Sat-Birmingham News Report #003
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TODAYS NEWS: Tuesday 28th October 1997.
---------- UK Living gets a facelift
UK Living has finally changed it image which the satellite viewing
population has been awaiting for a while. The channel is now called
Living, and has a new logotype. The old logotype has been retained on
the website to avoid confusion.
---------- ScreenShop gives way to UKTV
ScreenShop has been replaced on transponder 56 (Astra) by a UKTV
promotional, stating that the new channels UK Style, UK Horizons and UK
Arena will soon join UK Gold. UKTV has been looking for a long time for
space on Astra to carry at least one of these, probably UK Style. It
looks like this might be the place it will appear....
Lawmakers' Answer To Copyright Fee: Legislation
Two key telecommunications figures on Capitol Hill, infuriated by a
decision to raise copyright fees paid by satellite subscribers, promised
to introduce legislation aimed at the Librarian of Congress and the
office's decision-making abilities concerning copyright fee matters.
The efforts announced Monday came after Librarian of Congress James
Billington raised fees for superstation and distant network feeds paid
by satellite subscribers each month to 27 cents. The fee increase was
by a Copyright Arbitration Rate Panel in August, and were approved by
Billington on Monday.
U.S. Rep. Billy Tauzin, a Louisiana Republican and chair of the House
Telecommunications Subcommittee, said Billington's decision "defies
"It's anti-competitive, as well as anti-consumer," Tauzin said Monday.
"With mounting pressure on Congress to crack down on rising cable
rates, this ill-advised action could not have come at a worst time. It
force consumers to pay significantly higher rates for satellite
and slow competition in the marketplace."
Tauzin went on to say that "it may be time to begin exploring some
legislative remedies. Simply put, we should not have unelected
bureaucrats dictating the terms for an entire marketplace."
Sen. John McCain of Arizona, chairman of the Senate Commerce
Committee, said he plans to introduce legislation "prohibiting the
Librarian of Congress from raising rates unless he first consults with
the FCC and gives substantial weight to the FCC's assessment on the
impact that higher rates will have on consumers and competition.
"I remain highly concerned about the impact higher rates will have on
consumers who subscribe to satellite TV, and on what this rise will do
to further hamper satellite services from effectively constraining
ever-rising cable TV subscriber rates," McCain said in a statement.
Billington Claims Hands Tied Over Satellite Fee
Librarian of Congress James Billington, who on Monday approved a
controversial 27-cent fee proposal for superstation and distant network
signals received by home satellite viewers, told lawmakers his hands
were tied concerning his decision.
In a letter to Rep. Billy Tauzin, chairman of the House
Telecommunications Subcommittee, Billington said current statute limited
his scope in reviewing the 27-cent fee proposal from the Copyright
Arbitration Rate Panel.
"I must accept its recommendation unless I find that the panel's
decision was either arbitrary or contrary to law," he said. "The
requirement that royalty rates be determined by 'fair market value' was
a key issue in the proceeding."
Further in the letter, Billington said the panel "did not act
contrary to law in using the plain language of the statute and plain
meaning of the term in determining fair market value."
In his decision, however, Billington did not accept the panel's
recommendation that the fees kick-in retroactively beginning last July
Instead, the new fees will commence Jan. 1.
US West Split Keeps PrimeStar In MediaOne Group
US West will formally split itself from its cable TV interests in U S
West Media Group, which controls Media One and a portion of PrimeStar
US West said the businesses should do better on their own than they
would as parts of a single company. The move also will "allow both
groups to focus on developing the full potential of their respective
distribution networks," the phone company said.
US West has been giving investors a choice between the two businesses
since November, 1995, when the media group became a separate class
of "target" stock. The breakup is slated to occur sometime after
mid-1998, subject to approval by regulators and shareholders.
The phone company will remain US West Inc., and will focus on
telephone, data and wireless operations serving 25 million customers in
14 Western and Midwestern states. It would also own a related Yellow
Pages operation and electronic directory business called US West Dex.
The media group portion - the nation's third-largest cable operator -
will be called MediaOne Group. It controls PrimeStar subscribers
numbering 166,000 at the end of the third quarter.
PrimeStar is expected to complete its roll-up by early 1998. That
restructuring will put all PrimeStar customers and operations under one
nationally-focused unit instead of the loose consortium it is today.
MediaOne vice president of corporate communications Rob Stoddard
said the US West split "will have no impact on the PrimeStar
partnership. There will be no change here."
MediaOne will also own US West's 25 percent interest in the Time
Warner Entertainment partnership that owns cable systems, the Warner
Bros. film studio and HBO.
Charles M. Lillis, 56, president and chief executive of the current
cable business at US West, will become chief executive of MediaOne
DirecTV Settles Another Piracy Case
DirecTV settled an anti-piracy lawsuit filed in Federal District Court
Los Angeles last March against Charles Chism of Home Satellite of
Riverside, Calif., for alleged involvement in the distribution of
counterfeit DSS access cards.
Chism agreed to pay DirecTV and and its access card/encryption
provider NDS an undisclosed sum of money. The settlement precludes
Chism from unauthorized sale or use of DirecTV, DSS, News Datacom
and News Digital Systems trademarks or products.
DirecTV and NDS filed four lawsuits - including the Chism suit - on
Earlier this year, DirecTV and NDS settled claims against two
defendants named in a similar anti-piracy lawsuit filed June 26, 1996,
in Federal District Court in Seattle. Each defendant made payments in
figures" to DirecTV and NDS, according to the Hughes-backed service.
All contents (C) 1997 Neil Anthony Powell UK SATELLITE CONTROL
Some material (c) 1997 Dominic Sedghi, www.sat-net.com/sat-uk
and Skyreport (c) 1997 All Rights Reserved.
The above may not be reproduced without written consent.
Information is subject to change and/or may be incorrect.
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