Satellite news May



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Satellite news 04.05.04



The BBC on April 26 called for the introduction of a
satellite version of Freeview after warning the
government that it will miss its target for switching
off the analogue television signal. The corporation
said government intervention backed by millions of
pounds of public money would be needed to convert the
country to digital TV by 2010. Creating a fourth
platform alongside Freeview, BS*yB and cable will be
vital to meeting that deadline, said the BBC in a
report submitted to the Department for Culture, Media
and Sport. The government plans to abandon the
analogue signal when digital penetration reaches 95%
of households. That milestone will be reached in 2013
if the task is left in the hands of the market,
according to BBC estimates. In a report that was
critical of official preparations so far for
switchover, the corporation called on the government
to set a clear timetable for analogue switch-off and
to establish an independent organisation dedicated to
coordinating the conversion to digital TV. Andy
Duncan, the BBC's director of marketing and
communications, urged the government to underwrite the
cost of converting broadcasters' TV transmitters to a
digital network. He admitted such a move could cost
hundreds of millions of pounds, but said the BBC and
commercial stations would need extra cash to run two
different transmission systems. The most radical
proposal was for the creation of a free-to-air
satellite TV service, dubbed "freesat" in industry
circles. The concept has been endorsed by media
regulator Ofcom, which issued a report on digital
switchover this month. A "freesat" service will be
needed in the post-analogue future to reach viewers
who cannot receive cable or Freeview or do not want
pay-TV through BS*yB. The BBC said the government
should work with BS*yB, Channel 4, Five and ITV to
produce a free-to-air satellite service.

A new digital television channel featuring Australian
soap operas, mini-series, kids' series and TV movies
is set to launch in the U.K. later this year. Darren
Gray, the head of programming for the new channel,
called Aussie Gold, said that the network would
"specialize in screening classic and more recent
Aussie soaps and dramas.

UK commercial broadcaster ITV has secured full
ownership of its 24-hour news service by acquiring NTL
Europe's stake in the venture. ITV has bought NTL's
35% stake after the ITV News Channel reported its
third consecutive year of audience growth. The digital
network draws in a weekly average of 2.4 million

In the run up to Charter renewal and after Ofcom's
call for the BBC to be a pillar of public service
broadcasting, the Corporation has pledged to lift the
number of arts, current affairs and documentary
programmes in peaktime across all its networks.
Details of the new initiative include a further 10
primetime hours of current affairs on BBC1 this year
(lifting the total to 90 hours) plus a continued
emphasis on consumer programming within its factual
output. A pledge to keep BBC1 repeats below 10% of
output was also made. Also in the year ahead, BBC2
will increase its commitment to current affairs by 10
further hours, and will usher in a new focus on
documentaries, tackling issues like terrorism,
disability and parenting. On the BBC's digital-only
networks, BBC3 is developing a 7 O'clock News weekday
programme, while BBC4 will launch a new programme for
analysis of UK and world media.

Pet TV is a service digital viewers can access by
pressing the interactive red button on their remotes,
for a week-long run from May 1. It is being billed by
the BBC as an attempt to find out what sort of TV
programmes, sounds and images animals respond to. The
interactive TV service will consist of a looped series
of images and sounds, including clips of snooker balls
rolling across the green baize, frisbees flying
through the air, cat toys and cartoon characters such
as Top Cat. The service will also offer clips from
more traditional TV fare, such as EastEnders,
Neighbours, The Muppet Show and Animal Hospital. Pet
TV can be tried out on dogs, cats, birds and even
fish, according to the BBC. Pet TV is a spin-off from
BBC1 show Test Your Pet, which is to be broadcast on
Saturday night at 18:00. The service will be available
to viewers with Freeview, S*y Digital or digital cable

ntl is the latest media company to give its support to
The Community Channel - the UK's only not-for profit
TV station - by donating a slot from 10:00 to 16:00.
ntl customers who currently receive the "local"
channel 14 in their package will now be able to access
The Community Channel. Owned by the Media Trust, a
registered charity, the Community Channel enjoys the
support of the whole media industry. Through a range
of lively, innovative and thought- provoking
programming the channel helps the charity and
voluntary sectors increase their profile, recruit
volunteers and raise funds. It also provides a place
where viewers can have their voice heard and find out
how to get involved in community and charity
activities. Trustees of the charity include Michael
Green (chair), Mark Thompson (CEO 4), Jon Snow, Tony
Ball and Greg Dyke. Core funding is from the Home
Office Active Communities Unit (ACU) and Lottery
Community Fund and it has received cross-industry
support worth in excess of £1 million.

