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By | August 29, 2001
      • Tele 24, one of the two nationwide commercial TV channels in German-speaking Switzerland, will be closed down at the end of November. This decision was made by Zurich- based publishing house Tamedia which acquired the channel’s parent company Belcom Holding last week. Besides Tele 24, the holding which was founded by Roger Schawinski, one of Switzerland’s most famous media entrepreneurs, also operates TeleZuri and Radio 24, both of which are available as local services in Zurich. The closure of Tele 24, which has been available on cable networks and to DTH homes on Hotbird 3 will lead to the dismissal of 80 employees.
      • Intellectual property protection firm Irdeto Access has signed an agreement with Chinese state-owned VSAT operator ChinaSat, to supply encryption technology for its satellite broadcast headend. The system will be launched officially in September and will initially transmit one channel to a subscriber base of 5,000, providing enterprises with professional information services such as online training, distance learning and distance medical aid via its Zhong Xing-6 and Zhong Xing-8 satellites.
      • Satelindo of Indonesia says it will launch a new satellite by 2003 to support and ultimately replace its Palapa C-2 satellite, according to a report in the Jakarta Post. The report said Satelindo needs a new satellite to meet increased broadcasting demand and that its current Palapa C-2 satellite is already operating at 85-90 per cent capacity.
      • From September, Italian betting channel Sisal TV will change its business strategy by becoming a fully fledged commercial TV channel. The new look Sisal will offer a rolling programme of commercial presentations to bars, tobacconists and other retail outlets. Launched in July 1997 with the goal of creating a TV service, which transmits betting info for both bookmakers and gamblers, Sisal TV is currently available in 13,000 outlets. The programme schedule currently consists of live and taped sporting events, a daily horoscope, betting news and a news service produced by the Ansa news agency. Sisal TV is transmitted via the Eutelsat Hot Bird 5 satellite and is scrambled in the PowerVu system.
      • Sudwest Fernsehen Rheinland-Pfalz, the regional TV channel operated by German public broadcaster ARD’s southern affiliate Sudwestrundfunk, is now also available in digital on Astra (19.2 degrees East). The channel, which until now broadcast only in analogue on the Luxembourg-based satellite system, can be found within ARD’s free-to-air digital package on transponder 85 (12.110 GHz H, SR 27.500, FEC 3/4). With Sudwest Fernsehen Rheinland-Pfalz, the whole range of ARD’s regional TV channels is now available to digital DTH homes.
      • Radio GoldStar, the radio station operated by German pay-TV Schlager channel GoldStar TV, has launched test transmissions on Astra (19.2 degrees East). The channel, which will launch its regular programmes on September 3, is available in digital on transponder 87 (12.149 GHz H, SR 27.500, FEC 3/4) and in analogue using the subcarriers 7.74/7.92 MHz on TM3’s transponder 64 (10.936 GHz V). In contrast to Goldstar TV, Radio GoldStar, which received its broadcast licence in May from Bavarian media authority Bayerische Landeszentrale fur neue Medien (BLM), will be available free-to-air.
      • Audio broadcaster Music Choice has appointed two new senior executives to its sales and marketing team, as the company rolls out its advertising service. Simon George has moved from BBC Worldwide to join as head of Consumer Marketing, while Graham Johnson has arrived from performance based ad network Valueclick to the post of sales manager.
      • Genoa-based company Olisat which already runs a satellite TV channel focused on bowling, has announced plans for a ‘Mediterranean’ TV channel which would look at the history, tradition and customs of Italy and other Mediterranean countries. The programme schedule of the ‘Star of Mediterranean Sea’ would also include music and live coverage of major events. The channel would be a multilingual service: besides Italian, it will also transmit in French, Spanish, Arabic, English (to be followed by Greek, Serbo-Croat and Turkish). Star of Mediterranean Sea is expected to start broadcasting by the autumn via the Eutelsat Hotbird satellites with an initial branded block on the Olisat and TeleLiguria Sat TV channels.
      • Padua-based Netdish is to offer interactive broadband services to Italian ISPs and business customers from the start of 2002. The system uses the DVB-RCS transmission system with a return channel and a system of routers for content management and distribution. Customers will be offered a bi-directional satellite dish which will link the broadband connection via satellite with the teleport, located in the Padua area – the so-called P-six (Padua Satellite Internet Exchange). Netdish is owned by Fracarro Radioindustrie (27.75 per cent), HDP (27.75 per cent) and Cap Gemini Ernst&Young (4.5 per cent).
      • Telekom Srbija has signed an E1 million deal with Italy’s Telespazio for the delivery of equipment to rebuild a ground satellite station at Prilike, near Ivanjica, in southwestern Serbia. The first in line for reconstruction is the Yugoslavia 2 facility, which suffered least damage in Nato’s air strikes on Yugoslavia in March-June 1999. The Prilike satellite station was raided three times, badly damaging the relay system and sophisticated electronic equipment for telephone and TV links with Western Europe and other continents. The damage is estimated at nearly $9 million.
      • Net Sat Servicos, the Brazil-based provider of the local Sky DTH pay-TV satellite service, reported that its 2Q numbers stood at 685,000 subscribers representing a growth rate of 23 percent when compared to 2Q/2000 and 2 per cent up on Q1/2001. Shareholders in the Net Sat/Sky service are Brazilian media company Globo, News Corp and Liberty Media.
      • Playboy TV International has signed an exclusive agreement with Philippines-based Solar Entertainment an independent film production and distribution company and operator of the Solar Pinoy Channel. Solar Entertainment will in turn license the Playboy TV Network to cable systems and DTH platforms in the Philippines.
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