Sunday and Easter have a nice day! no update
Jcsat 8 (2-a) has Launched successfully! See reports in the News section. There should be a bit of Tarbs activity next week on Thaicom 3. They will also launch 2 PAS 10 transponders in the next month or two.
You can watch video of the JCsat 2-a launch here! http://www.iijnet.or.jp/JSAT/stage1/index.html
GMA on Agila 2 146E the Analog signal on 4161 anyone report a change there? I sent them an Email recently.With a bit of luck they will boost the power.
From my Emails & ICQ
SKY Racing Feed running FTA on B1 12316 H 6980 3/4 2:00pm sat
B1, 12428 V Sr 5630, Fec 3/4 "Video Australasia, news feed" Vpid 4194 Apid 4195 (Fine in NZ!)
From the Dish
Koreasat 3 116E 12370 H "PBC TV" has started, Fta, SID 10, PIDs 1002/1000.
Palapa C2 113E 4027 H "Mystery" no other details, Sr 5632 Fec 3/4
Palapa C2 113E 11150 V "TTV and CTV" have swapped SIDs
Palapa C2 113E 11150 V "CTS and TTV" have swapped SIDs and PIDs
Asiasat 3 105.5E 3700 V The test cards are now FTA.(HBO comming here soon)
Asiasat 3 105.5E 4000 H "Xing Kong TV" is FTA. ( This is the new Rupert Murdoch , Mandarin channel licensed to broadcast via cable to Southern China. You can watch Friends dubbed into Mandarin here.
Asiasat 3 105.5E 4140 V "Alpha TV Bangla and Alpha TV Marathi" have moved here from 3700 V, PIDs 161/84 and 163/92
Intelsat 904 60E Intelsat 904 has moved from 58.5 East to 60 East and replaced Intelsat 604.
Intelsat 904 60E Occasional feeds on 4173 R and 4193 R, SR 6110, FEC 3/4, global beam.
Ariane 4 launches a pair of commercial satellites
A pair of Japanese and European satellites, both built in the U.S. by Boeing, shared a ride into space Thursday night atop an Arianespace Ariane 4 rocket.
Liftoff occurred right on schedule at 8:29 p.m. EST (0129 GMT Friday) from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana on South America's northeast coastline.
The venerable launcher flew in its most powerful configuration -- the 44L version with four liquid-propellant strap-on boosters.
About 19 minutes into flight, the targeted geosynchronous transfer orbit was achieved, with a high point of 35,995 km, low point of 249.8 km and inclination of 4.0 degrees to the equator.
The JCSAT-8 spacecraft, built by Boeing Satellite Systems for JSAT Corp. of Tokyo, was released into space from the Ariane's upper stage 21 1/2 minutes after launch.
The satellite is also known as JCSAT-2A. It will become the successor to the aging JCSAT-2 spacecraft launched on December 31, 1989 aboard a commercial Titan 3 rocket from Cape Canaveral.
Over the coming weeks, controllers will maneuver JCSAT-8 into a circular geostationary orbit 36,000 km above the equator where it will be parked at 154 degrees East longitude.
At that vantage point, JSAT will use the satellite to provide television and other telecommunications services across the Asia-Pacific region.
JSAT is the leading satellite operator in Asia and has a fleet of orbiting craft that serve a wide span of the globe from Pakistan to Hawaii.
With JCSAT-8 deployed, the Ariane rocket ejected the dual payload adapter called Spelda. The structure enables two satellites to be stacked atop each other for launch aboard a single rocket.
Once the Spelda was released, the Astra 3A satellite was exposed and ready to separate from the launcher. Deployment occurred just over 27 minutes into the flight, concluding the 68th consecutive successful launch of the Ariane 4 dating back to 1995.
Astra 3A will also ascend into geostationary orbit, ultimately reaching a spot at 23.5 degrees East longitude.
Built by Boeing for Luxembourg-based SES Astra, the barrel-shaped satellite will be used to provide direct-to-home TV programming to subscribers of the Astra system.
The craft is destined to serve Germany, Austria and Switzerland, transmitting cable TV feeds and supporting broadband and Internet services. It will also provide follow-on capacity for Deutsche Telekom's Kopernikus satellite at the same orbital location.
At the end of 2001, 91.3 million European homes received Astra. Astra is owned and operated by SES Astra, a wholly owned subsidiary of SES GLOBAL, the world's premier satellite operator.
Arianespace said this was the 60th dual satellite launch it has performed in 149 flights. It was the first time in about six years that Boeing Satellite Systems, formerly Hughes Space and Communications, has flown two satellites together in this fashion.
"Our last dual launch was in early 1996," said Randy Brinkley, president of Boeing Satellite Systems. "Getting two different customers' satellites ready for the same launch can only happen as a result of a tremendous and highly coordinated effort by our factory, our customers and the launch provider."
Thursday's launch was Arianespace's fourth of 2002. Next up is the planned April 16 launch of an Ariane 4 carrying the Lockheed Martin-built NSS-7 telecommunications spacecraft for New Skies Satellites.
There are just six Ariane 4 rockets left to fly before the vehicle is retired in favor of the next-generation Ariane 5, which successfully returned to flight a month ago after suffering an upper stage failure last summer.
"After a very in-depth analysis of Ariane 5, this analysis has shown our Ariane 5 worked perfectly and we are definitely back in business with this launch vehicle," Jean-Yves Le Gall, Arianespace's chief operating officer, said Thursday night.
The next Ariane 5 launch is expected in a couple of months.
Pair of Boeing Satellites Orbited by Single Ariane 4 Rocket
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- It was another launch that touched nearly the entire planet.
A pair of satellites built in the United States were sent into space Thursday from South America, riding atop a European-built rocket for customers in Japan, East Asia, Oceania and Hawaii, as well as Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Everything worked as planned beginning with the 8:29 p.m. EST (0129 GMT) liftoff from the Guiana Space Center of an Ariane 4 rocket equipped with four liquid-fueled strap-on boosters.
Less than 27 minutes later both of the Boeing Satellite Systems-built spacecraft had separated from the rocket's third stage, with JCSAT 8 deploying first followed minutes later by ASTRA 3A.
"I can tell you how happy I am after seeing this picture-perfect sequence of events," said Jean-Yves LeGall, Arianespace's chief operating officer.
JCSAT 8 -- also known as JCSAT 2A in some company references -- will be operated by JSAT Corporation of Tokyo and provide a broad range of telecommunications services using 16 Ku-band and 16 C-band transponders. The spacecraft will replace JCSAT 2, which was launched by a Commercial Titan 3 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Jan. 1, 1990.
ASTRA 3A will be operated by SES ASTRA of Luxembourg and offer German-speaking customers high-power, direct-to-home broadcast services usings its 20 Ku-band transponders.
The satellite-delivery mission was the 110th for the Ariane 4 family of boosters and marked the first time in six years that a pair of spacecraft built by Boeing were orbited atop the same rocket.
"We look forward to coming here for more dual launches," said Arturo Rosales, a Boeing vice president. "I wish both our customers much success."
Six more Ariane 4 launches are planned by the European commercial launch firm before Arianespace retires the booster in favor of the more powerful and more modern Ariane 5.
Arianespace officials noted that it was four weeks to the day since the Ariane 5 returned to flight following a botched launch the previous July. Having analyzed all of the post-flight data, managers said the Ariane 5 was working fine once again.
"We are definitely back to business with this launch vehicle," LeGall said.
With the successful flight on Thursday, Arianespace has sent 198 satellites and 38 auxiliary payloads into orbit. And out of the 244 launch service contracts won by Arianespace since 1981, the company still has 37 satellites to launch, as well as nine supply missions to the International Space Station.
The next Arianespace shot is expected April 16 when an Ariane 4 is to launch the NSS-7 telecommunications satellite.
Ariane-4 launches communication sats
FRENCH GUIANA: A EUROPEAN Ariane rocket placed two communications satellites into orbit after a textbook launch from equatorial French Guiana late on Thursday, space officials said.
The Ariane 44L rocket equipped with four liquid strap-on boosters the most powerful in the Ariane-4 family blasted off at 10:29 pm (8:29 pm EST) from the European Space Agency launch center at Kourou, on the Northeast coast of South America.
The rocket was visible from the ground for less than a minute before disappearing behind a thick layer of clouds. Twenty-one minutes after lift-off, the JCSAT-8 satellite separated from the rocket.
The satellite will provide telecommunications services throughout the Asia-Pacific region for Japan’s JSAT Corporation. JCSAT weighed 2.6 tonnes at launch and was built in California by Boeing Space Systems.
Six minutes later, the rocket orbited ASTRA 3A for Luxembourg-based satellite operator SES-ASTRA. Also built by BSS, the 1.5-tonne satellite will service German-speaking areas of Europe with television and direct-to-home broadband services.
*STRA 3A will provide SES ASTRA with highly cost-effective additional transmission capacity for cable feeds and new, innovative broadband applications targeting the thriving German- speaking markets,” Ferdinand Kayser, SES ASTRA president, said in a statement after the launch.
Specialists estimated the combined cost of both satellites, launch and insurance at over $300m.
Thursday’s 149th Ariane launch was the 110th of an Ariane-4 rocket since 1988 and its 68th consecutive successful flight.
Despite its reliability, Ariane-4’s days are numbered as it will be taken out of service after six more launches and replaced by the more powerful Ariane-5 rocket.
Arianespace, the French company that launches and markets Ariane rockets, said it had firm orders to launch 37 satellites and nine automated transfer vehicles for the International Space Station.
The company will be in a position to gain a significant number of new contracts from the European Galileo global positioning satellite system that was approved this month by the European Union over US objections.
?Galileo is important for Arianespace,” the company’s director general Jean-Yves Le Gall said. “It represents 30 satellites to be launched and I can’t imagine they will be launched by other launchers than Ariane.”
Optus pulls plug on Seven
OPTUS has rejected the Seven Network's claim that the dumping of its C7 pay-TV sports channel was invalid.
Optus maintains it was able to end its C7 contract if the channel lost the AFL's pay-TV rights and pulled the channel off the air on Thursday night at the start of the first official AFL broadcast on the Nine Network.
"Under the terms of the contract, the legal arrangement was that we could terminate if they lost the rights to the AFL, which they did, so we terminated," an Optus spokesperson said.
Kerry Stokes's Seven Network is threatening legal action relating to the supply agreement between Optus and C7 and amendments to other agreements.
"We believe the termination has no validity and we are continuing to compile and distribute our channel in accordance with our existing agreements," a Seven spokesperson said.
In February, Optus sought to vary the cut-off date from Thursday to Sunday and to integrate C7's broadcast of sports whose seasons had not ended into its other channels.
Optus believed Seven agreed the terms but by Wednesday it had not received the documentation.
Optus' lawyers said their only opportunity to terminate the ten-year deal was when the AFL broadcasts officially began and that the notice must read "with immediate effect".
Optus executives say they called Seven to explain the letter would be sent but despite the wording they hoped to broadcast C7 until at least Sunday.
But on Thursday they received a letter from Seven saying the variation had not been accepted or executed and so did not have effect.
Optus' lawyers maintained the start of the AFL was their only termination window, so the channel was pulled.
Optus says it has letters from Seven agreeing it had the right to terminate.
So while Seven may continue compiling C7, no one will be able to see it from Monday..
C7 was also on the Austar pay-TV system in regional Australia, but it is being replaced on its deluxe package by the Fox Footy Channel.
An Austar spokesman said they sought to negotiate with C7 on alternative arrangements without success.
"We haven't heard anything from them and they haven't put anything to us," he said.
Seven has offered Optus its soccer broadcasts (the season does not end until May 12) and Optus executives said they would consider that after Easter.
Seven is also seeking access for C7 on Foxtel and said the decision to continue compiling C7 was also, "part of our commercial endeavours in our negotiations for access on the Telstra cable and our position on the Foxtel pay-TV service".
Seven won the right to access Telstra's cable through the courts but has been unable to agree access terms with Foxtel.
Foxtel has made a third offer to carry C7 as an extra paid-for service (the same arrangement it had on Austar and Optus), and executives met this week for further discussions.
News Corp’s Star TV Switches On New China Channel
The Asian satellite TV unit of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, Star TV, has begun transmitting a new channel made for China in the affluent southern province of Guangdong, a company official said on Friday.
News Corp spokesman Wang Yukui said the channel, called Xingkong Weishi, began transmission on Thursday, and is available via cable to about a million homes.
It is one of three foreign-owned channels that won permission late last year to be aired in ordinary Chinese homes in a series of deals showing China’s willingness to slowly open up its broadcast media.
While most foreign media giants looking for ways to profit from China’s fast-growing media market are likely remain confined to supplying programmes, Star and two other foreign channels will be able to tap potentially lucrative advertising revenues. AOL Time Warner Inc’s Hong Kong-based CETV channel and HongKong’s Phoenix Satellite TV -- 28 per cent owned by News Corp -- also won airing rights in Guangdong last year, making the province a test-bed for foreign programming.
Before they were given those rights, foreign broadcasters were allowed to broadcast only to hotels above three stars and to foreigner-approved residences.
Analysts say Beijing is loathe to yield its grip on the media in the sensitive run-up to a leadership reshuffle later this year and during China’s first year in the World Trade Organisation. Packed with game shows, a situation comedy and a dance show mostly produced in China, Xingkong Weishi will be shown in many homes in Guangdong hooked up to cable, Mr Wang of News Corp said in Beijing. "Of course we hope that more people can watch this channel. But that would require further agreements," he said. Mr James Murdoch, son of Mr Rupert Murdoch and chairman and chief executive of Hong Kong-based Star Group, attended a launch party for the new channel in Guangzhou on Thursday night, Mr Wang said.
NDTV to float TV channel from April 2003
NEW DELHI: The speculation is over. The troubled relationship between Rupert Murdoch’s Star Network and content provider NDTV is finally coming to an end.
In an internal meeting with NDTV staffers on Wednesday evening, NDTV president Prannoy Roy said that the production house will float its own television channel from April 2003.
In the meeting, Roy is reported to have categorically told staffers that NDTV’s content contract with Starwhich is set to expire in March 2003will not be renewed. When contacted, NDTV officials refused to comment, saying that it is not ethical on their part to divulge what transpired in their closed-door internal meet on Wednesday.
It is not yet clear whether Prannoy Roy’s proposed channel would be infotainment-based or be a complete news channel. There is also speculation in the media and entertainment industry that NDTV may provide news content to public broadcaster Doordarshan if they cannot make the channel operational by April next year. TV Today is also expected to float an English channel next year.
Industry watchers expect at least half-a-dozen news channelsboth English and regional languagesto be launched in the market in the next 12 to 16 months.
Star India, who denied that they are negotiating with buy Aaj Tak, is set to convert the existing Star News into a complete Hindi channel and float an English channel modelled on Fox format after doing diligent research on market acceptance.
