SAT-ITALY - EDITION 41/97 - November 7th 1997 -
Italian Satellite and Media news edited by Branislav Pekic
ITALIAN DIGITAL DEAL REACHED
After six months of intensive negotiations, a deal has finally been reached
for a single Italian digital platform. The result of the talks between
French pay-TV giant Canal Plus (majority owner of Telepiù) and the major
Italian media groups (RAI, Cecchi Gori, Mediaset, Telecom Italia/Stream)
was finally announced on October 31st. A memorandum of understanding will
be published in the following days and will include complete details of the
project, but here are some of the most important points of the deal.
A new company will be formed in which the Italian broadcasters will have a
majority stake. This new company will take over the operations of Italy's
only pay-TV broadcaster, Telepiù. The shareholder structure will look like
this: 40% Telecom Italia, 30% Canal Plus, 10% RAI, 10% Mediaset and 10%
Cecchi Gori/TMC. This means that Canal Plus will lose control of Telepiù's
digital operations, but will retain control of Telepiù's two analogue
pay-TV channels (Telepiù Nero and Telepiù Bianco) which are broadcast via
terrestrial transmitters throughout Italy and currently have around 900,000
subscribers. Canal Plus will thus have a 45% stake in the two analogue
channels, Mediaset will retain its 10%, RAI, Telecom Italia and Cecchi Gori
will all have a minority stake, while a part of the capital will be
reserved for eventual new investors.
One important detail is that the single digital platform will remain open
to other broadcasters (Italian or foreign) who may wish to join at a later
date. They will also be able to purchase a minority stake in the joint
company. This clause has been included in the deal in order to prevent the
joint company from being attacked by the Italian and European antitrust
authorities. Back in July, the president of the Italian Antitrust, Giuliano
Amato warned that a "closed" digital platform controlled by the major media
companies in Italy would be seen as a "cartel" thus preventing free
The new company will take over Telepiù's activities in the digital field,
including the transmission side. It will be in charge of transmitting the
programs of its shareholders, of Telepiù and any other broadcasters that
would be interested. In order to have access to the digital platform, every
broadcaster will have to pay a tariff for using the transmission structure.
A deal has also been reached for the decoder to be use - initially it will
be the one compatible with the French standard (Seca) but it will have to
be compatible with other international digital standards.
At the press conference no details were given on the financial aspects of
the deal, especially how much will the Italian companies have to pay for
their stake in the new company. Canal Plus thinks that 260 million DM for a
10% stake is reasonable, while the Italian companies have judged this price
far too high.
There are also other unanswered questions such as who will be in charge of
commercial operations and subscriber management and what will be the future
of Stream, the multimedia subsidiary of Telecom Italia. We will probably
know the answers to these and other questions by the end of the month when
an official signing ceremony will take place.
According to the latest figures, Telepiù has currently around 140,000
- Dopo sei mesi di trattative l'accordo sulla piataforma per la TV digitale
via satellite e stato raggiunto il 31 ottobre. Telecom Italia avrà il 40%
della nuova società (che non ha ancora nome), Canal Plus 30%, RAI, Mediaset
e Cecchi Gori/TMC avranno il 10% ciascuna. Canal Plus cede la maggioranza
per il servizio digitale, ma mantenerà il controllo delle due reti TV
irradiate con la tecnologia analogica (Telepiù Nero e Telepiù Bianco).
La piattaforma digitale unica sarà aperta ad altri operatori esterni che
vorranno in futuro farne parte.
La nuova società funzionerà in sostanza come un'emittente digitale di
programmi prodotti dai suoi azionisti (e da quanti altri lo vorranno). Per
accedere alla piattaforma le singole emittenti dovranno pagare una tariffa
per l' uso delle strutture di trasmissione. I gruppi interessati hanno
trovato un accordo anche per il decoder: si prevede che venga utilizzato in
una fase iniziale quello che adotta lo standard francese, ma dovrà essere
aperto anche a quelli internazionali.
