Sat-ND, 15.10.96

Sat-ND 15.10.96 - Satellite and Media News

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No Iraqi TV on TÜRKSAT
A new Turkish broadcast satellite has attracted a foreign customer. Iraq
wants to lease a transponder on TÜRKSAT 1C (42E) to beam TV programming
to Iraq, the surrounding states and Europe. However, a United Nations
sanctions committee today turned down a request by Turkey, claiming
those services were not "considered a civilian need."
As Iraq still has its uplink stations, no technology transfer would be
necessary in order to get the country on satellite again. The country
wanted to pay Turkish Telecom in advance -- in U.S. dollars, cash down.
Iraq has been under U.N. sanctions since its August 1990 invasion of
Kuwait. Apart from keeping the country's economy at a stone-age level,
the U.N. obviously also wants to prevent Iraq from presenting its view
to an international audience.

ASEAN transponder on INTELSAT 701
Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Brunei
have agreed to jointly take capacity on INTELSAT 701 (174E.) The
countries, which belong to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations
(ASEAN,) hope for improved efficiency and an easier use of use of the
ground segment facilities. 
Actually, it's not quite clear how much capacity will be leased.
Indonesia's Indosat said in a statement that between a half and one and
a half transponders will be taken. Currently, the six countries rent
their Intelsat capacities separately.

No more analogue horse racing
Horse racing from Great Britain had become a satellite tradition in
recent years, although it wasn't broadcast on the major satellites.
DXers nevertheless frequently ran over the feeds by Satellite
Information Services (SIS.) They will have to live without them, at
least in analogue format, and here's the reason why.
Global Access Telecommunications Services Ltd., a subsidiary of Vyvx
Inc., today announced it will lease a 36 MHz C-band Global Beam
transponder on INTELSAT 703 (57E.). The transponder will be split into
four digital channels. Responding to market demand, Global Access is
dedicating two MCPC (Multi Channel Per Carrier, as opposed to SCPC)
channels to occasional-use news, sports and entertainment programme
feeds for broadcast and cable network customers, retaining one channel
for a full-time lease. The company will use the final channel for
digital satellite news gathering (DSNG).
Global Access will lease one of the channels to Satellite Information
Services which will use it for its full-time horse racing programme from
the UK to sites spanning Africa to South East Asia, replacing its
existing analogue service.
"The INTELSAT agreement broadens Global Access' in-house capacity in the
European, Asia Pacific, and African regions," said Tim Walsh, director
of business development, satellite services for Global Access. "By
offering three channels on INTELSAT 703 exclusively for occasional use
time, Global Access is bringing its customers a range of options
unparalleled in the industry." 

Golf Channel for Japan
PanAmSat today announced that the U.S. Golf Channel has expanded its
service to the Asia-Pacific region using a digital channel in PAS 2
(169E.) The channel, however, so far is available to subscribers in
Japan, where the sport seems to be quite popular. "Demand for The Golf
Channel has grown exponentially since it began broadcasting in the
United States less than two years ago, and we share the belief that the
channel will be particularly popular in Japan," said David P. Berman,
PanAmSat's senior vice president, broadcast sales.
The service is being transmitted from a temporary earth station in
Sylmar, California. In December, the digital transmissions will be
transferred to PanAmSat's permanent Pacific Ocean Region teleport under
construction in Napa, California. PAS-2 currently transmits more than 20
television channels throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Customers
include Country Music Television, BBC Worldwide Television and Bloomberg

HSN buys H.O.T. stake
One of the largest U.S. shopping channels, Home Shopping Network (HSN,)
will take a 29 percent stake in Germany's Home Order Television (H.O.T.)
The company's other shareholders will reduce their stakes respectively.
Through them, H.O.T. is closely connected to the free-to-air station Pro
Sieben while officially not being part of their mini media empire.
H.O.T. holds only an "experimental" license because home shopping
channels are not allowed under German as well as European law. The
channel, which is mainly distributed via ASTRA, claims it has attracted
more than 75,000 customers so far. For 1996, revenues of DM65 million
are expected.
HSN's main rival QVC circumvented European legislation by claiming it
actually owned all the products it sells on its English language ASTRA
channel. (Sounds pretty lame, but they could convince British
authorities.) QVC also applied for a license in Germany's most populous
partial state Northrhine-Westphalia back in January. A clever move, as
H.O.T. got its license from Bavaria. Both states fight to attract media
companies and hence, of course, tax revenues.

Arte "waste of money"
Hening Röhl, TV programming director of one of Germany's regional public
broadcasters, today claimed that Franco-German art channel arte was just
"a waste of money," considering the station's market share of just 0.2
percent in Germany. The channel is more popular in France where it is
also has terrestrial outlets. German pubcasters pay DM210 million per
year, 50 percent of the channel's expenditure, from their viewers'
license fees. Many of them can't receive it, though, as it is mainly
distributed via cable and satellite in Germany.
Arte was "l'Art pour l'Art," said Röhl who also attacked 3sat, a TV
channel set up by pubcasters from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
Even public TV channels had to attract viewers, he said. "If they don't,
there's something wrong."