Post September 11 media watchers said that habit of television viewing in the country has also changed. A large number of television homes switch on their televisions to a news channel rather than an entertainment or a movie channel.
"This is the biggest change that has happened in the news channel business in the last four to six months," said an industry captain.
One Alliance woos MTV India to join channel bouquet
One Alliance, the recently formed joint venture between Sony Entertainment Television (SET) and Discovery Networks International, is wooing MTV to be a part of its bouquet.
One Alliance was formed to create a new platform of six premium niche channels, comprising Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, SET, SET MAX, AXN and CNBC.
Confirming the move, Kunal Dasgupta, chief executive officer, SET, said: “We are in talks with MTV to get them on to our bouquet. We have six niche channels in our bouquet and a music channel will be another niche channel.”
One Alliance is also in talks with a general news channel. However, Dasgupta declined to comment on the issue.
The MTV channel spokesperson said: “Given the power of the MTV brand, we have been approached by all major bouquets. However, we remain independent with a strong distribution presence.”
The addition of MTV will complete the bouquet as both the Star India and Zee-Turner bouquets have Channel V and ETC Music, respectively.
MTV currently reaches 23 million cable and satellite television homes in India. SET and Discovery reach 29 million and 21 million homes, respectively.
MTV is at present a free-to-air channel and is currently in the process of switching to a digital mode from an analogue mode. Sources within the channel said MTV is not looking at the possibility of going pay immediately.
Discovery not to launch new channels in India
MUMBAI: Discovery Networks has shelved plans to launch two niche channels Discovery Travel and Discovery Health for the Indian subcontinent.
In a lean economic environment, another two niche channels would mean fragmenting the market further, Deepak Shourie, CEO of Discovery Networks, told ET.
Discovery’s earlier business plans, drawn in September 2000, had aimed at launching the two niche channels sometime towards the end of 2001. The channel is also introducing a broader spectrum of programming to attract larger audiences. Adventure and wildlife, the earlier mainstay of the natural history channel, will as a programming genre go down from the earlier 62 per cent of programme time to just 15 to 20 per cent, Mr Shourie revealed.
Slots aimed at women’s audiences, travel and health and a variety of other information and entertainment shows will fill the space vacated by the wildlife and adventure programmes, he added.
?Our aim is to build an ‘alternative television’ genre to what is available on the mainstream entertainment channels,” Mr Shourie said.
In a new marketing and consumer penetration exercise, Discovery is branding its different time bands based on the genre of programming in the relevant slot.
Very little for today as well. Though in many places it's a holiday weekend So things quite quiet, hopefully there will be some good sports feeds on during the weekend. I know those nice people at Optus read the site so hello to them and be a little lazy with the encrypt button for us. That goes to the Panamsat guys as well!
B1, 12733 V "Animal Planet" is running FTA here! where the Soundtrack channel was testing the other week.. NZ beam service is labled 12733- 5.
From my Emails & ICQ
0550 UTC 28-03-02
Thaicom 3, 3520 H Sr 28062 Fec 2/3
No Pids transmitted.
Suspect a new TARBS transponder undergoing tests note the symbol rate is same as TARBS..
2250 UTC 29-03-02
Pas 2 4113 V Sr 21192 Fec 7/8
Internet Data Service has started here.
From Bob Welsh
I noticed on the website that NBN is inc on Palapa C2. I am very interested as my wife is Filipina. I have a 12' Orbitron mesh dish but in it's present location I can only pick up weak signals off C2. Before I go to the trouble of moving the dish could you pls confirm or otherwise (if you can) that NBN is FTA and can probably by picked up in this location (Arrowtown) with the dish and receivers I have ( I have a Media Star D7 and a Hyundai sat receivers.
(Craigs comment, Nobody has confirmed receiving it in Australia. Lyngsat lists it as DigiCipher which I don't think mpg2 receivers can decode.It may be that its also on the dodgy beam which barely gets to Australia let alone NZ. So bascially your chances are stuff all of getting it.)
From the Dish
Palapa C2 113E 4000 H "Channel NewsAsia" has left , PIDs 1260/1220-1660/1620, replaced by occasional feeds.
Palapa C2 113E 11150 V TVBS Asia has started on , clear, SID 7, PIDs 46/45.TTV and CTS have swapped SIDs and PIDs.
Asiasat 2 100.5E 3660 V Christian Voice International (Radio) has left .
Asiasat 2 100.5E 3799 H "APTN Asia" is now encrypted.
Stokes calls the lawyers as Optus gives C7 the boot
Seven Network chairman Kerry Stokes is shaping up for another legal stoush after Optus dumped his C7 sports pay TV service.
Metropolitan pay TV operator Optus terminated its agreement to broadcast C7 on Thursday afternoon, the last working day before the contract was due to expire on Sunday.
Seven is now considering a legal challenge to Optus.
"C7 doesn't accept the validity of the nature of the termination and is reserving its rights and will continue to compile the channel and deliver it to Optus," said a Seven spokesman.
When asked if that meant Seven would take Optus to court over the issue, the spokesman said: "There are a series of legal issues relating to the termination notice and the interpretation of the agreement."
C7's value to Optus has become negligible in the wake of the landmark deal Optus struck with its rival Foxtel earlier this month.
Under the terms of the agreement to share programming, Optus will broadcast Foxtel's successful Fox Sports channels to its subscribers from next month.
C7's sports programming line-up struggles to compete with Fox Sports, which owns the pay TV rights to both the prime winter sports, the AFL and NRL.
Seven is already embroiled in a bitter legal dispute with Foxtel over its C7 service.
Despite a four-year battle and three court decisions in its favour, Seven has failed to reach agreement with Foxtel on the cost of broadcasting C7 over the Telstra-owned Foxtel cables.
While negotiations with Foxtel are continuing, Seven has deferred its decision on the future of the C7 sports service.
Seven previously said it would decide whether to continue producing its pay TV channel before the end of this month.
"We are continuing to compile and distribute our channels in accordance with our existing agreements and as part of our commercial endeavours in our negotiations for access on the Telstra cable and our position in the Foxtel pay television service," said the Seven spokesman.
Foxtel has made two offers to C7 in the past month.
One relates to broadcasting the sports channel over Foxtel's analog cable and one relates to broadcasting a suite of C7-produced channels on its proposed digital service.
Foxtel chief Kim Williams and Seven pay TV chief Steve Wise met this week to discuss these offers.
(Craigs comment, I heard C7 is maybe now available via Tarbs)
Star, Aaj Tak scotch sale rumours
NEW DELHI: TV Today Network said that its Hindi news channel Aaj Tak is not up for sale. Company officials stressed that TV Today was not negotiating with Star, or any other investor, to dilute its stake in Living Media’s television venture. A spokesperson for Star India also denied that the Murdoch-controlled broadcaster is planning to acquire a stake in Aaj Tak. They were reacting to recent reports that a deal was in the offing.
?‘It is absurd. We have never talked to Star to sell Aaj Tak,’’ said TV Today Network’s CEO G Krishnan. ‘‘We are the most successful TV news channel. We have cornered 60 per cent of the news audience and 64 per cent of the ad pie. Why should we sell Aaj Tak?,’’ affirmed Krishnan.
He did add that after strengthening the internal infrastructure, the company would look at launching an English news channel in the next 12-14 months, besides expanding into regional markets. Speculation has been mounting in anticipation of Star India’s troubled content contract with Prannoy Roy’s NDTV expiring in March 2003. Says a Star spokesperson, ‘‘This is speculation, and we are not talking to TV Today for buying a majority stake.’’
While India Today group’s Living Media holds 77 per cent in TV Today, ICICI and Sunil Mittal’s Bharti Enterprises control 10 per cent each. TV Today officials said that only 3.3 per cent stake is to be diluted. If so, the first preference would be existing shareholders.
Cricket to drive Sony bid for the top with World Cup rights officially in the bag
The World Cup Network is what it is now calling itself. Sony Entertainment made it official today that it has acquired the Indian television satellite broadcast rights for a six-year package of ICC (International Cricket Council) tournaments, including the World Cups in 2003 and 2007.
The declaration comes over a month after SET had made what was virtually an advance announcement that it had it all in the bag (on 15 February). SET had issued a release then that it was in advanced negotiations with Global Cricket Corporation (GCC) & World Sport Nimbus (WSN) for acquiring the same. The GCC is a joint venture between WSG and News Corp and is managing the commercial programme for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2003.
Announcing the mega acquisition, Sony Entertainment Television (SET), Kunal Dasgupta, CEO, said: "We have bagged the rights to beam live all the matches of all three key ICC Cricket tournaments, namely, two ICC Cricket World Cups, three ICC Champions Trophies, and three Under-19 Cricket World Cups."
The terrestrial rights rest with national broadcaster Doordarshan and it will be telecasting all matches involving India, including the semi-finals and finals of all the ICC tournaments, Harish Thawani, co-chairman World Sports Nimbus, said.
At a reported $ 250 million, this is the "single largest broadcast licencing deal" in cricket history and has involved a long and meticulously managed bidding process. From six players during the initial bidding, the field was narrowed down to three players at the final stage.
According to the information available, left in the race at the end were SET, ESPN Star Sports and Sahara India. Though Sahara, which is also the official sponsor of the Indian cricket team, reportedly made a higher bid in value terms, SET was able to sell its pitch that it had the better credentials to showcase an event of this magnitude having already successfully telecast Sharjah cricket.
The deal was finally signed and delivered after some intense negotiations over the fine print only on Tuesday night, said Seamus O'Brian, co-chairman, World Sports Nimbus.
As far as the cricket is concerned, it works out to a total of over 300 international matches over the next six years. Next year's World Cup (February 2003) will have 54 matches covered. But before that in September, there is the ICC Champions Trophy tournament which will have all the cricketing nations participating. This will be followed by the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup to be played in New Zealand in January-February 2003.
World Sports Nimbus, which is also doing the television production for the events, will have a 350-strong crew and commentator team with 23 cameras covering every possible angle during the tournaments, Thawani said.
Rajat Jain, executive V-P and business head of sister channel MAX, which will be telecasting the matches, gave some indication of what was being lined up when he said the effort would be to build viewer interest for non-India cricket as well (India matches are a gauranteed draw). This would be done through innovative presentations as well as contests and promotions around the event. There are also plans to leverage the Youth World Cup into a major event. A whole slew of initiatives are planned the details of which will be announced in due course, Jain said.
(Craigs comment, this is a HUGE deal. Whoever controls cricket in India controls the pay tv market! its that important to the schedule.)
Digital satellite Telugu channel Maa TV launching soon
After a barren period, channel launches appear to be again happening. In the offing is a new digital Telugu regional language channel - Maa TV.
The channel is being launched by Maa Television Network Ltd, a Hyderabad-based broadcaster and entertainment company that plans to unveil the new channel very soon. Test transmission will commence from 11:42 am on Sunday.
Disclosing this D Rajendra Prasad, executive director and spokesperson for Maa TV, informed that the channel will be a combination of programming that ranges from dramas, serials, long plays, sitcoms, chat shows, music, current affairs, interactive programmes, documentaries, movies and live performances. The channel will telecast for 18 hours a day.
An initial investment of Rs 250 million is going into the launch of Maa TV which will be a pay service from Day 1 of operations.
The channel is promoted by Ramakrishna, the founder of Siti Cable in Andhra Pradesh, an official release says. The promoters expect to generate a total business of Rs 220 million in the first year of operations.
On the sales and distribution front, Maa TV hopes to reach 75 per cent of viewers in the state in the first three months of its launch. The promoters claim that their long experience in the cable industry will enable them to reach the targets that they have set themselves.
The channel will be beamed off APR -1 (Insat 2E) satellite and 3/3 (Zonal Beam) transponder.
Together with Maa TV, a cable channel - Maa Cinema - is also in the pipeline. The company claims it already has more than 2650 films in its kitty and is planning to procure rights of more films.
Whatever be the plans of the channel, it will be taking on two well established free-to-air channels in Gemini TV (part of Kalanithi Maran's Sun Network) and Ramoji Rao's Eenadu TV. And how subscribers are expected to take to a brand new pay channel when there are two free channels offering quality fare already in existence is anybody's guess.
(Craigs comment, one those readers in India and parts of Asia that get the Zone beam)
Things are very quiet today. Reading the latest Skywatch (Sky NZ) magazine I see they have had a big reshuffle with the channel numbers. Perhaps they will be adding some more channels soon. They are supposed to be getting space on Saturns transponders. Very sorry about the site today, my info sources have let me down for today.
From my Emails & ICQ
On Asia sat3 3960 H 26000 I am receiving english live translation of
Arab Conference and it is newsource DNEW. I like to know how I can get
picture as it is now only blank screen.
(Craigs comment, any help with this? it may just be video encrypted with Clear Audio)
From Dave Knight
Feed B1, 12522H, 6110 3/4 (9 Network)
Getting tone OK, but video is crap.
Must be 4:2:2 format.
From Chris Pickstock
Channel 7 on B1, 12397H use 3 different pids, and therefore I have 3 12397's
stored. They are V 49 + A 52, V 308 + A 256 and V 4194 + A 4195.
From the Dish
The Lyngsat update has not come in.
Foxtel rights deal may give it control of pay TV
In a potential blow to competition, Foxtel could emerge with control of the rival Optus cable network under terms of the radical pay TV deal revealed yesterday.
According to an information paper circulated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to parties affected by the Foxtel/Optus deal, Foxtel has been granted first and last rights over a number of Optus assets in return for assuming Optus's $600 million worth of US programming contracts. These rights relate to assets including Optus's cable network and certain pay TV content.
As Telstra owns the only other cable network, Foxtel could emerge with control of all the metropolitan cable infrastructure should Optus decide to sell and Foxtel exercises its rights. This lends weight to criticism that the Foxtel/Optus deal will threaten competition in pay TV.
Optus flirted with the idea of selling its cable network two years ago and held talks with Publishing &Broadcasting and regional pay TV operator Austar.
Optus chief Chris Anderson has openly admitted that the Foxtel deal enables Optus to retreat from pay TV. However, Optus rates the likelihood of selling its cable network as "pretty low" in the wake of the agreement with Foxtel. Currently losing money on every pay TV subscriber, Optus expects its business to move into the black if the ACCC approves the deal.
"If you think we're going to take a profitable business and sell it to Foxtel you're absolutely dreaming," an Optus source said. "We're going to hang onto this business and compete."
Foxtel has sought the rights over Optus's assets to ensure its cable network remains operating. Given that 80 per cent of the Foxtel and Optus networks overlap each other, acquiring the Optus network would not substantially extend Foxtel's coverage. But Foxtel needs the Optus network running so it can sell its programming to 270,000 Optus subscribers and recoup its investment in Optus's programming contracts.
Meanwhile, ethnic pay TV program supplier Television &Radio Broadcasting Services threatened yesterday to abandon the market if the Foxtel deal goes ahead in its current form. "We'll leave the game to the moguls," TARBS chief Mike Boulos said.
