Sat-ND, 18.12.96

Sat-ND 96-12-18 - Satellite and Media News

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Openness -- without telling secrets
For the first time, the USA today officially announced the launch of a spy
satellite. The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO,) which is in charge of
spy satellite operations, has acknowledged that a Titan IV booster rocket
will lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base with a reconnaissance
spacecraft on board next Friday. The launch window will be open between
11:30 A.M. EST (1630 UTC) and 1:00 P.M. EST (1800 UTC).
And that was all the Office, which by the way was top secret itself until
1992, was prepared to say. Except that those satellite launches weren't
really secret, of course, because the blast-off of any rocket was unlikely
to go unnoticed. Usually, the U.S. Air Force wouldn't comment on those
unannounced launches "on the grounds of national security," so that
everybody could be sure it was indeed a spy satellite that went up.
So, nothing new really, expect for the fact that those interested in
satellite launches will now know one day earlier that they will be told

Another INMARSAT launched
An Atlas IIA rocket this morning successfully launched the third of the
new-generation Inmarsat mobile communications satellites into
geosynchronous transfer orbit from Cape Canaveral Air Station. Inmarsat-3
F3 follows the successful launches of F1 and F2 aboard an Atlas from Cape
Canaveral in April and the Russian Proton from Baikonur in September. It
was the 27th consecutive successful Atlas launch from CCAS and the seventh
and final Atlas launch of 1996.
Inmarsat-3 F3 was built by Lockheed Martin, which is responsible for
overall spacecraft design, manufacturing, assembly and testing. Matra
Marconi Space provided the communications payload onboard the satellite.
Once in final orbit, Inmarsat-3 F3 will provide global mobile
communications services on land, at sea and in the air. It will extend the
availability of the Inmarsat-phone service to almost all of the world's
land areas.  
The Atlas IIA is one of four variants in the Atlas family presently
launching satellites for domestic and international customers. The Atlas II
series, consisting of the II, IIA and IIAS, has compiled a perfect record
with 100 percent mission success of each configuration starting with the
Atlas II introduction in 1991, the Atlas IIA in 1992 and the Atlas IIAS in
1993. The Atlas family is capable of launching satellites weighing from
2,268 to 3,696 kg (5,000 to 8,150 lbs). The new Atlas IIAR, which will
begin launching in 1998, expands that performance capability to 4,037 kg
(8,900 lbs).

premiere breaks even
Germany's one and only analogue pay-TV channel premiere has announced it
will break even this year following a 30 percent surge in revenues. Next
year, profits are expected to surpass the DM10-million mark even though
further investments of some DM100 million are planned.
Recently, premiere recorded more than 100,000 new subscribers within a
period of six weeks. It is of course by no means unusual that such services
attract many subscribers during the Christmas season. And even though
premiere's subscriber base now is at an all-time high of 1.4 million, it
still is just a negligible percentage of Germany's 32.7 million TV

Nickelodeon launches Latin American service
Nickelodeon said it will launch the Latin American version of its
children's channel on December 20 into two million homes in 16 countries.
According to the channel, which is a part of MTV Networks Latin America
Inc., Nickelodeon Latin America will offer 75% first-run programming. 
MTV Networks Latin America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Viacom
International Inc. which also operates MTV Latin America.

News from the Netherlands
By Hans Knot

Radio London, the satellite station from Eerbeek in Holland, will be 
changing its name in the new year (a date is not settled yet) into QFM. Due
to a lack of financial backers and advertisers the station never made any
profit and only had a daily target of 40.000 listeners in Holland.

TV Oranje will be the name of a new TV station which will offer targeted
programming the way Euro 7 does (Sat-ND, 16.,12.96.) The station will lease
air time from other satellite stations. In this context, the name of SBS6
was mentioned. A press conference will be held at January 31 for more

Re: Sat-ND, 17.12.96 [Web TV flops]
I knew (!) this reaction would come (sooner or later)!! When we first heard
the Oracle Boss  (and a the others mentioned), promoting 'NC' (=in many
homes using the TV set) in our family we said "do we really want to mix
these things? We have our computer room for communication but to get a lot
of extra boxes (=services) into our launch??! No! That would mean conflicts
with _this_ family's basic interests, and we don't think we're the only
Someone in the 'NCgroup' surely missed out on a few important consumer
"things"!! And this family have been using computers since the day of
Sinclair etc. :) So I think we _do know_ how (and where) to make use and
give priority to the PC in daily use   :)
(Roland Astrand, Norway) 
[As far as the average consumer in the Western world is concerned, I
couldn't agree more. Internet and TV are twain worlds that shall never meet
in my opinion. Still, there are some possible markets for Web TV devices,
e.g. countries in Eastern Europe. The main obstacle for households there to
access the Internet is that they simply can't afford a full-blown personal
computer! They have TV sets there, and they have telephone lines. However,
I didn't hear any of the NC advertisers saying they would target that
market. -- Ed.]

By Dr Sarmaz <DrSarmaz@aol.com>

Superbowl saved
Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. and its arch rival Time Warner slowly seem to
move towards a settlement of their feud. At least, there has been a
cease-fire announced that saves 1.5 million cable subscribers from being
excluded from watching a national event -- the football Superbowl.
In retaliation for Time Warner's refusal to carry Mr Murdoch's conservative
Fox news channel, Fox threatened to pull five local TV stations it wants to
buy from New World Communications out of Time Warner's cable networks.
Actually, Fox has explicitly warned viewers in ads that they may not be
able to see the Super Bowl on their cable systems due to contract disputes
with cable operator Time Warner. Viewers were advised to re-install their
terrestrial antennas to receive the Fox stations.
Fox has denied the conflict was linked to the news channel battle. Instead,
the company said it wanted some compensation for the stations to be carried
on cable -- although Time Warner usually does compensate local stations.
Now, there is an agreement, according to Time Warner: "Time Warner Cable is
pleased that Fox has dropped its threat to force several of our cable
systems to remove Fox network programs from their channel line-ups on
January 1," the company said in a statement. A spokesman for News Corp.
confirmed the agreement, adding a statement would be issued later.

Rupert to rebuild Australia
So you thought Rupert Murdoch was just a businessman who couldn't care less
for politics? Wrong! Believe it or not, Mr Murdoch (a U.S. citizen) wants
to meet with Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer to discuss
nothing less than the rebuilding of Australia.
"I think Mr Fischer should perhaps give me the time of day so we can talk
about it," Mr Murdoch told ABC television.
Apart from that, Mr Murdoch still seems pretty sane. Fischer, he said, was
"a good friend of mine, he's a nice man, and I've never had any argument
with Mr Fischer before." Fischer replied "I simply say to Rupert it's a bit
rich, but have a happy Christmas." And, of course, he would talk to Mr
Murdoch any time.

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

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