ITALIAN GOVERNMENT SATISFIED WITH DIGITAL DEAL
The Italian government has expressed its satisfaction with the positive
result of the talks on a single Italian digital platform for satellite and
cable services. The undersecretary at the Ministry for posts and
telecommunications, Vincenzo Vita said the deal was of "great importance",
but two things will have to be taken in account: the digital platform will
have to be open and secondly, the switch from analogue to digital will have
to take place in the next few years.
According to Vita, the most important element of the talks was to enable
the Italians to have a controlling interest in Telepiù, but at the same
time providing guarantees for Canal Plus that their interests would be
safeguarded. He added that the Italian government made clear to the French
that the Italian market could support only one digital platform, but if no
deal was reached, the Italians would form their own digital platform.
- Il governo italiano ha espresso la sua soddisfazione per l'esitto delle
trattative. Vincenzo Vita, il sottosegretario al' Ministero delle poste e
telecommunicazioni, ha parlato di "un accordo di grande importanza". Fin
dall'inizio, il governo ha spinto per concentrare in un unico «polo» il
futuro nazionale delle trasmissioni televisive digitali, sia via satellite
che cavo. Vita ha sottolineato l'importanza che la piattaforma sia davvero
aperta e, in secondo luogo, che il passaggio dall'analogico al digitale
avvenga in pochi anni.
Following on the footsteps of Italian state television RAI which has it's
own international satellite channel called RAI International, the private
TV holding company Mediaset plans to start it's own global satellite channel.
At a recent press conference the president of Mediaset (which operates 3 TV
channels - Rete 4, Italia 1 and Canale 5), Fedele Confalonieri, openly
criticized RAI International saying that besides Italian football it offers
very little else to expatriates. Confalonieri used this opportunity to
announce that Mediaset will start transmitting a selection of programs from
its three TV station to viewers in North America. The Mediaset
International channel will start broadcasting at the beginning of 1998, as
part of the DirecTV bouquet (currently has around 9 million subscribers)
and will initially be on air 8 hours a day (repeated 3 times a day).
The program schedule will be made up of news programs, live football
(European Champions League games) and popular variety programs such as
"Striscia la Notizia", "Maurizio Costanzo Show" and "Pressing".
The director of RAI International, Roberto Morrione flatly denied
Confalonieri's accusations. "We are on the air 24 hours a day with 10% of
original programming. We also promote Italian cinema abroad, produce 3,000
hours of radio and are present on the Internet". Morrione concluded by
saying that only when Mediaset starts producing 10% of its programming
especially for a foreign audience, he will be ready to discuss with
RAI International currently transmits via 5 satellites to North and Latin
America, Australia and from November to Asia and has over 6 million
- Alla recente presentazione del libro "Le televisioni del futuro", il
presidente di Mediaset Fedele Confalonieri ha attaccato l'offerta della tv
pubblica per gli italiani all'estero, sui 5 satelliti di Rai International.
"E' scadente. E' il peggio che la Rai ha", ha dichiarato pubblicamente
Confalonieri. "Se si va in America e si guarda Rai International ci si
accorge che, calcio a parte, si tratta di robetta, tutte cose di poco
conto», ha ribadito il presidente di Mediaset.
Confalonieri ha annunciato che dal'inizio del 1998 Mediaset trasmetterà
negli Usa i programmi di Canale 5, Italia 1 e Retequattro. Mediaset
International farà parte del "bouquet" di Direct Tv (ha 9 milioni
d'abbonati) e trasmetterà 8 ore al giorno (ripetute 3 volte al giorno),
ricavate dal meglio delle reti Mediaset, compresi i TG e le trasmissioni
più popolari ("Striscia la Notizia", "Maurizio Costanzo Show",
RAI International è seguita da quasi 6 milioni d'abbonati, tra Stati Uniti
e America Latina.
