Sat-ND, 17.3.97

Sat-ND 97-03-17 – Polish Satellite and TV News

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I know, it's a bit late for Monday's Sat-ND, but I just didn't manage
to send it yesterday because of, er, technical problems. However, you
may still be interested in it anyway even though it's already
Tuesday. – Ed.

"94 percent of everything that man has put into orbit around the
Earth has meanwhile become useless," according to Walter Flury. The
specialist for space junk at the European Space Agency ESA warns that
interesting orbits may sooner or later become useless. 
Scientists have counted and categorised the debris that surrounds the
Earth. Of the 8,500 individual parts, 17 percent are rocket stages,
42 percent parts of rocket stages, 22 percent defunct satellites, and
13 percent are smaller pieces ranging from solar paddles to bolts.
Just six percent are actually functioning satellites.
This is the statistical background for the Second European Conference
on Space Debris which was opened today (Monday) in Darmstadt,
Germany, and runs through Wednesday. The problem will fully emerge
during the next few years which will not only see an increase in
satellite launches but also more space junk. The reason is simple.
When two debris pieces collide, they can create dozens of smaller
pieces—but because of their speed even smallest pieces of junk have
an enormous impact when hitting other objects.
More satellites mean more space junk, of course. Just think of
Teledesic and its plans to use an armada of 840 Volkwagen-sized
satellites to create an Internet in the sky. A number like that is
almost guaranteed to attract space junk at a non-negligible rate. In
a study to be presented by University of Kent researcher Roger
Walker, the deployment of such satellite systems is likely to result
in the overall collision rate more than doubling over the next 50
years. There will also be a 30 percent long-term increase in the
debris population larger than 1 cm in size. 
However, launch services providers and satellite operators have
already introduced measures to avoid the creation of gratuitous junk.
For example, rocket stages used to have a tendency towards exploding
long after they had finished their mission. Some stages now have the
ability to move away from endangered orbits, others are burnt to
depletion, and in most cases residual fuel is vented to minimise the
risk of an explosion.
However, the ultimate truth still is that what goes up must come
down. Inevitably, every piece of space junk will come back to Earth.
Most parts will be burnt when re-entering the Earth's atmosphere, but
sometimes they're just too big. Some solid pieces of the U.S. space
station Skylab, some Soviet and Chinese satellites and, of course,
the ill-fated Russian Mars probe MARS 96 have reached the surface of

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) could cash in US$1 billion
over the next three or four years from its two pay-TV ventures. At
least, that's what Adam Singer, president and chief operating officer
of Tele-Communications International Inc. (TCI,) told a news
conference. "Outside the UK, the BBC is probably the last, great,
under-utilised English language library in the world," Singer praised
the broadcaster.
As frequently reported, there will be two services: in the U.S.,
Asia, South America and Europe, the Beeb's commercial arm BBC
Worldwide Ltd. teams up with TCI, whereas in in Britain, the Channel
Islands, the Isle of Man and the Irish Republic it will co-operate
with Flextech, a TCI subsidiary. This deal was signed today. The two
companies will form a joint venture which will produce TV channels in
digital format, for distribution in the U.K. for distribution over
cable, satellite and digital terrestrial television systems.
Channel concepts in development include the following working titles:
Arena, an arts channel; Sports Entertainment Network; OneTV, a
popular music which will "build on BBC Radio 1's formula;" Showcase,
a drama and comedy channel; Learning, which will concentrate on
education; Style, covering information and consumer affairs;
Horizons, a documentary channel; and Catch-Up TV, running repeats of
episodes of popular series.
Flextech and the BBC confirmed that they would give the first option
for the transmission of up to five of the digital channels to British
satellite operator BSkyB.
Commenting on the deal, Bob Phillis, Deputy Director General, BBC and
Executive, BBC Worldwide, said: " These new channels will reflect the
BBC's commitment to quality, will complement the schedules of BBC 1
and BBC 2 and will enable BBC Worldwide to greatly increase its
revenue flow back to the BBC."
Flextech has by the way proposed to enter into an agreement whereby
TCI will undertake to fulfil Flextech's financial obligations to the
venture in certain circumstances should Flextech be unable to do so.
(That does sound a bit hazy, but it's from the press release.) 
In a related transaction, Flextech will acquire the equity share
capital which it does not already own in the channels UK Gold and UK
Living, from Cox Communications Inc., Pearson plc and BBC Worldwide
Investments. The deal is worth about £269.9 million and values UK
Gold at about £210.1 million and UK Living at £104 million.
Cox, Pearson and BBC Worldwide Investments will, in turn, receive
ordinary shares in Flextech representing 13.3 percent, 5.6 percent
and 3.5 percent respectively. TCI will hold 36.1 percent of the
shares and a 50 percent voting right in the company through a special
voting share.
From the BBC's point of view, the deal looks like the classical case
of killing two (or even more) birds with one stone. Some digital
channels will be developed, and while nobody really knows whether the
audience in the UK or anywhere else really wants them, there's at
least the opportunity to recycle some material that has piled up
during the last 30 years or so. Secondly, there is the chance of
further developing analogue and digital versions of UK Gold,
reportedly one of the most popular channels in BskyB's multichannel

Groupe AB SA today announced that it has signed a simulcrypt
agreement with Canalsatellite Numérique, the French digital satellite
service by Canal+, which will allow television viewers to receive
both companies' digital DTH services using only one decoder box and
smart card. Each digital service will retain its independence.
Subscriber management, marketing and promotion of each of the two
services remain separate.
Under the agreement, French consumers will be able to receive AB
Sat's digital package using a Canalsatellite decoder box and vice
versa before the end of April 1997. Claude Berda, chairman and chief
executive officer of Groupe AB, said, "This agreement is very
positive for AB Sat, its subscribers and the subscribers of
Canalsatellite. It provides us with access to Canalsatellite's
customer base of over 250,000 while at the same time allowing the
subscribers of both services access to additional programming." 