Tandberg Television announced that it has secured an
order from BS*yB to provide the broadcaster with a
range of digital compression solutions. The deal will
see BS*yB introduce a new Tandberg Television MPEG-2
head-end installation with 16 compression systems for
its Advanced Technology Centre, which is being created
to supplement BS*yB's existing broadcast facilities.
The companies share a 10-year plus track record based
on co-operation and trust and their engineering teams
have worked closely together to pioneer digital pay-TV
satellite technologies and services. BS*yB was one of
the early adopters of Tandberg's MPEG-2 encoders
during the 1990's. As part of the contract Tandberg
Television will provide end-to-end systems based on
its industry leading MPEG-2 compression engine. The 16
compression systems will each contain Tandberg E5710
encoders, MX5640 multiplexers and TT1220 receivers, as
well as control and monitoring.

The BBC announced on April 30 that it has signed new
agreements with the Racecourse Holdings Trust (RHT)
and Royal Ascot to broadcast racing from The Grand
National, The Derby and Royal Ascot until 2010. The
new contracts, for both television and radio, will
cover racing from Ascot, Aintree and Epsom.
Negotiations will now commence in respect of the BBC's
other racing.

Avanti Communications has launched its own music video
channel called MVN (Music Video Network). The channel
is intended to respond to consumer demand and replace
audio entertainment with multi-media imagery and
uninterrupted audio as well as in-store entertainment
and branding experiences. Several independent bars
have already purchased MVN making it a commercial
success. MVN grew out of two projects funded by ESA:
IMPSAT (In-Store Multimedia Platform for Shared Access
to Telecoms) and ABARIS (Advanced Broadcast
Architecture for Retail Internet Services). Demand
from clients in the pub market, who were asking for a
generic music video channel, prompted Avanti to come
up with the idea and adding a range of additional
features like advertising, private branding and local
messaging which are essential for that market.
Avanti's successful silent channel, 'Magnetic'
currently reaches 320 bars.



SES ASTRA and Stanice O, a media company based in
Prague, have teamed up or the free-to-air digital
distribution of Czech channel TV Óèko. TV Óèko is
Czech Republic's first dedicated music and lifestyle
channel with a strong emphasis on Czech and Slovak
music. Starting May 1, TV Óèko will be broadcasting
free-to-air via the ASTRA satellite system at 19.2
degrees East (ASTRA 2C, transponder 57, 10,832 GHz/H,
SR 22000, FEC 5/6), currently reaching over 28 million
DTH households in 30 European countries.


Commercial TV network TF1 posted improved
first-quarter results on April 29, with the group's
consolidated revenue increasing 6% to €717.6 million
from a year earlier. A 6.1% increase to €425.1 million
in advertising revenue for the TF1 free-to-air premium
channel buoyed the results, reflecting growth in the
French food, cosmetics, telecommunications industries,
and the lifting of an advertising ban on the press
sector in January.


Tele Munchen Group on April 26 reported record
revenues for 2003 of €217 million - an increase of
20.5% over last year - despite continuing losses from
its fledgling channel Tele 5 and Austrian web ATVplus.
The privately held group, 55% owned by Herbert Kloiber
and 45% by Munich-based licensing company EM.TV, did
not release profit figures, however. In an interview
with German daily Die Welt, Kloiber said company's
film and DVD license business generated the lion's
share of sales. Tele Munchen's also collected revenue
from its 30% stake in RTL 2, which has been enjoying
success with a new year-long version of "Big Brother"
and other reality formats like "Frauentausch," a "Wife
Swap" clone. Tele Munchen is planning to launch on the
new digital platform being built by German cabler
Kabel Deutschland, which is in the process of taking
over all of Germany's regional cable companies.

