Sat-ND, 6.12.96

Sat-ND 96-12-06 - Satellite and Media News

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Green light for Ufa/CLT
The merger that will create Europe's biggest TV company has finally been
cleared by the shareholders of the three companies involved yesterday. Ufa
Film- und Fernseh-GmbH, a subsidiary of Germany's Bertelsmann AG, and
Luxembourgs CLT will together form a new company with some DM5 million
(US$3.3 million) annual revenues.
The deal had been cleared by the European Commission, acting as the
European Community's cartel office, a few weeks ago. Some resistance of one
of CLT's shareholders, French state-owned media company Havas, was overcome
by a separate agreement between Havas, CLT's main shareholder GBL und
Havas is also a shareholder in French pay TV company Canal+, a former
Bertelsmann ally that now seems to move towards Bertelsmann's arch rival
KirchGroup in order to distribute its programming to the German market.
Bertelsmann officials have at the same time indicated they would cling to
their plans for introducing digital TV services in Germany even though a
planned digital bouquet was shelved last autumn.

Hot Bird's 29E adventure
It was by no means a coincidence that EUTELSAT Hot Bird 2 took a short stop
at 29E on the way to its final slot at 13E. It wasn't even usual in-orbit
testing that could be observed at 29E. Actually, the manoeuvre is an
attempt to keep Eutelsat's biggest competitor, Luxembourg's SES and their
ASTRA satellites, away from that orbital position.
Both Eutelsat and SES had filed the 29E slot with the International
Telecommunications Union in Geneva. Although Eutelsat holds the older
rights, it was running the risk of losing the allocation simply because no
EUTELSAT had ever appeared there (or even in the vicinity of this
This explains some statements by Eutelsat that look pretty weird at first
sight. The European satellite and telecommunications company, for example,
let it be known that Hot Bird 2 was regularly stationed at 29E, albeit
just for a few days, and had been transmitting "regular programming" from

MCA takes stake in RTL7
MCA Inc. has reached an agreement with the Luxembourg-based media group CLT
to set up  a 50% partnership in RTL7, a free, satellite- and
cable-delivered general entertainment local language channel in Poland that
is scheduled to launch tomorrow. [Somewhere on any EUTELSAT. Just look for
it. -- Ed.]
MCA will provide both first-run and library programming, and will create
two Universal branded programming blocks, consisting of movie and
action-adventure themes.
Sandy Climan, Executive Vice President, MCA Inc. said, "This represents an
important step in our company's European TV distribution strategy. The
Polish economy is the fastest-growing in Europe and the largest in Central
Europe, making the television market an attractive investment opportunity.
RTL7 provides us with entry into a rapidly developing market, while
building an operational base and brand awareness for other MCA businesses."
Founded in 1931, CLT is now Europe's fastest growing media group, with over
35 radio and TV stations in nine countries. Universal Pay Television is a
division of MCA Inc., which is a unit of The Seagram Company Ltd., a global
beverage and entertainment company. [What a combination! Hopefully, they
won't try to introduce Wodka in Poland ;-) -- Ed.]

GLOBALSTAR launches complete
Loral Space & Communications has found another carrier for twelve of their
GLOBALSTAR low-earth orbiting satellites. They will be put into orbit, four
each, aboard Russian Soyuz-Icare launchers. All three launches are
scheduled to take place in 1998 from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
They are supplied by Starsem, which shareholders include the Russian Space
Agency; Samara Space Centre, the Russian State Centre for Research and
Construction of Launch and Space Vehicles, France's Aerospatiale and - yes
- Arianespace.
The first eight GLOBALSTARs will be launched in the second half of 1997
from Kennedy Space Center using two Delta-II rockets. The main load,
however, will be taken by three Russian Zenith-2 carriers rockets. In 1998,
three of them are expected to lift a total of no less than 36 satellites
into orbit (that makes 12 per launch.)
This latest announcement completes the GLOBALSTAR launch line-up. The
system will consist of 48 active and 8 in-orbit replacement satellites,
offering global telephony and other digital telecommunications services.

Hughes Electronics Corp. is manufacturing satellites at a scale that
reminds some observers of McDonald's frying Hamburgers. The company
(Hughes, not McDonald's) now thinks of concentrating on its most successful
business by spinning off its defence and aerospace business. Amongst
potential bidders, companies such as McDonnell Douglas Corp., Northrop
Grumman Corp. and Raytheon Co. are expected, reported the Wall Street

PanAmSat, Hughes merger on its way
The merger between PanAmSat and Hughes' Galaxy satellite unit has taken a
first regulatory hurdle. The Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of
Justice did not raise any objections during a review period, and neither
did it impose an additional review period. The merger is expected to take
at least until next March until finally being cleared by the authorities
A separate review currently is underway by the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC.) The U.S. Intelsat signatory Comsat has meanwhile urged
the FCC to lift its 'dominant carrier' classification.'
Comsat said the proposed PanAmSat-Hughes merger would create the largest
privately owned satellite firm in the world. Without any further
regulation, this would create ''a perverse situation in which the largest,
most commercially powerful company is virtually free of regulation, while
the smaller, more commercially restricted Comsat remains fully regulated.''
Current FCC classification of Comsat as a 'dominant carrier' dates from a
time when international satellite communication was ''in its infancy and
competitive markets had not yet developed.''

