Sat-ND, 7.10.96

Sat-ND 96-10-07 - Satellite and Media News

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EU commission clears Ufa/CLT deal
The European Commission has no objections against the merger of Ufa GmbH, a
subsidiary of Germany's media giant Bertelsmann, and Luxembourg's
commercial TV and radio company CLT. Having been given green light by
Brussels today, the deal that will create the largest European media
company can go ahead as planned. CLT's main shareholder, Audiofina S.A, and
Ufa parent company Bertelsmann AG will each hold a 49 percent stake of the
newly formed company Ufa/CLT.
With its cartel office* hat on, the EU commission said it does not expect
Ufa/CLT to gain a predominant position on any of the markets concerned. It
admitted, however, that the newly formed company will in fact improve its
position, mainly owing to synergy effects.
Actually, there's only one country where both companies have been active
simultaneously, and that's Germany. The EU Commission does not expect
Ufa/CLT to monopolise that market as there is a strong competitor, the
Munich-based KirchGruppe. The combined market share of Ufa and CLT
free-to-air channels in Germany (RTL, RTL 2, Super RTL, Vox) amounts to 26
percent, while receiving 38 percent of advertising revenues. The merger
will neither have an impact on pay-TV (as CLT is not involved here) nor on
digital TV (because Ufa and CLT recently sacked their digital Club RTL
*or Monopolies and Mergers Commission (UK), or Federal Trade Commission

Germany in search of money for spy satellites
The French Defence Ministry reportedly refuses to postpone the
Franco-German HELIOS 2 spy satellite project while Bonn still is
desperately searching for ways to finance it. 
Earlier this year, German Defence Minister Volker Rühe had announced he was
unable to contribute his share for the project from his ministry's 1997
budget. It looks as though the satellite system will now be financed by
diverting money from other ministries' budgets. A government spokesman
explained this unusual approach with technology and trade aspects HELIOS 2
had beyond its military significance. In addition, both France and Germany
have set up a common commission that will evaluate more than two dozen
other joint arms projects in the light of spending cuts.
In an interview published today in the German newspaper Stuttgarter
Zeitung, French Defence Minister Charles Millon refused to postpone the
project. He pointed out that it was agreed upon on the highest level: "I
can only say there is an agreement between the Chancellor and the
President." The HELIOS 2 project, which also includes the development of an
advanced satellite called HORUS, is expected to cost a total of DM6 billion
(US$4 billion) until 2009. The satellites are expected to make Europe
become less dependent on intelligence data so far supplied the U.S. 

Zeroes and ones
By Grandpa "Adam or Eve?" Zheng 

Moan, moan, moan
Thought I was dead, eh? No way! I'm pretty busy with other things, but I
thought I should let you know that a UK-based campaigning group called
"Family and Youth Concern" today advertised an Internet-based soft-porn
channel. Yes, that's right.
When the group's deputy director Cornelia Oddie said today that "There is
nothing good to say about this," she certainly attracted every British Web
surfer's attention. So, what is it? In theory, you can watch (presumably
heterosexual) soft-porn movies there, more or less the same stuff that
comes via satellite on the Adult Channel. This, of course, is ridiculously
harmless compared to Continental standards that even allow live
transmissions of sex shows from Amsterdam's red light district via the
"We are not doing anything illegal and we are not irresponsible. It is
self-censored to an 18-certificate level and there is nothing that is not
allowed by the British Board of Film Classification," said Ray Millar, an
Adam and Eve director.
But even this is too much for Cornelia Oddie. "Pornography has a massive
degrading effect and there is distinct connection between pornography and
sex crimes," she said. Apart from the fact that other countries wouldn't
even care to consider this kind of material pornographic at all, shouldn't
she have pointed out to the connection between gratuitous violence on
almost every free-to-air TV channel (not to mention BSkyB) and other
crimes? I've heard no word on that yet.
She continued moaning by saying that "We are terribly concerned about the
availability of pornographic material. People are now free to watch it in
their own home. How can they be sure that children under 18 will not see
Over the last few hundred years, this has always been the parents'
responsibility, no matter whether adult material comes in printed form, on
TV, or over the Internet. There's not a single reason why the Internet
shouldn't be treated like any other medium. Period.
Interested? Well, take my advice: Don't go there, anyway. Of course, the
service isn't free; it will cost you 15 pounds initially plus a monthly fee
of 5 pounds. And even if you're just curious, don't go there. It took me
almost 20 minutes to get at least an idea what's being shown there, in
other words: some harmless stills of "Satisfaction Jackson."
On your way there, you have to click yourself through almost half a dozen
disclaimer screens and "Yes-I-am-over-18-what-else-do-you-want-to-know"
confirmations, all adorned by image files that are at least as huge as
useless. From a technical point of view, one of the most badly made Web
sites I've ever had the misfortune of pointing my browser to. 
Quote from one of those disclaimer screens: "By clicking onto our web site
or using our service [...] you recognize that all sexual activity is taking
place in cyberspace and cannot be governed by the community standards of
your locale. If you disagree with this statement of fact, follow this link
and do not enter our site." (The link that will get you out of all the
legal hassle actually leads to http://www.yahoo.com/. Ha, ha.)

Copyright 1996 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De. All rights reserved.

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