TARBS is calling for the competition watchdog to impose a strict regulatory regime guaranteeing access to pay TV content and the cable network.
"It doesn't matter what [Communications Minister Richard] Alston says, it doesn't matter what [ACCC chairman Allan] Fels says. The reality and practicality of it is that if you have dealings with any of these people they will frustrate the process sufficiently until you're out of business," Mr Boulos said.
He claimed the Foxtel/Optus proposal was very similar to the mooted Foxtel/Galaxy deal which the ACCC blocked five years ago.
"If the ACCC were to be consistent, then this deal could not possibly go through," he said. "The only difference is one is contractual and one is purely an arrangement."
(Craigs comment, could it be Tarbs looking for an excuse to get out of an unprofitable Australian market?)
Sorry about the site delay. I am very busy today with other things. I got a reply from NZONAIR regarding programming screening on TV3 that is NZONAIR funded. I brought up the fact that Tv3 is only available as a pay channel in many parts of NZ and that they should consider witholding funding until they switch their service to a fta mode. See the reply in my Emails section. Should be some items today of interest in the news section.
Sky NZ seems to have dumped Fashion TV, TV4 and Trackside now listed on the tranponder as sharing with E! According to the new Sky Watch E! will be on channel 7 which is strange they were going to put it on 17. Sky Sports moves to channel 10.
From my Emails & ICQ
From: "Donnamaree Ryder" <Donnamaree@nzonair.govt.nz>
Sorry about the delay in responding to your email but it has been fairly hectic around here.
Thank you for your comments regarding Radio and Transmission Coverage in New Zealand and your suggestions with respect to our website.
With respect to your comments about radio and tv coverage, yes, we are aware that there are a variety of options - independent of Sky's digital services that enable New Zealanders access to both free to air radio (Radio NZ and Concert FM) and television (TV One and TV2). We are also aware that TV3, TV4, Prime and Trackside still remain encrypted on Sky's platform and are therefore not available as a free to air signal as TVNZ has done.
It may be helpful to note, the Government are working towards identifying the best way to deal with free to air transmission now that transmission via satellite platform is an option, and how these channels (both radio and tv) may be accessed without the need to subscribe to a pay tv provider.
The government released a discussion paper about digital television in February 2002. We are in the process of replying to this, and we are also preparing our own paper (due to be completed Apr/May) with respect to non-commercial coverage and the options available to those areas now that satellite technology is available.
We will, therefore, not be making any public announcements until a number of final decisions have been made with respect to open access, transmission and receiving equipment and free to air accessibility.
Like you I hope we can fully inform people of their options as soon as possible.
Finally, with respect to your suggestions about our website, we have taken this on board and will make changes were required.
Thank you again for showing interest in digital transmission on behalf of your fellow New Zealanders. I will let you know if I need any more information.
(Craigs comment, I hope they are backing FTA standards I am sure they can see the benefits of all national tv and radio broadcasters being FTA as this would mean they don't have to spend as much money funding new transmitters for uneconomic viewing areas)
From Bassett H.Q
Re: Pas 8 12646 H Sr 28067 Fec 3/4
Craig, It loads a swag of radio channels starting with RA 100 through to
Ra112, then R140through to R152, Television channels as follows>TS60 through to
Nothing plays, Would suspect they are TARBS channels..
For the Gent that asked TV5 is still FTA on the TARBs channels
Dear Craig , Hi all..
Sorry for last night , I could not continue the chat due to a power failure
in our district and a very active electric storm.
Pas 8. Transponder Freq 12646 h SR 28067 Fec 3/4 ( 13 TV Ch + 13 Radio.) All scrambled signals.
Ch Name: TS60 TS61 TS62 TS63 TS64 TS65 TS66 TS67 TS68 TS69 TS70 T71 TS72
VPID: 512 513 514 515 516 517 518 519 520 521 522 523 524
Apid: 640 641 642 643 644 645 646 647 648 649 650 651 652
Ps: Any news about Measat 2 New Transponder 11602 h?
From the Dish
Gorizont 33 145E 3675 R Vashye Radio has started on: 8.50 MHz.
Gorizont 25 140E 3675 R It's Vashye Radio on : 8.50 MHz.
Palapa C2 113E 3473 H "RCTI" has New PIDs 1160/1120
Palapa C2 113E 3880 H "Metro TV" have left , PIDs 514/652, replaced by a test card.
Palapa C2 113E 11150 V "SBN" has left .
Telkom 1 108E 4095 H "CITI TV 7" has started, Fta , Sr 6000, Fec 3/4, PIDs 308/256.
Asiasat 2 100.5E 3756 V "mystery?" Sr 3617 other details unknown
Thaicom 3 78.5E 3430 H "Alpha TV and Alpha News 98.7" have left .(Unconfirmed but this one expected! due to financial reasons, this means Greek Viewers have no FTA services left on Cband. Tarb's will like that..)
TARBS says could be pushed offshore by Foxtel-Optus merger
A major Australian multicultural pay TV operator has expressed concern over the proposed Foxtel-Optus merger, signalling it could squeeze it out of the country.
Mike Boulos, chairman of Sydney-based Television Radio Broadcasting Services Australia Pty Ltd (TARBS), warned the controversial merger would drive up content provision charges and force TARBS to focus on more profitable markets offshore.
"If we feel that the Australian government is unable to control decisions through the likes of (Foxtel owners) News (Corp Ltd), Telstra (Corp Ltd) and (PBL boss Kerry) Packer, we'll just concentrate on other areas that are more profitable for us and leave the game to the moguls," Mr Boulos told journalists at a briefing today.
TARBS chief executive Regina Boulos said the company had met yesterday with competition watchdog the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to voice its concerns over the merger.
"What we would like to see is that it does go through, but there will be a very, very strong regulatory regime to control access to programming and access to the delivery to secure larger audiences," Ms Boulos said.
She said TARBS was considering taking legal action against the merger on the possible grounds of contravention of the Trade Practices Act.
"I think there's a basis for an issue that is a violation (of) the Trade Practices Act," she said.
"We will pursue whatever avenue there is...to make sure that, if this deal pushes through, that it will be fair for everyone."
Mr Boulos said the proposed Foxtel-Optus merger was virtually identical to a similar deal between Foxtel and now-defunct pay TV operator Australis Media Ltd blocked by the ACCC five years ago.
"If the ACCC were to be consistent, then this deal could not possibly go through," Mr Boulos said.
"The only difference is one is contractual and this one is purely an arrangement."
TARBS, which currently offers a suite of 52 multicultural channels, today outlined plans for global expansion later this year with a possible listing in 2004.
The company said it had "several hundreds of millions of dollars" of funding in place to enhance its offerings to the Australian market and set up channels to broadcast in Asia, Europe, the US, and the Middle East.
The expansion would see the company broadcasting content from more than 30 countries, in more than 20 languages, across 65 channels.
TARBS, which charges subscribers $62.95 per month, would not disclose how many subscribers it currently had.
However, the company planned on becoming profitable, with more than one million subscribers worldwide, before listing.
(Craigs comment looks like Tarbs is throwing a hissy fit and I like this last line, "TARBS, which charges subscribers $62.95 per month, would not disclose how many subscribers it currently had" I don't think they have as many viewers as they would like to publically admit to and of course its commercially sensitive info...)
Fairfax eyes Foxtel slice
NEWSPAPER group John Fairfax Holdings has added its weight to the fight by the Seven Network's C7 pay-TV channel for access to Foxtel's infrastructure, saying Fairfax should also have a guaranteed right of access.
Fairfax, which owns newspapers including The Australian Financial Review, said that was one of three areas of concern it had with the proposed Foxtel-Optus content restructuring which would see the companies share channels.
The channels will then be wholesaled to Telstra and Optus which will bundle them with other telephony services.
In a letter to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Fairfax said approval of the pay tv deal should be contingent on guaranteed access for third parties, such as Fairfax, "at marginal or incremental cost".
It said Fairfax should also have access to Foxtel's customer management systems and set-top boxes.
Foxtel last week made its third access offer to C7, which included a revenue-share arrangement and free access to the customer management system. But C7 wanted to be part of Foxtel's basic package, while Foxtel said it must go on a tier to prevent the basic package price rising.
Fairfax said it also wanted access to the basic package and it wanted access to Foxtel and Optus' content as it may "wish to bundle subscriptions to our newspapers, or other services, with pay-TV subscriptions".
"In order to promote competition in pay-TV offerings, third parties should have access to Foxtel/Optus programming bundles."
Fairfax also believed Telstra and Optus should be required to provide "non-discriminatory" access to unaffiliated internet service providers and network services such as the internet sites in Fairfax's online business, f2.
"Similar conditions were imposed by the US Federal Communications Commission last year in its approval of the merger of AOL and Time Warner, and are expected to be imposed with respect to the pending acquisition of AT&T Broadband by Comcast," Fairfax wrote.
Foxtel chief executive officer Kim Williams labelled the proposal "madness."
"It's a proposition that demonstrates a breathtaking misunderstanding of the nature of how pay-TV works.
"It's yet another group out there clamouring for a free lunch at Foxtel's expense.
"Will they say, 'by all means, have a page in The Age and SMH each day and we (Foxtel) can run any advertising we want and just pay a fraction of the news print'.
"This is not a serious commercial proposition -- it's madness," Mr Williams said.
Lawsuit Levels Extraordinary Charges
Filed before the US District Court in the Northern District of California on March 11, the lawsuit claims “unfair competition, copyright infringement, violation of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, tortious interference, conspiracy and violation of the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act, and demands the case should be heard in front of a jury.
The allegations are explosive: First, that NDS obtained MediaGuard smartcards and sent them to an NDS lab in Israel for analysis, where expensive, specialised equipment, including electron microscopes, had been acquired to crack the codes held in the chips embedded on the cards. According to the Canal+ complaint, NDS successfully extracted the software stored on the chips by the end of 1998, and downloaded the “UserROM” element within it, this being the portion which controls access to the digital TV data-stream. NDS then allegedly created a “zip” file containing this pirated code, and transmitted it to NDS Americas in California, with instructions that it be published on the Internet. Canal+ claims that NDS Americas subsequently sent this file to Al Menart, the operator of a Web site known as DR7.com (www.dr7.com), and that on March 26, 1999, DR7 published this code on its website. Counterfeit MediaGuard smartcards began appearing on the market later that year. By September 2000, the Italian market (where Mediaguard is used by Canal+ affiliate Tele+), was flooded with cheap counterfeit cards, contends Canal+.
The result was to “drive a wedge between Canal+ and its customers to adversely impact Canal+’s business and promote NDS’s own competitive position.” Allegedly, Canal+ pay-TV platforms subsequently lost subscribers, and the company now faces claims from client operators for financial compensation due to the losses they incurred through programme theft. All in all, Canal+ claims that NDS’s illegal conduct has damaged its business to the tune of $1 billion [1.1 billion euros].
New Zealand’s TVNZ Satellite Services doubles capacity on New Skies’ global satellite system
The Hague, The Netherlands, March 26, 2002 --New Skies Satellites N.V. (AEX, NYSE: NSK), the global satellite communications company, has announced that TVNZ Satellite Services, a New Zealand-based broadcaster and award-winning global satellite carriage provider, has doubled its capacity on New Skies’ global satellite network.
TVNZ Satellite Services, a customer on New Skies’ NSS-703 satellite (57 degrees East longitude) since 1994, will expand its network to include increased capacity on NSS-703 as well as two additional New Skies spacecraft. The multi-transponder, multi-satellite agreement gives the TVNZ Satellite Services network and its clients a combination of C- and Ku-band global coverage for the delivery of television news and sports events around the world.
Sam Fairhall, managing director of TVNZ Satellite Services, said, "This deal will facilitate our continued global distribution of international sports, news and events. Doubling the New Skies capacity we use and adding two New Skies satellites to our network shows the high level of confidence we have in New Skies’ system reliability and demonstrates our satisfaction with their customer service.”
?Our distribution of coverage of the Winter Olympics was highly successful and once again showed us just how strong our audiences can be for international sporting events. Bringing our broadcasting of these and other events under one globally capable system will greatly increase the effectiveness of our operations,” continued Fairhall.
New Skies’ vice president of North American sales, Steve Wilson said: "With our roots in the broadcast community, New Skies is well aware of the exacting demand for engineering excellence and quality of service that broadcasters place on their suppliers. New Skies values its relationship with TVNZ Satellite Services, a company that has proven time and again that they can deliver high-quality, innovative turnkey production and distribution solutions to the broadcast community.”
TVNZ Satellite Services is an occasional use satellite carriage provider operating worldwide. Designed and owned by a television broadcast company, its delivery network and service portfolio is tailored to meet the requirements of the international television broadcast community.
TVNZ has an established reputation as a multi-channel carrier of high profile international sporting events. It has concentrated on building a private network that uses primary routes adding additional points-of-presence as customer demand determines and market conditions permit. Headquartered in Auckland, New Zealand, its international activity is supported by representation in Sydney, Bangkok, Shanghai and London.
TVNZ Satellite Services is a member of the Television New Zealand Limited group of companies. Refer to www.tvsat.net for additional information.
New Skies Satellites (AEX, NYSE: NSK) is one of only four fixed satellite communications companies with truly global satellite coverage, offering video, voice, data and Internet communications services to a range of telecommunications carriers, broadcasters, large corporations and Internet service providers around the world. New Skies has five satellites in geosynchronous orbit and ground facilities around the world. The company also has three new spacecraft under construction, which are planned to serve the Atlantic Ocean Region, Asia and the Americas. In line with its growth strategy, the company has secured certain rights to make use of four additional orbital positions. New Skies is headquartered in The Hague, The Netherlands, and has offices in London, Johannesburg, New Delhi, São Paulo, Singapore, Sydney and Washington, D.C. Additional information is available at www.newskies.com .
Additional information is available at http://www.newskies.com
or please contact:
Jeff Bothwell, New Skies Satellites
Tel: +31 70 306 4239
FTV connectivity higher than HBO, AXN, CNBC, says MEN CEO
It may be fashion consciousness, it may be something else. But French fashion channel FTV is expanding its reach at a fast clip, or so it is claimed.
According to Modi Entertainment Network CEO, distribution, Rajan Kaaicker, FTV's declared connectivity has crossed three million across India. That is higher than better known channels like movie channel HBO, action channel AXN and business news channel CNBC India, asserts Kaaicker. For good measure, Kaaicker adds that this figure compares well with Hindi entertainment channel Sony Entertainment Television, which has a declared reach of around 3.5 million.
Kaaicker gave the numbers while claiming that most big MSOs in the major metros were carrying FTV, with some of them carrying the channel on the prime band (RPG in Kolkata was one such, Kaaicker says). Questioned as to why FTV was not being carried on west Mumbai-based MSO Seven Star Cable Network, Kaaicker said a deal had been signed and FTV would be available on the network from 1 April.
