TS News - A Busy Week Of Backpedaling For Murdoch

TELE-satellit News, 10 March 1997

A Busy Week Of Backpedaling For Murdoch
  TOKYO, Japan, 97/10/03 (TS) -- It was a busy week of backpedaling for
Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. The company kicked off the week with the
announcement that it, and Japanese partner Softbank Corporation, were
selling the 21.6 percent stake they jointly bought in national commercial
network TV Asahi. The purchase was suppose to provide a launching pad for
the Japan Sky Broadcasting (JSkyB) service the two will launch this spring.
Instead of that, the stock purchase caused resent from the TV Asahi board.
Both News Corp and Softbank were refused seats on the board of the
broadcaster unless they signed an agreement to acquire no more shares in
Asahi National Broadcasting, the company that runs TV Asahi.

  Later in the week, in a brief statement, Murdoch's British Sky
Broadcasting (BSkyB) announced it had abandoned attempts to play a larger
role in the German TV market with Kirch Gruppe. The company said it, "and
the Kirch Gruppe today announced that they have mutually agreed to
terminate their Heads of Agreement for the establishment of the DF1 pay
television platform in Germany because of failure to agree a number of
fundamental issues."

  DF-1 is a digital multichannel package that has had a less-then
impressive debut in Germany. Ironically, the company could have an
immediate presence in Germany if it would only line up English language
rights to broadcast in the country. Its programming is currently restricted
to the UK and Ireland but English speakers across Europe provide a ready
market for both pirate decoders and smart cards purchased in the UK.

(c)TELE-satellit 1997. All rights reserved.

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