RAIUNO BACK IN TUNISIA
Three years ago, the 16 terrestrial transmitters, which carried the signal
of the RAI Uno TV channel in Tunisia, were disactivated. However, it seems
that Tunisians will be able once again to receive Italian TV programs
thanks to a deal, which will see the license contract renewed. This deal is
part of a protocol signed recently in Tunis which defines the prospects of
cooperation between Italy and Tunisia in the field of telecommunications.
According to the Italian Minister for posts and telecommunications, this
agreement will serve as a model for North Africa and for Mediterranean
Telecommunications Conference of which we are the principal promoters.
- Erano stati disattivati nel 1994 i 16 ripetitori che diffondevano il
segnale di Raiuno in Tunisia. Ora potranno essere riaccesi grazie ad un
protocollo firmato a Tunisi che prevede un' ampia collaborazione nel
settore delle telecomunicazioni.
After several weeks of experimental broadcasts, RAI's new specialized
satellite satellite channel RaiSat Nettuno is set to start regular
broadcasts on November 10th. The channel is a joint venture between the
Italian state broadcaster RAI and the Ministry for education and 27
state-run universities. It is aimed principally at those who want to obtain
a university diploma but cannot attend university courses on campus. The
lessons by university professors are transmitted via the terrestrial
channels RAI DUE, TELE+3 and via the specialized satellite channel RaiSat
Nettuno which broadcasts 24 hours a day via the EUTELSAT HOT BIRD 2 satellite.
More details on the following Web site: http://www.agora.stm.it/nettuno and
via E-Mail: email@example.com
- Il 10 novembre parte RaiSat Nettuno, una rete satellitare realizzata con
il Ministero della Pubblica istruzione e 27 prestigiose Università di
Stato. Consentirà a tutti coloro che non possono andare all'Università di
laurearsi restando in casa. Le lezioni dei professori universitari sono
trasmesse in TV, su RAI Due, Tele+3 e con il satellite RaiSat Nettuno che
trasmette 24 ore su 24.
NEWS IN BRIEF
- The teletext service on Mediaset's TV channels Rete 4, Canale 5 and
Italia 1 is set to start on November 24th.
- Eight new versions of software for the Dream Box (modified version of the
Nokia Mediamaster 9500S) are to appear via Internet this month.
- The new director of the private Italian TV channel Canale 5 is the very
popular talk show host Maurizio Costanzo. He will substitute Gianpaolo
Sodano who got this job only 4 months ago.
PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS ON RAI TV CHANNELS FOR WEEK NOVEMBER 2-8
(All times Central European)
RAI DUE, 20:50h - La tenda nera (Italy-1996), starring: Luca Barbareschi,
RAI UNO, 20:50h - White Fang 2: Myth of the White Wolf (USA-1994),
starring: Scott Bairstow, Charmaine Craig
RAI DUE, 00:35h - L'ultimo appello (USA-1995), starring: Alyssa Milano
RAI DUE, 00:35h - Teresa's tattoo (USA-1994), starring: Thomas Howell, Lou
RAI TRE, 20:35h - Presumed innocent (USA-1990), starring: Harrison Ford,
RAI DUE, 20:50h - Lady beware (USA-1987), starring: Diane Lane, Michael Woods
RAI UNO, 00:35h - Morte di un matematico napoletano (Italy-1992), starring:
Carlo Cecchi, Anna Bonaiuto
RAI DUE, 00:55h - Naufraghi sotto costa (Italy-1992), starring: Sabrina
Ferilli, Claudio Spadaro
Note: All movies transmitted in the prime time slot are subtitled on RAI's
teletext pages 777 (Italian) and 778 (English)
RAI DUE, 19:00h - Basketball (men): Italian league, Benetton
RAI TRE, 16:10h - Basketball (women): Italian league, Erreti
Faenza-Sacmaplast Reggio Emilia
RAI TRE, 17:30h - Volleyball (women): Italian league, Assid
RAI UNO, 20:30h - Football: World Cup qualifiers, Italy-Russia
RAI UNO, 20:50h - San Remo Giovani - Music competition with young Italian
music talents. The 14 best placed will take part in the San Remo music
festival next February.
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