Satellite news 25.08.04

Satdude

Satdude

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Satellite news 18.08.04

News

UK

C4 PREPARES FOR MERGER WITH FIVE
Channel 4 has hired investment bank UBS to scope out a
strategic review of its long-term options, including
the possibility of a merger with either rival Five or
another broadcaster. The network is looking at a range
of options, and while the possibility of a merger with
RTL-owned Five fits the bill, it is by no means a
foregone conclusion. Channel 4 and Five are looking
for ways to consolidate in the U.K. market place,
where both face the possibility of being squeezed by
an enlarged ITV, since the merger of Carlton and
Granada last year. The two television channels have
admitted to holding informal merger talks, although C4
has also had discussions with other broadcasters,
including cable company Flextech. Channel 4 is
publicly owned but funded entirely by advertising and
profits are badly hit if viewing figures fall. The
channel made a small profit on revenues of £770
million last year, but had been in the red in 2002.
Five, controlled by German broadcaster RTL, is also
facing stiffer competition.

BS*yB WANTS TO USE FREESAT NAME
The BBC is in talks with BS*yB about allowing the
commercial broadcaster to use its "Freesat" trademark.
BS*yB, whose shares have collapsed after poor results,
announced last week that it was launching the
free-to-air satellite service, which has not yet been
named, in October. Commentators have already dubbed
the service, which offers 200 channels for a £150
one-off payment and no subscription charge, "freesat".
BS*yB's chief executive, James Murdoch, said that it
was still in talks with the BBC about what involvement
it could have in the S*y service. A BBC spokeswoman
confirmed that one option being discussed is to allow
BS*yB to make official use of the Freesat name, which
it has copyrighted. The BBC has been in talks for
months with broadcasters, including BS*yB, about
launching its own free-to-air, digital satellite
service.

TURNER TO TRANSMIT CHANNELS INHOUSE
Turner Broadcasting Systems Europe has confirmed plans
to bring the transmission of all its European
entertainment channels in-house from January 2006,
replacing the current play out deal with Ascent Media.
This decision will involve building a new tx facility
and hiring some 40 additional staff at the company's
Great Marlborough Street, London headquarters. Some
12,000 hours from channels Cartoon Network, Boomerang,
Toonami and TCM will also be digitized. The
digitization of content is all part of a plan to allow
the company to explore emerging revenue streams such
as video-on-demand and broadband. Cartoon Network,
TCM, Boomerang and Toonami are available in the region
from 17 feeds in 25 local-language versions.

BS*yB TO SUE EDS
BS*yB is preparing legal action against U.S. computer
services company Electronic Data Systems Corp. over a
disputed contract terminated almost two years ago, EDS
confirmed on August 9. The satellite TV company hired
EDS in November 2000 in a deal worth about £61 million
over two years to provide systems to help it handle
call center inquiries. EDS confirmed S*y has "asserted
a contractual claim over the deal." It said S*y took
back responsibility for system delivery in early 2002
and that it terminated its relationship with S*y at
the end of 2002. S*y said last week it "anticipates
issuing and serving a claim in the near future for a
material amount against an information technology
solutions provider."

AT THE RACES WANTS $93 MILLION FROM RACEHORSE OWNERS
BS*yB and outdoor entertainment group Arena Leisure
confirmed on August 10 that they have issued a £51
million writ against a group of Britain's leading
racecourse owners to recover unexploited media rights.
Under the banner of their joint-venture channel At the
Races, S*y and Arena have been engaged in a
long-running wrangle with racecourse owners after the
collapse of their previous media rights deal that also
involved Channel 4. The former deal was declared
invalid by antitrust regulator the Office of Fair
Trading in April because it involved collective
bargaining that was deemed anti-competitive. Arena-led
venture At the Races is arguing that it put cash
upfront to secure the media rights under the first
deal and that those rights should revert to At the
Races after the deal's collapse.

FIVE SIGNS OUTPUT DEAL WITH SONY PICTURES
Free-to-air channel Five is bidding to outdo pay-TV
rivals by inking a deal with Sony Pictures Television
International to air a number of Hollywood
blockbusters before the pay window. Five has secured a
film package comprising Terminator 3: Rise of the
Machines; Bruce Willis vehicle Tears of the Sun; and
Charlize Theron's Trapped. Terminator 3 is expected to
premiere later this year. "This is a huge coup for the
channel," said Five's managing editor and director of
acquisitions, Jeff Ford. "Five's viewers will get to
see some of 2003's biggest blockbusters only 15 months
after their cinema release." The deal also covers
terrestrial premieres of Charlie's Angels: Full
Throttle; Anger Management; Bad Boys II; Maid in
Manhattan and Daddy Day Care.

