- Rupert Murdoch has, after several failed attempts, succeeded in getting a foothold in Germany’s radio market. The US-Australian media entrepreneur whose News Corp so far was only active in Germany’s television business has received a licence from local media authority Landesanstalt fur privaten Rundfunk in Hessen, a regional state in southern Germany, valid for 10 years. Sky Radio Hessen will be distributed on local low-power FM frequencies and on cable in Hessen as well as nationwide on satellite. The 24-hour radio network, due to launch early 2001 at the latest, is expected to use analogue sub-carriers on Astra (19.2 degrees East), the most popular DTH satellite system in Germany.
- Thematic channel producer RaiSat is planning to launch two new TV channels for Italian digital TV operator Tele+. The first of them, RaiSat Fiction, will see the light of day on December 1. Its programming schedule will include both RAI archive programmes (75 per cent) and bought-in material. A second channel, dedicated to “Italian style” (fashion, interior decoration), will follow at the beginning of 2001, and it represents the first concrete result of the recent agreement signed between RaiSat and leading Italian publisher RCS.
- Super RTL, the German family entertainment channel owned as a 50:50 joint venture by RTL Group and Walt Disney, has confirmed that it will launch an advertising window for its viewers in neighbouring Austria on January 1, 2001. It will be marketed by IPA-plus Osterreich.
- In a move which indicates that the analogue DTH market will keep its dominating position in Germany, music channel Onyx-TV has decided that it will only become available in analogue on Astra (19.2 degrees East) for the time being. According to a spokesman of the Luxembourg-based satellite operator, the Cologne-based broadcaster so far only signed a contract for analogue capacity. On October 1, Onyx-TV will take over transponder 54 (10.788 GHz V) which Asian pay-TV service Zee TV recently vacated.
- RTL Group does not have any plans to become a player in Austria’s commercial TV market. Gerhard Zeiler, managing director of RTL Television in neighbouring Germany and former general director of Austria’s public broadcaster ORF, denied recent speculation that RTL plans to set up a domestic TV channel. “Commercial television wouldn’t make financially sense. We certainly won’t lose our money there,” Zeiler told Austrian news magazine Profil.
- BT Satellite Services is to open a new teleport in Los Angeles to complement its two existing facilities in New York and Los Angeles. Tony Fowler, general manager, operations, said that in Europe uplinkers are lucky because of the centralist markets of London and Paris. In the United States the approach is different and BT has built its facilities accordingly.
- Six transponders from Egypt’s second satellite, Nilesat 102, which was launched into space last month have been leased, according to the country’s Minister of Information Safwat al-Sharif Speaking to reporters when he inspected the satellite main ground station at Al-Hammam on the north coast, he said the six transponders accounted for more than 40 per cent of the satelite’s channels. He added that it would carry 42 new TV channels to Egyptian and Arab viewers.
- Abu Dhabi-based Media conglomerate and Showtime, the Middle East’s leading digital satellite TV network, have concluded an agreement to bring Abu Dhabi Sports back to the Nilesat satellite. The United Arab Emirates news agency WAM said the deal ensures that all Abu Dhabi sports events, exclusive and live coverage, will be available to all television viewers with digital satellite dishes directed at Nilesat.
- Network solutions provider Kingston MediaStream has signed a five-year deal with Reminiscent TV to provide encoding, multiplexing and uplinking for three Asian channels targeting the UK. The channels, scheduled for launch in the UK on September 1, 2000 via the Sky Digital Network, are designed to provide non-resident Indians with regional programmes in their own language. They will be Gujari, the Gujarati Language channel, Anjuman, which is in Urdu, and CEE(I)TV, which is in Tamil.