Sat-ND, 2.10.96

Sat-ND 96-10-02 - Satellite and Media News

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Proton: From Kazakhstan to Australia?
A joint Australian-Thai consortium which is planning a satellite launch
base in northern Australia (Sat-ND, 21.6.96) has run into difficulties. An
environmental and impact study has shown that the optimal launching
trajectory would lead the rockets over Aborigines' hunting grounds and
sacred sites. The problem: Some debris from the rockets, weighing as much
as 30 tons, might fall back to earth within a radius of 50 kilometres.
Aboriginal leaders reportedly rejected the plan.
The Australian site near Darwin, which could be up and running by 2000,
would be ideally suited for launching geostationary satellites owing to its
proximity to the Earth's equator. The consortium which plans the site,
Space Transportation Systems, said the project would cost A$800 million
(US$630 million.) With it, the company hopes to lure the Russian Proton
rocket away from their current launch site in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. 
While it holds true that launches may become cheaper (and larger payloads
can be transported) by using the Australian site, Baikonur has an
indisputable advantage. The Russians, who have leased the cosmodrome for 20
years, don't have to pay for it. In theory, they owe Kazakhstan US$115
million a year for using Baikonur. The reality looks somewhat different.
"Kazakhstan owes Russia US$1 trillion and we use the cosmodrome to help
cover this debt," a Russian official recently said.

Ariane sets up satellite bank (well, kind of)
In case you have a satellite but no money go get it up where you want it,
you might as well go ask Arianespace for a credit. It doesn't quite work
out that way, but a newly created Luxembourg-based subsidiary, Arianespace
Finance, will provide up to US$400 million in loans to Arianespace
customers, allowing simultaneous financing for eight to ten customers.
Financing will be provided for three to ten years after the satellite
Arianespace today said in a press release that "the loans are principally
for customers who do not yet have access to bank financing because their
projects are new and because they wish to finance their projects based on
revenues generated by the satellite.
"These loans will be refinanced by a group of banks led by Credit Lyonnais
(France), The Chase Manhattan Bank (USA), Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau
(Germany) and ING Lease and Structured Finance (The Netherlands). These
banks will also assume a portion of the risk after launch." [What risk? --

WTN serves Latin America, Asia
Worldwide Television News (WTN) has leased two INTELSAT circuits for a
full-time news service aiming at broadcasters in Latin America and Africa.
The service which started yesterday includes the full range of WTN's global
news, sports, entertainment and feature news coverage. Besides material
from its own crews, WTN also distributes news items by ABC News (USA) and
the BBC (UK.)
In this case, a circuit may not mean a full transponder -- the news feeds
are digitally compressed. According to Terry O'Reilly, WTN Vice President,
breakthroughs in digital technology played a large role in WTN's decision
to move forward with the new service. "We'll also be using a new, fully
addressable security system to eliminate piracy, and assure that our
customers enjoy a competitive advantage with every service they take."
The full time news circuit will include significant periods which are
reserved for use by WTN subscribers for their own unilateral news feeds.
WTN clients will be able to use the company's world-wide satellite
resources to get their own pictures to local viewers quickly and
The other circuit will apparently be used for international distribution of
programming to Latin America and Africa, including WTN's own non-fiction
offerings as well as programming produced by independent producers.
Similar WTN services for customers in Europe and Asia were introduced in

TPS, TCM buy Paramount rights for France
As predicted (Sat-ND, 25.9.96,) French companies are the next to sign up
with Hollywood majors after Germany's Leo Kirch has secured most of the
rights for Europe's biggest TV market, the German-speaking countries. 
In the largest programming deal ever in the French television market,
Paramount Television Group, a unit of Viacom Inc. has signed a long-term
agreement with Télévision Par Satellite (TPS) and TCM Droit Audiovisuels
(TCM). TPS is comprised of the media and telecommunications companies TF-1,
CLT, M6, Lyonnaise Des Eaux, France Télévision and France Telecom, which
will launch a multi-channel digital television platform; and TCM Droit
Audiovisuels, which is a joint venture of TF-1, M6 and CLT.
Under the wide ranging agreements, Paramount will license its current
motion picture product on an output basis for TPS and TCM's pay-TV, free
television, basic cable and pay-per-view services. TPS and TCM will also
have access to Paramount's extensive library of motion picture and
television product for their terrestrial, cable and satellite channels. In
addition, the agreements provide for the carriage of various
Viacom/Paramount cable channels on TPS's future digital platform. Paramount
will also have options to acquire equity in TPS's movie channel and
pay-per-view platforms.
TF-1, France Télévision, France Telecom, CLT, M6 and Lyonnaise Des Eaux
have joined forces to form a French bouquet of digital channels competing
with Canal+'s Canalsatellite. Beamed from Eutelsat's Hot Bird position at
13E, it will include all French terrestrial networks broadcast by the
venture's partners as well as subscription channels dedicated to movies,
sports, news, youth, education, etc. TPS will be available through a
digital decoder service based on non-proprietary technology and plans to go
on-line before the end of the year.

By Dr Sarmaz <DrSarmaz@aol.com>

Talking to Murdoch is like...
Ted Turner has apologised for a remark in which he compared his arch rival
Rupert Murdoch to Adolf Hitler (Sat-ND, 27.9.96.) Actually, he did not
apologise to Mr. Murdoch but to the most influential Jewish Anti-Defamation
League (ADL) which had complained that Turner's comparison "trivializes a
profound historical tragedy." 
In his reply, Turner said he referred "only to the way Hitler managed the
news in Germany" when he said, and here's the full quote, that "talking to
Murdoch is like confronting the late Führer." (Actually, it was a certain
Dr Goebbels who "managed the news" in Germany back then, and hadn't he
committed suicide in 1945, who knows where he would've worked later.)

Keep it in the family
Mr Murdoch just promoted his son Lachlan to managing director of News
Limited in Australia (Sat-ND, 23.9.96.) Today, BSkyB chief executive Sam
Chisholm announced that Mr Murdoch's daughter Elisabeth will now take
charge of all the satellite network's programming, following the departure
of Sky's head of programs David Elstein to the new terrestrial Channel
Five. Mr Chisholm also announced the appointment of James Baker as new head
of programming. I have to admit that I don't really know who's actually in
charge of BSkyB programming now.
But anyway, Ms Murdoch, 28, previously ran two television stations in
California (USA) which were sold at a profit before she joined BSkyB which
is 40 percent owned by Mr Murdoch's News International.
"By the end of 1997 Sky will have 200 channels and we clearly have to
increase our programming expertise to meet this dramatic expansion," Mr
Chisholm said in a statement.

Re: Sat-ND, 1.10.96
Martyn Williams <martyn@twics.com> pointed out that Asahi TV's URL actually
is http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/. There's an English language section, too.
(Just wonder what http://www.asahi.co.jp/ is, anyway. Never mind, Martyn,
it's just too complicated for me.)

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

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