TELE-satellit News - 12 May 1996

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International Satellite Broadcasting News
Number 98, Week ending 12 May 1996
By Martyn Williams
News Desk : Internet martyn@twics.com  or CompuServe CIS:martynw
(c) TELE-satellit Magazine

  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

  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
launch options.
  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. 

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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)

  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.

  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.

  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)

  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)

  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)

  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.

  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 
Klanowski, Sat-ND)

  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."

  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.

  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 

  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)

  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 
in Germany.
  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 
three years.
-- 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 
footprints. http://www.panamsat.com/ 


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