TELE-satellit News - 17 March 1996
From: Martyn Williams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 18 Mar 96 19:51:44 EST
From email@example.com Mon Mar 18 20: 05:54 1996
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EUROPE'S SATELLITE MAGAZINE
International Satellite Broadcasting News
Number 93, Week ending 17 March 1996
By Martyn Williams
News Desk : Internet firstname.lastname@example.org or CompuServe CIS:martynw
(c) TELE-satellit Magazine
COMSAT FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST NEWS CORPORATION, PANAMSAT, TELEVISA
BETHESDA, Missouri, USA (TS) -- The cancelling of transponder space
on Intelsat has lead to a lawsuit. Comsat Corporation, the US member
of Intelsat, this week filed a complaint against News Corporation,
PanAmSat Corp. and Grupo Televisa, S.A., arising from News
Corporation's cancellation to lease satellite capacity on an Intelsat
The complaint has seven counts, including breach of contract,
violation of tariff, tortious interference and civil conspiracy. The
suit seeks damages of at least $250 million plus punitive damages and
was filed in the US District Court for the District of Maryland.
Comsat said in a press release that News Corporation notified it on
March 1 that it had cancelled its lease commitment for satellite
capacity on the Intelsat system for broadcast service to Latin
Comsat's complaint alleges that the cancellation of the lease
commitment not only constitutes a breach of contract but also violates
tariffs that Comsat has filed with the Federal Communications
Comsat also claims that PanAmSat, a Connecticut-based international
satellite communications company and the largest private satellite
operator in the world, and Televisa, a Mexico-based media conglomerate
that provides Spanish-language programming, wrongfully induced News
Corporation to breach its contract with Comsat and violate its
obligations under the tariff.
The lawsuit asserts that Televisa and PanAmSat, in which Televisa
has about 40-percent ownership, conspired to benefit themselves by
arranging for PanAmSat to provide the service in Comsat's place.
"Comsat has filed this lawsuit for a very simple reason," said
Comsat president and CEO Bruce L. Crockett. "News Corporation ordered
this service under our legally binding tariff, and it is obligated to
honor the terms of its agreement. Instead it cancelled its
reservation without justification, and Comsat is compelled to seek
RUSSIA POSTPONES SATELLITE LAUNCH
MOSCOW, Russia (TS) -- Russia has postponed launch plans for the
Astra-1F satellite for two weeks due to technical problems.
A leaking Helium canister on the Proton launcher was discovered at
the Khrunichev Space Centre in Baikonur, Kazakhstan and the problem
must now be fixed before launch can go ahead.
No new launch date has been announced but it should take place
sometime in April.
MURDOCH MAKES 5 MILLION IN PPV FIGHT
LONDON, England (TS) -- Britain's first taste of pay per view
television made Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB around 5 million pounds
according to a published report in Australia.
BSkyB, which has not released details of the subscriber take up, was
charging 9,95 pounds before the fight and 14,95 pounds on the day of
the fight to those wishing to stay up until the early morning to watch
Frank Bruno take on Mike Tyson.
The event was controversial in the UK where many believed it should
be part of the regular subscription fee. Bruno's loss in the fight
will not do anything to help opposition to PPV events in the future.
BBC TO RETURN TO EAST ASIA
LONDON, England (TS) -- After being absent from East Asian skies for
almost two years, the BBC is to return when BBC World television
begins broadcasting as a digital signal on PanAmSat's PAS-2.
The BBC was being carried as part of Rupert Murdoch's Star TV
package to East Asia but the channel was dropped after a documentary
program about China's ex-leadership caused outrage in the Chinese
Star TV have been carrying BBC World on its South Asian service
which also delivers the signal into parts of Africa. That service will
end this month when BBC World switches to PanAmSat's PAS-4 satellite
and broadcasts a free of charge signal to the region.
The new service covers areas east of India including Japan, Taiwan,
Korea, Indonesia, Thailand and China. The only country in the region
that currently has access to BBC World is Japan where it is broadcast
via a domestic satellite.
The digital receivers needed to receive the signal will be available
to consumers said the broadcaster.
CNBC LAUNCHES, NBC MAPS EUROPEAN PLANS
LONDON, England (TS) -- After broadcasting CNBC programming via NBC
Super Channel for over a year, CNBC has launched as a stand alone
channel in Europe bringing a third region of the world into its
CNBC Europe was launched last week and will be part of the Sky
Multichannels package in the United Kingdom. In other parts of Europe,
NBC Europe announced the new channel plus three other services, would
join Nethold's new digital pay TV package to launch later this year.
The other channels are MS/NBC, NBC Super Channel and GIGA TV, a new
computer themed channel.