ARD-Sternpunkte has selected a complete transport
hardware and software solution from Scientific-Atlanta
Europe (S-A) to restore its German Direct-to-Home
DVB-S play out system located at Hessischer Rundfunk
to state-of-the-art status. ARD's new play out centre
delivers less complicated operations for greater
efficiency at Hessischer Rundfunk, plus enhanced video
quality for viewers. The new system, mainly based on
S-A's Continuum DVP D9030 encoders and Pegasus
multiplexers, provides ARD-Sternpunkte with enhanced
bandwidth efficiency and expanded flexibility combined
with a customized operating and management concept. In
addition to the Continuum and Pegasus products, the
system installed at ARD-Sternpunkte is also using S-A
digital decoders and receivers, and redundancy
switches to help deliver reliable service. The
free-to-air ARD public broadcast signal is available
across Europe via the ASTRA satellite system.

Haim Saban has increased his company's share in German
broadcasting group ProSiebenSat.1 from 72% to 75.1%
following a capital increase completed on April 28
that raised €282 million. The capital increase is part
of a comprehensive refinancing plan. ProSiebenSat.1
increased its existing shares by more than 24 million
to nearly 219 million. Half the shares are listed
preferred stock and half are unlisted common stock,
which carry voting rights. Fellow shareholding group
Sat.1 Beteiligung, made up of publisher Axel Springer
and the bankrupt Kirch Media, hold 24.9% of both
common and preferred stock, while Saban holds 75.1% of
the voting shares.

Super RTL said on April 28 that it had a profit of
€10.4 million last year, 125% higher than the
year-earlier figure of €4.6 million. Advertising
revenue in the first quarter of 2004 was up 30.5%,
significantly better than the improved German
television advertising market figure of 6.8% reported
by Nielsen Media Research. Super RTL managing director
Claude Schmit said he expects this year's profit to
reach at least €15 million, adding that the extra
money will be invested in new youth programming. In
August, Super RTL will launch the "world's first
football show for young people," called "Toggo United
-- The Football Show" with the cooperation of German
football star Marco Bode.


Hungarian Television (MTV) may go insolvent in May,
according to the board of the MTV Public Foundation.
In line with this announcement, the board has not
authorized contracts for future shows or indeed any of
its current programming, and is looking to present the
financial woes of the station to Parliament. The board
is trying to persuade Parliament to unfreeze MTV's Ft
1.3 billion share of a previously allocated grant for
public broadcasters for 2004. This amount would stave
off MTV's financial meltdown merely for one or two


RTE Ireland has signed a new acquisitions deal with
Universal. The deal runs to 43 films including hits
such as About A Boy, The Bourne Identity, 8 Mile and
The Pianist. The list also includes recent re-runs
such as Notting Hill and The Mummy, also classics The
Day Of The Jackal, Smokey & the Bandit, and Scarface.
On the series front, the RTE/Universal deal also
renews Law & Order and Law & Order: Criminal Intent,
plus series 2 of Monk, and library series such as The
Rockford Files and Murder She Wrote.


More than a year after it was first presented in
parliament, a bitterly-contested media law received
final approval on April 30 in the Italian Senate. The
move comes amid claims by the centre-left opposition
that the legislation was tailor-made for Premier
Silvio Berlusconi's business empire. The law was
revamped after a presidential veto in December, and
the new version was passed in the Chamber of Deputies
last month. Berlusconi's conservative forces in the
Senate passed the legislation in a 142-91 vote, with
one abstention. The opposition contends that the
legislation is designed to protect Berlusconi's
interests and increase his grip on the media.
Centre-left politicians also say the new version
ignores the issues raised by President Carlo Azeglio
Ciampi, who refused to sign the law on grounds that it
could lead to single companies dominating Italian
media. Communications Minister Maurizio Gasparri, who
drafted the bill, said the law will open up the
Italian market by introducing digital television.
According to the constitution, the president must sign
a law before it goes into force. The president can
only reject legislation once, so Ciampi must now
accept the law.


Aster Group, a cable platform that serves 265,000
customers, primarily in Warsaw, has begun carrying the
BBC Prime channel. The entertainment channel has been
added to Aster's basic package, boosting BBC Prime's
reach in the country to 1.8 million homes. The channel
is already carried across Poland by cablers UPC
Telewizja Kablowa, MultiMedia and Stream. BBC Prime,
which features shows like Top of the Pops, EastEnders
and The Weakest Link, reaches more than 14 million
subscribers across Europe, the Middle East and Africa,
via cable and satellite.


