TELE-satellit News - 17 March 1996

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International Satellite Broadcasting News
Number 93, Week ending 17 March 1996
By Martyn Williams
News Desk : Internet martyn@twics.com  or CompuServe CIS:martynw
(c) TELE-satellit Magazine

  BETHESDA, Missouri, USA (TS) -- The cancelling of transponder space 
on Intelsat has lead to a lawsuit. Comsat Corporation, the US member 
of Intelsat, this week filed a complaint against News Corporation, 
PanAmSat Corp. and Grupo Televisa, S.A., arising from News 
Corporation's cancellation to lease satellite capacity on an Intelsat 
VIIA satellite.
  The complaint has seven counts, including breach of contract, 
violation of tariff, tortious interference and civil conspiracy. The 
suit seeks damages of at least $250 million plus punitive damages and 
was filed in the US District Court for the District of Maryland.
  Comsat said in a press release that News Corporation notified it on 
March 1 that it had cancelled its lease commitment for satellite 
capacity on the Intelsat system for broadcast service to Latin 
  Comsat's complaint alleges that the cancellation of the lease 
commitment not only constitutes a breach of contract but also violates 
tariffs that Comsat has filed with the Federal Communications 
  Comsat also claims that PanAmSat, a Connecticut-based international
satellite communications company and the largest private satellite 
operator in the world, and Televisa, a Mexico-based media conglomerate 
that provides Spanish-language programming, wrongfully induced News 
Corporation to breach its contract with Comsat and violate its 
obligations under the tariff.
  The lawsuit asserts that Televisa and PanAmSat, in which Televisa 
has about 40-percent ownership, conspired to benefit themselves by 
arranging for PanAmSat to provide the service in Comsat's place.
  "Comsat has filed this lawsuit for a very simple reason," said 
Comsat president and CEO Bruce L. Crockett.  "News Corporation ordered 
this service under our legally binding tariff, and it is obligated to 
honor the terms of its agreement.  Instead it cancelled its 
reservation without justification, and Comsat is compelled to seek 

  MOSCOW, Russia (TS) -- Russia has postponed launch plans for the 
Astra-1F satellite for two weeks due to technical problems.
  A leaking Helium canister on the Proton launcher was discovered at 
the Khrunichev Space Centre in Baikonur, Kazakhstan and the problem 
must now be fixed before launch can go ahead.
  No new launch date has been announced but it should take place 
sometime in April.

  LONDON, England (TS) -- Britain's first taste of pay per view 
television made Rupert Murdoch's BSkyB around 5 million pounds 
according to a published report in Australia.
  BSkyB, which has not released details of the subscriber take up, was 
charging 9,95 pounds before the fight and 14,95 pounds on the day of 
the fight to those wishing to stay up until the early morning to watch 
Frank Bruno take on Mike Tyson.
  The event was controversial in the UK where many believed it should 
be part of the regular subscription fee. Bruno's loss in the fight 
will not do anything to help opposition to PPV events in the future.

  LONDON, England (TS) -- After being absent from East Asian skies for 
almost two years, the BBC is to return when BBC World television 
begins broadcasting as a digital signal on PanAmSat's PAS-2.
  The BBC was being carried as part of Rupert Murdoch's Star TV 
package to East Asia but the channel was dropped after a documentary 
program about China's ex-leadership caused outrage in the Chinese 
  Star TV have been carrying BBC World on its South Asian service 
which also delivers the signal into parts of Africa. That service will 
end this month when BBC World switches to PanAmSat's PAS-4 satellite 
and broadcasts a free of charge signal to the region.
  The new service covers areas east of India including Japan, Taiwan, 
Korea, Indonesia, Thailand and China. The only country in the region 
that currently has access to BBC World is Japan where it is broadcast 
via a domestic satellite.
  The digital receivers needed to receive the signal will be available 
to consumers said the broadcaster.

  LONDON, England (TS) -- After broadcasting CNBC programming via NBC 
Super Channel for over a year, CNBC has launched as a stand alone 
channel in Europe bringing a third region of the world into its 
  CNBC Europe was launched last week and will be part of the Sky 
Multichannels package in the United Kingdom. In other parts of Europe, 
NBC Europe announced the new channel plus three other services, would 
join Nethold's new digital pay TV package to launch later this year.
  The other channels are MS/NBC, NBC Super Channel and GIGA TV, a new 
computer themed channel.