SPL SPORTS CHANNEL LAUNCHES
The new Scottish Premier League sports channel has
launched, allaying fears that fans could miss the kick
off of the new season. Setanta has had a difficult
summer with rumours persisting that the channel has
not generated an adequate number of subscribers to
meet the cost of paying what is due to the 12 SPL
clubs. The company has strongly maintained they are on
course and the first payment was made to clubs on the
first of this month. Insiders claim fewer than 20,000
fans have subscribed so far for the football package -
costing £119 for the season - below the break-even
target of 81,000. Setanta is paying Scottish
Television £50,000 a game to use its equipment and
production staff to provide live SPL coverage. And
cable giant Telewest is not offering Rangers TV or
Celtic TV to its 256,000 Scottish customers. Earlier
this week, the Evening Times reported how the
Irish-based channel was on the verge of clinching a
deal to screen live Scottish rugby matches.

S*y TO SELL FILMS VIA SATELLITE
Satellite TV viewers will be able to buy and download
films through their dishes under plans being drawn up
by BS*yB, according to a report in "The Times". The
broadcaster is understood to be in talks with
film-makers over securing the rights to distribute
film via satellite. Viewers would load the films onto
a personal video recorder with enough electronic
storage space to hold a library of programmes. The
service would challenge the video-on-demand services
already provided by cable-television companies. S*y
will take its first step towards the service at
Christmas, when it launches a new version of its S*y+
personal video-recorder service. The new version will
have much greater memory capacity, and will retail for
£399.

Europe

RECORD TV VIEWERS FOR OLYMPICS
The International Olympic Committee expects that 3.9
billion people will watch this year's games on
television, with more than 300 channels set to
transmit about 35,000 hours of coverage. At the 2000
Games in Sydney, 29,600 hours were broadcast to 36.1
billion households. According to the IOC, more than 60
per cent of broadcasters have promised to enhance
their coverage compared with four years ago. NBC alone
is promising 1,210 hours, three times its Sydney
coverage, while Canada's CBC and TSN are to provide
440 hours, and CCTV will offer more than 600 hours. In
Germany, ZDF and ARD have tripled their coverage to
1,400 hours. And in South Africa, Supersport
International, SABC2 and SABC3 will provide 1,965
hours. This year's games also promise mobile phone and
online streaming video and highlight clips from
several broadcasters, as well as some HD coverage.

T-SYSTEMS SUPPLIES OLYMPIC COVERAGE TO BROADCASTERS
T-Systems is to broadcasting video, sound and data
signals during the Olympic Summer Games in Athens for
the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), the Canadian
Broadcasting Corporation and ARD and ZDF. T-Systems
will also send the video signals of the Olympic
football tournament in High Definition Television
(HDTV) to Tokyo for Japanese television and broadcast
programmes via satellite news gathering (SNG) for the
Greek Telecommunications Organization (OTE). The
Deutsche Telekom subsidiary is a partner for the EBU
during the Olympics. Together with the OTE, T-Systems
will send the signals and data via submarine cable
from the International Broadcasting Center in Athens
to T-Systems' PoP (Point of presence) in Milan as a
gateway to Deutsche Telekom's global network. This
network will be used to broadcast the data to Germany,
Canada and some 70 EBU members in Europe, North Africa
and the Middle East. Within Germany, signals will be
transmitted to the national broadcasting network of
the public service broadcasting organisations which
permanently connects state and regional broadcasting
studios with high bandwidths. T-Systems will be
providing ZDF Mainz, SWR Baden-Baden and RBB Potsdam
with sound and video signals, as well as
broadcasting-specific signals for reporting,
conference and data applications.

Germany

KIRCH AND UNIVERSAL STUDIOS CLOSE TO SETTLEMENT
Universal Studios is close to an out-of-court
settlement in its four-year-old lawsuit with bankrupt
German rights giant KirchMedia. Insiders at Universal
and KirchMedia said on August 9 the two sides have
agreed on a deal that would see the German group pay
Universal $80 million-$100 million in exchange for
dropping the suit. Universal first filed against
KirchMedia in 2000, alleging breach of contract
related to a 10-year output deal Kirch signed with the
Hollywood studio in 1996. Kirch allegedly reneged on
the deal in 1999, refusing to pay the agreed price for
Universal's films and television shows.

