TELE-satellit News - 10 March 1996
From: Martyn Williams <email@example.com>
Date: 11 Mar 96 21:28:07 EST
From firstname.lastname@example.org Mon Mar 11 21: 41:48 1996
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EUROPE'S SATELLITE MAGAZINE
International Satellite Broadcasting News
Number 92, Week ending 10 March 1996
By Martyn Williams
News Desk : Internet email@example.com or CompuServe CIS:martynw
(c) TELE-satellit Magazine
EUROPEAN PAY TV ALLIANCE FORMED
LONDON, England (TS) -- Four of Europe's top pay television
broadcasters have formed a stategic alliance in the field of digital
pay television. The four include BSkyB, Canal Plus, Bertelsmann AG
The four are setting up a new company to exploit opportunities in
Europe and promote a single encryption standard. The new company will
be 30% owned by each of BSkyB, Canal Plus and Bertelsmann with Havas
taking the remaining 10% stake.
The group has already decided to use the SECA encryption system and
rejected Kirch Gruppe's D-Box system.
The plan is now almost certainly to come under the microscope of the
European Commission and competition commissioner Karel Van Miert.
DECISION CAUSES OUTRAGE WITH HAVAS BOARD MEMBER
PARIS, France (TS) -- Speaking in an interview in France's Le Figaro
newspaper, Albert Frere, chairman of Groupe Bruxelles Lambert, said he
will resign from the board of Havas over the alliance with BSkyB and
Frere is a major shareholder in Luxembourg's CLT, operator of the
RTL TV empire, and said he would also be recommending that Audiofina,
the holding company of CLT, should sell its 4.5% stake in Havas.
Until recently CLT was in talks with Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB over
such an alliance for digital pay television and appears to have been
passed over in the alliance. Havas denied any wrong doing saying CLT
had rejected the deal and so it took a part.
Of the deal and CLT's exclusion, Luxembourg Prime minister
Jean-Claude Juncker said on Friday, "We were astonished."
CLT SHRUGS OFF DEAL, WILL CONTINUE ALONE
LUXEMBOURG CITY, Luxembourg (TS) -- In a terse company statement
issued late in the week, CLT said it would continue to pursue digital
TV plans alone.
"The CLT notes that an alliance with the Murdoch Group in digital
television, to which Havas had earlier expressed its reserves, has now
been taken over by Havas and its Canal Plus subsidiary," the group
"The CLT draws the conclusions from this pact, which has as an
effect to cement the arrival of Murdoch in continental Europe," it
BSKYB TAKES STAKE IN PREMIERE
MUNICH, Germany (TS) -- British Sky Broadcasting has acquired a 25%
in German pay television broadcaster Premiere the London based company
said this week but French group Havas said the announcement was
premature. According to BSkyB, the purchase met with approval by
exisiting Premiere shareholders, Canal Plus, Bertelsmann AG and the
BSkyB reported that it had acquired its 25% share, to equal the
three other shareholders, from Canal Plus and Bertelsmann which each
sold 12.5% of the company for a total value of $270 million.
Havas holds a stake in Canal Plus and said that the BSkyB stake in
Premiere was not yet a signed deal and required the approval of Leo
Kirch and his Kirch Gruppe. That may be difficult to achieve after
BSkyB this week announced a deal with Havas and Premiere's other two
stake holders for the establishment of a digital TV alliance. The
group has opted to reject Kirch's D-Box digital TV decoder and opt for
a rival system.
The deal values Premiere, with 1.1 million subscribers, at just over
$1 billion. BSkyB added that it expected Premiere to begin turning a
profit in the coming financial year from July 1996.
PALAPA TRANSPONDERS FAULTY
JAKATA, Indonesia (TS) -- Four of the transponders on the just
launched Palapa C1 satellite are faulty, the satellite operators said
The state insurance company, PT Jasindo, has said it will pay PT
Satelindo for the failure which, according to the operators, will cost
it $41.6 million. Each transponder is valued at $799,000 per year.
Defective batteries are blamed for the failure which causes the
transponders to fail when the satellite moves out of direct sunlight
and the batteries are meant to take over from the solar panels.
The failure means there will be no broadcasting in the ku-band from
the satellite which carries just four ku band transponders in addition
to 24 C-band and six extended C-band transponders.