FTV is also in the process of expanding its Indian fashion band from the current one hour to two hours with top designers like Rohit Bal and Tarun Tahilani seeing in the channel a chance to showcase their offerings, says Kaaicker.
FTV is beaming off PanamSat-10 with uplink from Singapore. The channel is being bundled with DD Sports and Hallmark with a combined package pricing of Rs 13.25 per subscriber per month.
(Craigs comment does anyone really believe this that Indians are paying to get FTV? looks like a media release to promote the channel. I guess its the nearest thing to an "Adult" channel that they are able to carry. Meanwhile Sky NZ appear to have dumped FTV. Really FTV is bottom of the barrel "entertainment")
Livechat tonight 9pm NZ, and 8.30pm Syd time onwards I will be in there early as I think Australia hasn't switched to daylight savings time yet. One announcement for today is TAJ (TEN) sports channel launching FTA on Pas 10. You are in luck if you are a Cricket or WWF fan. The channel will run FTA for quite sometime before turning pay maybe 6 months or so! The channel will also have English football, Golf, Tennis and other sports. Hopefully it will be Cband.
Tarbs has started their 5th Pas 8 KU transponder and I hear talk of a 6th coming soon. I wonder when they will start useing Pas 2 Ku. They could even use a dual feed setup and run services off both quite easily. Sky NZ 12608 V tranponder FTA signals have switched off as expected.
From my Emails & ICQ
Nothing to report
From the Dish
PAS 8 166E 12646 H New Tarbs mux with 12 test cards started, Fta, SR 28067, Fec 3/4, PIDs 512/640-524/652.
Gorizont 25 140E 3675 R "Radio Rossii is back 8.00 MHz. Radio Vostok Russii has moved to 8.50 MHz.
Koreasat 2 113E 12530 H "National Geographic Channel Asia and Uga TV" are now encrypted.
Koreasat 2 113E 12290 H "C3TV, the test cards and Wow Sat" are now encrypted.
N-Sat 110 110E 12331 R "Sky PerfecTV 2" promo has started on , FTA.
N-Sat 110 110E 12291 R "The Plat One package has started"
N-Sat 110 110E 12411 R "The Plat One package has started"
N-Sat 110 110E 12451 R "The Plat One package has started"
Asiasat 2 100.5E 3966 V "Occasional feeds", Sr 6250, Fec 3/4.
Ten Sports launching 1 April
Based in the UAE but built specifically for India. Launching 1 April is Taj Entertainment Network (Ten) Sports, a channel that has the subcontinent as its target of coverage.
Announcing this today, television services and content provider Taj Television Ltd CEO Chris McDonald said the channel, the brainchild of the man who made Sharjah cricket what it is today - Abdulrahman Bukhatir - would reach audiences in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives to begin with.
The channel is being unveiled just ahead of the start of the next tri-nation Sharjah cricket tourney involving Pakistan, Sri Lanka and New Zealand that kicks off on 8 April.
DISTRIBUTION UNDER MODI ENTERTAINMENT-PROMOTED FIRM: Distributing Ten Sports in India is HMA Udyog Ltd. McDonald admitted that one of the promoters of HMA Udyog Modi Entertainment Network, the company the industry grapevine has said had won the right to be the distribution platform for Ten Sports ahead of the Zee Network and Sony Entertainment.
Ten Sport's cricket programme line up includes The Sharjah Cup, Cricket Triangulars from Morocco, Classic India and Sharjah Cricket, The Sharjah Champions Trophy, Australia's tour of Zimbabwe in April/May as well as all international cricket from Sri Lanka.
Taj picked up the Sri Lanka cricket rights for a guarantee fee of $13.9 million. The rights, which were earlier with World Sports Group-Nimbus (WSG-Nimbus), reportedly runs till 2003 (the period for which WSG Nimbus had the rights when it originally signed a three-year deal with the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka in 2000).
Ten Sports will also broadcast other popular sporting events like the World Wrestling Federation, The English FA Cup, Manchester United FootbaIl, the WTA - the best of women's tennis from all over the world, the ATP Dubai Tennis Open, The Ryder Cup, Champions Trophy Hockey and Champions Challenge Hockey, an official release states.
The channel has signed up two well-known names from the world of entertainment & sports in Raageshwari and former test cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar as channel ambassadors. While Manjrekar will be hosting regular sports shows, Raageshwari gets behind the personal side of sporting personalities on One on One With Raageshwari.
Taj Television operates out of a 55,000 square-feet state-of-the-art facility at Dubai Media City. It will beam off the Panamsat 10 satellite initially as a digital free-to-air channel but will be going pay at a date that is still to be decided, McDonald says.
Commenting on the programming that Ten Sports was offering, Peter Hutton, vice-president, programming and events, said ten Sports started with an immediate advantage in that it held the broadcast rights to four cricket tourneys in virtual perpetuity - two Sharjah tourneys as well as a new offshore cricket venue in Morocco, which will showcase its first tournament in August.
Outside of cricket, one sporting property that is exclusive to Ten Sports is WWF events. Ten Sports will be showcasing eight hours of WWF programming every week and plans to push this in a big way, Hutton says.
Bukhatir’s Ten Sports To Go On Air From April 1
Mumbai: Taj Television Ltd, a UAE-based television services and content provider promoted by Abdulrahman Bukhatir, is launching Ten Sports on April 1 for the Indian subcontinent, just before the Sharjah Cup.
The sports channel will have, besides cricket from Sharjah, the rights to exclusively World Wrestling Federation (WWF) telecasts, with which it hopes to tap the youth audience. The other cricket property with Ten Sports is cricket triangulars from a new venue in Morocco organised by Taj TV, international cricket from Sri Lanka, Classic matches involving India and Australia’s tour of Zimbabwe.
?We have 140 days of live and exclusive cricket,” said Taj Television chief executive officer Chris McDonald.
Ten Sports will also broadcast other sporting events like The English FA Cup, Manchester United Football, the WTA (Women’s tennis from all over the world), ATP Dubai Tennis Open, The Ryder Cup, Champions Trophy Hockey and Champions Challenge Hockey. “Apart from cricket, we will also cover other sports that are popular in the country like hockey, tennis, football, wrestling and golf,” said Mr McDonald.
The channel will start as a free-to-air service and will go pay later. “We have started supplying the decoder boxes,” said Mr McDonald. The channel will be distributed by HMA Udyog Ltd, a Modi Group company.
Taj has a space segment on the PAS 10 satellite, whose footprint stretches from the UK to Australia.
Ten Sports will also have a show called ‘Robot Wars’, designed for Indian kids who can fight with international robots.
?We have a secured lineup of programmes including Sharjah and Morocco cricket is our own created property. We do not have a mega live event, particularly in cricket. But some of the rights will be up for grabs during the course of the year,” said Peter Hutton, vice-president, programming and events, Taj Television.
The channel has signed up prominent names from the world of entertainment and sports like Raageshwari and Sanjay Manjrekar. Taj Television’s portfolio consists of Ten Sports, TV production, broadcasting solutions, remote TV production and event management.
(Craigs comment, looks good for Pas 10 viewers what a pity its not on Asiasat 3!!! unless they make it KU. They could use the KU India beam....)
Austar, Optus talks shift
THE nature of discussions Austar United Communications was holding with Optus had changed in light of a proposed agreement between Optus and Foxtel, Austar said.
"If the Optus-Foxtel agreement proceeds Austar does not expect any subsequent discussions would encompass a merger of the two (Austar and Optus) businesses as has been speculated," Austar said in a statement.
However, Austar said it and Optus continued to have discussions with each other on a range of commercial and strategic issues.
These issues include, for example, matters relating to the parties' satellite joint venture.
Austar noted the comments attributed to Optus chief executive Chris Anderson in The Australian today.
It said it had provided comment regarding the changed nature of discussions between it and Optus, in order to ensure the market was accurately informed.
The Australian newspaper today said Optus was "no longer interested in regional pay TV group Austar, a company with which it had been having discussions".
Yesterday Mr Anderson told journalists at a media briefing Optus would have talks with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to help the recently announced Foxtel-Optus pay-TV deal to proceed.
The deal will essentially see Optus showing Foxtel content, reducing costs and increasing telephony-pay TV bundling opportunities.
Mr Anderson said the company was moving away from a pay-TV operation in terms of production and negotiations within the wider industry for product, which would be passed to Foxtel.
"We don't see ourselves as a pay TV company - in fact this whole deal is to get us out of pay TV," he said yesterday.
"We see ourselves as a reticulating and distributing video product, produced by somebody else, which we can wrap (bundle) with our telephony-data business - it's not in our core competency or core business," he said.
Pay TV succeeds where free to air is weak
PAY TV has only made money in markets where free-to-air TV quality is much poorer than it is in Australiathe US market excepted, Bruce Gordon, who owns Nine-affiliated regional network Win TV, told B&T Weekly on a recent visit from Bermuda.
+SkyB makes money in England because normal British TV is dreadful,” Gordon said. “In France, Canal Plus makes money only because French network TV is bad and the government lets it screen only one imported movie a week in prime time. If you get Canal Plus, you can get 40.
?In Germany, pay TV is losing its arse. In Italy, it has never made a lira. The only other place it makes money is South Africa.
*ustralian pay TV has a hell of a lot of debt. I wouldn’t want to be in it even now Foxtel and Optus plan to merge their programs. When it arrived, I advised Kerry Packer not to be in it.” (Packer bought 25% of Foxtel).
Gordon agreed his common touch has helped Win succeed.
?You must make sure all the time that you are broadcasting programs people want to see,” he said. “Nine months ago, when I arrived here on a visit I watched Win at 4am when jetlag woke me up. I saw a bloke trying to sell exercise machines for an hour. The same day I told my programming people to take that crap off because all it’s doing is forcing people to watch pay TV. I hear Nine has also decided to take off long infomercials.”
Gordon plans to visit more often until incoming CEO David Sturgiss finds his feet.
BBC World unveils weekend specials for the summer
BBC World does not plan to be content with a barrage of India specific programmes this summer, it would seem.
The channel has announced a range of fresh weekend programming, split into three seasons for the coming three months targeted at the avid traveller and aviation aficionado.
April on BBC will be heralded with Voyager, in which various intrepid travellers follow in the footsteps of famous men before them in the legendary journeys they undertook. Michael Palin will trace the road taken by Ernest Hemingway through many exotic locations the author visited and wrote about in his novels, in the first episode, to be aired at 2.40 pm, Saturdays. Among others, archeologist Michael Wood takes a unique expedition from Greece to India, tracking the Footsteps of Alexander the Great, in June.
Frontiers in Flight also takes off this April on BBC World, with a focus on the evolution of modern day aviation, renowned fighter pilots who served in the two World Wars and historic flights that changed the face of the field. The shows will air at 7:40 pm Saturdays with repeat telecasts on Sundays.
The Women at the Top season on the channel is being programmed to coincide with the 2002 Business Woman of the Year award in June and will train the spotlight on women who have advanced to the pinnacle in their chosen fields. It includes a three part series Boss Women featuring some of the best women achievers the world has seen in recent times, to air Saturdays 7:40 pm. This season will be complemented with women specific Hardtalk Specials and World Business Report which will highlight contributions from women in business.
For those with a yen for wheels, lifestyle programme Top Gear takes off this summer on the channel on Thursday evenings. The Car's the Star and Clarkson's Car Years are the episodes that target the car lover with a critique on the state of the global car industry as well as a look at modern models.
Among its other programming initiatives are The Future Just Happened, a four part series on how the Internet and the new economy are forming the backbone of a new social order that revolves around high technology. Designing Our Lives, another four part series this summer, takes a look at how people are being compelled to improve their tools and surroundings to fit changing needs and wants. The channel's flagship science documentary series, Horizon, continues with an in-depth look at the lost city of Atlantis, in mid-April.
Sony May Take 74 Per Cent Stake In Distribution Joint Venture With Discovery
Mumbai: Sony Entertainment Television India will have majority control with a likely 74 per cent stake in the distribution joint venture company with Discovery Communications formed to offer the television channels of the two companies as a bundle to cable operators.
When contacted, SET India chief executive officer Kunal Dasgupta said he would not like to comment at this stage on the equity holding of the joint venture company for distribution.
Sources said Shantonu Aditya from Sony will head the joint venture company while Anuj Gandhi of Discovery Communications will be next in the hierarchy. Gurjeev Singh, also from Discovery, will be below Mr Gandhi.
The pricing of the Sony-Discovery bouquet will be Rs 40 a subscriber per month. “The market is being sent a signal to price the channels at around Rs 40 a subscriber per month,” the source said. The combined channels are currently priced just below Rs 30, depending on the multi system operator who has signed for the service. While Star is priced at Rs 40.50 a subscriber per month, the Zee-Turner bouquet costs around Rs 42.
The new pricing for the Sony-Discovery channels is likely to come into effect from April. An announcement on the pricing will be made soon. Mr Aditya was unavailable for comment.
The joint venture, which will be based in Mumbai, is currently working out ways on how to restructure the operations which will involve cutting down on distributors. “As Sony and Discovery have their own network of distributors, some of them will be made redundant,” the source said.
The distribution partnership is expected to benefit Sony in the southern region while Discovery may gain in other marketplaces. Sony will have access to Discovery’s quality nonfiction brands, Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, in addition to its own bouquet of Sony Entertainment Television, SET MAX, AXN and CNBC. Multi system operators view the upward revision in pricing as an additional burden and will be meeting soon to decide on what future course of action they can take jointly to fight against the steep hike in pay-TV rates.
Of interest today Sky NZ some services FTA on 12608 V, I have seen this happen a few other times, they must be doing some tests. Being Monday there are a few news items.
JC-SAT 8 (Could be listed as JC-SAT 2A, to be located at 154E) to be launched March 29th! Coverage area shows Cband footprint
From my Emails & ICQ
B1, Prime TV is FTA at present along with Sundance and Sky box office pay per view channels.NHK is there also
(Craigs comment, this one goes FTA every few months for a while for some reason)
Some Screenshots of the B3 Aurora services that were FTA and available to NZ viewers on the weekend
Zee, Zee Cinema and Sony
SBS S.E, SBS W.A and Zee Racing
From the Dish
PAS 8 166E 12394 H "The OSB mux has left" .
PAS 8 166E 12401 H "Sky Shopping" has left .
PAS 8 166E 12404 H "The IBS tests have left" .
Agila 2 146E 3933 V Occasional feeds, Sr 17360, Fec 7/8.
Gorizont 25 140E 3675 R "Radio Vostok Russii", 8.00 MHz.
Apstar 1A 134E 3840 H Two test cards has started, fta, SIDs 306-307, PIDs 517/700- 518/710. New SIDS for the CCTV channels in this mux: 301-305.
Koreasat 3 116E 12370 H "HCB" has started on , FTA, SID 9, PIDs 902/900.