Central European Media Enterprises Ltd. (CME) on April
27 announced the successful launch of PRO Cinema, its
third national network in Romania. PRO Cinema
premiered with initial distribution in 60 percent of
cable systems in Romania, and the network expects to
achieve full cable distribution within 3 months. PRO
Cinema focuses solely on quality films and series
targeted at an upwardly mobile urban adult audience
and is supported by both advertising and cable
subscriptions. The network complements CME's
market-leading Romanian broadcast group that includes
PRO TV and TV Acasa, which ranked first and third
respectively among urban adults during prime time in
2003. The launch of PRO Cinema follows CME's recent
announcement that it has increased its ownership of
the Romanian group to 80 per cent. Seventy-five per
cent of Romanian cable companies, including the three
biggest operators, have already agreed to distribute
PRO Cinema throughout the country. Romania's cable
television systems currently reach 57 per cent of the
country, with an 82 per cent reach of the greater
urban areas.

Regards Satdude. :D


Regular Member
My Satellite Setup
My Location
Satellite news 10.05.04



Britain's courses looked to be hopelessly divided over
plans to bring daily televised racing back to the
screens of satellite and cable viewers. There were
signs too that the struggle between the Horse Racing
Channel, a subscription-based plan, and New
Attheraces, a free-to-air rival, could leave bitter
scars. Just six of Britain's tracks had still to
decide which project to support, with the remainder
all but split down the middle. However, as New ATR's
25-course portfolio includes the three all-weather
tracks it can claim to control 50% of the fixture list
while the 28 tracks who have signed with HRC account
for some 43%. New ATR intends to launch to S*y viewers
on June 21 and HRC is expected to announce its launch
date soon, probably within the next two months.
However, the split between the two is such that
neither may have the "critical mass" necessary to
attract viewers and, in the case of HRC, persuade them
to pay a fee of £20 per month.

Fox Kids Europe said on May 4 that its pan-European
consumer products division will now be called Jetix
Consumer Products International. Fox Kids said the new
name follows the recent launch of Jetix-branded
program blocks in Europe and on ABC Cable Networks
channels in the United States. All local consumer
product offices in Europe will bear the new name,
which is scheduled to be launched June 8 at the New
York Licensing Show.

Luxembourg-based satellite operator SES Global is
planning to increase its capacity by adding a fourth
satellite to those already beaming channels to the UK.
As a result the number of satellite TV channels
available in Britain could rise by up to 50 per cent
to more than 600. SES Global will offer the channel
capacity to television companies such as the BBC and
commercial broadcasters including ITV and Channel 4.
The company said it had been in contact with the BBC
about its plans for free-to-air satellite services,
which could pave the way for the end of analogue
television transmissions over the next five to 10
years. Last week, the publicly funded broadcaster
announced plans to augment its existing Freeview
digital platform with a satellite offering.

Pinnacle Systems on May 6 announced that BS*yB has
deployed DekoCast character generators at its main UK
studio facility in Isleworth, London. The solution
will be used to produce content for the new
international feed of S*y News, which is currently the
UK's leading 24-hour news channel. Deployed ahead of
the service's launch later this year, the solution
complements 12 FXDeko II systems and a DekoCast
Authoring Station that are being used across the S*y
News and S*y Sports channels. The new service will
broadcast internationally providing a single feed
global news service utilizing content from S*y News'
existing operations. In creating this new service
BS*yB is aiming to build on the continued success in
the UK and Ireland of S*y News, which earlier this
year was named the RTS News Channel of the Year for
the third successive year.

In its response to the Government's review of the
BBC's Royal Charter, the S4C authority is calling for
the Welsh language channel's unique relationship with
the BBC to be revisited in the light of changes which
have taken place since it was first established. Since
S4C's launch in 1982, the BBC has provided ten hours a
week of Welsh-language television programmes for the
Channel, paid for from the licence fee. These
programmes, which include a daily news programme and
soap opera Pobol y Cwm, one of S4C's most consistently
popular shows, play a crucial role at the heart of the
channel's programme schedule. S4C's view is that the
relationship should now be modernised, given that the
stipulation that the BBC's contribution to the S4C
service should be ten hours a week was made as part of
the 1981/1982 Broadcasting Acts, when there were to be
only four terrestrial channels operating in the UK.


