SAT-IBERIA - Edition 5/98 - June 3rd 1998
Satellite, cable and media news from Spain, Portugal and Latin America
Edited by Branislav Pekic (firstname.lastname@example.org)
S P A I N A N D P O R T U G A L
VIA DIGITAL INCREASES CAPITAL
The administrative council of DTS, the controlling company of the Spanish
digital platform Vía Digital, has announced that it will increase it's
capital by 30,000 million pesetas (around 335 million DM). This decision
will come into effect if it is ratified by the shareholders, which are due
to meet on June 8th.
Consequently, the administrative council of the Radiotelevisión Madrid
(RTVM), which owns a 4% stake in Via Digital, gave it's own approval, which
signifies an additional investment of 1,200 million pesetas (around 13
million DM). Sources within the regional network TV-3 (owns a 5% stake in
Via Digital) have told the Spanish daily "El Pais" that a decision whether
to participate in the capital increase will be made at a future meeting of
the administrative council. A positive response is expected from the TV
network Canal 9 (owns a 4% stake) while regional network Televisión de
Galicia has not yet made clear it's position. Two other relevant
shareholders - Televisa (17%) and DirecTV (6,9%) have also not yet made
their minds, although the later has recently expressed it's interest in
increasing it's stake to 17%.
Vía Digital started operating on September 15th 1997 and closed the year
with losses which totalled 13,500 million pesetas (around 151 million DM).
The current shareholding structure of the company is as follows: Grupo
Telefónica (35%), Televisa (17%), Televisión Española (17%), Direct TV
(6,9%), Grupo Recoletos (5%), TV-3 (5%), Itochu (5%), Canal-9 (4%),
Telemadrid (4%), TVG (2%), Unidad Editorial- El Mundo (0,25%), Promociones
Periodísticas Leonesas (0,25%), Cope (0,25%), Las Provincias (0,25%) and
WORLD CUP ON SPANISH TV
The Spanish public broadcaster Televisión Española will have exclusive
coverage of the coming World Cup being held in France which will be divided
up on it's channels La Primera (TVE-1), La 2 (TVE-2), TVE Internacional
(European version) and Teledeporte.
Televisión Española will send to France a team of 130 people as well as two
mobile units and 8 autonomous ENG units.
The sports channel Teledeporte will air 44 live broadcasts (28 in the first
phase and 16 in the final phases of the competition) in the wide-screen
format 16:9 and the Dolby Surround stereo system. The Japanese public
broadcaster NHK and its French counterpart France 2 will be responsible for
generating the wide-screen images. Each game will be covered with 8 CCD
16:9 cameras (5 in the stands and 3 on the ground) and 3 slow-motion systems.
Televisión Española has announced that it has reached a programming deal
with FORTA, an organisation that includes TV channels covering Spain's
autonomous provinces. Thanks to this deal, the local TV channels will be
able to air 9 matches of the World Cup, four of them in exclusive and the
other 5 being shared with the TVE channels. The price of this program
package was not announced, but estimates are that FORTA paid around 540
million pesetas (around 6 million DM) for each of the games. However, the
regional channel TV-3 which is a member of FORTA considers this deal
"unacceptable" because TVE bought the Spanish TV rights 10 years ago and is
now proportionally asking a much bigger price for subleasing some of the TV
PLAYBOY TV ON VIA DIGITAL PLATFORM
The Spanish digital operator Vía Digital has recently added the adult
channel Playboy TV to its program offer. The channel already has more than
20 million cable and 7 million direct-to-home (DTH) subscribers in the U.S
where it has been broadcasting for the past 10 years. The Spanish version
of the channel which will be a 24 hour a day service, will be offered as an
additional service to potential subscribers at the cost of 1,495 pesetas a
month (around 17 DM). Playboy TV will rely on a program archive of adult
programming which totals more than 1,000 hours and will broadcast 10 new
movies each month.
SPANISH TV DOMINATED BY AMERICAN PROGRAMS
A recent study conducted by Eurofiction which was sponsored by European
Audio-visual Observatory has shown that in the major EU countries (Germany,
France, U.K., Italy and Spain), that only 4,300 hours out of a total of
50,000 hours of fiction transmitted is of European origin. The Eurofiction
study for the first time took in account the production of fiction (movies
and series) in these five countries and concluded that a high dependency of
American programs existed.