PROFITS UP AT PREMIERE
Pay-TV platform Premiere swung to a half-year
operational profit (before interest, tax, depreciation
and amortization) of ?18.1 million ($22.2 million)
from an $18.8 million loss the previous year, while
revenue grew 3.6% to $598 million. Net deficit of
$86.2 million was down from $135 million in the same
period last year. While Premiere's subscriber base has
grown 7.5% to 2.9 million since last year, it has
fallen 14.3% since January.

VIVA MEDIA REPORTS INCREASED PROFITS
German music TV group Viva Media on August 12
announced a profit of ?2 million for the second
quarter of this year. The figure is up from a ?424,000
profit over the same period in 2003. Sales at the
Cologne-based group slipped slightly, hitting ?27.4
million, a fall from ?29.2 million in second quarter
2003. Last month, Viacom acquired Viva, the main
competitor to the company's MTV network in Europe, for
around ?310 million.

2Q PROFITS DOUBLED AT PROSIEBENSAT1
Private broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 Media said on
August 13 that second-quarter profit more than
doubled, helped by higher sales and cost cuts, while
net income rose to ?47.6 million from ?22.1 million a
year earlier. Sales in the second quarter rose 6 per
cent to ?496 million. The company reiterated its
forecast from last month that the TV advertising
market would grow 2 per cent this year. ProSiebenSat.1
forecast that EBITDA would rise to ?330 million this
year, helped by an increase in sales and lower costs.
Sales growth in the second half will be slower than in
the first six months, according to chief financial
officer, Lothar Lanz. The company said it expected to
raise its share of its German TV audience by 0.5-0.6
percentage points in 2004. ProSiebenSat.1 plans to
enter the pay-TV market to become more independent
from the advertising market, although it will not
invest in Premiere, de Posch said. ProSiebenSat.1
abandoned negotiations at the end of July over the
purchase of three of Premiere's channels after the
companies could not agree on the price. The Sat.1
channel posted a ?38.7 million pre-tax profit,
compared with ?8 million a year earlier. Pre-tax
profit at the ProSieben channel rose 33 per cent to
?63.1 million; N24 had a pre-tax profit of ?100,000
compared with a ?5.5 million loss; and Kabel 1 more
than doubled its profit to ?9.6 million.

Spain

PRIVATE MEDIA REPORTS Q2 RESULTS
Private Media Group, a worldwide leader in
premium-quality adult content, announced on August 12
an increase in net income to ?1.2 million for the
three months ended June 30 compared to ?0.1 million
for the comparable period in 2003. For the three
months ended June 30, net sales were ?9.3 million
compared to ?10.1 million for the comparable period in
2003. Broadcasting sales increased 128% to ?1.3
million primarily as a result of the broadcasting
launch of the proprietary Pay-Per-View Satellite &
Cable Television Channel, the Private Fantasy Channel,
in the United States in February 2004.

Regards Satdude. :D
 
Satdude

Satdude

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Satellite news 25.08.04

News

UK

DD CHANNEL ON S*y DIGITAL
Despite reservations of the Finance Ministry, the
Information and Broadcasting ministry plans to put a
channel of Doordarshan on BS*yB DTH platform early
next year and to take it to the United States later.
Information and Broadcasting Secretary Navin B Chawla
who was in Britain earlier this month along with DD
Director-General to discuss various details with
regard to the channel, said on August 14 that the
national broadcaster was preparing a "whole new
channel with a mix of programming" in order to cater
to the wide mix of audience in Britain. He said
putting the channel on BS*yB's DTH platform is
expected to cost the public broadcaster Rs 9 crore.
"We plan to keep it free-to-air for one or two years,
going pay after it catches up with thee targeted
audience," he said. On the timing of the launch,
Chawla said, "BS*yB wants us to join its platform by
November this year but I would like to delay it by
another 2-3 months so that we get more time in
preparing the programming for it."

TECHNOLOGY TV ARRIVES IN OCTOBER
Dave Atherton, the Bolton entrepreneur behind the
online retailer dabs.com, is planning to launch
Technology TV in October. The output will be a balance
of editorial and interactive sales programming. And
backers are hoping that the educational and
entertainment value of the technology-themed
programmes will keep viewers coming back, whilst the
interactive shopping will generate the station's
revenue.