Modern Times Group has launched a new pay-TV channel,
Viasat History, in eight Eastern and Central European
markets, including Russia and Poland. The channel
launched on May 4 on cable networks in Russia, the
Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria
and Poland. It airs for 18 hours a day, with shows on
science, sports, music, business and military
conflict, as they relate to events that changed the
world. Viasat Broadcasting operates 26 channels in the
region, including TV1000, a movie channel; and the
documentary network Viasat Explorer.

Central European Media Enterprises has swung into
profit in its first quarter results, posting a net
income of $5.2 million versus last year's loss of
$11.3 million, with net revenues up by 46 per cent to
$35.8 million. The company's Romanian operations-Pro
TV, Acasa and Pro TV International-generated the most
revenues, with $14.1 million; followed by Studio 1+1
in the Ukraine, with $12.1 million; Markiza TV in the
Slovak Republic, with $11.9 million; and Slovenia's
Pop TV and Kanal A, which brought in $9.67 million.

Athens Broadcast Services partners, represented by
GlobeCast, Gearhouse Broadcast and Stefi Productions,
announced that leading international broadcasters have
selected the Athens Broadcast Base 2004 for their
Olympics coverage. These broadcasters include: Sky
News, Sky Sports News, ITN (ITV3 News) and Reuters
from the UK; 9 Network Australia; Italian group
Mediaset and global news network CNN. The
state-of-the-art Broadcast Base launched in May last
year by GlobeCast, the global satellite transmissions
provider, Gearhouse Broadcast, the equipment rental,
sales & project solutions company, and Greek
production company Stefi Productions offers non-rights
holders a one-stop-shop for all of their production
and broadcast requirements, including studios, work
space, broadcast equipment, worldwide satellite
transmissions, uplinking facilities, play out,
conversion, encoding and mobile SNG facilities.

Football's world governing body Fifa has turned down a
£1.56 billion offer for the TV and marketing rights to
the World Cup in 2010 and 2014. The offer is
significantly more than the estimated £1.23 billion
the governing body will bring in for the 2002 and 2006
World Cups, in Japan and Germany, despite the fact
that the first two tournaments of the next decade will
be held in less commercially valuable markets. The
Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, has already decreed that
the 2010 tournament will be the first to be held in
Africa, with Egypt, South Africa, Libya, Morocco and
Tunisia all in the running to stage the event. The
2014 World Cup will be held in South America. The
South America tournament will have less commercial
value than the Germany World Cup because kick-off
times will not suit the big European markets, although
with a five-hour difference it won't play as much
havoc with the schedules as the Japan World Cup two
years ago. It is believed the unsuccessful bid came
from International Sports and Entertainment, a
Zurich-based sports marketing group in which French
marketing giant Publicis and Japanese advertising
group Dentsu are the major shareholders. Jerome
Valcke, the head of Fifa's marketing and television
division, told the Financial Times the offer was for a
broad range of rights and had significantly
undervalued them. He told the paper the proposal had
come "too early" and covered "a range of commercial
rights, which explains why we were not able to say yes
or even discuss it". Unlike the TV-only deal for the
2002 and 2006 World Cups, the offer is believed to be
for a broader range of rights, including the contracts
to handle advertising, marketing and corporate


Belarusian state TV on May 7 said it is to start
satellite broadcasts. In an on-air report, the TV
channels said digital distribution will improve the
quality of reception of the Belarusian television's
programmes. It will enable network TV operators to
obtain high-quality signal for further redistribution.
Satellite broadcasting will allow the Belarusian
television to exchange programmes with Ukrainian and
Russian TV companies.


Commercial TV group M6 reported a net income of ?293
million for the first quarter, up 1.9% over last
year's figure, according to provisional results
released on May 7. Advertising revenue from its
free-to-air M6 channel rose 10.1% to ?147.1 million,
primarily driven by the food, press, health and beauty
sectors. The channel's market share of viewers aged
under 50 increased to 19.6% from 18% in the first
quarter of 2003. Net income from other sources, which
accounted for nearly half of the group's sales for the
first quarter, fell to ?145.9 million, a 5.2% drop
from a year earlier.

