- CNN is understood to be planning to open another African news bureaux in addition to its existing activity in Johannesburg, Cairo and Nairobi. Lagos, Nigeria is expected to be the next slot. CNN is also expected to confirm it will open a permanent bureau in Sydney, Australia shortly, as a boost to its CNN Asia region output.
- MTV’s annual Music Awards show has again come in for criticism from the ITC. Last November’s event broadcast live from Stockholm was hosted by UK personality Ali G, who, the ITC determined, had made remarks about female genitals ahead of the 9pm watershed. MTV explained that the presenter had been “clearly briefed” in advance of transmission. The ITC upheld viewers’ complaints, and found MTV guilty on a breach of the Programme Code. However, the ITC said, “Last year’s event also involved breaches of the Programme Code,” and added that it was up to MTV to find ways of ensuring the show complied. “Failure to do so next time is likely to attract a sanction.”
- Floatation plans: The following broadcasters are reportedly planning IPOs for their businesses: TV Travel Group, which sells holidays through its TV channel, is looking to raise up to GBP300m and is said to be appointing UBS Warburg as its advisors, and Digital Broadcasting Company, which transmits PPV films as U>direct and is 25 per cent owned by Pearson Television, is planning a spring float, valuing the business at GBP50m.
- As part of an agreement with Lockheed Martin Global Telecoms and OAO Rostelecom, Intersputnik says it is now offering capacity in both the standard C band (Beam A) and the extended C band (Beam B) on LMI-1. Intersputnik also offers Ku-band transponders (Northern and Southern Beams), which can be used for the establishment of dedicated VSAT-based networks, along with digital video and radio broadcasting in distribution and subscriber networks. LMI-1 entered commercial service in November 1999 at 75 degrees East. LMI-1 carries 44 high-power transponders: 28 C-band transponders with a bandwidth of 36MHz, and 16 Ku-band transponders with a bandwidth of 27MHz. The satellite’s life span is 15 years.
- DARS service XM Radio, which suffered a last minute aborted Boeing Sea Launch on January 8 for its XM-1 craft (‘Roll’), has decided to switch priorities. XM-2 (‘Rock’) will now launch on March 18, with XM-1 scheduled for launch early in May. Previously, XM’s second craft was due for launch in April. The delays means XM’s service will be delayed around 15 days. A note from Bank of America Securities states it believes the company has sufficient cash to see it through these launch delays, but it will need another $500m (E537m) to see it through to commercial viability. XM sources say “Roll” is fine, notwithstanding its pre-launch real-life vibration test.
- BBC will launch its interactive services over satellite this summer, including its Wimbledon tennis coverage as well as broadcasts of the Open Golf championship.
- Paul Lavin has been appointed CEO at Enformatica. The company uses satellite to beam its EnfoCast broadcast and information service, which includes real time BBC News 24, Bloomberg, CNBC, CNN, EuroNews, ITN and The Money Channel, direct to subscriber desktops, via existing corporate local area networks.
- Zee TV launched a new promotional package this weekend that offers subscribers three premium channels a month for the price of one. Zee TV told Interspace that the offer kicked off on February 10 and includes Zee TV, Zee Music and Zee Cinema for the price of one – that’s GBP12.99 per month. He added that it was uncertain exactly how long the promotion would last. However, full details will be released soon.
- Turksat 2A, Turkey’s third satellite in space, is ready to start functioning. Co-located with Turksat-1C at 42 degrees East, Turksat 2A will be the key driver for the deployment of the regional digital TV launch, said Eurasiasat in a statement. The briefing noted that Turksat 2A covers established and growing markets from Europe and Central Asia to India and South Africa. Turksat 2A satellite will carry 32 high powered transponders payload consisting of 20 of 33MHz fixed beam transponders in BSS Band and 12 of 36MHz transponders with two steerable beams in FSS Band, the statement pointed out.