TELE-satellit News - 12 May 1996
From: Martyn Williams <74777.1301@CompuServe.COM>
Date: 12 May 96 21:49:45 EDT
From email@example.com Sun May 12 22: 08:05 1996
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EUROPE'S SATELLITE MAGAZINE
International Satellite Broadcasting News
Number 98, Week ending 12 May 1996
By Martyn Williams
News Desk : Internet firstname.lastname@example.org or CompuServe CIS:martynw
(c) TELE-satellit Magazine
ISRAEL TO LAUNCH FIRST COMMERCIAL SATELLITE THIS WEEK
TEL AVIV, Israel (TS) -- After a series of spy and military
communications satellites, the middle Eastern nation of Israel is to
launch its first commercial satellite this week. The Amos-1 satellite
will be launched on May 15 by Europe's Ariane rocket.
The satellite carrys seven Ku-band transponders, and two back-ups,
and will be used to provide services to the middle East and central
Europe via its two targetted beams.
Reuter reports the Hungarian Broadcasting Company is one of several
organizations that has approached Israel over possible use of the
bird. Other Arab states have also expressed an interest in use of the
satellite because of its powerful beam said the news service. Another
report said Jordanian Television was close to signing for use.
Currently, Israel had the following geostationary positions
registered: 4.0 degrees West, 1.5 and 39.0 degrees East. AMOS 1 will
probably be located at 1.5 degrees East
SES ANNOUNCES BIG LAUNCH PLANS
BETZDORF, Luxembourg (Sat-ND) -- After a short Russian intermezzo,
Luxembourg based satellite operator SES is finally back in Europe. The
rocket company Arianespace today announced that it had signed an
agreement to launch six more ASTRA satellites for SES between 1997 and
According to Arianespace, "this long-term agreement guarantees SES
the availability of Ariane launchers in order to ensure the continuity
and growth of direct television broadcast services throughout Europe.
This agreement paves the way for the development of new activities by
SES, notably in the field of multimedia services." A firm contract
has been set up for three satellite starts (at least two of them will
be Hughes HS 601 platforms.)
Additionally, SES holds options for three more launches. Ariane 4 as
well as the new Ariane 5 which is due to perform its maiden flight in
May will be used for the upcoming ASTRA launches. Arianespace now has
a backlog of 47 launches, plus around 20
SES' new activities will definitely be located on different orbital
positions than 19.2 degrees East. About a year ago, Luxembourg had
been allocated the following geostationary slots: 24.2, 26.2, 28.2,
31.4, 35.5, 37.5, 41.2, and 43.2 degrees East. Besides, the Grand
Duchy had more than 20 positions all around the Clarke-Belt reserved
for services that will apparently be located in the Ka-Band.
Thus, today's announcement does by no means mean that SES will use
Arianespace's services exclusively A there might be some other
contracts with other launch providers in the near future.
BSKYB ANNOUNCES DIGITAL PLANS
LUXEMBOURG (TS, Sat-ND) -- BSkyB said this week is has reached
agreement with Socite Europene des Satellites to secure one half of
the operational capacity of a new satellite which is due to be
launched in Autumn 1997.
In this case, one half means not only 14 transponders but also up to
150 digital TV channels. But this may be just the beginning, said
BSkyB finance director Richard Brooke: "You can go from there as more
satellites are launched." According to chief executive Sam Chisholm,
existing channels like BBC, ITV and Channel 4 were approached about a
"partnership" on the upcoming digital package. The Virgin Group has
been asked to lay down their ideas about children's channels. Besides,
BSkyB today announced a 70% rise in pretax profits to 178 million
pounds for the nine months to March.
ARIANE 5 LAUNCH SCHEDULED FOR MAY 30
PARIS, France (TS) -- Arianespace says the maiden voyage of its new,
next generation, Ariane-5 rocket will take place on May 30 during a
launch window that extends from 1134UTC to 1334UTC. The launch had
been planned for May 25 but was delayed by five days, the latest in a
series of delays from the original launch date of 1995.
The new rocket is larger than any previous Ariane rockets and will
be able to carry larger and heavier payloads into orbit, something
essential to remain competitive in today's marketplace as more and
more electronics and systems are built into satellites making them
The rocket is capable of carrying either a single satellite up to
6.8 tonnes or two satellites with total weight of 5.9 tonnes. In its
maiden flight, the launcher will carry four small scientific
satellites into space.
