TS News - SkyPort Backs Both Digital Systems

TELE-satellit News, 10 October 1996

SkyPort Backs Both Digital Systems
  TOKYO, Japan, 96/10/10 (TS) -- SkyPort, a group of eight satellite
broadcasters, has announced it will broadcast on both digital TV satellites
in Japan. The group chose to back both groups rather than one at a time when
the future of Japanese satellite is difficult to read.

  SkyPort currently broadcasts an analog subscription TV package on
SuperBird-B and competes with the CS-Baan service offered by JCSat-2. New
digital services are attracting viewers to satellite TV like never before
and the first of these to launch, PerfecTV, already has over 40,000
subscribers in just 2 weeks of broadcasting.

  PerfecTV uses the new JCSat-3 satellite and will be joined by Rupert
Murdoch's JSkyB on that satellite next year. DirecTV plans a Japanese
service from next year on the new SuperBird-C satellite and many had assumed
SkyPort-D, the system's eight channel digital version, would continue to use

  The announcement that it has chosen both might actually indicate a
preference for the JCSat-3 line-up. Because SkyPort broadcasters and
SuperBird share many of the same shareholders abandoning SuperBird would be
difficult so it appears to have gone for the next best thing, a dual service.

  Also this week, Discovery Channel announced it will begin broadcasting in
Japan via PerfecTV. The channel is teaming with Sumitomo and TCI to launch
the new service which will cost around 300 yen ($3) a month.

(c)TELE-satellit 1996. All rights reserved.

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