The unofficial newsletter of the BBC fan club Benelux
service is provided free of charge for personal use. It may be used
and redistributed for non-commercial purposes only, provided the
following notice is included:
© Copyright 1997 by Sat-ND
Please send contributions and comments regarding Sat-ND to Peter C. Klanowski, email: pck@LyNet.De
Sat-ND is sponsored by TELE-satellite International
Looking for a specific channel on satellite? Try Satco-DX
Hey kiddies! Shouldn't you be watching Teletubbies right now instead of reading this adult stuff? Unsubscribe right now!
This does not work with all browsers. For information on how to do it manually, have a look at the end of this message.
Ariane flight 102
Russian space bank
LAW & ORDER
No higher royalty fees for DTH?
NEWS FROM AUNTIE BEEB
The Teletubbies phenomenon
ITV, BBC1 audience shares drop
No ITV, Channel 4 in Belgium?
Get your personal BBC
What a boring day... at least as far as news are concerned. Normally there wouldn't be any Sat-ND at all, but there are two satellite launches left from yesterday. Unlike in the early days, I do not stay up late just to wait for the launch results coming in. No apologies for that, anyway :-)
Arianespace yesterday launched two direct TV broadcast satellites: Sirius 2 for the Swedish company Nordiska Satellit AktieBolaget (NSAB) associated with GE American Communications Inc. (USA,) and Cakrawarta 1 for Orbital Sciences Corp. (USA) for the private Indonesian operator Media Citra Indostar.
Flight 102 was carried out by an Ariane 44L, the most powerful version of the European launcher, with four liquid-propellant boosters. It used the 72nd Ariane 4 launcher out of the 116 ordered to date from the European space industry. Flight 102 was the ninth Ariane 4 launch of the year and the 30th consecutive success of the launcher.
The next launch, Flight 103, is scheduled for early December. An Ariane 44P launch vehicle will be used to place two satellites into orbit: the Japanese telecommunications satellite JCSat 5 and the German scientific satellite Equator S.
Following Flight 102, Arianespace has now 41 satellites on order to be launched.
Sirius 2 was, within the scope of a contract with France's Aerospatiale, built and launched for the Swedish company Nordiska Satellit AktieBolaget (NSAB) in which GE Americom holds a 50 percent interest.
Built at Aerospatiale's Cannes plant in southern France, Sirius 2 weighed 2,920 kg at launch and is equipped with 32 Ku-band transponders. Positioned at 5 degrees East, it will transmit both direct TV broadcasts and multipoint fixed satellite services (FSS) to Scandinavia and the rest of Europe. Satellite, launch and insurance reportedly cost about US$220 million.
Cakrawarta 1, formerly known as Indostar 1, is the first satellite operated by the private Indonesian company Media Citra Indostar. It is also the first satellite built by Orbital Sciences Corp. to be launched from the Guiana Space Centre as well as Orbital's first geostationary Earth orbit (GEO) satellite at all.
Weighing 1,385 kg at launch, it has five S-band transponders and will provide direct TV broadcast services throughout the Indonesian archipelago. Cakrawarta 1 will be positioned at 107 degrees East. Orbital said the satellite is expected to reach its GEO orbit position in about four (4) days and then operate for twelve years.
Cakrawarta 1 is the world's first commercial communications satellite to use S-band frequencies (2.7-3.5 GHz, just below the C-band.) In a region of heavy rainfall such as Indonesia, this is an efficient way to penetrate the atmosphere and provide undisturbed transmissions to small-diameter antennas (70 cm.) Similar performance is not economically feasible with comparable Ku- or C-band DTH satellite systems, Orbital said in a press release. In higher frequency bands such as C and Ku, more power is required to penetrate the moist atmosphere.
It's about time somebody counted them!
"...Indonesia and its nearly 200 million citizens who populate almost 14,000 islands..."
(Orbital press release)
"...the more than 17,500 islands of the Indonesian archipelago..."
(My favourite news agency)
As planned, the Russian Central Bank's Kupon satellite was launched yesterday at 8 p.m. local time from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
What's new, on the other hand, is that this bird seems to be no low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite as previously announced. Instead, news agency Itar-Tass said it would "circle the Earth every 24 hours and six minutes at a height of about 35,000 km."
A truly weird orbit similar to but definitely not a geostationary Earth orbit (GEO.) And as far as my admittedly very limited knowledge goes, both numbers don't go together very well anyway. The time it takes a GEO spacecraft to circle the Earth (this time span is also known as "period") is 23 hours, 56 minutes and about four seconds. Its altitude above the equator is 35,780 km.
On the other hand, a period of 24 hours and six minutes is often observed with de-orbited satellites. Viewed from the Earth, they drift about 2.5 degrees westward per day, and their altitude is around 36,000 km. The most probable explanation for all that: there are one or more errors in the Itar-Tass report. [Yes kiddies, even nowadays we get more details on classified U.S. spy satellites than on commercial Russian spacecraft. And now, will you finally switch off the computer and watch Teletubbies please!]
The other parameters stayed the same, however: Kupon still weighs in at 2.5 tonnes, has a design life of just three years and will provide an data network that will help speed up bank payments by linking various parts of Russia.
Lawmakers in Washington are still trying to save direct broadcast (DBS) satellite TV from a drastic increase in copyright payments to TV companies.
A Copyright Office arbitration panel upped the satellite service payments from the current rate of 6 cents per subscriber for network signals and 14 cents for each superstation signal to a flat rate of 27 cents per subscriber (Sat-ND, 28.10.97 sorry, it's not in the table of contents. You can find it in the Business section below "BT in India.")
