TELE-satellit News - 10 March 1996

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International Satellite Broadcasting News
Number 92, Week ending 10 March 1996
By Martyn Williams
News Desk : Internet martyn@twics.com  or CompuServe CIS:martynw
(c) TELE-satellit Magazine

  LONDON, England (TS) -- Four of Europe's top pay television 
broadcasters have formed a stategic alliance in the field of digital 
pay television. The four include BSkyB, Canal Plus, Bertelsmann AG  
and Havas.
  The four are setting up a new company to exploit opportunities in 
Europe and promote a single encryption standard. The new company will 
be 30% owned by each of BSkyB, Canal Plus and Bertelsmann with Havas 
taking the remaining 10% stake.
  The group has already decided to use the SECA encryption system and 
rejected Kirch Gruppe's D-Box system.
  The plan is now almost certainly to come under the microscope of the 
European Commission and competition commissioner Karel Van Miert.

  PARIS, France (TS) -- Speaking in an interview in France's Le Figaro 
newspaper, Albert Frere, chairman of Groupe Bruxelles Lambert, said he 
will resign from the board of Havas over the alliance with BSkyB and 
other broadcasters.
  Frere is a major shareholder in Luxembourg's CLT, operator of the 
RTL TV empire, and said he would also be recommending that Audiofina, 
the holding company of CLT, should sell its 4.5% stake in Havas.
  Until recently CLT was in talks with Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB over 
such an alliance for digital pay television and appears to have been 
passed over in the alliance. Havas denied any wrong doing saying CLT 
had rejected the deal and so it took a part.
  Of the deal and CLT's exclusion, Luxembourg Prime minister 
Jean-Claude Juncker said on Friday, "We were astonished."

  LUXEMBOURG CITY, Luxembourg (TS) -- In a terse company statement 
issued late in the week, CLT said it would continue to pursue digital 
TV plans alone. 
  "The CLT notes that an alliance with the Murdoch Group in digital 
television, to which Havas had earlier expressed its reserves, has now 
been taken over by Havas and its Canal Plus subsidiary," the group 
  "The CLT draws the conclusions from this pact, which has as an 
effect to cement the arrival of Murdoch in continental Europe," it 

  MUNICH, Germany (TS) -- British Sky Broadcasting has acquired a 25% 
in German pay television broadcaster Premiere the London based company 
said this week but French group Havas said the announcement was 
premature. According to BSkyB, the purchase met with approval by 
exisiting Premiere shareholders, Canal Plus, Bertelsmann AG  and the 
Kirch Gruppe.
  BSkyB reported that it had acquired its 25% share, to equal the 
three other shareholders, from Canal Plus and Bertelsmann which each 
sold 12.5% of the company for a total value of $270 million.
  Havas holds a stake in Canal Plus and said that the BSkyB stake in 
Premiere was not yet a signed deal and required the approval of Leo 
Kirch and his Kirch Gruppe. That may be difficult to achieve after 
BSkyB this week announced a deal with Havas and Premiere's other two 
stake holders for the establishment of a digital TV alliance. The 
group has opted to reject Kirch's D-Box digital TV decoder and opt for 
a rival system.
  The deal values Premiere, with 1.1 million subscribers, at just over 
$1 billion. BSkyB added that it expected Premiere to begin turning a 
profit in the coming financial year from July 1996.

  JAKATA, Indonesia (TS) -- Four of the transponders on the just 
launched Palapa C1 satellite are faulty, the satellite operators said 
this week.
  The state insurance company, PT Jasindo, has said it will pay PT 
Satelindo for the failure which, according to the operators, will cost 
it $41.6 million. Each transponder is valued at $799,000 per year.
  Defective batteries are blamed for the failure which causes the 
transponders to fail when the satellite moves out of direct sunlight 
and the batteries are meant to take over from the solar panels.
  The failure means there will be no broadcasting in the ku-band from 
the satellite which carries just four ku band transponders in addition 
to 24 C-band and six extended C-band transponders.

  MILAN, Italy (TS) -- Italy's Telepiu pay TV group says it is 
commercially launching its DStv digital pay television package. The 
service has been tested by a group of consumers since late last year.
  The full service will begin in September this year with a line up of 
50 television and 40 radio services on offer. Some of the channels 
will the foreign TV stations and all will be dubbed into Italian with 
the exception of CNN International and live news broadcasts.
  Telepiu hopes for at least 150,000 subscribers by the end of the 
year, an aim that should be helped by its securing of exclusive rights 
to all Italian soccer for the next three years.
  The awarding of the sports rights to the broadcaster caused 
journalists at state TV RAI to strike for a day last week.
  Telepiu aleady runs terrestrial pay television but has been told it 
must all be put onto satellite to make room for more terrestrial 
television services.