BS*yB CHANNELS ON HOMECHOICE
S*y Sports and S*y Movies channels will soon be
available on the HomeChoice broadband platform
following a deal between BS*yB and Video Networks.
Under the agreement, HomeChoice will be adding a S*y
premium package to its service, carrying channels S*y
Sports 1, 2, 3 and Xtra and S*y Movies (Screens
1,3,5,7,9). This brings the number of digital TV and
on-demand film, music and entertainment channels
available to HomeChoice's potential 1.25 million
households to over 80. The addition of S*y Movies will
take HomeChoice's on-demand film line-up well above
its current 1000+ titles. Video Networks launched its
first video-on-demand trial back in 1996 and followed
this up with HomeChoice in 2000.

BS*yB TAKES LEGAL ACTION AGAINST EDS
BS*yB said August 17 that it has filed a claim "for a
material amount" against U.S.-based technology company
Electronic Data Systems, relating to a customer call
center contract terminated in 2002. In a statement to
the London Stock Exchange, BS*yB said it hired EDS in
November 2000 to build an advanced customer service
call management system in a deal worth £61 million,
but the contract was terminated in 2002.

PROPERTY SHOPPING CHANNEL IN THE WORKS
The UK's first property teleshopping channel - The
Move Channel - is to launch on September 13 via the
S*y Digital platform. The bulk of the round-the-clock
programming schedule will be taken up by infomercials
showing properties from various different estate
agents and developers, with the geographical focus
being London and the South East. In addition there
will be slots available for financial services, new
developments and overseas homes, as well as commercial
spot advertising. The channel will launch with a 12
hour programme loop, which will run from 10:00 to
22:00 and then be repeated throughout the night.

CHANNEL 4 GETS EXTRA CASH
Channel 4 will invest an extra £20 million a year into
program spending on the back of increased revenue from
advertising, director of television Kevin Lygo said on
August 19. A record £469 million is now available for
calendar 2004, with the extra funds earmarked to boost
the channel's Christmas schedule and bring forward the
transmission of shows that would otherwise have aired
next year. The £20 million increase stems from a 5%
increase in ad revenue year-over-year and an increase
in viewers.

FIVE TO OFFER INTERACTIVE ADS
Five will launch interactive TV ads on September 1,
and is to unveil a range of enhanced programming
applications later in the month. The interactive
services will be trialled throughout the remainder of
2004, and Five will unveil its complete interactive
strategy at the start of next year. Five said that its
priority was to get its interactive advertising
services 'up and running', and seek out relevant
commercial partners. The interactive services will
initially be available on the S*y platform only.

FIVE RENEWS MOVIE PACKAGE WITH SONY PICTURES
The Five channel has extended its ongoing movie
package deal with Sony Pictures Television
International, adding a slew of popular movies, some
of which will air on the network without having a U.K.
pay window. Five has secured pay and free rights to
"Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines," "Tears of the
Sun," with Bruce Willis, and the Charlize Theron
starrer "Trapped." Five said it expects some of the
titles to air as early as November, 15 months after
their theatrical debut. These titles will not exploit
a U.K. pay window, but instead go straight to
terrestrial. The extended deal also covers such
terrestrial premieres as "Charlie's Angels: Full
Throttle," "Anger Management," "Bad Boys II," "Maid in
Manhattan" and "Daddy Day Care."

Europe

SBS SEEKS TO EXPAND DIGITAL TV SERVICES
European broadcaster SBS is in high-level management
meetings to finalize its plans to expand into Europe's
new digital TV market. An early step in SBS
Broadcasting's digital plan came August 15 with the
launch in Denmark of Voice TV, SBS' new digital video
music channel. According to SBS founder and executive
chairman Harry Sloan, Voice TV is just the tip of the
iceberg for the broadcasters' long-term digital plans
in Europe. "There's going to be more homes that are
digital in Europe than the U.S. We are certainly
jumping in," Sloan said.

France

PINKTV PREPARES FOR AUTUMN LAUNCH
France's upcoming mature content channel PinkTV will now go on
air via cable, satellite and ADSL on October 25.
PinkTV has been the subject of much industry
speculation in France, where many believed the channel
might not see the light of day. The launch has been
put back several times since the network's president
Pascal Houzelot was granted a broadcast licence back
in April 2003. However, issues concerning the
transmission of mature content have been settled by providing
double encryption.

