch a new 24-hour English-language channel on
APSTAR 1 (138E.) The channel, dubbed Cinemax, will offer a wide
selection of films while each night of the week will be dedicated to a
single genre. Cinemax is the second Asian pay-TV service by HBO Pacific
Partners.

ORION goes Internet
Orion Network Systems, Inc. announced today that its 41.67 percent owned
affiliate, Orion Atlantic, L.P., has agreed with DIGEX, Inc.
(Beltsville, Maryland), to resell DIGEX's Internet access services
internationally. The agreement gives DIGEX access to the high-growth
international marketplace, and enables Orion to offer an increased range
of value added services to its corporate customers.
Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, Orion will offer private
label Internet access services using the DIGEX network to corporate
customers throughout ORION 1's (37.5W) European coverage area.
The Internet services to be provided by Orion under the agreement
include high-speed (64 kbps-45 Mbps) Internet connectivity, World Wide
Web browsing, large data file transfer, E-mail, and newsfeeds. The
agreement also provides for the private-labelling by Orion of such
value-added services as World Wide Web server hosting and Internet
security services.
Orion plans to launch two additional satellites during 1999, extending
Orion's reach to South America, the Middle East, and the major
population centres in the Asia-Pacific region.

Re: Sat-ND, 16.9.96 [Channel 5 launch date]
Ray Woodward <http://www.webcom.com/raymondw/> reminded me of the fact
that Channel 5 _must_ launch by January 1, 1997 in at least two
transmission areas each serving at least one million viewers, according
to the terms of the license issued last October. Channel 5 had
previously announced it proposes to start its service simultaneously in
all relevant areas. So, you can actually expect the service to go on air
on January 1.


Zeroes and Ones
By Grandpa "I mean it in the nicest possible way" Zheng

AOL growth comes at a price
As from yesterday, the AOL stock is traded at the New York Stock
Exchange under the symbol AOL.N. Actually, it was the company's chairman
Steve Case who rang the opening bell today on the Exchange. Following
that, he announced a "major makeover" of the World's biggest online
service.
Well, there's not too much about it, really. Apart from its new version
3.0 software, which for the first time includes a decent WWW browser but
so far works only with the US services on AOL, there were just
statements such as "We are re-engineering the interactive experience."
Well, great.
Anyway, AOL hopes to boost its subscriber base from currently 6.2 to 10
million by the end of next year. There will be a major advertising
campaign although AOL already invested more than US$300 million to build
its existing customer base -- but "we will get into more detail on that
later," Case said. There will be new revenue sources for the company --
but Case did not elaborate expect for talking of "hundreds of millions
of dollars."
Now for the hard news (ouch!) At the same time, a wall at America
Online's headquarters in suburban Washington collapsed, severely
injuring two construction workers and damaging the unoccupied warehouse
currently being refurbished. Although it didn't affect any of the
subscribers, the crash is the latest in a series of problems in recent
months. In August, members were cut off from accessing the service for
almost a day following a software glitch.
While still growing, AOL's churn rate reportedly is at an extremely high
level with many users abandoning the service for Internet access
providers that often are cheaper. The company's share has dropped from
US$70 in May to US$27 last Friday. Following its introduction at NYSE,
it gained US$2 on Monday.

UN with 21st century Internet ambitions
The United Nations, an organisation that nobody really knows what it's
good for (unless it effectively prevents a certain country from shooting
out its election campaign in Iraq,) announced it would step up its
Internet presence while hoping such a move would drag itself into the
21st century.
More than a quarter of a million documents will be available by
December, each of them in six languages. (Just imagine how many
interpreters this will keep in business.) "You can find out the most
recent thing that happened in the Security Council or you can ask about
rainfall and it is there," promised Joseph Connor,
undersecretary-general for administration and management.
Besides, the UN will be bankrupt by the end of this year should the USA
decide not to pay their debt which have in the meantime have reached
US$1.6 billion, more than half of the total deficit of the United
Nations. And after all, their server is darn slow, so you better click
the "text only" option as soon as it appears.
http://www.un.org/

Get sober, guys
The initial hype about so-called Network computers (NCs,) relatively
cheap gadgets that will allow users to access the Internet, seems to
give way to a more sober view. In a recent report, The Burton Group of
Midvale, Utah, stated that "the creation of the NC specification is a
politically motivated effort to accomplish a vendor-driven agenda." In
other words: "The vendors involved, particularly Sun (Microsystems) and
Oracle simply cannot stand the fact that Microsoft has so successfully
dominated the PC [Personal computer] industry." Although, funnily
enough, Microsoft still hasn't assembled a single PC yet.
"The market has a way of crushing, or totally ignoring, such politically
motivated efforts...," the report said while adding that Network
computers will only occupy small market niches.
Neil Hollister, a consultant at Datamonitor in London, reportedly
supports this point of view. Claims "that there will be 100 million
[NCs] by 2000 is much too high [...] We say maybe eight to 10 million by
2000."
Nonetheless, I must admit there is a target group. A certain number of
people in Eastern Europe has gained relative financial comfort. They can
afford a telephone line now, and they finally get it after waiting for
up to twenty years. But they definitely can't afford a Personal
Computer. The market gap that all those companies are looking for is
there, and not in the hyper-saturated European and US markets.


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

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