Don Fitzpatrick, Shoptalk
  SAN FRANCISCO, California, USA (SHOPTALK) -- The Federal 
Communications Commission announced this week that cable operators 
carrying the Playboy Channel and other adult-oriented channels will be 
required to completely scramble the sex webs or to carry the material 
only between 10pm and 6am.  The FCC order becomes effective tomorrow.
  Tele-Communications Inc. and Time Warner, the largest cablers in the 
nation, do not have the appropriate scrambling technology and have 
opted to channel programming to late evening and early morning hours. 
(Daily Variety via Shoptalk)

  ENGLEWOOD, Colorado, USA (ECHOSTAR) -- EchoStar Communications 
announced this week that a subsidiary has signed a letter of intent 
with Arianespace for alternative launch arrangements for EchoStar-II, 
its second high-power direct broadcast satellite (DBS).
  Arianespace will launch the satellite atop an Ariane 4 launch 
vehicle from its Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana in 
September 1996, in a vacant launch opportunity.  EchoStar-II will 
significantly expand the satellite television programming services 
available to DISH Network customers. 
  "We are pleased to have secured this launch with Arianespace, 
because it ensures our capability to launch EchoStar-II as planned in 
the third quarter of 1996 and to provide additional services to our 
DISH Network customers in the near future,"  said EchoStar Chairman 
and Chief Executive Officer Charles Ergen.
  EchoStar's first DBS satellite, EchoStar-I, was successfully 
launched from Xichang, China, on Dec. 28, 1995, and is now fully 
operational and began broadcasting nationally to subscribers over
100 channels of video and audio programming on March 3, 1996. 

Jonathan McDowell, Jonathon's Space Report
  BEIJING, China (JSR) -- Chinese sources now report that six people 
died and 57 were injured during the crash of the Chang Zheng 3B (Long 
March 3B) launch vehicle at Xichang on Feb 14. Other sources claim 
that more than a hundred may have died. The rocket's inertial guidance 
unit failed two seconds after takeoff. 

  COPENHAGEN, Denmark (TS) -- Danmarks Radio, state TV and radio 
broadcaster, said this week that it would launch a second channel and 
improve programming in a bid to capture more viewers.
  Ever since the advent of commercial TV, with TV-2 in 1986 and TV-3 
in 1989, the state broadcaster has been steadily loosing viewers.
  The transformation will begin during the summer when DR-One begins 
airing late night entertainment aimed at young people, an audience 
that has deserted the channel in large numbers.
  A planned satellite channel was also confirmed and will contain 
material aimed at an older audience with more culture than terrestrial 
TV offers.

  TOKYO, Japan (TS) -- An American Internet user has established a 
World Wide Web page with details of NHK's TV Japan broadcasts to the 
USA and Europe. Because of agreements with pay television broadcasters 
in local markets, the Japanese broadcaster does not make details of TV 
Japan programs available so the FAQ seeks to answer viewer's 

  CAPE CANAVERAL AIR STATION, Florida, USA (TS) -- The Pegasus XL 
launch vehicle placed the USAF REX-2 spacecraft into orbit at about 
2050 EST on Friday evening. Launch video and stills are available at 
the SeaWiFS World Wide Web page.


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Reports in TELE-satellit news are from our worldwide network of 
reporters and sources. In particular we would like to thank :

Curt Swinehart for keeping us up to date with all parts of the 
satellite industry.

Don Fitzpatrick of DFA in San Francisco for providing permission to 
reproduce articles from Shoptalk, the TV news industry's daily news 
and information magazine.

OMRI material was reprinted with permission of the Open Media Research 
Institute, a nonprofit organization with research offices in Prague, 
Czech Republic. For more information on OMRI publications, please 
write to: info@omri.cz

Reproduction in part of Jonathan's Space Report was maded possible by 
kind permission of Jonathan McDowell. To read the full edition see 
http://hea-www.harvard.edu/QEDT/jcm/space/jsr/jsr.html or 

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about international broadcasting. Radio Sweden has presented this 
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1948. It's currently broadcast on the first and third Tuesdays of the 
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