- The satellite launch of E4 is turning into an episode of Perry Mason. While test transmissions continue ahead of its January 18 launch we’re still waiting for Paul Drake to rush into the courtroom at the last minute waving a vital piece of evidence, in this case the carriage agreement with Sky. The tests are now labelled 228 suggesting a number way down the EPG. Meanwhile, Channel 4 has taken to promoting its new channel in the consumer press. The latest edition of entertainment magazine Heat contains a flyer encouraging subscribers to ring Sky demanding the addition of E4 to its line-up. Carriage agreements have already been secured with ONdigital and cableops NTL and Telewest.
- Super RTL, the German family entertainment channel jointly owned by Walt Disney and RTL Group, has launched an advertising window for viewers in Austria.
The signal to DTH homes and cable headends can be found within Deutsche Telekom’s digital package on Hot Bird 5 (13 degrees East) on transponder 155 (11.604 GHz H, SR 27.500, FEC 5/6). Super RTL Austria transmits free-to-air. The advertising times are marketed by IPA-plus Österreich, which also works for RTL and RTL II in Austria. With Super RTL a total of seven German commercial broadcasters operate Austrian advertising windows: RTL, RTL II, Pro Sieben, Sat 1, Kabel 1 and – starting later this year – Viva.
- The Slovak Army has turned to Inmarsat, the mobile satellite communications company, to provide it with global communications solutions as it looks to join Nato and take an active role in worldwide peacekeeping activities. The army’s signal corp has already purchased two Global Area Network (GAN) terminals from Telenor Slovakia Ltd, and two Inmarsat B terminals from Softel Ltd, an Inmarsat distributor in Slovakia using Station 12 as the Land Earth Station. Inmarsat GAN, B and mini-M satellite terminals are used by many Nato countries including the UK, France, Germany and Greece in their peacekeeping roles.
- Elios Holding has bought the relative majority of Eliosat UK, a company that provides Internet services and produces PC boards for Internet via satellite. Elios bought 40 per cent of the company in a deal valued at L5 billion (E2.58m). Eliosat operates in Italy through Eliosat Italia SpA based in Padua.
- Canal Digital has added two new á la carte channels to its Select option. Sony Entertainment Television Asia and B4U Movies, screening a selection of popular Bollywood movies are each priced at SKr180 (E20.32) per month. A third channel, Style, is being added to the Familjepaketet this month. Style will broadcast between 12:00 and 18:00 CET daily.
- Sky Digital reported transmission difficulties lasting several minutes on January 11, knocking out reception of the premium movie channels and Sky One. Up to 30 channels were effected by the problem believed to have been at the broadcaster’s uplink centre at Chilworth.
- AMN, a new satellite channel for Urdu-speaking viewers, is expected to be on air in February, based in Abu Dhabi. AMN will use the ThaiCom satellite, initially uplinked from Bangkok.
- Lui Qi, mayor of Beijing, met Keith Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corporation earlier this month to thank the media company for its efforts to introduce China to the world. Lui said the Beijing government is willing to render more support to News Corp in its business development in the Chinese capital. Liu also briefed the guest on Beijing’s efforts to bid for the 2008 Olympic Games.
- The Sea Launch mission of XM Satellite Radio’s XM-1 satellite was called off seconds before launch when the monitors detected “a minor out-of-specification condition” on the satellite. This was described as “a potential problem” by the company, which added that the condition was resolved “within minutes of stopping the launch”. By the time it was “all systems go”, it was too late in a narrow launch window to resume the countdown.
The company did not say what caused the out-of-specification condition. However, the company told Interspace that a new launch date has been set for February 28.