Koreasat 3 116E 12530 H "CNN International Asia and all Satio radio channels" are now encrypted.
Koreasat 2 113E 12370 H A new mux has started , FTA, Sr 26865, Fec 3/4, SIDs 2-9,PIDs 1260/1220-1960/1920, line-up: Shopping S, Withus Movie, Withus Shopping, Movie A, FTV (South Korea) and a test card.
Koreasat 2 113E 12290 H "ABS, UBS, CNS and CCN have replaced Health Sat TV, I Bank 2, SE Jong Sat and Wow Sat" on , clear, PIDs 300/301 and 800/801-1000/1001.
Koreasat 2 113E 12731 H "Living TV and Medi TV" are now encrypted.
Asiastar 3 105.5E 3760 H "PCM test card" has started on , Fta, SID 4, PIDs 1040/1041.
Thaicom 3 78.5E 3520 H "ITV (Thailand)" has left
Stokes plays for time with Foxtel
AS the stand-off between Kerry Stokes' pay-TV channel, C7, and Foxtel continues, it is interesting to ponder what the executive chairman of Seven really wants out of the impasse.
After gaining through the courts access to the Foxtel cable and its set-top boxes, Stokes and Foxtel continue to disagree on commercial access terms for the C7 sports channel.
That is despite Foxtel having made three offers and, in the final offer, making available to Seven its subscriber management system and marketing prowess.
Foxtel believes Stokes is using the debate to try to convince Canberra to allow him to multi-channel on his digital TV spectrum.
But maybe there's another reason.
If history is any guide, it could be that Stokes actually wants equity in Foxtel.
The idea would be anathema to Foxtel's existing shareholders, including News Ltd, publisher of The Australian, who have constantly said they will not pay him off.
But the provision of equity in Australian pay-TV companies has long been the solution in resolving an impasse.
Stokes was the fortunate beneficiary of one such settlement five years ago, and that resolution handed him a slice of Optus. He had sued the Optus Vision pay-TV consortium, of which he was a member, on the basis he had not been consulted on a decision to commit $160 million over five years to the Australian Rugby League.
Stokes claimed the shareholders' agreement had been breached and that gave him the option to buy Optus's pay-TV business for 85 per cent of the $1.6 billion cost of the network or 85 per cent of the mean of the valuation prepared by either side.
The move meant Optus's $2.3 billion listing was delayed and was only fast-forwarded after the settlement with Seven and others was reached.
Similarly, Publishing & Broadcasting once supported the aspirations of the failed pay-TV company Australis.
PBL had also been a member of the Optus Vision consortium and, when the Foxtel-Australis merger was knocked back by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, it helped organise a joint venture between Australis and Optus Vision.
Foxtel (then equally 50 per cent owned by News and Telstra) successfully sued the companies, saying the joint venture breached Australis's program supply deal with Foxtel.
Soon after, News and PBL announced they intended to work together towards the rationalisation of the pay-TV industry and that they would "equalise" their interests in pay-TV. That deal, which saw PBL buy half of News's 50 per cent stake, was the last time ownership of Australia's major pay-TV companies changed.
So it would probably be unsurprising to expect Stokes to use his existing leverage to seek a similar outcome.
Deutsche Bank media analyst Mike Mangan notes that Stokes has said he wants to ensure a commercial arrangement is found on access.
"I'm sure he would settle for a share of Foxtel," he says.
The theory is made even more interesting when it's remembered that much of the News-PBL settlement was negotiated by PBL's former chief executive Nick Falloon.
He is now the Ten Network's executive chairman, and the idea of trying to gain a pay-TV presence has probably crossed his mind. Falloon is said to be ready to side with Seven in opposition to the Foxtel-Optus programming restructure, although that is unlikely to give him enough leverage to seek equity.
But Stokes arguably does have that power.
The impasse on access is an issue which will pave the way for every other company seeking access on Foxtel.
The lack of resolution may affect the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's deliberations on the Foxtel-Optus restructure.
And if the deal is knocked back, Foxtel says it won't digitise its network, and that means a listing of Foxtel is even further away.
What's that you say? Stokes is delaying a listing? Haven't I heard that somewhere before?
Foxtel 'plans $500m upgrade'
THE Federal Government could receive plans for a $500 million upgrade of Telstra's broadband cable network as early as this week, according to a report.
Foxtel's shareholders, including media giant The News Corporation Ltd, are believed to be ready to present the blueprint to Communications Minister Richard Alston after their previous plan was knocked back earlier this year.
It is understood the new offer proposes a price of access to the digital network based on the cost structures of the business, a financial newspaper reports today.
The proposed price structure for third parties will divide the cost of a digital set-top box by the number of channels on the service, the newspaper says.
There would be about 150 channels on the network before its analogue service closes.
"The partners are keen to recover their costs on a pro-rata basis," one unnamed source was quoted as telling the newspaper.
Austar refinancing set
AUSTAR United Communications Ltd had finalised all agreements related to the refinancing of its $400 million debt facility, the company said.
The company has been working to finalise the syndicated loan since the beginning of the year.
Austar has been renegotiating the debt facility with a 15-member banking consortium, after it technically breached one of the banking covenants by failing to secure a deal by 2001 year-end.
Canada's Toronto Dominion, and US finance majors, JP Morgan and Citibank, are lead members of the syndicate.
The terms of the facility include a repayment date of 2006 and a payment schedule which matches Austar's business plan.
An additional element of the refinancing was the provision of a $30 million contingency account to be provided by UnitedGlobalCom (UGC), Austar's majority shareholder.
Share holder approval of conversion rights relating to the contingent cash account will be sought at the company's annual general meeting to be held on or around May 15, 2002.
Austar said an independent expert's report, prepared by Grant Samuel, will be sent to share holders with the notice of that meeting.
At 1140 AEDT Austar shares were trading 1.5 cents or 6.25 per cent stronger at 25.5 cents.
Broadcasters fear monolithic Telstra
The expansion of Telstra's presence in the media sector is a key concern of industry players meeting the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to discuss the Foxtel/Optus deal this week.
The competition watchdog is meeting representatives of companies including Seven Network, Hutchison Telecommunications, Vodafone and Austar to establish the implications of the radical pay TV deal struck three weeks ago. The ACCC also expects this week to get a formal submission from Foxtel and Optus detailing their agreement.
In a bid to make the local pay TV industry profitable, rival metropolitan operators Foxtel and Optus have agreed to share programming. Telstra, a 50 per cent-owner of Foxtel, has also been granted the right by the other Foxtel shareholders, News Ltd and Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd, to sell cheap packages of pay TV, telephony and Internet services.
Competitors are worried this could serve to extend Telstra's market dominance beyond telecommunications. There are concerns it could, through its Foxtel links, monopolise content for future services, including interactive TV and 3G mobile.
These fears have been heightened by Telstra chief Dr Ziggy Switkowski's public comments it was considering a media acquisition to add to its Foxtel interest. Not restricted by cross-media or foreign ownership laws, Telstra would be most likely to buy a free-to-air TV network.
"There are some long term structural competition issues with where Telstra sits in the whole game," one industry player said. "The danger with the Foxtel deal is where does Telstra end up? Do they become so big and powerful they can squash whatever they want to?"
Telecommunications carriers are specifically concerned that they will be unable to match the telephony and Internet prices offered by Telstra as part of its pay TV bundles. The ACCC last week denounced as anti-competitive the length of time it took to set the price of its wholesale broadband service.
Media and telecommunications players are expected to seek guarantees from the ACCC that the Foxtel/Optus deal will not restrict access to content and infrastructure.
Seven Network has been the most vocal critic. Chairman Kerry Stokes has warned the Foxtel/Optus alliance could create a "monolith" which would control the media. Embroiled in a four-year battle to get access to the Foxtel cable to broadcast its fledgling C7 pay TV service, Seven is also worried about the potential concentration of sports and entertainment rights.
Foxtel shareholders and Optus are to decide on the deal by the end of May.
NDS Accused of Giving Pirates Canal Plus Code
The bitter legal war that broke out last week between interactive television rivals Canal Plus and Rupert Murdoch-owned NDS may end up hurting both companies and damaging the public's impression of ITV.
Canal Plus, owned by Vivendi Universal, filed a federal racketeering civil suit in Northern California accusing NDS of breaking Canal Plus security for its digital smart cards used in set-top boxes and distributing the technology to pirates.
This was more than business as usual, insists Francois Carayol, EVP of Canal Plus Group and chairman and CEO of Canal Plus Technologies.
"NDS illegally attacked Canal Plus Technologies' previously unbroken security system that had been developed to ensure that only authorized customers had access to digital television signals," Carayol says. "NDS spent large amounts of money and resources to extract the code from Canal Plus digital television smart cards, then provided the code to a website frequented by counterfeiters."
Carayol says the code had been extracted in a laboratory NDS had specially equipped for that purpose.
The French company is claiming damages in excess of $1 billion in lost business and extra expenses.
Although Canal Plus says it has now made the technology secure, the company is about to launch its next generation of ITV middleware, and Carayol says one of the suit's aims is to block NDS from doing the same with the new technology.
NDS dismisses the legal action as baseless and vowed to file a countersuit of its own.
"That problem is due solely to the inferior nature of Canal Plus's conditional access technology, the failure of its business plan to contain measures to protect against piracy and its failure to deal with piracy once it began," responded NDS president and CEO Abe Peled in a statement. "The clear evidence is that the pirate community targeted Canal Plus early in 1998 and succeeded without any help from anyone, particularly NDS."
He also accuses Canal Plus of trying to hire away from NDS the very employee they blamed for the code-breaking.
Both sides could eventually come to regret any lawsuits filed over the matter, warns Josh Bernoff, principal ITV analyst for Forrester Research.
"This sort of shooting war is not healthy for the industry," Bernoff says. "The subtle message goes out to the community that ITV isn't secure and can easily be counterfeited."
The code-breaking, he adds, is indeed business as usual. In NDS's case, the company had suffered wholesale piracy of its own technology, Bernoff says. NDS needs to show customers that its rivals' security is no better, and Bernoff calls the breaking of another company's code a legitimate business tactic.
But he adds that if NDS had distributed Canal Plus's code on the Internet, then it would have crossed the line into improper and possibly criminal activity.
Canal Plus's lawsuit covers only European operations. NDS is the industry leader in Europe, with about 35% of the market, compared to no more than 15% for Canal Plus.
Both companies say they intend to go ahead with the planned merger of their Italian operations despite the flare-up.
Outsmarting the digital TV pirates
A UK university is set to work alongside major electronics companies to develop a new smart card technology that could help protect digital TV and other media from pirates.
The launch of the EU-backed Full Speed project - which includes the University of Surrey, Philips and Schlumberger - comes as the digital TV industry grapples with the implications of legal action currently under way in the US.
Pay-TV provider Canal Plus is alleging that NDS, a subsidiary of rival television giant News Corporation, helped disseminate codes that allowed hackers to create false smart cards. NDS has denied the allegations.
Whatever the outcome of the dispute, Dr Peter Sweeney of Surrey University's Centre for Communications Systems Research said current smart card technology is fundamentally inadequate for protecting digital TV data from determined pirates.ITV Digital, the UK digital TV service, has been plagued by bogus smart cards, with an estimated 100,000 in circulation at one stage.
Sweeney said the Surrey team and the other partners in the European Union project would look for a new generation of smart cards capable of dealing with the special demands presented by advanced multimedia.
He said the solution lies in creating a smart card system with sufficient computing power to cope with the calculations needed to create a unique 'key' for each card user that cannot be copied or passed on to anyone else.
'The current generation of smart cards is not up to these computations,' he said.The Full Speed project will look to create a new system based on 32-bit computer processing and the Java operating system to support multimedia applications needing high cryptographic calculation capacities.
Sweeney said the issues facing broadcasters were similar to those attempting to combat piracy in other areas, but complicated by the commercial demands of operating a pay-TV service.
'The point about pay digital TV is that it is constantly changing, with people dropping in and out and adding new packages. You don't want to have to change your keys every time.'
The fact that services such as ITV Digital operate over the airwaves, rather than via a fixed link to a set-top box, as in the case of cable TV, also increases the technical challenges.
The Surrey University team is also investigating ways to counter the huge problem of piracy of digital audio and video material, including 'watermarking' systems that make copying films impossible.
News Corp's Murdoch Plans More China Deals; Says Patience Needed for Global Media Goals
News Corporation will continue efforts to expand in China's tightly-regulated media market after it launches its new Chinese channel later this month.
News Corp said it hopes Xingkong Weishi, its Mandarin language channel that will broadcast in Cantonese-speaking Guangdong province, would gain nationwide distribution. Mandarin is spoken in most of China. News Corp quoted minister of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television Xu Guangchun as hinting at the possibility “expanding our collaboration into other areas,” which the company said was an encouraging sign. News Corp founder and chairman Rupert Murdoch said he expected the new channel “to be the first in a series of many successful projects we can achieve here”.
Xingkong Weishi will initially broadcast a Cantonese dubbed version of the American situation comedy, Friends, and will later broadcast dance shows and a nightly talk show. It will begin broadcasting to one million homes by the end of this month, according to News Corp. The channel plans to produce 60 percent of its programming in China.
China gave Star TV, News Corp’s broadcasting unit, permission to broadcast in Guangdong last year, along with AOL Time Warner and Phoenix Satellite TV (which is 38 percent-owned by News Corp). In exchange, Star TV will distribute an English channel under national broadcaster China Central TV (CCTV) through its sister firm Fox TV in two U.S. cities. Previous to these deals, foreign networks in China were limited to broadcasting in certain hotels and foreigner compounds.
China's fast growing media market is being opened up in controlled phases by that country’s communist government. China's media market is expected to grow faster than the economy for several years.
Analysts, however, cautioned that growth in China would take plenty of money, patience and time, and that any business development would take some five to 10 years. Despite this scenario, AOL Time Warner, the world's largest media and Internet company, said it expects half its total revenues to come from abroad, including China, in the next 10 years, compared to 16 percent last year. Its total revenues for 2001 were US$38 billion.
India's Space Dept Renews Thai Shin Satellite Contract; Shin Shares Gain
India's Department of Space has renewed for six months a contract leasing seven C-band transponders on the Thaicom 3 satellite owned by Thailand's Shin Satellite Plc. The contract renewal means that India will continue leasing a total of 10 transponders on Thaicom 3.
India is the largest single foreign market for Shin Sat, which operates three in-orbit satellites and is due to launch a new satellitethe iPSTAR broadband Internet satellitein 2003. Analysts said revenues from India accounted for some 20 percent of ShinSat's transponder rental revenues. Transponder rentals represented about 80 percent of the company’s total revenues. ShinSat had a net profit of US$35 million in 2001, up 120 percent year-on-year, on revenues of US$120 million.
