Sat-ND, 13.12.96

Sat-ND 96-12-13 - Satellite and Media News

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British Broadcasting goes Commercial
The BBC has launched yet another attempt to make some more money outside
its core business by setting up a rights agency. It is expected to exploit
the commercial potential of BBC programmes and services around the world
and in Britain.
Deputy director general Bob Phillis, who already is in charge of the BBC's
international commercial branch WorldWide Ltd., will also oversee the
rights agency. It will "agree investment targets for each programme genre
and represent BBC Production in all co-production, distribution and other
commercial rights negotiations," Phillis said.
BBC Worldwide hopes to triple the amount it contributes to the BBC's income
from 5 to 15 percent (Sat-ND, 30.9.96.) Two digital TV deals are at the
centre of this effort. Together with Flextech, the BBC wants to set up some
pay-TV channels for the domestic audience, which will mainly be recycling
old material. Joining forces with the Discovery Channel, the BBC also plans
to offer pay-TV services "in the United States and elsewhere." Both
Flextech and Discovery are, more or less, controlled by US cable giant TCI.
According to Mr Phillis, license payers had nothing to fear from the Beeb's
increasing commercial activities: "If the BBC ever moves away from
supplying its licence fee payers with the total range of output promised in
the Charter, then we can say goodbye to the universal licence fee, and
that's something we don't want to give up lightly."

Same procedure as last year
Radio Canada International (RCI) has been saved once again -- it will stay
on air for at least one more year. The Canadian government yesterday
announced that RCI's modest founding of just Can$16 million will now become
"part of a new foreign communications strategy." Foreign Affairs Minister
Lloyd Axworthy told the House of Commons that the government recognises
"how important it is to have an effective voice for Canada abroad to
promote trade and development."

Re: Sat-ND, 11.12.96 [RCI] 
>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 RTBF's (Radio et Television Belge francophone) international radio
service shut down a few years ago. BRTN (RTB in Dutch) still has RVI though
(short wave, AM and somewhere on Astra).
(Jos Nijs)

News from The Netherlands
By Jitse Groen

Philips Kabel wants to sell the shares of most of its cable networks. They
include those in Amsterdam (Europe's largest), Vienna, Brussels and
Eindhoven. This step is rather surprising because Philips Media and Philips
Kabel aimed at creating an enormous Philips cable-system barely some years
ago. Philips' reasons seem logical though: They don't think incomes will
top the costs. This might well be the case, considering the public's
resentment of paying high prices for extra services.

Dutch Minister for Economic Affairs Wijers has written a letter to the
country's football [soccer] association KNVB in which he states that it
*cannot* possess the broadcast-rights of the clubs according to European
legislation. Wijers has said that clubs should sell the rights themselves
or through an organisation like the KNVB, *but* they should be able to
chose themselves. The football clubs Ajax and Feyenoord have been asking
for this for the past year. This will of course have some impact in
[Bayern München manager Uli Hoeneß would _unfortunately_ be most pleased to
read this. -- Ed.]

No more delays
Unless you have a very special TV set, you may not even have noticed that
business channels such as CNBC did not offer real-time stock quotes until
now. There was a tiny hint at the very bottom of the screen saying that the
quotes were delayed by 15 minutes or so, but many TV sets just wouldn't
display it. Besides, digitally compressed transmission and conversion from
NTSC to PAL also leaves anything else almost unreadable, as far as the
distribution over European satellites is concerned.
Anyway, there's no need for the 15-minutes delay disclaimer anymore. CNBC
and CNN's financial channel CNNfn are now supplied with live data by the
New York Stock Exchange. According to an exchange spokesman, "There are a
variety of sources of real-time stock data now available through the
Internet and other services. We just began making this data available
real-time and we started talking to the potential users of this service
just recently." Other broadcasters have expressed their interest in
real-time stock quotes as well. However, the stations will have to pay more
for the new service.

Rogue Television Loonies
The German TV audience may soon be presented with yet another rogue channel
that primarily helps its operating company to better exploit their software
RTL Television, the country's leading commercial TV station, will set up a
planning group for a new channel called RTL plus. The planning group is to
examine the feasibility of the project until next spring. But in contrast
to RTL-offsprings such as RTL2 and Super RTL, which had to be disguised for
legal reasons, RTL plus would become a wholly owned subsidiary of RTL
Television. New legislation coming into effect on January 1, 1997 will make
it possible. The only limit will then be a 30 percent quota in audience
Of course, there will be nothing new on this channel. It will repeat older
RTL stuff that is just too embarrassing to be shown on any major outlet
nowadays, and maybe there will be delayed re-broadcasts of current
programming from RTL's main channel.
The plans for RTL plus do not affect the efforts to combine all other RTL
channels in a common holding group, the company said in a press release. A
few weeks ago, RTL's main rival SAT.1 announced plans for its own rogue
channel called SAT.2 (Sat-ND, 28.10.96.) 

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

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