FRANCE MINISTER CALLS FOR SINGLE DIGITAL SYSTEM
PARIS, France (TS) -- French Culture Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy
has called on France's soon to be competing digital television
services to settle on a single digital enryption system to avoid the
need for separate decoders.
The Canal Plus run Canalsatellite digital service is already
operating a bouquet of private television to citizens with the new
Television par Satellite (TPS) service, headed by the major commercial
and public broadcasters, due to start soon. The latter group has
threatened to use an alternative encryption system.
"Our citizens being unable to pay for one, two or three decoders, we
risk making the same mistake as with the cable. I do not wish that for
this country," Douste-Blazy was quoted by Reuter as saying.
MTV-2 ANNOUNCED, ALMOST
NEW YORK, New York, USA (Shoptalk) -- MTV Networks announced, but
not officially, plans this week for MTV2, a spin-off music video
channel that, according to some, will emulate the intensive free-form
spirit of early MTV.
The new channel will consist almost entirely of music videos and
will most likely be commercial free, said industry sources. MTV2 may
also eventually contain custom-programmed play lists that target
different musical tastes. "MTV2 will serve as a companion to our
existing MTV, but at this point, there are no specific details that we
can get into about it," said Andy Schuon, executive vice president of
programming at MTV.
The launch of MTV2 which could be as soon as late summer, comes five
years after MTV announced plans to splinter the channel into three
signals. (SF Chronicle via Shoptalk)
TELESAT ANNOUNCES FOUR NEW SATELLITES
OTTOWA, Canada (TS) -- Canada's national satellite operator,
Telesat, has announced it has entered into an agreement with
Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI) and is proceeding to conclude plans
with TelQuest Ventures to enable the launch of four new Canadian-owned
DBS satellites, the first of which will take place later this year.
The news brings some welcome good publicity to the organization
which recently suffered embarrasment after one of its satellites
failed causing telecommunications chaos in Canada.
The new satellites will provide a platform for Canadian and American
direct broadcast satellite service providers to transmit programming
to their respective markets. The launch of the new satellites into two
of Canada's six unoccupied orbital slots represents the first phase in
Telesat's transition to a diversified company providing satellite
facilities to the huge North American marketplace said the company.
APSTAR LAUNCH SLIPS IN CHINA
BEIJING, China (TS) -- The launch of Hong Kong's Apstar-1A satellite
has slipped to June, around three months later than originally planned
according to a Chinese official quoted by Reuter. The launch was
delayed because of the February explosion of a Long March rocket that
destroyed the Intelsat 708 satellite and damaged a large area of land
down site from the launch pad killing at least six people.
The Apstar-1A satellite is itself a replacement for Apstar-2 which
was destoyed in another Long March launch explosion a year ago that
also killed locals living down range from the space center.
DIGITAL TV LAUNCHED IN ARGENTINA
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (Sat-ND) -- Argentineans have the
opportunity to subscribe to a direct to home (DTH) TV package, simply
abbreviated TDH (which is the Spanish translation.) The package
consists of 15 channels on NAHUELSAT I1, the former ANIK C1 on 71.9
degrees West. Just 18,000 subscribers are expected to sign up during
1996, and no more than 138,000 by the year 2000. The reason is simple:
The reception equipment, including decoder, costs US$1,000. The
monthly fee amounts to US$28. (Peter Klanowski, Sat-ND)
PAY TV WITH A TWIST
NEW YORK, New York (Shoptalk) -- In an attempt to give its 24-hour
all-news channel a head-start on the competition, News Corp. is
offering cable operators $10 per subscriber to carry the service when
it debuts in the fall.
Fox's offer is highly unusual, as cable operators are commonly the
ones to pay program suppliers for channels. With all-news channels
expected from NBC and ABC, and an all-business channel from CNN, all
the networks will be fighting for scarce channel space. Each is
racing to stake claim on channel slots for brand recognition early and
trying to keep other competitors off the dial.
Even the lure of high payments, however, may not be enough for Fox.
