Sat-ND, 19.9.96

Sat-ND 96-09-19 - Satellite and Media News

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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/ <<

First of all, thank you very much for your contributions! There are
quite a few today, and I have put them on the top of this issue. 


Search warrant against Med-TV
One again, Kurdish Med TV disappeared yesterday -- this time from its
new transponder on INTELSAT 705 (18W.) The last time the channel
vanished it did so because of uplink problems. This time, the nature of
the interruption seems to be of a more severe nature.
As TELE-satellit's Dr. Dish reported today, police and tax office
agencies searched the station's headquarters in Denderleeuw/Belgium on
MED-TV is accused of maintaining connections with the Kurdish PKK and of
acting as a money-laundry to clean up drug-traffickers money. 
During a similar raid last year, BFr350 million (US$10 million) were
found. The station, which utilises a British satellite TV license to
reach its audience, is said to be financed mainly by Kurdish businessmen
living in Belgium. Nothing is known about the future of MED-TV at this

Viacom irritated by BSkyB's Kids Network
The Daily Telegraph today reported a major disagreement between Viacom
and BSkyB. BSkyB is launching the Fox Kids Network in direct competition
against Nickelodeon UK, a station half owned by Viacom and BSkyB each.
Nickelodeon UK is actually operated by BSkyB who control not only the
pay TV revenue but also advertising sales. The same sales office will
handle Fox Kids advertising as well! Viacom is threatening to apply for
a court injunction against the launch.
Mark Lebell/pck

Channel 5 still twiddling knobs
Channel 5 admitted that it's video retuning scheme is not going as fast
as planned, and the channel may postpone launch until February 5th 1997.
Earlier in the week it was awarded the use of UHF channel 35 which
extend its coverage to reach 80% of UK homes. This will require more
retuning in the new transmission areas. It is unclear whether these
transmitters will come on-line at the same time as the rest of the
country, or at a later date.
Mark Lebell
"Many transmitters of their terrestrial network use frequencies that
might interfere with devices connected to TV sets -- in case they're
using the antenna input rather than a direct video connection. Thus,
Channel 5 has to retune video recorders, satellite receivers and cable
decoders in some 10 million homes before going on air.
Channel 5, backed by investors such as Pearson Plc and Luxembourg's CLT,
will finally reach just three quarters of the UK's viewing population.
[Now 80 percent, of course.] Financial details of the retuning scheme
were not disclosed, but unconfirmed predictions start at 55 million."
(Sat-ND, 29.7.96)

Massive advertising budget for DSTV
Italian pay-TV network Telepiù, controlled by Germany's media mogul Leo
Kirch, has announced an unprecedented advertising campaign for this
autumn. The four advertising promos have been produced by the agency
Saatchi & Saatchi and their cost has been estimated at around 22 billion
Italian lira. The campaign will focus on the programming offer on
Telepiù 1 (movies) and Telepiù 2 (sports), which are transmitted
terrestrially and via satellite as part of the digital package DSTV, as
well as the new pay-per-view-service Telecalcio (live broadcasts of
Italian league football [soccer]).
Branislav Pekic/pck

Scandinavian news
Quite a lot of changes will take place on Scandinavian satellites on
October 1. 
Sci-Fi Channel will start at 12,053 lhc on TV-SAT 2 (0.5W); VH-1 will
start on SIRIUS 1 (5.2E) 11,785 rhc; and Nickelodeon will share a
transponder with Z-TV at 11,862 rhc also on SIRIUS 1.
Latest news indicate that the BBC will replace MTV on 12,092 rhc on THOR
The CTV package which still only includes CNN, Discovery, Eurosport, MTV
and TCC will also include some of the new channels such as BBC Prime and
Sci-Fi. The subscription fee will rise by 2,10/month up to 8,40/month.
(I would love to have a Sky Subscription instead!)
Richard Karlsson <http://hem.passagen.se/richardx/index.html>
(...and I would even pay twice the official price for it! -- Ed.)

Hughes close to PanAmSat Deal
The expected acquisition of PanAmSat Corp. by General Motor's Hughes
Electronics Corp. will lead to the creation of a new a new
satellite-services company in which Hughes is believed to hold about a
70% stake.
As The Wall Street Journal reported today, a final agreement could be
reached by tomorrow -- or still be delayed. Most of the hurdles on the
way to the US$3-billion deal, however, seem to have been removed. The
price had been an obstacle for a long time, and although PanAmSat stock
price has declined, it still is.
Hughes will pay just the half of the US$3 billion in cash, the rest will
be paid with shares of the new company -- and thatwill probably even
make the deal even tax-free.
The current PanAmSat holders, Anselmo family and Grupo Televisa
(Mexico,) each would own 12% to 13% of the combined company, depending
on how much cash those parties want to take. (Judging from earlier
reports, both are not too interested in the satellite business anymore.) 
The new company will operate Hughes' ten GALAXY satellites as well as
the four existing PAS satellites. Over the next few years, seven more
satellites are due to be launched. Some other Hughes satellite
operations will not be part of the deal. The units that plan
next-generation systems, construct satellites and operate the U.S.
DirecTV satellite-to-home television service with stay with Hughes, and
so does its direct-to-home television service in Latin America. 
Ironically, PanAmSat will carry a competing service by Rupert Murdoch
and local TV companies, one of them the aforementioned Grupo Televisa
which will be allowed to buy back valuable options from PanAmSat.
PanAmSat currently holds these options on Televisa's direct-to-home
ventures in Spain and Latin America.