ShinSat said the new contract has made it confident about maintaining its market share in India. Media reports earlier speculated that ShinSat could lose its Indian contracts as the government was looking to other satellite service providers. ShinSat said it expects to lease additional transponders to Indian companies due to the huge demand for TV, Internet and phone services. More than 30 Indian channels broadcast via Thaicom 3.
ShinSat’s shares closed up 2.9% at 26.75 baht while the overall market lost 0.7% to 374.73 points. ShinSat is 51 percent owned by Shin Corporation belonging to the family of Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
BBC, Discovery sign 'deal of the decade'
The BBC, BBC Worldwide and Discovery Communications have announced that an agreement on "the deal of the decade" has been reached. This is a ten-year extension to the global partnership which originally commenced in July 1997 and was signed in March 1998. The partnership was to conclude at the end of the year.
An official release informs that the new agreement extends the deal to 2012. The BBC/DCI relationship claims to be unique in terms of scale and longevity within world broadcasting.
When the original agreement was signed the parties anticipated only a five year renewal. The alliance between the broadcasters had been formed to develop television channels and factual programming for the global marketplace, the release states.
The joint venture has three main elements: the co-production of high quality factual programming; the development of jointly-owned television channels around the world, and developing and distributing BBC America. It claims distribution in more than 26 million homes.
The BBC Sales Company licenses, co-produces and distributes factual programming in the United States and Canada on behalf of the BBC and DCI the release states. The BBC/DCI joint venture further monetises these award-winning programmes, through publishing and merchandising, creating multi-million dollar properties that allow for greater investment in high quality programming.
Speaking on this DG BBC Greg Dyke said: "When this partnership was formed, the BBC aimed to be part of the greatest creative force in factual broadcasting globally. Our alliance with DCI means that outstanding programmes such as The Blue Planet and Walking With Dinosaurs have been shared and enjoyed by individuals, families and communities in countries right around the world. This is a powerful service we will continue to build over the next ten years."
Chief executive, BBC Worldwide, Rupert Gavin said: "The partnership with Discovery is a clear indication of how a global partnership such as this builds value and allows for significant re-investment in programming, to the benefit of the UK licence payer."
President and COO DCI Judith A. McHale said: "Strategic partnerships like the BBC/DCI joint venture are a central element of Discovery's growth strategy in the years to come. The complementary expertise of the two organisations allows for cost sharing, creative balance and increased distribution, which gives Discovery a significant competitive advantage in the domestic and international marketplace."
Sunday so back Monday
A bit of action today. No not feeds, Aurora on B3 is FTA all services. I have not seen that happen before. All services on 12407 V, 12595 V and 12532 V are FTA I hope to have screenshots for all of them Monday.
Only a small update today, back Monday
From my Emails & ICQ
At the moment on B3 12532 V Sr 30000 fec 3/4 all Zee Links are FTA. Also 12407 V and 12595 V
Also Measat 2 .
On 11602 H I have a signal but it seems that SR 41500 is not correct, if someone has another SR
I can try again. My Echostar needs the correct SR to load.
From Chris Pickstock
4.40 pm SA time
All Aurora channels are FTA at the moment. This includes all 6 Sky
Channels, BTV 1 - 3, Centrelink, Zee, the WA stations etc.
From Peter Clark
Re: Global Vision Mux, Palapa C2, 3760 H, S/R 26100, FEC 3/4
At present nine channels are coming up with a bulletin message indicating a new
'information and entertainment service comprising of 11 channels'. This may be
the forerunner of an encrypted service which may offer FTA to start with. I
have a problem in that these load okay into my Humax 5400 but won't load into my
cheapie Emtech 100 (FTA receiver without CI slots). Can anybody explain please.
The humax is looped through IF from the Emtech.
From the Dish
B3 156E 12407 V All services are FTA
B3 156E 12532 V All services are FTA
B3 156E 12595 V All services are FTA
Murdoch Jnr threatens to pull out of Australian pay TV
Lachlan Murdoch, the son of Rupert Murdoch and heir to the News Corporation throne, has threatened to pull his father's media empire out of the Australian pay TV market if competition regulators block a proposed deal.
Mr Murdoch, the deputy chief operating officer of News Corp, said the group might withdraw from pay TV down under if the Foxtel network is barred from forming a content alliance with rival Optus.
News Corp owns 25% of Foxtel, a cable operator producing under-par revenues, and Mr Murdoch told the Australian Financial Review the group would dump its stake if the deal was blocked.
"In any business in any market we operate in, where you have a struggling business, a business that is losing money, when either regulators or governments protect one industry at the expense of another, I think that's a very bad thing," he said.
He made his comments during a whirlwind visit to Australia just as a court case over the A$1bn collapse of One.Tel got under way.
The company - ambitious telecoms venture founded by Mr Murdoch and his friend James Packer - son of Kerry - collapsed last summer, costing News Corp £211m.
In the court case, Brad Keeling, the managing director of One.Tel, described as "almost comical" Mr Packer's address to a critical board meeting revealing the full extent of the company's problems.
Mr Keeling told the court he told Mr Packer and Mr Murdoch about the company's cash levels months before Mr Packer told the board he had just found out.
Both Mr Packer and Mr Murdoch, who have yet to give evidence, claim they were "profoundly misled" about One.Tel's true financial position.
Confidence in the business competence of Lachlan - seen as the heir apparent to his father's media empire - was severely dented by the One.Tel deal.
But Australian brokers said they were impressed by the 30-year-old's handling of the Foxtel deal. One broker tells the Australian Financial Review today that he was now more self assured
"He appeared relaxed and responded to questions both confidently and candidly. We suspect presenting away from his father provides the opportunity to fully demonstrate his knowledge of the company and the issues at hand," says one broker.
But another said he "doesn't really know the detail that well", even though he had improved since his promotion 18 months ago.
And Lachlan Murdoch refused to break the silence from Murdoch's heirs on the succession issue, a source of much speculation within the global media industry.
"We don't spend a lot of time thinking about succession issues. It will be up to the board ultimately," he said.
"I focus on the businesses. I've now got the extra responsibility of the stations. So running Australia and new Zealand still takes up a lot of my time, running the other print businesses still take up a lot of my time... that's what I'm focusing on at the moment."
The other Murdoch children are James, who also holds a senior position at News Corp, Prudence McLeod, Elisabeth Freud and newly-born Grace.
Zee in talks with SABe TV to offer bouquet
Television wars will never be the same again.
agencyfaqs! has learnt that one of Hindi television’s major free-to-air channels SABe TV could combine with pay network Zee Television Limited (ZTL) to offer a joint bouquet of pay channels. The Sri Adhikari Brothers Television Network (SABTNL) will distribute its Hindi entertainment channel SABe TV along with Zee. According to sources, this is part of a broader move to offer a bouquet that can rival the STAR Plus package.
Analysts say that this could be the beginning of a consolidation of channels that rival STAR Plus, with a few of the other standalone channels coming together to offer a combined package. agencyfaqs! spoke to all the four top channel networks as well as a couple of niche channels for a confirmation on this development. Though SABe TV was willing to confirm that negotiations were on currently, senior Zee officials refused to comment on the issue. But as Raj Nayak, executive vice-president, sales and marketing, STAR India, puts it, “The way the industry is moving, and the way every network wants to make their bouquet stronger, alliances will be the norm.”
If successful, the Zee-SABe combine will be a powerful rival to the STAR bouquet. It would also mean that the current tussle between cable operators and pay channels would be put to rest quite conclusively. However, right now, some of the major issues that have to be thrashed out in the talks are generic to the pay-for-all bouquet system that is the norm in India, unlike the pay-for-the-channel-you-watch system that is the norm in many other parts of the world.
From an industry viewpoint, the bouquet system has high potential for future conflict. Among the potential flashpoints: the break up of subscriber fees and what must be done if one or the other channel sees a sudden rise in the popularity of its programmmes but remains the lesser partner in the agreement. While agreements are signed on the existing ranking, the Indian television industry is so dynamic that channels that seemed dug in for a long time, can suddenly be toppled, and lesser channels zoom up to the top. In this likely scenario, the break up of subscription revenue as drawn up in the agreement, becomes a point of friction.
For cable operators, the implication of such a tie-up is enormous. The sudden dearth of free-to-air quality programming will mean that their major weapon in the current war their ability to boycott pay television channels will vanish as consumers demand better programming.
To put things in perspective, cable operators have been bitterly contesting the move by television channels to go pay, claiming that the increased rates charged by pay television companies will make their business unprofitable. Cable operator tactics in the war, which include blacking out signals of pay TV channels, have crucially depended on alternative free-to-air programming. Thus, if even the quality free-to-air channels become pay, then the cable operators will come under enormous pressure to accept pay television. For them, the war will end.
In the long run, this would mean that the current system of small-scale cable operators will give way to a professionally managed consolidated system of cable operations with a few major players. For the consumer, this could mean subscription fees in tune with international standards, or at least substantially higher than the Rs 125 to Rs 200 per month charged now.
Ironically, the talks are on even as a task force appointed by India’s Information & Broadcasting Ministry has recommended that the government make it mandatory for consumers to pay only for the television channels they watch, and not for a catch-all bouquet of several channels as is the system now. The I&B task force on the cable and broadcasting industry was set up in September last year after bitter complaints of the various industry players against each other.
According to the estimates of the I&B Ministry, cable networks currently reach 35 million households (IRS 2001 Round 1), and at an average of Rs 125 per month per subscriber, this industry is estimated to generate close to Rs 5,500 crore annually. Many free-to-air channels, especially the ones that have been doing very well like the Hindi news channel Aaj Tak are also expected to turn pay soon.
If the tie-up goes through, the television industry in India would change forever
Not much happening today, not much news either. Hopefully there should be some decent sports feeds on the Optus birds this weekend.
Not long to go until the launch of Jcsat 8 (29th)!
Hong Kong 7's rugby feed should be up there all weekend somewhere
From my Emails & ICQ
Nothing to report
From the Dish
PAS 2 169E 12577 V The test cards have left .
Optus B3 156E 12336 V A test card has started, Fta SID 1, PIDs 1160/1120.
Apstar 1A 134E 4140 V "CCTV 2" has started on , PAL, 6.60 MHz.
Apstar 1A 134E 3886 V "I-Cable "has left.
JCSAT 3 128E 3960 V "FTV, CTS, CTV and TTV"are encrypted.(But for how long this ones on and off)
Palapa C2 113E 4000 H The five Channel NewsAsia are still/back on , Fta, Sr 26085, Fec 3/4, PIDs 1160/1120-1660/1620.
Palapa C2 113E 3760 H The eight Global Vision test cards are still/back on , Fta , Sr 26100, Fec 3/4, PIDs 102/103 138/139.
Asiasat 2 100.5E 3660 V "Jame-Jam TV Network 3" has started Fta, SID 14, PIDs 2688/2689.
ST 1 88E 12647 V "PTS and occasional PTS feeds" have moved here from 12633 V Fta, Sr 5926, Fec 3/4, PIDs 33/34 and 41/42.
Thaicom 3 78.5E 3520 H "ITV (Thailand)" is back on , Fta, Sr 26660, Fec 3/4, PIDs 512/640, global beam.
Murdoch won't 'buy off' Stokes
News Corp deputy chief operating officer Lachlan Murdoch has refused to "buy off" pay TV aspirant Kerry Stokes just to win regulatory approval for his radical proposal to share programming with rival Optus.
But he said it would be a "tremendous shame" if the Foxtel/Optus pay TV deal did not proceed.
Visiting Australia for three days this week, Mr Murdoch said yesterday that the deal should go ahead. The Foxtel shareholders and Optus have given themselves until the end of May to decide whether to proceed with the deal.
Describing the pay TV industry as "over-regulated", Mr Murdoch said it would be a "tremendous shame" if the Australian Competition and Consumer blocked the deal.
"Clearly digital is going to be questioned. Why would anyone continue to invest in this industry if, at every step along the way, they're blocked from making the business even marginally [profitable] by regulators or Canberra?"
Foxtel is losing $100 million a year.
Foxtel delayed upgrading its analog service to digital until it received a commitment from the Federal Government that its $500 million investment would be protected. Communications minister Richard Alston has told Foxtel it must first resolve its dispute with Seven Network's C7 pay TV arm. Foxtel and Seven have been haggling for four years about the price Foxtel will charge Seven to broadcast a pay TV service over its cable.
On Wednesday, Foxtel offered to carry four pay TV channels developed by C7 on its planned digital service.
But while C7 wants its channels to be included in the basic service Foxtel subscribers receive, Foxtel maintains that the C7 channels would have to be a separate tier, which costs extra for C7.
Mr Murdoch said yesterday that was "non-negotiable".
"We'll offer [Mr Stokes] even more than what he deserves on a tier but it's very important that it's got to be on a tier. We will not go back to our subscribers and say they have to pay more money for Stokes to be bought off and let the deal go through. It's an outrage."
Foxtel chief Kim Williams and Seven pay TV chief Steve Wise have agreed to meet next week to discuss the issue. Mr Murdoch said he had a "great deal of confidence" that the Foxtel/Optus deal would be approved.
Mr Murdoch said there were no signs yet of a turnaround in the advertising market here but noted that there were early signs of an improvement in the US.
"There are positive signs but they're not strong enough to break out the champagne yet."
Mr Murdoch reiterated that News expected to record earnings before interest and tax growth of 23 to 28 per cent in the current half. News Corp's full-year EBIT growth should be in the "mid-single digits".
"It's been a really tough year," said Mr Murdoch. "We've been pretty focused on driving revenue in a pretty tough economic climate and we think the year ahead is going to be more of the same."
News's primary growth strategy now revolves around buying up more TV stations in the US and establishing duopolies in more markets there.
"That is clearly going to be a huge growth driver for News Corporation," said Mr Murdoch, who was recently given responsibility for News Corp's 33 US TV stations.
Mr Murdoch said News Corp's "greatest concern" was fixing its Fox TV network, which has suffered falling audience ratings. "The network's had a bad year."
News wary on pay-TV block
THE News Corporation Ltd would be hesitant of further capital investment for the Australian pay-TV industry if Foxtel's alliance with Optus was blocked by Australia's competition body, Lachlan Murdoch has said.
Earlier today a financial newspaper reported that Mr Murdoch, chairman of News Limited and the deputy chief operating officer of News Corp, warned the industry would face a bleak outlook if the deal did not proceed.
The newspaper also reported that News Corp might withdraw investment from the pay TV industry if the Optus-Foxtel deal was blocked.
However in a clarifying statement, Mr Murdoch said of the Foxtel-Optus deal, he "would be hesitant to invest further capital if the deal did not go through".
"All share holders would question why invest further capital, when they could invest it elsewhere for a commercial return," he said.
A News Ltd spokeswoman said the newspaper report was misleading.
"Mr Murdoch didn't say at any time that News would withdraw from the pay TV industry," she said.
It is understood Mr Murdoch and Foxtel partners think it would be difficult to agree on the digitalisation of the pay-TV platform, if the Optus-Foxtel deal was blocked.