ITALY LAUNCHES DIGITAL PACKAGE
MILAN, Italy (TS) -- Italy's Telepiu pay TV group says it is
commercially launching its DStv digital pay television package. The
service has been tested by a group of consumers since late last year.
The full service will begin in September this year with a line up of
50 television and 40 radio services on offer. Some of the channels
will the foreign TV stations and all will be dubbed into Italian with
the exception of CNN International and live news broadcasts.
Telepiu hopes for at least 150,000 subscribers by the end of the
year, an aim that should be helped by its securing of exclusive rights
to all Italian soccer for the next three years.
The awarding of the sports rights to the broadcaster caused
journalists at state TV RAI to strike for a day last week.
Telepiu aleady runs terrestrial pay television but has been told it
must all be put onto satellite to make room for more terrestrial
FCC SAYS ADULT CHANNELS MUST SCRAMBLE
Don Fitzpatrick, Shoptalk
SAN FRANCISCO, California, USA (SHOPTALK) -- The Federal
Communications Commission announced this week that cable operators
carrying the Playboy Channel and other adult-oriented channels will be
required to completely scramble the sex webs or to carry the material
only between 10pm and 6am. The FCC order becomes effective tomorrow.
Tele-Communications Inc. and Time Warner, the largest cablers in the
nation, do not have the appropriate scrambling technology and have
opted to channel programming to late evening and early morning hours.
(Daily Variety via Shoptalk)
ARIANE WINS ECHOSTAR LAUNCH
ENGLEWOOD, Colorado, USA (ECHOSTAR) -- EchoStar Communications
announced this week that a subsidiary has signed a letter of intent
with Arianespace for alternative launch arrangements for EchoStar-II,
its second high-power direct broadcast satellite (DBS).
Arianespace will launch the satellite atop an Ariane 4 launch
vehicle from its Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana in
September 1996, in a vacant launch opportunity. EchoStar-II will
significantly expand the satellite television programming services
available to DISH Network customers.
"We are pleased to have secured this launch with Arianespace,
because it ensures our capability to launch EchoStar-II as planned in
the third quarter of 1996 and to provide additional services to our
DISH Network customers in the near future," said EchoStar Chairman
and Chief Executive Officer Charles Ergen.
EchoStar's first DBS satellite, EchoStar-I, was successfully
launched from Xichang, China, on Dec. 28, 1995, and is now fully
operational and began broadcasting nationally to subscribers over
100 channels of video and audio programming on March 3, 1996.
CHINESE LAUNCH FAILURE KILLS 6 - OFFICIAL REPORT
Jonathan McDowell, Jonathon's Space Report
BEIJING, China (JSR) -- Chinese sources now report that six people
died and 57 were injured during the crash of the Chang Zheng 3B (Long
March 3B) launch vehicle at Xichang on Feb 14. Other sources claim
that more than a hundred may have died. The rocket's inertial guidance
unit failed two seconds after takeoff.
DANISH TV TO IMPROVE IMAGE
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (TS) -- Danmarks Radio, state TV and radio
broadcaster, said this week that it would launch a second channel and
improve programming in a bid to capture more viewers.
Ever since the advent of commercial TV, with TV-2 in 1986 and TV-3
in 1989, the state broadcaster has been steadily loosing viewers.
The transformation will begin during the summer when DR-One begins
airing late night entertainment aimed at young people, an audience
that has deserted the channel in large numbers.
A planned satellite channel was also confirmed and will contain
material aimed at an older audience with more culture than terrestrial
NHK OVERSEAS BROADCASTS FAQ
TOKYO, Japan (TS) -- An American Internet user has established a
World Wide Web page with details of NHK's TV Japan broadcasts to the
USA and Europe. Because of agreements with pay television broadcasters
in local markets, the Japanese broadcaster does not make details of TV
Japan programs available so the FAQ seeks to answer viewer's
PEGASUS LAUNCH VIDEO ONLINE
CAPE CANAVERAL AIR STATION, Florida, USA (TS) -- The Pegasus XL
launch vehicle placed the USAF REX-2 spacecraft into orbit at about
2050 EST on Friday evening. Launch video and stills are available at
the SeaWiFS World Wide Web page.
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