Currently, the European television industry shows different levels of
production. The leader is Germany with 1,689 hours of own productions,
followed by the U.K. (1058), France (690), Spain (459) and Italy with only
221 hours. This means that Germany produces on average 4 hours of original
fiction a day while Italy produces only 30 minutes. In total, during 1997,
the five countries transmitted 760 new original productions, with Germany,
U.K. and France being able to produce between 200-300 titles, but Spain and
Italy could not pass the 50 mark.
The survey has also shown a slight increase in the percentage of fiction
programming imported from the U.S. - from 69,8% in 1994 and 1995 to 71,2%
in 1996. According to data from Screen Digest and the U.S. distributors,
sales to European TV channels by the members of the Moving Pictures
Association of America (MPAA) have increased by 33% in 1996.
The major increase in sales has been noted in Germany (105% for MPAA
programming) while the data for Spain also shows a constant increase (30%
in 1996 and 43% in 1997).
CAPITAL INCREASE FOR TELEFONICA
Three banking institutions (BBV, Argentaria and La Caixa y Caja Madrid)
which are also shareholders of Telefónica have decided to invest 82,275
million pesetas (around 916 million DM0 in a capital increase for the
Spanish telephone operator. BBV which holds a 6% stake in Telefónica is
making the largest investment - 25,500 million pesetas (around 284 million
DM). It is estimated that in the past few years, all three banking
institutions have invested around 100,000 million pesetas each in the
company, which is also the major shareholder of the Spanish digital
platform Via Digital.
SUBSCRIBER FIGURES UP FOR CANAL+ ESPANA
The Spanish pay-TV operator Canal+ Espana has officially announced that it
has passed the 1,5 million-subscriber mark, which equals 13,3% of total TV
households. This figure means that the company, which set up operations in
September 1990, has become the fourth largest pay-TV company in Europe. Out
of that number, 400,000 subscribers have chosen Canal+ digital satellite
package called Canal Satélite Digital (CSD). The digital service currently
offers a total of 114 program services, which are divided up into 65 TV
channels, 41 audio channels, and 8 interactive services. Among the later
are 11 "Taquilla" pay-per-view channels which show live Spanish league
football (to which CSD holds exclusive rights from 1998 to the year 2003)
and the "Copa del Rey" tournament. CSD has succeeded in reaching such a
high subscriber figure after just 14 months on the air.
NEWS IN BRIEF
- The Spanish soundtrack on the Eurosport TV channel available via the ASTRA
satellites will cease during the course of this month.
- The Spanish satellite operator HISPASAT has received the green light for
a 24,000 million pesetas lone from a banking consortium led by Argentaria
Banco de Negocios. The loan will be used to finance the construction and
launch of its third telecommunications satellite, HISPASAT 1C, which is due
to, be launched next year.
L A T I N A M E R I C A
NEW MGM NETWORKS VENTURE
MGM Networks Latin America is a new joint venture between MGM Networks
Latin America and United International Holdings Inc. The new company whose
headquarters are in Miami plans to launch several new channels aimed at
viewers in Latin America. Among them are MGM Gold Brazil, The Family
Channel and Casa Club TV.
SONY BUYS TELEUNO
The general entertainment TV channel TeleUNO, which was launched back in
1993 and currently, has around 6,5 million subscribers, has changed owners.
The new owner, Sony Pictures Entertainment has bought TeleUNO from Spelling
Entertainment for an undisclosed price. Sony already owns stakes in several
TV channels in the region, among them Sony Entertainment TV, HBO and
HTV FOR BRAZIL
The Spanish language music network HTV has signed an agreement with
Unimark/Longo communications consulting firm, which will enable the
distribution of the channel in Brazil. HTV is already available in around 6
million households in North and Latin America as well as Asia.
WORLD CUP IN HDTV FOR TV GLOBO
The leading Brazilian TV network, TV Globo, has announced that it will
transmit the World Cup from France to Brazil in digital HDTV. A contract
has been signed with Comark Digital Services, which will deliver the live
games in the Advanced Television Systems Committee Digtal Television
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