  KOUROU, French Guiana (ESA) -- On Thursday, March 14, Arianespace 
successfully launched the Intelsat 707 satellite for Intelsat. For the 
European space organization, this represented the 14th launch in 12 
  The launch from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana, 
was carried out by an Ariane 44LP rocket, the version of the European 
launcher equipped with two liquid and two solid-propellant strap-on 
boosters. Liftoff took place on Thursday, March 14th 0411 local time, 
0211 EST, 0711 UTC, 0811 CET.
   Commenting on this third successful launch of the year, Arianespace 
executive vice president and chief operating officer Francis Avanzi 
said,  "With the launch this evening, our thoughts go to our customer, 
Intelsat, which was anxiously waiting for its 24th satellite to be 
placed into orbit. Thanks to this launch, they will be able to ensure 
service continuity for their customers. We are proud to be able to 
provide a satisfactory response to the confidence and loyalty that 
this major international organization has placed in us for more than 
16 years."
  Intelsat 707 is the seventh new-generation satellite built by Space
Systems/Loral of Palo Alto, California, for Intelsat.It is equipped 
with 26 C-band transponders and 14 Ku-band transponders. Its capacity 
has been increased from 22,500 to 112,500 telephone lines, thanks to 
the use of a digital line- multiplication system. Intelsat 7O7
will be positioned over the Atlantic Ocean to provide transatlantic 
  The next launch, Flight 85, is targeted for April 19, 1996.  An 
Ariane 42P launch vehicle will be used to place into geostationary 
transfer orbit the M-SAT 1 mobile telecommunications satellite for 
Telesat Mobile Inc. of Canada.

  SOFIA, Bulgaria (TS) -- A meeting of Balkan communications
ministers has been scheduled for April 25 and 26th at which the 
establishment of a regional satellite organization will be discussed.
  The meeting will be chaired by Prime Minister Zhan Videnov and
will be hosted by the Committee of Posts and Telecommunications.
  The group will also discuss the possible launch of a joint Balkan 

  NEW YORK, New York, USA (SHOPTALK) -- Playboy Entertainment Group 
won a temporary restraining order last week in its challenge to 
Section 505 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.
  The section in question would require cable operators to fully 
scramble cable channels with adult programming or restrict such 
programming between 10pm and 6am.  Judge Joseph Farnan Jr. said 
Thursday that Playboy "has demonstrated it's likely to succeed on the 
merits of its claim that Section 505 violates the First Amendment of 
the United States Constitution." (Daily Variety via Shoptalk)

  NEW YORK, New York, USA (SHOPTALK) -- Carrying out the new 
communications law, the Federal Communications Commission has raised 
broadcast-station-ownership limits.
  According to the new limits, a company can own as many TV stations 
as it wants as long as the station's don't reach more than 35% of the 
nation's TV-viewing households. Prior to the new law, stations could 
own only up to 12 stations, reaching up to 25% of households.
  The changes were designed to allow TV networks expand and compete 
more freely with cable networks and direct broadcast satellite 
systems.  (Wall Street Journal via Shoptalk)

  WASHINGTON, DC, USA (INTELSAT) -- The Republic of Bosnia and 
Herzegovina joined the International Telecommunications Satellite 
Organization (Intelsat) as its 138th member-nation. His Excellency 
Sven Alkalaj, Ambassador of the Republic of the Bosnia and Herzegovina 
in the United States, signed the Intelsat Operating Agreement at the 
US Department of State.
  As the designated Signatory, the government of the Republic of 
Bosnia and Herzegovina will hold an initial investment share of 0.05 
  "The Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina is very pleased to join 
Intelsat as this will foster the development of international 
communications and lead to increased prosperity for our country,"  
said His Excellency Sven Alkalaj. 
  It will be an important part of our reconstruction efforts. Joining 
Intelsat is also an opportunity for the Republic of Bosnia and 
Herzegovina to access the international `information superhighway,'" 
he added.

  MT GAMBIER, Australia (TS) -- On the Internet, Phil Pittard reports 
on news about Palapa C1 at 113 degrees East. "This bird is replacing 
Palapa B2P and as of March 15 it appears that the transfer of users 
has begun. Up until 15/3 it was virtually impossible in Mt Gambier, 
South Australia, to get much more than squiggles of Palapa B2P." He 
reported that several new channels could now be viewed thanks to the 
higher power of Palapa C1.

- Eutelsat are on the Web at http://www.eutelsat.org/ (TSE)
- The ECS 1 (Eutelsat I F-1) satellite raised its orbit in February
and is now drifting. (JSR)
- Koreasat 2 is now on station at 113.0 deg E. (JSR)
- The Telecom 1C satellite has moved from 3.0 deg E to 1.0 deg E. 
- Intelsat 501 moved back into the geostationary ring at 72.0E (Indian 
Ocean). (JSR)


In response to an article last week about Italy's Telepiu pay TV and a 
new digital pay TV package being launched. We said Telepiu had secured 
exclusive rights to all Italian soccer for the next three years and 
Marco Greppi in Italy emailed:

"That's not correct, because the rights went to another TV, 

After receiving the message we doubled checked out facts. Telepiu has 
won exclusive pay TV rights to the soccer. TMC has won terrestrial 
free to air rights although TMC does not cover all of Italy so many 
people will be left with the choice of Telepiu or nothing.

In addition, we understand that Telepiu's soccer coverage will not be 
available via it's scrambled terrestrial network.


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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 
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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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