NEWS BYTES

By | October 18, 2000 | Feature

  • Italian pay-TV operator Stream has appointed Giancarlo Guastini as its new director general, a post previously occupied by Giovanni Minoli. Guastini, who was previously in charge of fiction at Mediaset and also worked at movie producer Filmaster, will be responsible for programming and development of thematic channels. There have also been management changes at leading Italian commercial broadcaster Mediaset, where Marco Giordani was on September 29 chosen as the new chief financial officer to replace Michele Preda.

  • British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) promoted Richard Freudenstein to the position of chief operating officer, reporting to Tony Ball, chief executive, effective from October 16. As general manager since November last year, BSkyB said Freudenstein had been an “integral part of the team which has continued to successfully roll-out digital satellite television.” Freudenstein, aged 35, joined BSkyB as general manager last November from Australian multi-channel television service FOXTEL, where he served as director of legal and business affairs before being appointed director of operations and business development in 1998.

  • British Telecom’s Broadcast Services division is offering a range of digital TV and Internet services across the Middle East on the newly launched Nilesat 102 at 7 degrees West. A new 9m antenna accessing Nilesat 102 at BT’s Martlesham teleport enables broadcasters to deliver direct-to-home (DTH) TV and fast Internet services to the region in a single hop from the UK. A return path from the Middle East is also available.

  • Japan’s Sky Perfect Communications said it would raise more than $1 billion (E ) via an initial public offering (IPO). Japan’s leading satellite television broadcaster set a price of 320,000 yen per share for the offering on October 20, raising 121.6 billion yen ($1.13 billion) after fees. The subscription period is October 12-17, with payment due on October 19. Sky Perfect had 2.36 million subscribers as of the end of September.

  • TMI Communications signed a three-year agreement with Calgary-based XS Technologies. XST will use capacity aboard TMI’s MSAT-1 satellite to offer customers across North, Central and part of South America an efficient and reliable means of tracking and managing mobile assets.

  • A European association of thematic channels, which currently gathers the Italian association ACTI and its French counterpart ACCCeS, has been set up. Commenting on the development, the president of ACTI, Giusto Toni, said that the new association will have the goal of “obtaining maximum visibility in the European community” since that is where all the normative regulations are based.

  • Swisscom AG, Switzerland’s telecommunications operator, is selling its satellite ground stations to Verestar, a unit of American Tower Operations. Financial details were not disclosed.

  • Japanese Internet investor Softbank Corp will sell 45,000 of the 182,000 shares it owns in its 9.89 percent stake and two minor shareholders will offer another 20,000 shares between them in the secondary offering.

  • BSkyB’s technology channel signed a carriage deal with Belgian platform Canal Digital to supply technology focused programming to the Belgian market. The channel launched earlier in the month as part of Canal Digital’s digital package for cable operators.

  • Stream’s regional news channel Team TV has changed is name to Stream News and has also added a third evening newscast. Stream News, whose director is Antonio Marano, is produced by a consortium of leading Italian regional TV channels.

  • James A Lovell has joined the Space Media Inc (SMI) board of directors. SMI was formed last spring as a media corporation and subsidiary under Spacehab to create proprietary space and technology themed content for broadcast and Internet distribution. Drawing from his 11 years of experience as an astronaut on numerous missions, including Apollo 13 and the Gemini programme, Lovell will be working on several programming and production initiatives for SMI in addition to providing general consultation. Lovell will also be acting as general spokesperson and promoter for special projects and events related to SMI.
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