Zeroes and ones
By Grandpa "cookie monster" Zheng

They did it again. Internet hackers today celebrated their greatest
success so far by bringing down the CIA's Web site. Yes, I am talking of
the very Central Intelligence Agency, the USA's famous bastion of spy
technology and computer wizardry. Ha, ha! They were not even able to
shield their Web site from any outside intrusion.
"Welcome to the Central Stupidity Agency," their main page suddenly read
this morning (local time,) offering surprising links to "News from
Space" (this could've been Sat-ND) and "Nude Girls" (this couldn't have
been Sat-ND.) 
The spy agency has formed a task force to look into how the page was
penetrated (although I could tell 'em as well) and how to prevent a
recurrence. In the meantime, the CIA has pulled the plug on its site
which was available at
Let's just hope somebody captured the spoof so we can all enjoy it just
like the Department of Justice hack:

Of course, this had to come. The first Internet-only TV channel was
announced today, guaranteed to offer "original Net-specific, Net-only
content." But in order to receive that, you once again have to download
some megabytes of proprietary software. I read somewhere that
Microsoft's Internet Exploder... er, Explorer had the software built in.
Rubbish! The browser just automates the download process, that's all.
And even after downloading the software, I still wasn't able to watchany
moving picture on this fabulous Web site, which admittedly is just

The BBC Web thing
The British Broadcasting Corporation will set up something on the World
Wide Web in early 1997. Having read the reports, I can't quite figure
out what it really is, except that it will be commercial as everything
the BBC seems to plan nowadays.
This BBC Web thing, let's call it a commercial online service, goes by
the working title of -- you guessed it! -- BBC Online. The companies
behind the service are the Beeb's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, and the
Japanese-controlled information technology company ICL. It seems it's
not so much that technology's what the BBC is after in this joint
venture although ICL provide the systems integration services and
technical expertise. ICL will also fund the whole venture as the BBC
must not use public money to finance any of BBC Worldwide's commercial
ventures. It may, however, provide what's been described as "creative
content." Oh, well.
The service will be built around favourite BBC radio and television
programmes, which does not sound too exciting as hundreds of
broadcasters around the World have similar services like that which,
here lurks the difference, are available for free. Access will be
possible with some BBC-branded software over the Internet, but the
service will also appear on online services such as AOL and CompuServe.
(If you think they're free, just think again.)
While still raising 1.8 billion pounds from license fees, the BBC has in
1995/96 cashed in just 77 million pounds from its commercial adventures.
I have some doubts whether the BBC Web thing will improve this figure
too much.

Re: Sat-ND, 18.9.96 [Cookies]
Do you think you could just tell me what the cookies are and what they
are for as i've always wondered? (Tony Balaam)

Grand Zheng says:
Cookies are files sent to you by Web sites. They are stored on your own
hard drive, and in case of subsequent visits, retrieved from them. They
usually contain information about your activities on this particular
site as well as preferences you may unfortunately have stated anywhere
there. Cookies do not tell any Web site _who_ you are, the may just be
used to track _what_ you do when you were there. But combined with other
well-kept secrets of Web browsers, they may be used to build a pretty
sharp profile of who your are and what you prefer.
For example, most Web browsers will tell a Web server who you are (or at
least, what your IP address is although this is of less use if you don't
have any :-) and from which Web page you came from. Just combine that
with any of those "personalised" offers, where you have to choose items
you're interested in. Well, the Microsoft Network (serving just as an
example) will greet you next time you log in with exactly what you
selected to be displayed. Nice, but on the other hand Microsoft now
knows what you're interested in! Imagine what Bill Gates could do with
this information. It may at least lead to some commercial blurb
especially inserted supposed fit your interests. Many search engines
offer similar customised services, too.
By the way, you can still read the article that (partly) sparked the
discussion off almost half a year ago:

Re: Sat-ND, 18.9.96 [Cookies]
Hi . I wonder if cookies are illegal?? Invasion of privacy??? (Graham

Grandpa Zheng says:
Nah, not really. Or would you like to have a disclaimer like that before
accessing any Web page: "By clicking on the link below, you confirm that
you agree to being tracked by our software, have loads of junk uploaded
to your very hard disk, don't mind any observation of your moves on our
site, knowing us where you came from, love to receive junk mail, can't
wait to view advertisements tailored to your interests, and by the way
confirm that your are at least 21 years of age"? Come on! You might as
well start watching TV again.
Seriously: Most servers do _not_ mean to do you any harm by sending
cookies. They're not interested in you as an individual! They just want
to know what users do on their sites, maybe just to improve their
service. There still is the danger that this data may be used in
conjunction with individual preferences you may give away, with your IP
address and the page you came from (also known as the "referrer page.") 
The best way to cope with cookies is to locate any directories and files
related with cookies, delete their content, and make them
write-protected. Your browser won't be able to store any cookie
information anymore, so you may even disable the Security Alerts I was
writing about yesterday. Unless, of course, you have fun with zapping
cookie alerts just like I do.

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

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