Sat-ND, 11.12.96

Sat-ND 96-12-11 - Satellite and Media News

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Another KOSMOS launched
Russian news agency Itar-Tass reported that the country's Aerospace Forces
today launched the 15th and last KOSMOS satellite in this year's series.
The spacecraft was lifted into orbit  from the Baikonur cosmodrome in
Kazakhstan using a Tsiklon-2 two-stage booster rocket. No further details
were available on the satellite.

Intelsat orders K-TV
The International satellite organisation INTELSAT will order a Ku-band only
satellite from Matra Marconi Space. The high power spacecraft called K-TV
will be positioned at 95E to provide the Asia-Pacific region with video
services. Irving Goldstein, INTELSAT Director General and Chief Executive
Officer: "Indeed, this satellite is a powerful addition to our global
fleet. This spacecraft will have 30 Ku-band transponders and will be
delivered by year-end 1998." He added that K-TV would allow Intelsat to
"enhance its provision of the newest video services, such as Direct-to-Home
and VSAT video services, to expanded areas including China, India,
Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, and throughout the Asia-Pacific."
INTELSAT Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Gary Smith, predicted
strong demand for K-TV capacity, saying "we're already taking reservations
for this capacity; we're buying the satellite now to ensure we have the
capacity our regional customers need, when they need it, and where they
need it. Procurement of the K-TV satellite," he continued, "will help us
meet the growing demand for video capacity throughout the INTELSAT system."
At the 114th meeting of the INTELSAT Board of Governors, INTELSAT
Management was also authorised to conduct final negotiations for the
procurement of two follow-on Spacecraft (FOS-II) for operation in the
Indian Ocean Region. The Board expects to ratify a successfully finalised
contract with satellite manufacturer SS/Loral at its March 1997 meeting.
The FOS-II spacecraft will replace two INTELSAT VI satellites, with the
first FOS-II spacecraft scheduled for delivery in July 2000. Each FOS-II
satellite will have 44 C-band and 10 Ku-band transponders. The in-orbit
lifetime of each of the FOS-II spacecraft is estimated at approximately 15
years. SS/Loral will be the prime contractor, with significant
participation by companies from Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.

Canada to shut down RCI -- again
Once more, Radio Canada International (RCI) is on the verge of being shut
down completely. Although the country's international broadcasting service
was saved almost a year ago by a government cash infusion, it may be
different this time. All 125 employees at Radio Canada International were
issued layoff notices. The Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) has also
handed out notices to more than 1,500 employees. About half of the layoffs
are in English radio and television. Radio Canada International is included
in the other half along with the French service, Radio Canada, engineering
department and the head office. The job cuts were made as part of the CBC's
effort to cut more than Can$400 million from its budget because of a
reduction in government subsidies.
CBC has announced it no longer intends to fund Canada's international
short-wave service. Nevertheless, Heritage Minister Shelia Copps has told
the House of Commons that the government is looking for those Can$16
million needed to keep RCI going for another year.
If the government does not succeed, Listeners all around the world will
probably witness the first shutdown of an industrialised nation's
international broadcasting service on March 31, 1997. The service is not
only available world-wide on short-wave, transmitted from one of the most
powerful transmitter sites located in Sackville, Ontario, but in many parts
of Europe also on EUTELSAT Hot Bird, 11.265 GHz h, sound subcarrier 7.56

China adds ASIASAT capacity
Asia Satellite Telecommunications Company Ltd. (AsiaSat) has announced it
will lease two more transponders on ASIASAT 2 (100.5E) to China
Broadcasting Film Television Satellite Company Ltd., a wholly-owned
subsidiary of the Ministry of Radio, Film and Television of China. The new
transponders will be used to provide eight Chines provinces with a total of
ten digitally compressed TV channels.
The ministry already uses six transponders on ASIASAT 2 and three on
ASIASAT 1 (105.5E.)

Disney/ABC enters Italian pay TV market
Telepiù, Italy's first pay television service, and Disney/ABC International
Television have entered into a 10-year pay-per-view and exclusive pay
television agreement. Disney/ABC will license pay television and
pay-per-view rights to Telepiù for live action feature films, including
Disney, Hollywood, Touchstone and Miramax pictures. There is also an
agreement for Telepiù to carry a newly developed premium Disney channel for
Italy on Telepiù's digital bouquet (Telepiù Satellite), due to be launched
in late 1997.
"We are [...]  thrilled that Italian families and children will be able to
see their very own Disney channel, as our programming is particularly
popular in Italy," said Etienne de Villiers, President, Disney/ABC
International Television. 
Disney/ABC International Television integrates the international broadcast,
cable and sales activities of ABC Inc. with the international free and pay
television, distribution, production and broadcast organisations of Walt
Disney Television International. The Division, with its headquarters in
London, was formed in June 1996.
Based in Milan, Telepiù is owned by NetHold, the Kirch Group and Silvio
Berlusconi's Fininvest. Telepiù will expand its pay-TV bouquet when its
four additional transponders on Eutelsat Hot Bird 2 become operational in

