TS News - Management Shakeup At Telepiu

TELE-satellit News, 10 March 1997

Management Shakeup At Telepiu
  MILAN, Italy, 97/03/10 (TS) -- The arrival of the new shareholders of
Italian pay-TV network Telepiu, French media giant Canal Plus (which owns
45% of the venture, inherited from NetHold) will profoundly shake up the
existing management situation. Recently, five managers in the marketing
division were dismissed and in all probability drastic personnel cuts are
expected over the next few weeks. Currently Telepiu has more than 1,000
employees and this figure is set to be halved.

  With the takeover of Telepiu, Canal Plus has also inherited a debt of
around 400 million DEM (estimates up till the end of 1996) and a low
subscriber base of around 58,000 subscribers (compared to the 150,000
predicted in previous market estimates). Canal Plus will probably try to
use the same strategy in Italy which proved a winner in France: by
investing resources into own movie productions, seeking to become one of
the leading film production companies in Italy. Because of this market
strategy it is possible the headquarters of the pay-TV network could move
from Milan to Rome (in order to be nearer to the film studio Cinecitta).
The man who will be responsible for the reorganization of Telepiu will be
Marc Olivier, previously responsible for the launch of the Polish Canal
Plus service.

  He has already announced the launch of an Italian version of the Disney
Channel (to start by the end of 1997) as well as a dedicated weather
channel, Il Canale Meteo. In a recent interview to Italian weekly
"L'Espresso", Mario Rasini, one of the key managers at Telepiu said that
they are contemplating the launch of a religious channel (in cooperation
with the Italian Catholic church), a music channel (in cooperation with the
Italian record companies) and other thematic channels (in cooperation with
RAI and Mediaset).  Italian TV market experts are convinced however that
there will also be changes in programming. The launch of the second sports
channel has been delayed and potential advertisers were offered a package
comprising Formula 1, Formula Indy, the Superbike championships which  has
now been reduced only to include the Formula 1 races.

  By: Branislav Pekic

(c)TELE-satellit 1997. All rights reserved.

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