INTELSAT 707 LAUNCHED
KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA) -- On Thursday, March 14, Arianespace
successfully launched the Intelsat 707 satellite for Intelsat. For the
European space organization, this represented the 14th launch in 12
The launch from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana,
was carried out by an Ariane 44LP rocket, the version of the European
launcher equipped with two liquid and two solid-propellant strap-on
boosters. Liftoff took place on Thursday, March 14th 0411 local time,
0211 EST, 0711 UTC, 0811 CET.
Commenting on this third successful launch of the year, Arianespace
executive vice president and chief operating officer Francis Avanzi
said, "With the launch this evening, our thoughts go to our customer,
Intelsat, which was anxiously waiting for its 24th satellite to be
placed into orbit. Thanks to this launch, they will be able to ensure
service continuity for their customers. We are proud to be able to
provide a satisfactory response to the confidence and loyalty that
this major international organization has placed in us for more than
Intelsat 707 is the seventh new-generation satellite built by Space
Systems/Loral of Palo Alto, California, for Intelsat.It is equipped
with 26 C-band transponders and 14 Ku-band transponders. Its capacity
has been increased from 22,500 to 112,500 telephone lines, thanks to
the use of a digital line- multiplication system. Intelsat 7O7
will be positioned over the Atlantic Ocean to provide transatlantic
The next launch, Flight 85, is targeted for April 19, 1996. An
Ariane 42P launch vehicle will be used to place into geostationary
transfer orbit the M-SAT 1 mobile telecommunications satellite for
Telesat Mobile Inc. of Canada.
BALKANSAT ESTABLISHMENT DISCUSSED
SOFIA, Bulgaria (TS) -- A meeting of Balkan communications
ministers has been scheduled for April 25 and 26th at which the
establishment of a regional satellite organization will be discussed.
The meeting will be chaired by Prime Minister Zhan Videnov and
will be hosted by the Committee of Posts and Telecommunications.
The group will also discuss the possible launch of a joint Balkan
PLAYBOY WINS TEMPORARY REPRIEVE
NEW YORK, New York, USA (SHOPTALK) -- Playboy Entertainment Group
won a temporary restraining order last week in its challenge to
Section 505 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.
The section in question would require cable operators to fully
scramble cable channels with adult programming or restrict such
programming between 10pm and 6am. Judge Joseph Farnan Jr. said
Thursday that Playboy "has demonstrated it's likely to succeed on the
merits of its claim that Section 505 violates the First Amendment of
the United States Constitution." (Daily Variety via Shoptalk)
FCC REVIEWS OWNERSHIP RULES
NEW YORK, New York, USA (SHOPTALK) -- Carrying out the new
communications law, the Federal Communications Commission has raised
According to the new limits, a company can own as many TV stations
as it wants as long as the station's don't reach more than 35% of the
nation's TV-viewing households. Prior to the new law, stations could
own only up to 12 stations, reaching up to 25% of households.
The changes were designed to allow TV networks expand and compete
more freely with cable networks and direct broadcast satellite
systems. (Wall Street Journal via Shoptalk)
BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA JOINS INTELSAT
WASHINGTON, DC, USA (INTELSAT) -- The Republic of Bosnia and
Herzegovina joined the International Telecommunications Satellite
Organization (Intelsat) as its 138th member-nation. His Excellency
Sven Alkalaj, Ambassador of the Republic of the Bosnia and Herzegovina
in the United States, signed the Intelsat Operating Agreement at the
US Department of State.
As the designated Signatory, the government of the Republic of
Bosnia and Herzegovina will hold an initial investment share of 0.05
"The Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina is very pleased to join
Intelsat as this will foster the development of international
communications and lead to increased prosperity for our country,"
said His Excellency Sven Alkalaj.
It will be an important part of our reconstruction efforts. Joining
Intelsat is also an opportunity for the Republic of Bosnia and
Herzegovina to access the international `information superhighway,'"
MT GAMBIER, Australia (TS) -- On the Internet, Phil Pittard reports
on news about Palapa C1 at 113 degrees East. "This bird is replacing
Palapa B2P and as of March 15 it appears that the transfer of users
has begun. Up until 15/3 it was virtually impossible in Mt Gambier,
South Australia, to get much more than squiggles of Palapa B2P." He
reported that several new channels could now be viewed thanks to the
higher power of Palapa C1.
- Eutelsat are on the Web at http://www.eutelsat.org/ (TSE)
- The ECS 1 (Eutelsat I F-1) satellite raised its orbit in February
and is now drifting. (JSR)
- Koreasat 2 is now on station at 113.0 deg E. (JSR)
- The Telecom 1C satellite has moved from 3.0 deg E to 1.0 deg E.
- Intelsat 501 moved back into the geostationary ring at 72.0E (Indian
In response to an article last week about Italy's Telepiu pay TV and a
new digital pay TV package being launched. We said Telepiu had secured
exclusive rights to all Italian soccer for the next three years and
Marco Greppi in Italy emailed:
"That's not correct, because the rights went to another TV,
After receiving the message we doubled checked out facts. Telepiu has
won exclusive pay TV rights to the soccer. TMC has won terrestrial
free to air rights although TMC does not cover all of Italy so many
people will be left with the choice of Telepiu or nothing.
In addition, we understand that Telepiu's soccer coverage will not be
available via it's scrambled terrestrial network.
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