Sat-ND, 13.11.97

Sat-ND 97-01-13 - Satellite and Media News

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Contact with TELSTAR 401, the AT&T Skynet satellite that suffered a failure for
unknown reasons (Sat-ND, 11.1.97,) so far hasn't been re-established. Data
obtained today from NASA indicate the satellite remained at 97E at least a few
hours after telemetry and communications contact were lost. (However, these
data have occasionally proved unreliable in the past.)
Meanwhile, most feeds were moved to other satellites including TELSTAR 402R,
Hughes' GALAXY III and IV, AT&T's oldie TELSTAR 303 and even to Telesat
Canada's ANIK E2.
The transponder reshuffling also affects the digital TV service AlphaStar which
has to give up one of its transponders on TELSTAR 402R. "This reallocation will
not impair the ability of AlphaStar's U.S. service to add additional channels
of programming in the upcoming week and months. Nor will it impact AlphaStar
Canada's ability to deliver its proposed Canadian service which will be
launched within 30 days of receipt of a CRTC [Canadian Radio and Television
Commission] license," the company said in a press release.

Europe's largest broadcasting company CLT/Ufa became a reality today after the
shareholders of both parties involved approved the deal. CLT shareholders will
receive a compensation of DM1.6 billion (about US$1 billion.) 
The company operates (or holds shares in) TV stations such as RTL, RTL 2, Super
RTL, Vox, premiere (Germany;) M6, Serie Club, Multivision, TMC (France;)
Channel 5 (UK;) RTL 7 (Poland;) RTL4, RTL5, Veronica (The Netherlands;) RTL
TVI, Club RTL (Belgium;) RTL Tele Letzebuerg and RTL 9 (Luxembourg.) In
addition, it controls up to two dozen radio stations in Germany, France,
Sweden, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Czech Republic.
The new company, which is expected to generate annual revenues of some DM5
billion (US$3.3 billion,) will have its headquarters in Luxembourg.

Panamsat Corp announced today that it has been awarded a license for private
satellite services operations from the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority.
This new license designation will enable PanAmSat to provide satellite capacity
for domestic data services within the country. 
The company has so far attracted three customers who will use the PAS-4 Indian
Ocean Region satellite as their transmission platform for domestic data
communications services: Acsys Ltd., Comstar-ISA and Fascom Systems are
licensed providers of value-added domestic telecommunications services in
Pakistan. They will use transmissions capacity on the PAS-4 C-band South
Asia/Middle East beam to provide value-added data services, such as private
business networks, within Pakistan.
Launched in August 1995, PAS-4 has a capacity of 16 C-band and 24 Ku-band
transponders. Its C-band South Asia/Middle East beam provides high-power
transmissions coverage from London to Japan. 
PAS-7, to be launched late in 1997, will contain 14 C-band and 30 Ku-band
transponders and will be co-located with PAS-4 over the Indian Ocean region at

NetHold's subscriber management subsidiary in Denmark, MultiChoice Danmark,
will handle the subscriber management of all existing and future analogue and
digital encrypted services on Tele Danmark's cable networks. Danish telecom
operator Tele Danmark will in turn acquire the cable decoders previously owned
by MultiChoice and receive the exclusive cable distribution rights to FilmNet's
three Nordic channels FilmNet 1, FilmNet 2 and SuperSport, as well as to
Hallmark Entertainment Network in Denmark. 
MultiChoice and Tele Danmark already co-operate on the development of analogue
subscription television in Denmark. This new agreement will allow in particular
MultiChoice to offer its digital bouquet on the Tele Danmark networks,
representing around 750,000 subscribers. 
The present agreement, which is pending completion of the due diligence in
mid-January, does not cover the satellite-to-home (DTH) market, which will
still be handled solely by MultiChoice Danmark.