Flm and pay-TV group Canal Plus said on May 3 that it
has acquired video-on-demand operator MovieSystem in a
deal which would allow the group "to enter the
video-on-demand market as a major player and reinforce
the group's presence in the field of content
distribution." The deal, which insiders value at ?10
million, will permit Canal Plus to provide premium
film content from more than 70 major film producers
across broadband networks. Subscribers to Canal Plus'
television-via-ADSL offer in France, through an
association with France Telecom, would have access to
MovieSystem's catalog of more than 1,500 films.
MovieSystem, which registered a turnover of ?5 million
last year, also distributes NetCine, a packaged
video-on-demand service through broadband access
providers in Europe, which gives subscribers access to
the latest titles on the rental video market.

The number of cable subscribers in France went up to
more than 3.7 million, as the first quarter of this
year showed an increase of more than 50,000, a 5.7%
increase over the same period last year, according to
figures released on May 4 by the Association Francaise
des Operateurs de Reseaux Multiservices (AFORM), an
organization representing more than 93% of French
cable suppliers. The figures include television,
telephone and Internet cable subscribers. AFORM said
the largest gains registered were for high-speed
Internet via cable, which grew 33.3% to 416,838
subscribers in the 12-month period starting April
2003. The newly introduced service of television via
high-speed ADSL lines was available to 50% of
households subscribing to the Internet via cable,
AFORM said. Digital cable television subscribers
increased 13.6% over the past 12 months to 933,820,
while the total number of digital television
subscribers inched up 2.8% to more than 3.5 million
for the same period.

Media and telecoms firm Vivendi Universal on May 5
reported sales of ?5.97 billion compared to ?6.23
billion in the year-earlier quarter. Vivendi Universal
Entertainment saw its sales rise 3 per cent to ?1.49
billion, thanks to strong video sales and a good
release schedule. The unit is in the process of being
sold to U.S. television network NBC, a unit of
conglomerate General Electric. Revenues at pay-TV arm
Canal Plus fell 21 per cent to ?923 million, mostly
because of asset sales, while the games division
posted turnover of ?77 million, down 27 per cent.


ProSiebenSAT1, Germany's biggest free-to-air
broadcaster, said it was back in the black in the
first three months of the current year thanks to
continued cost-cutting and rising revenues.
ProSiebenSAT1 said it booked net profit of ?25 million
in the period from January to March, compared with a
loss of ?31 million a year earlier. Before taxes, the
group also swung back into the black, turning in a
pre-tax profit of ?43 million from a year-earlier loss
of ?29 million. First-quarter revenues were up six per
cent at ?436 million. The group's four channels --
ProSieben, SAT1, N24 and Kabel 1 -- also booked
positive results.

Haim Saban is in advanced negotiations to acquire the
German music broadcaster Viva Media, according to the
International Herald Tribune. According to the report,
Viva Media has a market value of about $320 million.
Time Warner holds a 31 per cent stake in the company,
and Vivendi Universal has 15 per cent. Saban is not
the only one considered as a potential bidder for the
network-Viacom is also said to be interested,
according to the report. Viva's most valuable assets
are Germany's number two music channel, which is
estimated at ?267 million, and production company
Brainpool Television. Last year Viva reported a net
loss of ?42.3 million, a massive drop from the
previous year's profit of ?859,000.

ProSiebenSat.1 Media is completing its refinancing
package with a ?150 million bond it plans to sell in a
private placement. ProSieben said on May 6 the bond
would be due 2011 and would be used to help fund a
buyback of its ?338 million bond due 2006 that it
expects to complete later in May. The debt sale comes
on top of a ?282 million share capital increase Saban
launched to pay down debt at the station that had been
hit by a three-year drought in German advertising.
ProSieben also said it agreed on a syndicated loan of
?475 million to replace an existing loan facility. The
loan could be reduced by ?150 million if the bond
placement is succesful, it said.

Figures released on May 6 by pay-TV group Premiere
showed strong subscriber growth in the first quarter,
adding 47,000 new customers. But, hit by goodwill
write-offs linked to its majority takeover last year
by investment group Permira, the group booked a
pre-tax loss of ?47.5 million, compared to a ?37.1
million loss over the same period last year. Sales
also slipped to ?232.3 million from ?236.9 million in
the first quarter of 2003.


