Sat-ND 97-03-07 - Satellite and Media News
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The launch of TCI Satellite's TEMPO from Cape Canaveral Air Station
was delayed again. It is now expected to take place on Saturday
between 1:01 am and 2 a.m. EST. Originally planned for last
Wednesday, it had to be postponed due to a computer malfunction. On
Thursday, the launch attempt was cancelled because of high winds.
FEEDBACK: Sat-ND, 6.3.97
KILLING ME SOFTLY
A new device designed to kill enemy spy satellites looks just like a
giant fly swatter.
"Hehe -- Images of the USA sending Bugs Bunny up with a giant swatter
to do the business :-)"
Graham Sorenson <http://www.fragrant.demon.co.uk>
by Dr Sarmaz
LET'S CALL THE WHOLE THING OFF
Rupert Murdoch is ubiquitous. But in some countries, he's less
successful than in others.
"Die KirchGruppe und British Sky Broadcasting Group plc haben ihre
Vereinbarung über eine Partnerschaft bei der digitalen Plattform DFI
einvernehmlich gelöst, weil sie sich auf einige grundsätzliche Punkte
nicht einigen konnten."
This is the main point of a very meagre press release issued today by
Munich-based Kirch Group and British Sky Broadcasting. It means that
both have cancelled their agreement for a partnership in the German
digital platform of DF1 because of a failure to agree a number of
fundamental issues. Of course, neither side elaborated on any
A spokesman for Kirch group claimed that there were "interested
parties" that would like to take BSkyB's place, i.e. a 49 percent
stake in DF1. Mr Murdoch reportedly also had been interested in
taking stakes in Germany's only analogue pay-TV channel premiere and
in DSF, a Kirch-controlled all-sports station that also supplies some
sports channels for DF1.
Last year, Mr Murdoch clinched a similar deal with Mr Kirch's main
rival, Bertelsmann, but soon got frustrated with the friction within
the former alliance that also included Canal+ (France) and CLT
(Luxembourg.) As a consequence, he moved on over to the other side --
with little result, as we know now.
The effect of today's divorce on the German digital TV scene will
remain marginal as there is no such thing as digital TV in Germany.
Technically speaking, it exists, but the general public couldn't care
less. Reports indicate that DF1 still hasn't even reached 30,000
subscribers although it expected 200,000 by Christmas 1996. premiere
has recently started a pilot project that also attracted some 30,000
subscribers, but all of them are premiere subscribers (and thus no
newcomers to pay-TV.) Just compare that to more than 1.4 million
subscribers to premiere's analogue service, or to the approximately
36 million TV households in Germany.
While it may be true that Germany is Europe's largest media market,
it still has its own laws. Under current conditions, which may or may
not change in the future, there's little room for pay-TV or even
monstrous digital packages as long as the audience can choose between
dozens of free channels on cable, satellite and in many places even
on terrestrial transmitters.
The protagonists of digital TV in Germany have learned to think small
meanwhile. premiere has even warned that the entire digital pay TV
industry in Germany could fail unless both rivals agreed upon a
common platform. Most Germans wouldn't mind, though.
Copyright 1997 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De. All rights
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