- Walt Disney Television Inter-national has confirmed it will launch three new channels for the UK this month in a bid to gain more of the UK children’s TV market. The company will start broadcasting Playhouse Disney, Toon Disney and Disney+1 on September 29 at 06:00 UK time. Playhouse Disney is described as a pre-school channel and will be available from 05:30 to 20:30, with Disney’s managing director for UK TV Paul Robinson quick to point out he does not promote staying up late. Toon Disney – which already runs in the United States – will be a 24-hour cartoon channel showing Disney animation programmes, while Disney+1 will be a delayed version of the main Disney channel and be aired an hour later.
- Interspace understands that Star TV is considering an early entry onto BSkyB, with up to three channels. For Star TV and Star+1 hour, plans are believed to be well advanced, while a Star News service is also being contemplated.
- Turkey’s Higher Council of Radio Television (RTUK), banned certain Digi-Turk channels in August, saying they were unlicensed. Digi-Turk replaced the channels (Vizyon Salon 1-6, MovieMax 1-2 and Sinema Turk, which had been transmitting from Eutelsat W3) with testcards. Subsequently, the channels have been uplinked from Germany onto Eutelsat 2-F3, pending an attempt to have the legislation modified by Parliament during October.
- A small local TV channel from Italy is set to expand its viewership, thanks to an agreement with Greek broadcaster Aleteya TV, which will retransmit its programming via satellite daily from 23:00 to 01:00 CET. Currently Erap TV, based in Grottamare, can be received only in the provinces of Ascoli Piceno, Teramo, Pescara and Chieti. Besides satellite rebroadcasting, the agreement between the Greek and Italian broadcasters also provides for an exchange of programming and the simultaneous transmission of some programmes both terrestrially and via satellite.
- Italian thematic channel producer Sitcom and Federambiente, an association grouping public utilities for the protection of the environment, have signed an agreement for the launch of a digital TV channel dedicated to ecology issues. Galileo Spa, a joint venture between the two partners, will produce the channel, as well as a supporting Internet portal. The launch of the yet-unnamed channel, which will be transmitted free-to-air, is forecast for January 1, 2001.
- Big Brother, the reality TV game show, is costing businesses GBP1.4m a week in lost productivity and internet broadcasting costs, as workers log on for an average of 15 minutes a day to check the progress of the remaining contestants. According to a survey by Websense, which monitors employee Internet usage, the average session was costing employers GBP2.91 every time an employee accessed the site. The website had more than 643,000 unique visitors in July.
- Rick Kaplan, CNN’s president has left the company. In a major restructuring, Tom Johnson stays as chairman and CEO of CNN, now a division of Time Warner. However, London- based Phil Kent, currently in charge of all of Turner Broadcasting’s international divisions, has been booted upstairs to be Johnson’s deputy and chief operating officer. Reporting to Kent are three key figures, Eason Jordan who continues to take an overall responsibility for CNN’s editorial input, Jim Walton, currently looking after CNN’s Sports Illustrated channel, will now supervise CNN’s US-based channels and websites while Chris Cramer takes control over CNN’s international subsidiaries.
- Eurosport News, the sports news sister channel of pan-Europan sports network Eurosport which launched on September 1, is planning to enter the competitive German TV market by joining Premiere World’s digital pay-TV platform. At the launch press conference in Paris Eurosport’s director Michel Kubler confirmed that talks are underway with the Munich- based broadcaster owned by. He explained that Eurosport News is also in negotiation with cable operator PrimaCom to be included in its digital platform and with German public broadcaster ZDF. However joining ZDF’s digital bouquet in which Eurosport’s main channel is already present would mean the abandonment of distribution fees in Germany since the package airs free-to-air.