- Tandberg Television said it has won contracts worth a total of more than $23 million from Australian broadcasting networks that have bought Tandberg’s digital TV equipment for terrestrial broadcasting. Network and multiplex management equipment was bought by four networks – Australian Broadcasting Corp, Network Nine, Network Ten and another network known as SBS. The equipment will be installed at the networks’ broadcasting stations in Australia’s eight major cities – Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.
- Pathe and RF2K are to launch a gourmet channel on the French Canal Satellite platform and cable networks next March, with an annual budget of FFr 40 million (E million), airing for 18 hours a day. Pathe will own 51 per cent and RF2K 49 per cent. The two organisations already work together, holding a stake in the Comedie! channel alongside Canal+. French DSAT platform TPS is offering all new subscribers before the end of the year three months of access to all the 130 channels on its platform, except the movie premium channels, as well as a free dish. At the end of the three months the subscribers can choose which of the four packages they prefer. Canal+ Horizons, the digital satellite platform operated by Canal+ in North Africa and the Middle East, will get Eurosport International and Eurosport News from October 31. This will bring the number of channels in the bouquet to 18. Liberty TV, which has just launched in encrypted form on the Sky Digital platform, is still available FTA on Astra’s slot at 19.2 degrees East.
- The State Administration of Film Radio and Television (SAFRT), the Chinese mainland broadcasting regulatory body, has granted five licences to foreign television firms. Licences have been granted to Television Broadcasts (TVB), Phoenix Satellite Television Holdings, Sun Television CyberNetworks, CNN and an unnamed television company based in Macau. TVB’s licence is for TVB8 Galaxy channel. Phoenix has been given a licence for its international and Cantonese channels and Sun Television a licence for its history channel. A spokesman for Sun Television said the company has already received its licence. He said the granting of the five licences was the first step in opening up the mainland’s television sector. The spokesman said foreign television companies seeking licences to operate channels on the mainland should also be well aware of the political risks involved. “CNBC and NBC went in a few years ago and found the going very difficult and eventually pulled out,” the spokesman said. One industry source said the five licence holders will be restricted in what they can broadcast, said the Hong Kong iMail.
- Chairman of Press Trust of India (PTI), N Ravi, said PTI was considering providing a specialised news service for cellular telephone companies using Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) as part of its expansion into the new media. Addressing the 52nd annual general meeting of the agency, he said the media scene has in the most recent period been marked by some rapid changes and the emergence of a multiplicity of television channels and Internet web sites. The year also marked the entry of PTI into the new media, providing news content to a host of Internet web sites run by newspapers as well as independent ventures. Ravi told the shareholders that three of the most significant developments during the year relate to PTI’s satellite service, upgrading of its photo service and entry into the new media. “The launch of our satellite communications system for delivery of news and photo services has been a major landmark in our efforts at technological modernisation,” he said with reference to the recent launch of the satellite delivery of PTI’s news and photographs.
- Eutelsat’s Assembly of Parties that met today in Paris under the chairmanship of Bernardo Uguccioni (Italy) and the vice-chairmanship of Gerd Benke (Germany), in consultation with the Chairman of the Board of Signatories, authorised the director general of Eutelsat, Giuliano Berretta, to take appropriate actions for the re-establishment of satellite transmission facilities for Radio Televizija Serbija (RTS). The decision was made in light of the new political environment in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro). Eutelsat is consequently in a position to enable satellite broadcasts to resume by the recently formed new public national broadcaster, New Radio Television of Serbia.