Cable giant Tele-Communications Inc. said it hasn't been formally
approached by Fox but a spokesman said, "We wouldn't be surprised if
they approached us in that vein. We're not so sure news is at the top
of the customer list of new services. Rob Stengel, a senior vice
president at Continental Cablevision Inc. concurred. "There's not
exactly a clamoring of subs for new news channels," he said. (Wall
Street Journal via Shoptalk)
DIGITAL TV IN PAKISTAN
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (Sat-ND) -- The digital age is dawning in
Pakistan, too. A 36 MHz bandwidth transponder on ASIASAT II is used to
carry the country's first commercial TV service, consisting of eight
channels in English language. During the next twelve months, the
service will be expanded to 28 channels, including an Urdu language
channel starting in July. Shaheen Pay TV already has more than 2,000
subscribers in the Karachi area, each of them paying 3,000 rupees for
the reception equipment (including 8 months of free reception.)
Up to now, the package consists of BBC World, Discovery Channel,
European Sports Network, Star Sports, Asia Business News, MTV-Asia,
and TNT/Cartoon Network. Germany's Deutsche Welle TV will be added
this month. Shaheen will also set up local programming later in May,
but it has already stated that it will keep out of the news business,
which stays a state monopoly. Besides, all channels are subject to
strict censorship, as the company admits. Islamic fundamentalists in
Pakistan have recently criticised "the cultural invasion of Indian
media" via satellite, although Indian channels
are subject to censorship, too. (Peter Klanowski, Sat-ND)
BBC TO RECEIVE NO MONEY FROM SAUDIS
LONDON, England (TS) -- London based Arabic newspaper Asharq
al-Awsat has quoted sources at Orbit, the middle eastern pay TV
package operator, as saying it will not pay the BBC as a result of a
cancelled contract to carry BBC World in its service.
The newspaper reported the contract was officially terminated on
Friday in Rome, when Orbit uplinks programming from, and compensation
was not part of the deal.
Orbit dropped the BBC World channel in April after it broadcast a
program alledging human rights violations in Saudi Arabia. Orbit's
chairman is a cousin of Saudi Arabia's Saudi King Fahd. It was the
most recent in a series of disputes over BBC News programming critical
of the middle Eastern state.
INDONESIA PLANS S-BAND USE
JAKATA, Indonesia (Sat-ND) -- Well, Ku and C band may be usual, but
they are not the only frequency ranges available for satellite
transmissions. This doesn't just apply to experimental transmissions
but also to real-life TV. At least in Indonesia, digital TV will be
available in the S Band (2.5 - 2.6 GHz) as soon as the planned
INDOSTAR 1 will be in service by early 1997.
Until then, a few channels -- up to 20 -- will be broadcast on
PALAPA C1 (113 degrees East) in the C band. Indovision, as the digital
TV package is called, will offer 40 channels on INDOSAT 1, with a view
to 100 channels on 1999.
Reception equipment (a 28 inch dish is required) will be provided by
French producer Thomson, who under its brand name RCA also pioneered
as supplier of reception equipment for the US digital package DirecTV.
This might not be a bad deal: Indonesia counts 195 million inhabitants
and is not only fourth most populous country in the world but right
now also the biggest TV market in Asia -- as long as a certain Rupert
Murdoch doesn't manage to control Chinese TV, that is. (Peter
ATLAS WINS INTELSAT LANUCH
WASHINGTON, DC, USA (TS) -- The international satellite
organization, Intelsat, has awarded a contract to launch two Intelsat
8A series satellites on Lockheed Martin
Astronautics' Atlas launcher. The launches are scheduled to take place
in 1998 from Cape Canaveral Air Station.
The satellites, built by Lockheed Martin Astro Space Commercial,
offers significantly increased C-band capacity for telephony, video
services and VSAT applications.
"We are very pleased to be able to launch two more Intelsat
satellites, adding to the 28 previous missions for this long-standing
Atlas customer," said Michael Wash, president Atlas Division, ILS.
"Most recently, our Atlas IIAS has provided mission success for three
launches of the Intelsat 7 series -- 703, 704 and 705."
ARIANE WINS ECHOSTAR-II LAUNCH
DENVER, Colorado, USA (TS) -- Europe's Arianespace has been awarded
the launch contract for Echostar-II, the second direct broadcasting
satellite from Echostar Corporation. An Ariane 42P launcher will carry
the craft into space in late summer said the US company.