It has been estimated it would cost Foxtel $500 million to upgrade its cable network for digital television.
Foxtel chief executive chief executive Kim Williams has previously said partners cannot make the investment if they face the risk of an access regulatory regime that could force us to provide access at completely uncommercial rates.
In the newspaper report Mr Murdochwas quoted as saying his focus was to lift the profitability of Foxtel, which is 25 per cent owned by News Corp.
Telstra Corp holds 50 per cent of Foxtel, with 25 per cent held by Kerry Packer's Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd.
Mr Murdoch was reported as saying the company would review its investment if the deal with Optus was blocked.
"In any business in any market we operate in, where you have a struggling business, a business that is losing money, when either regulators or governments protect one industry at the expense as another, I think that's a very bad thing," Mr Murdoch reportedly said.
Agrani signs turnkey deal with Alcatel
The Subhash Chandra-promoted Agrani Satellite Services (ASSL) has entered into a turnkey agreement with Alcatel Space Industries (ASI) of France to procure a geostationary, C and Ku-band satellite. The value of the contract is around Rs 950 crore.
The deal involves ‘ in-orbit delivery’ of the satellite and a ground control station by Alcatel, while Arianespace would offer the launch services.
The satellite is expected to be launched within the next 18 months and begin commercial operations by the fourth quarter of 2003.
The satellite was earlier developed by Alcatel for another customer but a deal fell through. ASSL has procured this satellite and it will be redesigned as per Agrani’s specifications, Pascale Sourisse, chairman and chief executive officer of ASI, said at a press conference.
?Since we are getting a partially-developed satellite, we will save on costs in terms of cash payment, as well as a faster delivery of the satellite, Subash Chandra, chairman of ASSL, said here.
The Agrani project is estimated to cost around Rs 1,150 crore including pre-operative costs and finance costs.
Financial institutions and banks have committed Rs 650 crore debt for the project with a 1.4:1 debt equity ratio.
ASI and Arianespace have picked up a 13 per cent stake for $20 million in ASSL and the balance is held by the promoter group.
?Since financial institutions want the promoters to hold the controlling stake, we may not dilute our stake to below the 51 per cent mark,” Chandra said.
The main target segment of satellite users will be telecom service providers and television broadcasters. Marketing of its operations is expected to start in the first week of May.
Zee Telefilms will be utilising 15-16 per cent of the C-band capacity, while the consumption of Ku-band will be negligible.
The ASC Enterprises-promoted ASSL is the first Indian private satellite system to be authorised by the Central government under 1997 SatCom policy framework.
The project had earlier faced hurdles due to the US imposed sanctions in the wake of the Pokhran blast.
(Craigs comment, this bird was originally going to be Thaicom 4)
Government allows 13 firms to set up uplink hubs
The government has permitted 13 companies to set up 14 uplinking hubs and teleports in the country. It has liberalised the uplinking policy to permit private companies incorporated in India with permissible foreign/NRI/OCB equity to set up uplinking hubs for leasing or hiring out their facilities to the broadcasters, the United News of India has reported.
All television channels, irrespective of their ownership, including equity structure or management control, have been permitted to uplink from India provided they undertake to comply with the broadcasting (programme and advertising) codes laid down by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.
The move follows finance minister Yashwant Sinha's budget announcement that customs duties on earth stations has been reduced from 35 per cent to 25 per cent. Specifically referring to the duty reduction on earth stations, Sinha in his budget speech had said this was keeping in mind India's potential to become the uplinking hub for South Asian countries.
Has anyone, checked Measat 2? 11602 Sr 41500 supposedly has Astro Pay Tv mux FTA?
New activity on B1 Sky NZ,
12544 V some kind of test labled "Firecall" no pids but Sid is 1911 !!
12608 V "E!" is on Vpid 515 Apid 653 (encrypted)
Dubai Sports website, program guide link though the guide dosn't seem to up at the moment. You may be asked to download an Arabic font but you can cancel that.
Sorry about the page size I will trim it later on tonight.
From my Emails & ICQ
From Bill Richards
Bill got in quick while ITV Thailand was testing on the Global beam
From the Dish
Optus B1 160E 12733 V "The Soundtrack Channel" has left, replaced by a test card.
Agila 2 146E 3614 H "The two 10 TV promos" are back, Sr 6620, Fec 3/4, PIDs 32/33 and 34/35.
Palapa C2 113E 3760 H The eight Global Vision test cards have left .
Palapa C2 113E 4000 H All five Channel NewsAsia have left , replaced by test cards.
Koreasat 2 113E 12290 H "B2C Shopping has replaced PSTV - Philip Satellite TV" , Fta, PIDs 1100/1101.
Koreasat 2 113E 12330 H An ETN info card, Business News Channel and We Wedding Channel have replaced CNN International Asia, Movie 1 and Movie 2, enc.,PIDs 1200/1201, 1800/1801 and 1900/1901.A test card has started on SID 20509, PIDs 2000/2001, enc.
Koreasat 2 113E 12617 H "Total Living Broadcasting" has replaced DNC , Fta, PIDs 48/49.
Telkom 1 108E FEC for the TelkomVision muxes on 3500 H and 3580 H: 3/4.
ST 1 88E 3632 V "BBC World has replaced EWTN Asia" Fta, SID 204.
Thaicom 3 78.5E 3520 H "ITV (Thailand)" has left (Yes this one was confirmed as being on the global beam!)
Intelsat 804 64E 3669 R "TV Africa" mux on is now in Fta.
Intelsat 904 58.5E 4055 R Test carriers seen on , West hemi beam.
Murdoch flies flag for pay-TV
NEWS Limited chairman Lachlan Murdoch yesterday began selling the benefits of the Foxtel-Optus pay-TV restructure to financial markets.
It came as Foxtel made its third access offer to the Seven Network.
Mr Murdoch and two other senior News executives were guests at a Salomon Smith Barney lunch in Melbourne, having flown in that morning from the United States.
According to fund managers present, Mr Murdoch said the restructure would begin the process of creating a profitable pay-TV industry in Australia, but would not ensure it.
The restructure would see Foxtel and Optus share content, which could then be on-sold as part of bundled Telstra and Optus packages.
Foxtel also sought to end the deadlocked access dispute that may threaten the restructure, by consenting to Seven's request for it to carry a "suite" of channels.
The offer relates to Foxtel's future digital services (capacity constraints restrict the offer on the current analogue service to two channels) and is for an initial five year term.
It also includes access to Foxtel's call centre, subscription management system and marketing support.
"C7 would only need to compile and supply the content of the channels to Foxtel's playout centre," Foxtel's chief executive Kim Williams said in a letter.
"Such a commercial arrangement far exceeds the benefits available to C7 through any regulated access regime."
A Foxtel spokesman said they released Mr Williams' letter due to concerns about previous misinformation about their intentions.
"Clearly, if we proceed to commercial negotiations as hoped, that will be a private matter," he said.
Seven has stated it would prefer to be on Foxtel's basic package, but the offer remains for the channels to be on a "tier".
A Seven spokesman said the channel would consider any Foxtel offer.
"Our objective remains a presence on the basic platform, but we are happy to enter into good-faith discussions with Foxtel," the spokesman said.
The offer is the second by Foxtel in the month, and follows an earlier proposal in February.
Mr Williams said Foxtel's digital service was still at the planning stage, "but we are prepared to work with you if you can give us information about the nature of the channels you propose to supply".
Mr Murdoch told fund managers he could not understand how Seven hoped to earn over $30 million a year by being in Foxtel's basic package, despite no capital investment in Foxtel.
He also said the advertising outlook remains short term, although there had been some encouraging signs in the US.
Foxtel offer to take four C7 channels
The stand-off between Foxtel and Seven Network over access to the Foxtel cable ended yesterday when Foxtel made a new offer to appease the aspiring pay-TV content supplier.
Foxtel chief Kim Williams wrote to Seven pay-TV boss Steve Wise yesterday proposing that Foxtel's planned digital service would broadcast four channels developed by Seven's C7 pay-TV arm. Mr Williams and Mr Wise have now agreed to meet next week to discuss the offer further.
This represents a major breakthrough in the four-year battle between Foxtel and Seven over access to the Telstra-owned Foxtel cable for third-party program suppliers. Foxtel has been under pressure to resolve its access dispute with Seven if it is to win Australian Competition and Consumer Commission approval for its proposed deal to share programming with rival Optus.
Foxtel has yet to commit to upgrading its analog cable to digital, as it is waiting for government assurance that the estimated $500 million investment will be protected. Communications minister Richard Alston has made it clear that Foxtel must reach agreement with C7 if it is to receive that protection.
Foxtel views yesterday's offer as the latest in a series of attempts to strike a commercial deal with Seven on terms for access to its cable. In February last year Foxtel offered to carry two C7 channels for an initial 12-month term.
A Seven spokesman said last night that the company was "more than happy to enter into fair and commercial negotiations in good faith with Foxtel to create a suite of channels on the Foxtel platform".
The two, however, are still at odds over how the C7 channels will be sold. Foxtel remains adamant that the channels would be available to subscribers only on a tier, which costs extra. Seven has been pushing to have C7 included in basic programming every Foxtel customer receives.
Having sought inclusion in the basic Foxtel package for the past four years, Seven is reluctant to settle for a presence on a tier. "Being on basic is crucial for allowing Seven to compete on a level playing field and provide competition in the pay-TV sector," said the Seven spokesman.
Yesterday's proposal is separate from a recent Foxtel offer to carry the C7 sports channel on its existing analog service. Seven wants to strike deals for access to both Foxtel's existing analog service and its proposed digital service. "Our negotiations are focused on a pay-TV business that makes sense immediately, rather than purely focused on the opportunities in a digital environment," said Seven's spokesman.
Foxtel expects C7 to pay upfront and annual fees to reflect Foxtel's operating costs. Foxtel is prepared to consider revenue sharing with C7. It is proposing that the arrangement run for an initial term of five years.
Mr Williams's letter also asked Mr Wise to provide information about the channels Seven intends to supply. Foxtel expects one sports channel and one running Australian drama.
Interactive technology age spells extinction of TV ads
TELEVISION advertising could be fast forwarded out of existence by ‘appointment’ viewers if digital software enabling easy recording of interactive TV (ITV) takes off in Australia, one UK interactive TV expert has said. However such services won’t come cheaply, so it may only be the top end of town that becomes harder to reach than ever.
Director of interactive TV solutions at UK digital software provider NDS Rahul Chakkara said NDS’ software enabled customers to pause “real time” TV with just the touch of a button.
Chakkara, who was in Australia this month promoting NDS, said his company’s software allowed viewers to record up to 30 hours of programming and also had downloading and cataloguing capabilities. Viewers could then play back their program, which would result in viewers fast forwarding ads.
?People are skipping through the adsI hate to say it but it is true,” Chakkara said of ITV in the UK. However he said the subscription cost of this software made pay TV look cheap, so most customers would settle for less expensive options where ads could not be deleted.
?Television advertising today is about persuasion; interactive TV advertising it is about seduction,” Chakkara said of iTV.
He said digital TV would challenge advertisers to make ads that would convince viewers to interact, for example, by making ads where people could choose via their remote control to receive more information about a product, or where they could request product samples, to be sent to them.
?In the UK the average length of time commercials are watched is three minutes,” Chakkara said.
Agrani satellite deal closed; launch by 2003-end
Media baron Subhash Chandra has a number of firsts to his credit. To that list add another one. India's first private sector satellite initiative officially went onstream today with the signing of a turnkey contract between Chandra's Agrani Satellite Services Ltd (ASSL), Alcatel Space Industries and Arianespace (providing the launch vehicle).
The contract was signed today by Chandra and Pascale Sourisse, chairman and CEO, Alcatel, in the presence of Jean-Marie Luton, president - director-general, Arianespace.
The geostationary satellite is expected to begin commercial operations from the fourth quarter of 2003 and will be delivered in orbit on an Ariane 5 launch vehicle.
The deal involves the in-orbit delivery of a 5.4kw satellite with a 14-year lifespan. The long life satellite with 24 C band (12 in the India coverage beam and 12 in the Asia coverage beam) and 14 Ku band transponders are distributed over two beams, one for India coverage and the other steerable over the Middle east, South East Asia or Europe. Of the Ku-band transponders, seven will have a fixed India coverage; three, a steerable coverage over Europe, Middle East and South East Asia; and the remaining transponders will be switchable between fixed and steerable. These transponders have a total bandwidth of 1,404 MHz.
The satellite is expected to support a broad range of applications ranging from TV broadcasting and DTH to rural and distance routes.
Queried as to how much of the satellite's capacity would be used by the Essel/Zee channels, Chandra said 15 per cent of the C Band capacity and a small percentage of the satellite's Ku Band capacity would be utilised. The remaining bandwidth will serve television broadcasting and distribution companies, Internet service providers and other telecom service providers.
The ASC Enterprises Ltd (Ascel)-promoted ASSL is the first private satellite system to be authorised by the Indian government under the 1997 Satcom policy framework. The government has also approved the equity participation of Alcatel and Arianespace in ASSL.
The main reason that the lead time for the satellite to become operational is only 18 months or so is because ASSL is acquiring an existing satellite from Alcatel. The satellite was built in 1997 for use by Shinawatra Satellite, Thailand. It was, however, never used and has been lying in storage for four years.
The total project cost is Rs 11.5 billion in which the debt funding of Rs 6.9 billion is being arranged by a consortium of Indian banks and financial institutions. Of the equity component of Rs 4.6 billion, Alcatel and Arianespace have taken a stake of 9.75 and 3.25 per cent stake respectively. This will be worth $15 million and $5 million respectively.
Thanks all that turned up in the chatroom. I hope to be able to make a big announcment VERY SOON!! In fact the site will probably have a special edition based just on the announcment!! perhaps I will even run the chatroom as well on that night with a special guest!
Does anyone have details of a mystery channel FTA on Measat 2 KU band (universal lnbf needed) ? Perhaps someone in Eastern Australia with a Nokia could scan for it and send the details?
From my Emails & ICQ
From Ahmad Mobasheri
IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcastin), channel 3 (Jam-e-jam), test
card is in Dubai mux on AS2. 3660v, 27500, 3/4.
Here's an interesting item I came across on the internet.
It's a FTA Digital Satellite Receiver Card that is
made to fit in the PCI slot of a PC. I have seen them
before on the net but not at this price of Au$249.
It's available from Allthings Sales & Service in
Since the web address is about 100 characters long
I suggest that you go to this page first :
then click on the "SAT-DVB" link.
From the Dish
ST 1 88E 3632 V "EWTN Asia" has replaced BBC World FTA, SID 204, PIDs 3121/3105.
Thaicom 3 78.5E 3538 V "Jain Satellite TV" has moved here from 3536 V, PAL, to , DVB/clear, Sr 3300, Fec 3/4, PIDs 4132/4133.
