Sat-ND, 10.3.97

Sat-ND 97-03-10 - Satellite and Media News

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The European Commission is seeking comments on Music Choice Europe
(MCE,) a digital pay-radio service operated by Time Warner's MCE
Holdings and Sony Digital Radio Europe. In addition to some sixty
channels already distributed in some cable networks, the venture also
plans for channels with music for elevators. (No, they don't call it
music for elevators but 'channels for business customers.')
The venture was submitted to the EU Commission for clearance last
June. So far, nothing has happened, but the Commission now at least
seems to have realised that a Europe-wide distribution via satellite
is also planned, which may have pushed that investigation some
notches up on the agenda.

"You can't have egg, bacon, spam and sausage without the spam."
(Monty Python)
Global connectivity has a serious disadvantage. I takes just a few
postings to newsgroups, some meagre web pages like
http://www.sat-net.com/pck/, or access to an online service such as
AOL or CompuServe to attract loads of commercial messages, a.k.a.
spam, homing in right into your electronic mailbox with the deadly
precision of a cruise missile.
If that's not enough for all you spam-lovers, you will soon be able
to get audio spam 24 hours around the clock. 
ValueVision International Inc. entered into an agreement to acquire a
15-percent interest in NetRadio Network for US$3 million. The U$3
million price will be comprised of $1 million cash and an additional
$2 million in advertising time to increase NetRadio's visibility
among cable subscribers. NetRadio is a subsidiary of Navarre Corp., a
distributor of music, computer software and interactive CD ROM
So what, so what?, I hear you moan. Behold! Following the deal,
ValueVision's 24-hour shopping program audio feed will be carried by
NetRadio on the Internet. Additionally, ValueVision will be granted
exclusive rights for most merchandise categories to be made available
in NetRadio's programming.
Shock shock horror horror shock shock horror!

In a move to fight gratuitous violence on television and in movies,
the Dutch government on Friday announced to set up an watchdog body.
The independent organisation will act upon government-set rules but
is also expected to develop own guidelines. 
Before the announcement, the Dutch government already had taken
action to better protect the country's youth from violence on TV.
Owners of broadcasting stations, cinemas and video rental shops who
infringe on the regulations face up to one year in jail in addition
to a penalty of 25,000 guilders.
(Hans Knot)

It seems there is a bit more going on in Japan nowadays than in
Europe or even North America. I hope I'll get through this one
without confusing Mitsubishi Electric Industrial Co, Matsushita Corp.
and Matsushita Electronic. However, both Mitsubishi and Matsushita
will broadcast twelve channels on Japan's digital package DirecTV;
Matsushita through its subsidiary Matsushita Electronic. Three other
shareholders have also reserved twelve channels each, so in fact much
of the venture's capacity of 100 channels is already allocated. 
Maybe there will be more on Japanese digital TV within the next few
days. A news agency reported today that Softbank president Masayoshi
Son confirmed a basic agreement on JSkyB with Sony Corp. The JSkyB
partners, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. and Softbank, would set up a
partnership and "invest equally" in JSkyB. Stay tuned.

Although all available U.S. licenses have been auctioned before,
there's even more U.S. digital TV to come -- from Mexican satellite
slots which are expected to be licensed soon. The opportunity has
already attracted companies such as Hughes Electronics, Lockheed
Martin, Loral Space Communications and GE Americom; not exactly
Mexican companies.
An agreement with the USA allows U.S. companies to use Mexican
licenses to beam into the North American market. Of the existing
seven or eight slots for digital TV in the U.S., just three are
considered 'prime locations.' Mexico has a fourth one to offer -- at
a price. The license is estimated at some US$500 million.
The Mexican license offer created what one might call a mass pile-up.
Apart from the companies already mentioned, there are also Echostar
(Rupert Murdoch's new partner in the U.S. DTH business) as well as
the Argentinean Nahuelsat in combination with Germany's Daimler Benz
Aerospace. And there's even a Mexican company by the name MVS
Multivision, which may join the Hughes bid, though. 
For some satellite manufacturers who want to join the race, things
tend to get a bit delicate. For instance, Lockheed Martin
Telecommunications will (in conjunction with Mexico's Grupo Televisa)
bid on the direct-broadcast system only if it won't compete against
the buyers of its satellites, and that includes GE Americom and

CBS will launch a U.S. version of its Spanish-language news channel
TeleNoticias on March 17. Officials expect two million subscribers by
the end of 1997 and a break-even within three years.
The channel will probably distributed exclusively on cable. The
reasons given for that sound a bit strange: digital TV services had
no way of targeting Hispanic households individually. Instead, CBS
TeleNoticias will be featured on cable networks with a large Hispanic
audience. (Ironically, the original Latin-American version of
TeleNoticias is freely available via satellite all over Europe even
though the Spanish language is more or less understood only in
CBS hopes to reach two thirds of the U.S.' current 4.5 million
Hispanic households. For some strange reasons which may be connected
to human reproduction rates as well as other parameters, that number
is expected to grow to 20 million by 2010.

MTV Europe will introduce four more hours (per week, I guess) of
special programming targeted at its German-speaking audience.
Observers see the move as an attempt go regain ground on the German
market after MTV had lost a huge part of its audience to the local
music channel Viva. Not because Viva is any better; in fact, it has a
disadvantage because it broadcasts from a less popular satellite than
MTV Europe. MTV used to be freely available on Europe's major
satellite system ASTRA but then decided to scramble its signal, in
effect giving away a significant part of its German viewers.
Both Viva and MTV are freely available on most German cable networks,
though, and it seems as if Viva had won this direct competition.
According to Viva officials, the low-budget venture is expected to
break even this year, making it become only the third profitable
commercial TV channel in Germany after RTL Television and Pro Sieben.
Of course, Viva is by no means a German channel when it comes to
business. Its main shareholders include almost all major record
companies. EMI, Sony Music, Warner Music, and Polygram. Currently, a
19.8 percent stake is up for grabs as the Hamburg-based media
entrepreneur Frank Otto has left the company.

FEEDBACK: Sat-ND, 8.3.97
In a press release, TCI Satellite announced a surprise position for
its freshly launched TEMPO satellite.
"According to my calculator, 118.8C equals 245.84F. That's pretty
hot. -)"
(Geoff Shang)
[Cheers Geoff, but where's that on my 'Spot Hale-Bopp' chart by the
way? Somewhere around 391 Kelvin at sunset? What about that French
thermometer guy by the name of Reaumour or something like that?
Questions... -- Ed.]

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

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