MCA turns Universal
MCA Inc. is a unit of Seagram Co., well-known Canadian distillers -- or as
more serious news services put it: a beverage and entertainment company.
MCA now has decided to change its name to Universal Studios Inc. simply
because that's what most people know them for. The new corporate logo also
reflects the change as it is based on the spinning globe known from
Universal pictures.
A few days ago, MCA -- oops! -- Universal Studios Inc. announced it will
buy a 50 percent stake in a newly launched TV channel RTL7 that, although
being broadcast from Luxembourg, carries mainly Polish language
programming. It's just a rumour that the Polish minority in Luxembourg was
the main target of this channel.
By the way, the name will not vanish completely. Some company parts such as
the record label will keep it. A CD with "Universal Studios" on it would
probably look just too silly.

Green light for new German media law
After some final irritation it looks as though the long-awaited new
broadcasting law in Germany will come into effect on January 1, 1997. All
16 parliaments in Germany's federal states have to approve the bill --
quite a tedious procedure. Until yesterday it seemed as though the
conservatives in the parliament of Sachsen-Anhalt would join forces with
the post-communists. Both parties combined would have a numerical majority
which would have enabled them to block the law not only in their state but
nation-wide (although, of course, with a different motivation.) 
There would have been some grave consequences had the unlikely alliance
succeeded. Germany's public broadcasters wouldn't receive the desired rise
in license fees as from January, the commercial stations wouldn't get rid
of most of the current anti-trust regulations, and above all: shopping
channels would have stayed as illegal as they are currently. [I know, they
_are_ on air already, and you may stop reading now for a moment in order to
ponder whether money beats law anyway. -- Ed.]
Anyway, the conservatives in Sachsen-Anhalt have now indicated to vote in
favour of the new legislation, provided the parliament also passes a
resolution that criticises the rise of license fees.

Little Rascals go East
What do you do with some really old programming garbage that everybody in
the Western world has seen at least a dozen times -- twenty years ago? Sell
it to China. King World productions, a major U.S. programme syndicator, has
reached an agreement with China Central Television (CCTV) to license "The
Little Rascals."
"Pardon me," I hear you say, "The Little Rascals? That old b/w series that
probably was produced during the era of silent movies?"
Exactly -- apart from the fact that it has been colourised in the meantime.
CCTV, on the other hand, isn't as crazy as to pay for that kind of stuff.
It's a barter deal, meaning that CCTV gets the 54 half-hour episodes for
free but with inserted commercials. The ads are sold, of course, by King

Surprising figures on Home Shopping
A new study shows that the demand for home-shopping channels may not be as
high as expected -- even in the USA. The 400-person survey carried out by
the Aragon Consulting Group had some unexpected results. For instance, the
strongest interest in those channels was recorded late in the evening.
Nearly a third of the respondents said they would watch between 9 p.m. and
Even more interestingly, there are strong regional variations of customer
behaviour. While 57 percent of respondents living at the U.S. east coast
said they would be willing to buy something presented on TV, only 37
percent of the west coast viewers stated the same. It's even worse in the
Rocky Mountains where just 22 percent of those questioned said they would
order home shopping products.

Re: Sat-ND 9.12.1996 [Old news? Liquid snow!]
> As if it just wasn't enough that TV channels kept showing the same movies
> the past fifty years or so, now they're even going to annoy the public
> old news.
Why "now"? Already since November 1993, German regional public station N3
(available via Astra 1B) shows re-runs of Germany's top news program, named
"Tagesschau vor 20 Jahren" ("Tagesschau 20 years ago"). This program is
also aired by regional pubcasters WDR (Astra 1C) and hessen 3 (coming
1997/98 on Astra analog _and_ digitally). And hessen 3 even tops that with
the return of their regional (or should I say provincial?) magazine
"Hessenschau vor 10 Jahren".
If you want to amuse yourself about clothing, ties and hair style of the
tasteful 70s, then have a look at the [current! -- Ed.] program schedules
at http://www.tvtoday.de/TVTODAY/akt.prog/sender.haupt/dbl.hpt.prog.html
Dirk Tust <Dirk.Tust@mni.fh-giessen.de>

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

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