Teledesic, the monstrous 840-satellite service, has actually received
its first license. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
licensed the company to offer telephone and Internet services in the
Ka-band, utilising low-Earth orbit satellites. 
"We are very pleased that the FCC has put this faith in us to deliver
on a global opportunity to bring high-quality broadband
communications capability to the citizens of the world," said
Teledesic chairman. He announced that an initial service would start
in 2002.

FEEDBACK: Sat-ND, 14.3.97
I would like to tell you that THAICOM 3 is expected to bring more joy
to DXers in Europe. It is a much powerful satellite than its two
older brothers with C-band global beam, that reaches Europe with some
35 dBW. Shinawatra intents to cover as much as possible of the
world's surface with all five Bangkok's TV channels to enable Thais
living abroad to watch their domestic TV.
During my trip to Thailand I met Mark Long, he told me he has heard
the same rumours.
(Gregor Bregar)

Rupert Murdoch may once again have hit the soft spot of his
competitors, in this case the U.S. cable industry. Joining forces
with Echostar, he wants to set up a 500-channel digital TV service in
the U.S. that could finally replace cable—it will offer also local
channels. The cable industry has a striking name for the satellite
venture: Death Star, although to be exact there will be at least
seven of them.
However, the U.S. TV audience seems to have had enough of cable and
constantly rising subscription fees. Yearly surveys indicated that
the number of consumers which regard cable rates as "far too high"
are on the rise again. A third of the cable subscribers questioned
said they had thought about buying a satellite dish for the reception
of digital services in the last year.
But now for something completely different--Mr Murdoch still has some
spare cash. His News Corp. today announced it would buy Heritage
Media Corp. (HTG.)
Never heard of 'em? Neither have I. But HTG owns ActMedia, a company
that offers store marketing like instant coupon machines;
shopping-cart, aisle and shelf advertising; and in-store radio. It
actually operates in 40,000 grocery, drug and mass-merchandise stores
in 28 countries.
News Corp. said it is prepared to pay US$754 million for the company
and assume US$600 million in debt in a transaction expected to close
by the end of June.
Heritage owns some TV and radio stations, generating a revenue of
roughly US$100 million last year, but News Corp. is expected to sell
them off. Mr Murdoch wants to keep the company's direct-marketing
subsidiary Dimac Marketing Corp., though, because it complements
other parts of the media giant's business, News Corp. officials said.

Hi. I live in Poland and I'm interested in TV. Here are all polish TV
1) terrestial (nation-wide): TVP1, TVP2, POLSAT, Canal+ Polska.
2) terrestial (regional networks): TV Wisla, TVN (starts in December
1997), Nasza Telewizja (starts in December 1997.)
3) terrestial (regional stations): TV3 (TVP), Bydgoszcz; TV VIGOR,
Gorzow; TVG (TVP), Gdansk; TV AVAL, Jelenia Gora; TELE3 (TVP),
Katowice; TV Bryza, Koszalin; TV Krakow (TVP), Krakow; TV Legnica,
Legnica; TV Lodz (TVP), Lodz; TV Luban, Luban; TV Lublin (TVP),
Lublin; PTV-3 (TVP), Poznan; Studio NTL, Radomsko; TV Rzeszow (TVP),
Rzeszow; TV Niepokalanow, Skierniewice; TV Szczecin "7" (TVP)",
Szczecin; WOT (TVP), Warszawa; TV Wroclaw "5" (TVP), Wroclaw; TV
Dolnoslaska "TeDe", Wroclaw; TV51, Zielona Gora.
4) satellite and cable: TV POLONIA (TVP), RTL7, POLSAT 2, Polonia1,
HBO Polska, Planete Polska, ATV, PTK2, PORION.
5) other local cable channels.
(Mateusz Mateo Molasy)
[Dziekuje bardzo! By the way, here are some links to Polish TV and
radio stations all over the world. I haven't checked them all; they
are in fact taken from the Polish Home Page which can be found at
http://info.fuw.edu.pl/pl/PolandHome.html – Ed.]

Polskie Radio S.A.: 
Polish Radio Stations: 
Radio RMF/FM: 
Krakow Academic Radio (RAK): 
Polish Radio Toronto: 
Info on Polish Satellite TV and radio stations: 
Multimedialne Radio S Poznan: 
PL-US Radio: 
Radio ABC: 
Polish Review - Polski Program TV - Ottawa, Kanada:
PolOtt - Polski Program Radiowy - Ottawa, Kanada:
Canal+ Poland: 
Telewizja PolSat S.A.: 

[In Sat-ND, 14.3.97, the secret surrounding a Rai Uno transmitter in
Krakow, Poland, was solved. I suggested the Vatican channel Telepace
be broadcast instead. – Ed.]
But who would pay? The thing is that this is not paid from local
Polish sources: Rai Uno transmitter has been erected and is paid by
(Irek Defee)
[An interesting question, but I think the Vatican definitely has much
more money than RAI, which usually is operating on the verge of
bankruptcy ;-) – Ed.]

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

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