PanAmSat opens office in South Africa
PanAmSat Corporation announced today that its Africa marketing office in
Johannesburg, South Africa, is open and ready to meet growing customer
demands for PanAmSat's global satellite services. PanAmSat Africa
(Proprietary) Limited will be the first point of contact for African
broadcasters, telecommunications providers and corporations to receive
information on PanAmSat's worldwide capabilities, including one upcoming
and two current satellites serving the African continent. 
In addition to the current coverage provided by PAS-3R (43E) and PAS-4
(68.5E), PanAmSat will substantially expand its services to Africa with
the launch of the PAS-7 satellite in late 1997. PAS-7 will contain 14
C-band and 30 Ku-band transponders. The satellite will be located in the
same orbital location as PAS-4, thereby facilitating service expansion.

Hughes finds allies for DirecTV Japan
Hughes Electronics of the USA has teamed up with six Japanese companies
to launch DirecTV Japan Inc. The service will offer 100 digitally
compressed TV channels from next autumn, competing with the existing
PerfecTV and Rupert Murdoch's still-to-be-launched JSkyB.
The Hughes joint venture comprises the video rental company Culture
Convenience Club Co., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. (MC). Hughes
and Culture Convenience Club will each hold 35 percent of DirecTV Japan,
with consumer electronics maker Matsushita Electric (brand names:
Technics and Panasonic, if I remember that correctly) holding 10
percent. Four other Japanese companies will each hold 5 percent.

France to sell Thomson
According to the Wall Street Journal, Frech president Jacques Chirac
will soon announce the sell-off of the state-owned electronics giant
Thomson SA. The company is known for consumer electronics, sold under
the brand names RCA and GE in the USA and Saba, Telefunken and Thomson
in Europe. But the other half of its US$14 billion revenues stem from
the defence business, which is definitely more profitable.
Although Thomson is a loss-making company, a few bids have emerged.
There's Alcatel Alsthom SA, one of France's largest industrial
companies, and there's the Lagardere Groupe. They have an ally though:
South Korea's Daewoo Group.
This isn't an auction, however: The final decision rests with the French
president. Thus, even the South Koreans promise "jobs, growth and
grandeur for France," as the Wall Street Journal put it.

Igor Uvodic has compiled what's known (and believed) to happen on
EUTELSAT Hot Bird 2 once the satellite gets operational. Thank you very
much for this report!

EUTELSAT Hot Bird 2 - Digital TV for Italy?
The satellite should have been launched on October 13 with an Atlas
rocket, but there is some delay because of military reasons. The exact
launch date is not yet known, but rumour has it that it will be November
Hot Bird 2 has 20 transponders operating between 11.7 and 12.5 GHz for
download, offering 33 MHz bandwidth each. Four transponders are going to
carry analogue programming, the rest will be digital. On the first four
transponders (11.728 GHz V, 11.747 GHz H, 11.766 GHz V, 11.785 GHz H)
the following channels are expected: 
- RTP International, which is currently transmitting on EUTELSAT II F2
- EDTV Dubai, currently on Hot Bird 1 (11.516 GHz H);
- ART Europe, currently on EUTELSAT II F3 (16E);
- and a new channel by German pubcasters ARD/ZDF. All the analogue
programmes can be received with old 10 GHz LNBs and almost every
All other channels, however,  should be broadcast digitally, and the
majority will be targeted at Italy.  
Telepiù reserved four transponders, RAI two transponders (for channels
such as Rai 1, 2, Rai Pico, Rai International, Rai Gold [Best of Rai],
Rai News, ItaliaItalia, Planeta Rai [something like The Discovery
Channel] and an Italian version of Eurosport). 
Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset (Canale 5, Italia 1, Rete 4) and Cecchi
Gori Group (TMC, TMC 2 and VideoMusic) will be present on one
transponder each. The RAI channels will be unscrambled -- being a public
broadcaster, it must not offer Pay TV according to Italian media law.
All Italian channels will use the Superbeam (EIRP max.53 dbW,) the rest
will be on Widebeam (EIRP max.49 dbW). 
Finland's pubcaster TV (YLE) is also expected to use a transponder.
Together with Swedish Telecom Telia (two transponders,) both are going
to use the capacities for their cable systems, so the channels will be
Who will use the remaining five transponders is unclear at the moment,
but there are rumours about NBC and French TPS, both of whom are already
present at13E. 

RAI with English subtitles 
As from now, some evening programmes on RAI 1, 2 and 3 have English
subtitles on teletext page 778 (and in Italian on page 777.) A list of
subtitled programmes can be found on pages 771 and 772.
Massimo Knirsch <m.knirsch@iol.it>

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

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