There's nothing really new on TV. A company named Golden Books Entertainment
today threatened the world to produce 52 new episodes of -- Lassie. Yes, that's
right, 52 more episodes starring that wonder-collie, with completely modernised
and up-to-date plots of course, but apart from that as boring as ever. 
The episodes, which well be aired on the Discovery Channel's offspring Animal
Planet, feature the 6th generation Lassie, but that's just the official count. 
Companies such as Ford Motor Company, Columbia Sportswear, Kellogg's, and even
the National Hockey League have already announced their "commitment," which
probably translates into some kind of product placement. So, expect to watch
Lassie heading for a hockey match, wearing Columbia sportswear, driving her
Ford while munching some cornflakes.
*"Irgendwo in der Tiefe gibt es ein Licht." (Kate Bush, "Hello Earth")

Oh Lord. This is what happens when News Corp. execs try to be funny. 
Rupert Murdoch himself has commented on the ongoing feud with Time Warner and
the company's vice chairman, Ted Turner. "I am more than a little worried about
my friend Ted Turner's blood pressure," Mr Murdoch said. So what about your
"Ted likes to say that since he is 10 years my junior, he will have 10 years of
peace after I'm gone. To that I say, 'Dream on, Ted! I couldn't possibly
deprive you of the pleasure of my company."' Well, we'll see what happens once
Mr Murdoch will be dead and gone.
"It's 1997 already, and everyone is talking about those two moronic cartoon
characters travelling across America saying stupid things. But we're not here
today to talk about Ted and Jane," added some guy by the name of David Hill,
reportedly Fox TV and Sports president. Ha, ha. Wait before you burst into
tears, there's even more! Hill reported that Turner was seen in a New Orleans
restaurant ordering blackened catfish -- and then asking the waiter if he could
have it "colorized."
This refers, of course, to Turner's activities in refreshing old black and
white movies by using computers to turn them into colour(ed) movies.
All these Turner jokes were cracked at the Fox Network affiliate confab in New
Orleans last Saturday. No, gentlemen, sorry. Ted Turner has deserved a TV show
of his own, but you haven't. Keep on chatting with your affiliates instead.

News Corp. has scrubbed its comprehensive World Wide Web guide IGuide today,
turning it into a site with not much more than "information" about U.S.
television, U.S. movies, U.S. music and U.S. sports. 
That's pathetic!
Whoever turns her browser to http://www.iguide.com will be redirected to
http://www.tvguide.com. Trying to access those incredible TV listings, I just
got this message: "This server has encountered an internal error which prevents
it from fulfilling your request." Too bad, eh? "The most likely cause is a
misconfiguration." On whose side? "Please ask the administrator to look for
messages in the server's error log." No I won't. Do your homework first, guys.
Funnily, there's still some IGuide content available, for example my favourite
page. Save it before it's too late.

Speaking of Rupert: Is _this_ really him?! Poor Mr Murdoch. He seems to have
aged somewhat recently, although his friend Ted T. will be more than pleased to
see that.

India is a country that Mr Murdoch hasn't conquered yet. They just won't let
him in. Instead, there are only state-run TV and radio services. 
Today, All India Radio (AIR) launched a real-time broadcast service on the
World Wide Web that utilises Real Audio technology to transmit news bulletins
to anybody who tunes in. 
All India Radio has a network of 172 full-fledged stations across India. While
AIR holds a monopoly over radio broadcasting in the country, time slots on FM
stations are being leased to commercial broadcasters.

For the time being, Microsoft Corp. has given up any effort to make money from
its Slate site on the WWW by charging readers for access. 
In essence, they won't do that because readers aren't yet mature enough to pay
for an incredibly valuable, wholly educational and utterly enlightening service
like that. It is indeed a business decision and not another technical problem
(Sat-ND, 20.10.96,) as officials stated.
"We extend our heartfelt sympathy, therefore, to those who will be disappointed
to learn that we have decided to keep SLATE free for the indefinite future,"
Michael Kinsley writes in his latest editorial. But what does Billyboy, i.e.
William Henry Gates III, think of it?
"At first he took it very badly. 'But you promised me $20 a reader,' he sobbed,
borrowing a Kleenex from a nearby Nubian. 'You promised, you promised, you
Nah! No more! The rest of the story is available at

Copyright 1997 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De. All rights reserved.

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