EchoStar II is the second direct broadcast satellite built by
Lockheed Martin Astro Space for EchoStar Communications Corporation.
Based on a Martin Marietta 7000 platform, it will weigh approximately
2,865 kg at liftoff. EchoStar II is equipped with sixteen 130 watt
Ku-band transponders, and will deliver approximately 100 additional
channels of digital video, audio and data transmission services
directly to homes throughout the continental United States.
KIKKER RADIO KICKED OFF THE AIR
AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands (Sat-ND) -- Kikker Radio, expected to
kick off on April 1, actually started on April 3 but it was forced off
air just one day later by the Commissariaat voor de Media.
Kikker Radio could by then be received in Amsterdam, half of the
province of Noord-Holland and Culemborg. The cable companies in those
regions received an order from the CVDM to stop relaying the channel.
A2000 in Amsterdam was a bit tardy in doing so and now faces a fine.
There had been a lot of publicity around the start of the new
station. The reason for the abrupt closedown is that Kikker Radio does
not have a broadcasting license. The station manager seemed
embarrassed when he had to admit that he forgot to send in the
appropriate forms. His own staff didn't know this. He still
anticipates Kikker Radio to go on air soon, and in a couple of months
it'll be available in almost half of the country. (Jitse Groen via
NIEUWSRADIO NEARS THE END
AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands (Sat-ND) -- Veronica Nieuwsradio (VNR)
may be having its last month. Many talk shows have already been
replaced by music, and the station may go off air on June 1.
Staff are warranted payment for the month of May only. The company
Quote, holding a 50% equity in VNR, does not want to pay its share of
the loss, piling up to approximately 3 million Guilders. Presently,
VNR makes a loss of about 1 million Guilders a month. The other
shareholder, Veronica, now wants to take the issue to court. It is not
yet known what will happen to 1395 kHz, the medium wave frequency used
for VNR's terrestrial distribution, should the court's judgement be in
favour of Quote.
Veronica will probably not want to give it up, as their station Kink
FM is still without any terrestrial frequency. The government will
probably not allow the format being changed from news to rock. On top
of this, there are plenty of other stations willing to transmit on
that frequency. It is however not a very good one, since it can't be
heard at night. (Jitse Groen via Sat-ND)
NEW PAN EUROPEAN BROADCASTER LOOKS TO LONG WAVE
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (Sat-ND) -- While new radio stations with a
dream of covering Europe with a single signal are all looking to
satellite, one station, Delta Radio, has decided on the oldest of all
pan European transmission methods, Long Wave radio.
The transmitter of Delta radio will have a power of 2.000 kilowatt,
the effective radiated power (ERP) will be 10 megawatt, making it the
most powerful station in the whole world. Even during daytime, Delta
radio can be received in the whole of Europe. Unfortunately the 171
kHz frequency is also used in Kaliningrad, Russia.
The output will therefore be directed toward the west, it'll be
limited toward the east. The transmitter has been ordered from French
company Thomson, Dutch Nozema will set it up and build the four
transmission towers. The location is not known yet, but it'll probably
be in Flevoland, where most Dutch AM transmitters are located. The
station will have a pan-european approach. Which could raise another
problem: There is already a radio station with the name of Delta Radio
Hits from different countries will be played, and programming will
be presented in various languages. It's likely that those languages
will be English, German and Dutch. Station manager Alex Boot doesn't
want to say much, but he has already stated that French will not be
one of the languages used. He also said that funding for the channel
comes from six different European countries. (Jitse Groen/pck via
-- Filmnet has signed a deal that gives it access to
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer movies for pay per view television. The movies
will run as part of the new MultiChoice package that will shortly
launch in the Benelux and Scandinavia.
-- Paramount Television and Germany's UFA Film and Fernseh have agreed
to jointly produce 36 movies for the European market over the next
-- In London, Rainbow TV announced its plans for a European channel
especially for homosexuals. The station will start broadcasting 'light
entertainment' from 1997. (Jitse Groen via Sat-ND)
-- Since May 1, PanAmSat can be reached online. The company's Web site
lots of information about their satellite system, including
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