A slightly modified version of the Italian TV reform
law, approved in Parliament last week, violates the
Italian Constitution by reinforcing the duopoly
exercised by Italian pubcaster RAI and Silvio
Berlusconi's commercial network Mediaset, the
country's opposition party said. The country's
left-of-center parties have said that they will appeal
to the Supreme Court against the law and added that
they will appeal to the European Court of Justice if
Italy's Supreme Court fails to take action. An earlier
version of it had been rejected in December by Italian
president Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, who said it could hurt
competition and information pluralism in violation of
the country's constitution.

SKY Italia on April 28 announced that it will cease
using the SECA encryption system by the end of 2004.
Existing SKY SECA subscribers will be progressively
converted to NDS transmission, commencing from May
2004. In some cases this will be done by SKY providing
a new NDS smart card which will operate in existing
SECA decoders, but for many subscribers SKY will be
delivering an NDS decoder and smart card to the
subscriber's home at no additional cost. At this time
SKY subscribers using a SECA enabled decoder need to
take no action: SKY will contact each subscriber
directly during the next six months to advise if it
will supply them with a new decoder or a new
smart-card. This decision means from 13 June SKY will
stop selling subscriptions that use the SECA card. To
provide an opportunity for potential subscribers
currently owning or wishing to purchase a SECA enabled
decoder, SKY is making a special offer for "smart card
only" subscriptions from April 28 until 13 June. The
SECA encryption system was originally deployed in
Italy in 1997 by Tele+, which then was a subsidiary of
Canal Plus, whose subsidiary, Canal Plus Technologies,
supplied the system. The initial version deployed by
SECA was known as SECA I and in May 2002 this was
replaced by SECA II. Presently, SKY has more than 2.5
million digital customers. Of these, 1.9 million
utilise SECA decoders and the remainder use NDS

Juventus Football Club said on April 30 that it had
signed a two-year television deal with Italian pay-TV
operator Sky Italia that will bring the Italian
football team at least ?184.5 million. Juventus said
the contracts were worth ?90 million for the 2005-06
season and ?94.5 million for the successive year. The
club said it will receive a ?5 million bonus if it
places first or second in Italy's premier Serie A
league. Juventus already has a television contract
with Sky Italia through 2005. The last year of that
contract offers the club revenue of around ?90

Consumer electronics firm Amstrad has secured an order
to supply digital set-top boxes to Sky Italia. No
value has been placed on the deal, but Amstrad said
shipments were scheduled to commence in the next
financial year. Sky Italia, which is 80.1 per cent
owned by Rupert Murdoch's media conglomerate News Corp
and 19.9 per cent owned by Telecom Italia, operates a
digital television service with more than 100 TV and
audio channels.


According to Radio Netherlands, the Dutch public
broadcasters have told the government that they want
to close down analogue terrestrial transmissions of
the three national TV networks in 2006, two years
earlier than expected. The closure of the analogue
transmitters will save ?14 million per year. It's
estimated that only between 65,000 and 100,000 people
depend on these transmitters to receive Nederland 1, 2
and 3 on a daily basis, while the rest get their
signals via cable or satellite.


Antena 3, the country's second-largest commercial TV
station, has managed to turnaround its unhealthy
financial situation. In the first quarter of the year,
the network returned to profitability making a profit
of ?15.5 million, against losses of ?9 million in the
same period last year. Total revenues reached ?144
million, against ?118.5 million the previous year,
while EBITDA was ?40.1 million up from ?8.6 million in
the first quarter in 2003.


Latens has been awarded a contract to provide a
customised next generation Conditional Access (CA)
system to MilenyumTV, a wholly owned subsidiary of
Dogan Yayin Holding (DYH). MilenyumTV is the satellite
broadcaster that launched in Turkey earlier this year
under the FreeTV brand. Latens is to provide a custom
built system to secure the broadcast and business
systems designed by MilenyumTV. Thanks to its new
design and next generation technology MilenyumTV will
also offer a managed portfolio of broadcast,
production and satellite transmission services to
other content providers in Turkey. The Latens next
generation Conditional Access (CA) technology approach
has many advantages over existing CA systems,
including; reduction in security costs by up to 50%,
ensuring that an operator is much less likely to come
under attack and increasing operators' business
flexibility. Dogan Yayin Holding (DYH), the parent
company of MilenyumTV, is Turkey's leading
media-entertainment conglomerate. DYH has extensive
broadcasting assets, with two national stations, three
cable stations and one international TV station and
the largest production house in Turkey.

Regards Satdude. :D