Lockheed to build third KOREASAT
Lockheed Martin once again was chosen as prime contractor for a South
Korean satellite. The company also built Korea Telecom's KOREASAT 1 (116E)
and 2 (113E.) KOREASAT 3, which is expected to cost less that US$100
million, will be built upon Lockheed's A2100 satellite platform. The
agreement between Korea Telecom and Lockheed Martin also calls for
technology transfer to some South Korean companies that will participate in
assembling the satellite.
KOREASAT 3 is expected to be launched in July 1999. In contrast to its
predecessors, it will not only cover the Korean Peninsula. Half of the
24-transponder payload will also cover Southeast Asia.

News from The Netherlands
By Jitse Groen

SBS6 + Sport7 = SBS7?
SBS 6 wants to buy the Sport7 football rights and have placed a bid. The
Sport7 shareholders will consider this bid tomorrow. The name will probably
change to SBS 7 if SBS gets the rights.
SBS 6 will transmit the important games while 7 transmits 'normal' sports.
Philips is definitely out of the race: Sport7's losses are too great.

Delta heats up Kootwijk
The planned multi-megawatts long wave radio station Delta Radio 171 could
experience some problems before going on air. The Dutch PTT wants to expand
the 'zenderpark' (transmitter facilities) in Kootwijk with four new
antennas of 320 metres in height each for Delta. Inhabitants of a nearby
community however, have protested against this expansion, because of...
radiation fears.

By Dr Sarmaz <DrSarmaz@aol.com>

Digital Rupert
Rupert Murdoch and his partner MCI were finally granted the U.S. direct
broadcast television license they successfully bid for almost a year ago. A
number of competitors including Mr Murdoch's arch rival Time Warner had
objected the license. They said the proposed MCI take-over by British
Telecom may lead foreign ownership of the rights.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission today said this was a completely
separate issue. FCC international bureau chief Don Gips: "Our action today
does not in any way prejudge whether or not the commission should
eventually approve MCI's application to transfer control of its DBS
authorization and other authorization licenses to British Telecom." 
Of course, there are still speculations that MCI may not only reduce its
share in the planned digital TV service ASkyB from 50 to 20 percent but as
announced. Instead, MCI might completely drop out of its partnership with
Mr Murdoch, selling its satellite license to a genuine U.S. company such as
Bell Atlantic Corp. and /or Nynex Corp., both of which are expected to
The FCC also approved a license that allows Echostar to provide services to
some Western states of the USA.

Zeroes and Ones
By Grandpa Zheng <http://www.sat-net.com/pck/zheng/>

"The Internet is at a crossroads," says Brian C. Fenton, Electronics Editor
of Popular Mechanics. "Rather than surfing the Net, many users find
themselves wading through the mud.
"It's remarkable that it's managed to keep up at all," says Fenton. "The
range of services that the Internet is providing was never expected to
become as commercial as it has."
Very true. But 'Popular Mechanics', which latest issue is to hit U.S. news
stands next Thursday, also contains some very bad advice for consumers,
such as upgrading to high-speed modems or ISDN. Complete rubbish! 
Once again, it's not the connection to your service provider that
determines the transmission speed. Instead, it's always the weakest part in
the connection chain that determines the speed. Did somebody say "Proxy
servers"? Yawn! 
Proxies are computer programmes that may (or may not) store some popular
WWW sites on your local provider's hard disk, enabling faster access.
But... sorry folks! This does not apply to email, of course, and it also is
completely useless for supposedly cool services such as WWW search engines,
telephony, live audio or live video. 
Mr Fenton, by the way, doesn't even understand the basics of the Internet
when moaning it was too democratic, giving a "junk mail message from a
spammer [...] the same treatment as an e-mail message from the president."
So what -- fight the commercialisation of the 'net by paying even more
money? Wouldn't you call that some kind of a contradiction?
It finally gets completely idiotic when Fenton introduces a toll road model
as a proposed remedy. It would prioritise certain material at the cost of
paying an extra charge whenever senders want to make sure important
messages get through. So, do you think spammers would back off from this
investment? No, Sir/Madam! Most of them just won't. 

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

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