PROFITS UP AT M6
Media group M6 has reported operating profits of ?143
million for the first half of 2004 on consolidated
turnover of ?626.5 million, an increase of 3.1 per
cent on the same period last year. Advertising sales
in the same period grew by 8.8 per cent to ?327.4
million.

Germany

PROSIEBENSAT.1 REPORTS INCREASED PROFITS
Net profits for the first half of the year at
ProSiebenSat.1 Group were up to ?72.7 million as at
June 30, compared with ?4.1 million at the same time
last year. Consolidated revenues were up 6 per cent to
?932.3 million, and, for the first time in its
history, the group posted first-half profits at all
four stations. Sat.1 emerged from a pre-tax loss of ?5
million to a profit of ?62.4 million. ProSieben's
pre-tax profit soared 56 per cent to ?97.9 million. At
Kabel 1 pre-tax profit almost doubled, to ?12.4
million, while N24 reported a ?200,000 pre-tax profit,
compared to its ?13.2 million loss last year.

KIRCH MAY HAVE TO PAY BACK TAXES
Former German media mogul Leo Kirch, whose KirchGroup
empire collapsed into bankruptcy two years ago, could
now have to pay back taxes totaling as much as ?300
million. The Munich tax office is demanding the taxes
from Kirch, claiming he kept reported profits at his
group of companies artificially low through dubious
writeoffs and other tax accounting tricks.

Greece

EUROSPORT LAUNCHES ITV OLYMPICS SERVICE
Viewers of Eurosport International on Greek satellite
platform Nova will now have access to an Olympic Games
iTV service, as part of a deal with interactive
television specialist Visiware. The service includes
constant live access to the Games, news headlines,
updated media rankings and a program guide.

INTELSAT BOOKS OVER 35,000 CHANNEL HOURS FOR OLYMPICS
Intelsat on August 19 confirmed that it pre-booked
over 35,000 hours of programming for 50 channels for
this year's Olympic Games in Athens. This represents
one of the highest traffic events in the company's
history, and equates to what would be almost four
years of continual programming carried within a 20-day
period. Intelsat is providing all-digital transmission
of the Games for many of the event's rights holders,
using six satellites from its global fleet covering
every ocean region. The Intelsat system is carrying
Olympic footage from Athens to North America, Asia and
South America for a number of premier customers,
including CCTV in China and GlobeCast, a leading
international provider of satellite transmission and
production services for professional broadcast
customers. GlobeCast will utilize Intelsat capacity to
offer high-quality services to ATV Hong Kong, TV
Globo, Brazil, TVB Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei
Broadcast Pool. OTE, the national telecom provider of
Greece, will use the Intelsat system to provide
occasional use services to its customers in Europe.
Intelsat-carried Olympic images will be broadcast to a
potential viewing audience of over 3 billion people.

Poland

NEW CHANNELS BRING PROFIT TO TVN
The ITI-owned television network TVN posted a zl.80.63
million profit in the first half of the year, which is
a 93% increase compared to the same period in 2003.
The company, which is currently preparing for its IPO,
also increased its sales income by 19% to zl.361.51
million and its EBIDTA by 34% to zl.121.68 million. In
March the company finalized the purchase of TVN 24
from the ITI group for zl.168 million, by the end of
April it had launched a new channel ITVN aimed at
foreign viewers and August 1 saw the start of another
new channel TVN Style aimed at women. An IPO is
scheduled for October 2004, worth $100-150 million. In
the first half of the year the TVN group had a 28.9%
market share in prime time, 10% more than in 2002.

Russia

MTG INCREASES RUSSIAN TV STAKES
Sweden's Modern Times Group has increased its
interests in Russian television for the second time in
as many months, and now fully controls free-to-air
entertainment channel DTV. Local Russian companies
controlled by MTG have acquired the remaining 25% of
DTV, since overseas firms cannot own more than 49% of
Russian channels under current laws. Russian
authorities gave the green light this latest expansion
of MTG's interests in Europe's most populous
television market. DTV reaches more than 60 million
people in 400 Russian cities. MTG has also paid a
total of US$9.6 million for another share of
Moscow-based StoryFirst Communications, lifting its
stake by 1.9% to 39.9%. StoryFirst owns and operates
the CTC network along with 13 regional stations in
Russia. CTC boasts an audience of around 100 million.

Regards Satdude. :D
 
Jaffer

Jaffer

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Hi M8s

Are there any free news channels available via intenrnet? If yes, please give the details. I mean live news not the recorded clips.

Thanks in advance.
 
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