News bytes

By | September 12, 2001 | Feature

  • Discussions between News Corp and General Motors over the Hughes-owned DirecTV remained “difficult and inconclusive,” according to News Corp’s annual report issued last Friday. The report also showed that Rupert Murdoch’s pay had fallen last year to a total of $7.6 million, including a $3m bonus. News Corp’s No 2, Peter Chernin, received $20m including $4m in stock options. News Corp’s share price has fallen in the past 12 months from $57 to barely $30 last week. William Kidd, senior analyst at Lehman Bros, says investors are clearly disappointed with the few signs of progress on the Hughes merger front On the brighter side, News Corp is widely reported to have persuaded China to allow broadcasts to some of its viewers, initially Guangdong province close to Hong Kong. In return China requires that a Chinese government-sponsored channel be distributed in the United States.

  • German tv.nrw to launch on Hot Bird. German regional television channel tv.nrw will use Eutelsat’s Hotbird position at 13 degrees East to feed cable headends and reach DTH satellite homes. According to Eutelsat sources, the channel will utilise capacity within a digital multiplex operated by Deutsche Telekom and broadcast free-to-air. Launching on October 1, tv.nrw will reach 4.2 million cable homes through its nationwide analogue cable channel in North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany’s most populated state.

  • Neun Live’s travel channel to launch in spring 2002. German commercial television channel Neun Live, formerly called TM3, will launch its planned travel channel on May 1, 2002. According to a statement, the channel will broadcast in analogue on Astra (19.2 degrees East). The offshot will be branded ‘sonnenklar’ taking its name from the travel magazine currently shown on Neun Live and compete with existing channels Via 1 -Schoner Reisen, TV Travel Shop Germany and Liberty TV Germany.

  • Hamburg-based media authority Hamburgische Anstalt fur neue Medien (HAM) has granted regulatory approval to two new additions to German digital platform Premiere World. Thus, the Munich-based pay-TV broadcaster can launch, as planned, Premiere One and Premiere Action as part of its far-reaching programme and pricing structure revamp on October 1 (Interspace 726). Premiere One will screen a ‘best of’ selection of Premiere World’s complete offer such as blockbuster movies, sports events, entertainment and infotainment magazines. Premiere Action will show action movies and form part of the movie package. The channel which is currently called Premiere Action will subsequently be renamed Premiere X-Action.

  • Ariane is unexpectedly replacing COO Jacques Rossignol with Jean-Yves Le Gall, the president of StarSem, a French-Russian joint-venture company that sells launches aboard Russian Soyuz rockets. M Rossignol was understood to be opposed to the establishment of a $200m Soyus launch base at Kourou.

  • Arabsat is reportedly looking to add another C-band craft to its fleet, for launch in 2003. An RFP is expected to be issued this month, according to Said Abdullah al Qahtani, assistant DG at Arabsat. According to Qahtani, Arabsat will not privatise but to maintain its current intergovernmental status.

  • Japan’s BSAT-2b, part of the payload on the flawed July 12 Ariane flight, has been declared lost. JR Thompson, president of Orbital Sciences, which built the satellite for Japan’s BSS Corp, said salvage attempts had been abandoned. BSAT-2b was insured for some $60 million.

  • Intelsat’s 902 craft was launched by an Ariane 4 rocket on August 30 to an IOR position at 62 degrees East. Intelsat 902 has the equivalent of 72 C-band and 22 Ku-band transponders and weighed 4732kg at launch. Ariane say their order book stands at 42 satellites to be launched, plus 9 ATV missions for the International Space Station.

  • Irdeto Access on Aug 22 signed a formal agreement with Chinasat to deliver encryption technology and associated hardware for their satellite broadcast head-end. The system will be launched officially in September 2001 and will in the first phase transmit one channel to a subscriber base of 5,000.

  • On Wednesday, September 12, XM Satellite Radio is scheduled to launch its DARS commercial service in Dallas and San Diego.

  • BSkyB’s merchandising business, Sportsetail, which it co-owns with marketers Hay & Robertson, has reached a European product and distribution agreement with Fifa, to design, develop, and market clothing, nightwear and headwear, emblazoned with logos, images, trademarks and mascots of the 2002 Fifa World Cup in Korea and Japan. The merchandising for the 1998 World Cup in France generated product sales of $1.2 billion (E1.32bn).

  • Scientists have set up an Internet-based early warning system to alert insurance companies and satellite operators of approaching ‘solar storms’ which cause energetic particles to stream out from the Sun and disrupt the electronic components of satellites, causing malfunctions and breakdowns. The warning system uses ‘traffic light’ signals, green for ‘all clear’, amber for ‘be prepared’ and red for ‘danger’, to raise the alarm when a new particle storm is imminent.

  • Space power and propulsion components manufacturer Boeing Electron Dynamic Devices (EDD), has received its first contract, initially worth $5 million, for 32 C-band linear travelling wave tube amplifiers (LTWTAs) from Orbital Sciences Corporation for use on a C-band commercial geosynchronous satellite being built by Orbital for PanAmSat. Should PanAmSat exercise additional satellite options with Orbital, EDD will produce LTWTAs for two additional flight sets with a total value of up to $16 million.

  • Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has announced that a consortium led by the Binariang Corporation is to launch a fourth satellite costing $200 million by mid- 2004. The satellite is part of a $900 million integrated platform offering direct-to-home, digital video, data and Internet services. The footprint covers parts of Africa, West Asia, Eastern Europe and Australia.

  • The Japanese Telecommunications Ministry plans to lift a ban on broadcasts limited to specific audiences, such as distance learning classes for students preparing for college and home training courses for insurance marketing staff, to promote the entry of companies into communications satellite broadcasting.
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