This means that DTH services would as from January 1, 1998 have to pay up to ten times than cable companies, which are charged 2.7 cents and 9.7 cents respectively. This has drawn protest especially from politicians representing rural regions where DTH satellite systems have an advantage over cable networks. Others fear that the increases may undermine the satellite industry's ability to act as a competitive brake to cable price hikes.
Bills will be introduced in the U.S. Senate as well as in the House of Representatives to delay the rate hike for a year, giving Congress the time to consider the royalty issue.
If you haven't heard of the Teletubbies, I can't help you. But as you read this, you probably have access to the World Wide Web, so help yourself...
Just consult your favourite search engine to find out how Lord Archer is involved, why the BBC banned Teletubbies Web sites (did it?,) and when the Teletubbies will hit the rest of the world. And don't forget to try http://www.teletubbies.com/, http://www.teletubbies.org/ and http://www.teletubbies.co.uk/. All these domain names are registered but so far not online as of tonight.
As I don't watch any TV and have no access to BBC TV anyway, I can't tell you much more that "Teletubbies" are some kind of childrens' programme launched last Easter where, according to a report on regional German radio, nothing much happens actually. Nonetheless, the audience like it so much that the UK's nation-wide breakfast TV operator GMTV may have to revamp its entire schedule. Coincidence or not, but GMTV is applying for its licence to be renewed by the Independent Television Commission.
Official ratings figures indicate that GMTV has suffered a 20-percent drop in the number of parents and children watching since last year while Teletubbies attract 30 to 36 percent of the UK's available audience on weekdays.
"Other channels are scheduling incredibly aggressively against us and there is only so much we can do," whined a GMTV spokeswoman. Peter McHugh, GMTV's director of programmes, was even quoted as saying: "Competition has made us refocus on being an adult station, Monday to Friday and 52 weeks a year."
That means that GMTV is reportedly considering dropping 30 hours of children's shows a week during the school holidays and replacing them with programming aimed at mothers. You don't have to be a media expert to know that that won't work because mothers will likely be watching, guess what, Teletubbies along with their children. [A real alternative would be a car magazine or something like that.]
In total, the established terrestrial channels in the UK don't do so well. BBC1 has recorded its lowest audience share for nearly four years, and commercial rival ITV has lost viewers as well.
BBC slid from 32.4 to 30.2 percent in the last full quarter, while ITV fell from 34.3 percent of total audiences this time last year to 32.3 percent but stays the most-watched channel. BBC2 and Channel 4 audiences remained virtually unchanged.
The latest and last terrestrial competitor, Channel 5, attracts 3.1 percent so far, less than the combined losses of BBC1 and ITV. [If I were mean, I would search my archive for Channel 5's predictions about audience shares. No, I won't, not this time.] Satellite and cable channels' audience shares rose from 10.5 to 12.1 percent.
Robert Jorgensen asks the unofficial newsletter of the BBC fan club Benelux:
Why are ITV and Channel 4 not distributed in a similar way. Something to do with the advertising?
Good heavens! Outside the UK, nobody has ever heard about ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. ITV may be the most popular channel in the UK, but that doesn't mean anything on the Continent and in the rest of the world. The BBC has, whether justified or not, an unmatched reputation. Somebody told me that Channel 4's breakfast show was presented by a walrus and an elevator. In case that was true would you care? Anyway, I guess cable capacity is limited in Belgium as it is anywhere else, and you can't have just English language channels there.
Stephane Mabille sent his observations to the unofficial newsletter of the BBC fan club Benelux:
I think (I'm not sure) that each cable company in Belgium has to find its way to get BBC channels. For example mine uses a terrestrial reception station (?) in Calais (France) from Belgacom (Belgian PTT) (You see it on screen when there is a signal shortage) and my previous cable company uses a terrestrial reception station for sure as picture quality followed weather (an easy way to know that thunders are coming...). I still have the same problem with France 3 (they still use a terrestrial reception instead of the sat). (I don't know how Belgian cable companies get German stations as I never watch them....).
First of all, I admire your taste. German TV is among the worst in the world, except for the public broadcasters' channels, which are still somewhat okay in general but could be much, much better nonetheless. All the commercial TV trash from Germany such as RTL, SAT.1 and Pro7: just forget it. Complete bullshit. TV diarrhoea.
Apart from that: have you ever thought considered the possibility of some BBC guys reading this? By now, they undoubtedly must have become megalomaniac! So please refrain from any comments on BBC programming in future. They will not give it to you for free anyway, unlike those moron German pubcasters. Either you have to pay license fees in the UK, or you have to be satisfied with one of the BBC's international ventures (which unlike their domestic channels do carry commercials.) I wish German pubcasters would act like this as it would make them cheaper, and maybe even more popular. After all, the most desired TV channels are those you can't receive! Auntie Beeb is indeed the best example for that.
The only exception is when you (or your cable operator) happen to have an antenna in a terrestrial overspill zone. In other words: I think that the distribution of BBC TV on Benelux cable networks is by no means authorised by the Beeb but at best tolerated because it affects a relatively small market after all.
And that's it! No more BBC TV on Sat-ND!
Copyright 1997 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De. All rights reserved.
To unsubscribe, send Email to Majordomo@tags1.dn.net (not to me, please, and not to any other address) and include the line
unsubscribe sat-nd xxxxx
in the body of your message. xxxxx stands for your email address. Or have a look at