Thaicom 3 78.5E 3520 H "ITV" (Thailand) has started, Fta, Sr 26660, Fec 3/4, PIDs 512/640, global beam.(can someone in Australia check this ? Great news if it is on Global beam, though i don't think it will stay Fta long, I think ITV is one of the channels that has the Soccer World cup rights.)
Telecom NZ eyes pay-TV deal
TELECOM Corp of New Zealand has signalled it will be seeking to bundle its telephony content with Foxtel pay-TV programs to help it stay competitive in Australia.
Chief executive Theresa Gattung said today that Telecom NZ was looking to make submissions to Australian regulators to ensure competition remained fair in the telco-media sector in the wake of a deal for Foxtel to supply programming to Optus.
Foxtel will assume Optus's financial obligations under its movie and other content arrangements thus negotiating for a wider Australian audience.
A separate deal, also announced this month, allows Telstra to be able to bundle Foxtel's pay TV with telephone and Internet services on a single Telstra bill.
Ms Gattung said Telecom NZ and its Australian subsidiary AAPT have concerns about the wider deal, which would be raised via the regulators.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman, Professor Allan Fels, has said the commission would closely investigate the implications of the proposed resale deal.
"It does raise concerns for us - naturally we don't want to dateless at the party and we intend to make representations through the appropriate channels," Ms Gattung said.
She said some of the concerns related to AAPT's need for content, enabling it to bundle a wider range of services.
Under the present scenario there was a danger the Australian market could become a Telstra-Optus duopoly, she said.
"We need to be able to have the same ability to bundle with Foxtel ... At the commercial level and the technical level, the right to do it and the ability to do it are not always the same thing," she said.
"... (we're concerned) the market will become a duopoly - one with Telstra and Optus - and that AAPT's (business) in Australia will be constrained unless we can have a fair crack at being able to bundle those products and services with telephony spend," she said.
Earlier this month Foxtel chief executive Kim Williams said Foxtel had always been willing to negotiate supply of its programming to third parties on reasonable commercial terms on a wholesaling basis.
A spokesman for Foxtel said he was unaware of any approaches by Telecom NZ on bundling.
Ms Gattung said AAPT's addressable market in Australia could shrink, without a reasonable ability to bundle.
She said that Telecom New Zealand was totally committed to the Australian market via its AAPT and TCNZA divisions.
AAPT already has some content rights via its AOL7 joint venture with Kerry Stokes' Seven Network Ltd and the world's biggest Internet company America Online Inc.
Asked if the company planned other investments such as AOL7, Ms Gattung said the company was totally committed to Australia.
"There's only going to be a limited number of players who are committed and we're one of them, and we want to make sure that the environment is supportive of us; getting a fair crack at the market, and being able to make potential future investments," she said.
Ms Gattung said Telecom was in dialogue with the wider media and telco industry on the Telstra-Optus-Foxtel issues.
Another telco looking at the pay-TV developments is Hutchison Telecommunications (Australia) Ltd. Telecom and Hutchison are progressing in plans build a third generation network for broadband applications in Australia.
Hong Kong’s I-Cable to Launch 17 New Channels; Profit Surges by 735 percent
Pay TV and Internet service provider I-Cable Communications Ltd will launch 17 new channels this year in a drive to overtake market leader Pacific Century CyberWorks (PCCW) by 2005 after its net profit jumped 735 percent last year.
Net profit for the I-Cable group rose to US$21.4 million in 2001 from US$2.3 million in 2000 thanks largely to a recovery by its broadband Internet unit, which reduced its net loss by more than half to US$6.4 million, according to i-Cable chairman Stephen Ng. Net profit, however, was lower than the US$22.1 million predicted by most analysts. Turnover for 2001 stood at US$247 million.
The company’s broadband operations were also profitable during the fourth quarter of 2001. Ng said he hoped this trend towards profitability by the company’s broadband subsidiary would continue in 2002. In contrast, the company’s pay-TV operations were relatively weak in 2001 with turnover rising just four percent to US$205 million.
I-Cable also announced that its residential broadband subscribers more than tripled to 160,000 in 2001 from 50,000 the year before. Ng said his company’s a 32 percent market share made him hopeful of becoming the top broadband provider within three years, replacing PCCW, Hong Kong’s dominant telco. He also said that the anti-piracy measure introduced by the company in 2001 would prove effective and help increase the company's profitability in 2002.
Most analysts, however, were skeptical of this forecast and warned that i-Cable might have trouble maintaining its growth rate in 2001 if Hong Kong’s broadband market fails to meet projections that see subscribers rising to 800,000 households. Broadband contributed 17 percent of i-Cable's turnover in 2001.
I-Cable's pay-TV subscribers increased some eight percent to 560,000 subscribers while ARPU was seven percent lower at some US$29 per month. i-Cable will launch 17 new channels by the end of May to generate additional revenue and draw new subscribers. Six channels will feature pay-per-view adult programs, four would carry World Cup-related programs while the rest would be a mixture of foreign language channels.
Isro looking ahead to Insat-3A launch
The success of the indigenously built Insat-3C launch is behind it. The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is now working full steam for the launch of its next multi-purpose third generation satellite Insat-3A from Kourou in French Guiana sometime in September or October.
The satellite is in advanced stages of integration at the Isro satellite centre in Bangalore, reports United News of India. Over the next few months the satellite will undergo a series of tests before being transported to the Arianespace spaceport in the South America.
Unlike Insat-3C which was purely a communications satellite, Insat-3A will also have a meteorological payload in addition to a dedicated transponder for search and rescue operations.
TVB BETS ENGLISH FA CUP TV RIGHTS
From TSI CHANNEL NEWS - Number 11/2002 (17.03.2002)
TVB has snatched rights to English FA Cup matches from rival broadcaster Cable
TV, after a deal with UK-based Octagon CSI International. Cable TV, which
traditionally airs the matches, also lost them last season to ESPN Asia, but
managed to claw back some of the later games after a deal with the sports
channel. As well as the FA Cup tournament, Octagon - part of the Interpublic
Group - also shares the international rights to the FA Premier League matches
with Newscorp and Sport+, after a three-year deal signed last year. Under that
deal, Newscorp distributes the Premiership matches in Asia, Australasia and
North America, and Sport+, a division of the Vivendi Universal, distributes
them in Western Europe. Octagon’s television production and distribution arm,
Octagon CSI, distributes the Premiership in Eastern Europe, the Middle East,
Israel, Africa and South and Central America.
TVB to Air Two Channels in China Hotels
Television Broadcasts Ltd (TVB), Hong Kong's dominant broadcaster, said that its Chinese joint venture partner would carry two of its channels in leading hotels.
TVB said its enlarging foothold in China provides for China International Television Corp (CITVC) to air the 24-hour TVB8 and Xing He channels in three-star and five-star hotels. TVB will pay CITVC US$200,000 a year for this service. TVB8 is a free-to-air entertainment channel while Xing He is a subscription channel carrying drama serials.
TVB is among the most widely watched channels in China’s southern Guangdong province, but it is technically banned there under China's rules limiting foreign media. TVB will also sell the integrated receiver decoders to hotels through CITVC, a unit of state-run China Central Television.
NASDA Launches WINDS Project as Part of e-Japan
Japan’s National Space Development Agency (NASDA) has said it will launch its “Wideband InterNetworking engineering test and Demonstration Satellite” (WINDS) in 2005 with commercial operations by 2010.
NASDA’s WINDS project will demonstrate technologies necessary to construct the satellite-based ultra high-speed global fixed wireless communications networks. WINDS is a two-ton class communications satellite capable of 1.5 Mbps -1.2 Gbps uplink and 155 Mbps -1.2Gbps downlink. The satellite will be launched into geostationary orbit over the Pacific Ocean in 2005. Once placed in the designated geostationary orbit, the WINDS satellite will conduct various experiments in cooperation with user organizations in Japan and the Asia/Pacific region. The experiments will include improving connectivity with Internet networks, constructing an information infrastructure for monitoring national territory and disasters and bridging the digital divide.
NASDA is working with the Communications Research Laboratory (CRL), an independent national institution, to develop WINDS, which was initiated as a research and development effort to develop world-class advanced information and telecommunications networks. WINDS supports Japan’s information and technology strategy, which focuses on five priority areas for realizing the “e-Japan Priority Policy Program.”
The WINDS project covers development of the following new technological elements to be put into the practical use around 2010: a multi-beam antenna/multi-port amplifier; an electronically steerable phased array antenna and an onboard baseband switch to identify and switch the destination of high-speed data transmitted from the ground. Plans call for the development of very small aperture terminals (VSATs) with 45-cm diameter antennas (comparable in size to those designed for home use) for receiving data of more than 100 Mbps and transmitting 1.5-Mbps data.
The WINDS project is a component of the program that comprises the Engineering Test Satellite VIII (ETS-VIII) currently under development and the proposed Quasi-Zenith Satellite that aims to clear obstacles for transmitting satellite communications in cities.
Pay only for the channels you watch
MUMBAI: A task force appointed by the Union information and broadcasting ministry has recommended that the government make it mandatory for consumers to pay only for the television channels they watch, and not for a catch-all bouquet of several channels as is the system now.
In this respect, the task force has recommended that a Conditional Access System as the system of monitoring what a consumer is watching (and for how long) by passing and decoding the broadcast signals through a set top box be enforced through the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1955.
At the same time, the unauthorised viewing of channels and their distribution and redistribution of their signals without permission should be made a cognizable offence, the task force has said.
The I&B task force has estimated that cable networks currently reach 38m households in India. At Rs 125 per month per subscriber, this industry is estimated to generate Rs 5,700 crore annually.
The task force, headed by the joint director Rakesh Mohan in the I&B ministry, and including representatives of the broadcasting and cable industry, has recommended a three-tier pricing and technology regime.
The free-to-air channels are to be made available in the present mode directly without set top boxes. The government will regulate and revise the price of this package of free-to-air channels from time to time.
At the second level, consumer preferences and actual watching time of the ‘pay’ or ‘encrypted channels’ will be regulated through the subscriber management system, whose core is the set top boxes.
?No government intervention was considered necessary with regard to the cost of set top boxes or the rates of the individual ‘pay’ channels,” the report said.
The debate on the Conditional Access System gets bogged down when the issue turns to: Who is to pay for the set top boxes? The two pillars of the television market the cable networks and the broadcasters are at loggerheads as to who should make the investment of nearly Rs 5,000 per set top box.
And in an inelastic cable subscription market, where the recovery of even Rs 200 a month for 100 channels is difficult, getting consumers to pay the cost of a set top box may prove to be a nightmare.
With almost all Hindi entertainment, sports and movie channels having turned ‘pay’ and with only a few news and regional channels in the ‘free-to-air’ category, the government-regulated package will be minuscule.
Many ‘free-to-air’ channels, particularly well-performing ones like ‘Aaj Tak’, are also expected to turn ‘pay’ soon. In that sense, some provisions of the report are already redundant.
The report also envisages a third tier of services and pricing with the progressive introduction of Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB) technology. This creates an interactive, return path between the consumer and the service provider and allows for many other services to be provided.
The pricing of these services will be left to the subscribers and service providers to work out. On technical parameters, the report has prescribed that the set top boxes must conform to basic quality standards regulated by the Bureau of Indian Standards.
The capability of the set top boxes, crucial to the pricing of ‘pay channels’ would have to be declared by the set top box manufacturers, and the government should be empowered to obtain information from each level of operation like content producers, cable operators, etc.
The I&B task force on the cable and broadcasting industry was set up in September ’01 after acrimonious complaints of the various industry players against each other.
Broadcasters complained of under-reporting of subscriber numbers, while consumers too had taken up issue that cable operators were over-charging for poor services.
BBC World (India) to launch India centric programmes
With South Asia contributing 35 per cent of its total revenue and India contributing almost 90 per cent of that, BBC World plans to launch more of India centric programmes in the coming months.
According to BBC World sources, outside Europe, India is the most important advertisement revenue earner. In June-July, BBC World will launch a show called ‘Beyond The Boundary’, on great moments in cricket. TWI will produce the half-hour ten-episode programme.
BBC World plans to introduce a new reality show at the same time. BBC World also plans to use cinema advertising for the first time to promote of their show. Earlier it had used radio advertising for the first time to promote Commando.
BBC World is launching ‘Dateline India’ on April 5, with Ms Tavleen Singh as the anchor. Produced by ITV, it will air every Friday at 10:00 p.m. and will be similar to ‘Dateline London’.
teline India will be part of BBC World’s dedicated strip at 10:00 p.m., of locally produced programmes made for broadcast in South Asia, which include Mastermind India, Commando!, Face to Face and India Business Report,” said Mr Narendhra Morar, commissioning editor, regions, BBC World.
The channel, has decided not to run too many shows. India Business report, for instance, has a single subject programme theme, which in April-June will be eminent business personalities. Mastermind India, which remains one of the channel’s key programmes, will go off in June before it comes back in August.
Live chat tonight at 9pm NZ and 8.30 Syd time. Due to daylight savings I will be in there slightly earlier. Once again plenty of news items. There should be something of interest for all readers. At times there is to much news, so I only try and pick the items of most interest. I am trying to work out some kind of news archiving system like the top news sites use. That way each days news items can be searched or you can read the news from any day rather than have it all show on the main page.
I found the new link for RCTI's homepage! www.rcti.tv and yes they have coverage of the Soccer World Cup.
From my Emails & ICQ
Nothing to report
From the Dish
Optus B1 160E 12626 H "ABC Kids, ABC Fly TV, ABC TV Western and a test card" FTA, PIDs 1021/1031, 2308/2309 and 2316/2317.
Agila 2 146E 3614 H The two 10 TV promos have left .
Yamal 102 90E 3823 R "GTRK Dalnevostochnaya" is still on , clear, SR 3200, Fec 3/4, PIDs 4194/4195, 09-17 MSK.
Insat 2DT 55.1E Occasional DD feeds on 3978 R and 3996 L, PAL.
Sky TV eyes set-top boxes with built-in hard drives
Sky TV boss John Fellet says New Zealand viewers should soon be able to buy a set-top box with built-in hard drives.
"The only real question is whether we wait for DVD player capability before we introduce them," says Fellet.
Having a hard drive built in would enable viewers to record programmes with a lot more flexibility than recording to videotape. Viewers could start watching a programme before it had finished recording the end of the show, use the record button as a "pause" control and even record more than one channel at a time.
No decision on technology provider has been made yet, but Fellet is keeping a close eye on both Replay TV and TiVo in the US. Any set-top box with such capabilities would be a high-end product and Fellet says a new way of selling the boxes would be in order.
"We would look to the likes of hi-fi shops or electronic consumer goods stores to sell the boxes in a manner similar to video recorders or TVs today."
Currently Sky boxes are only available through Sky, but Fellet says the next generation of decoder boxes won't be sold like that.
"Now that we're on the digital platform it makes sense to give subscribers the basic box and allow them to go out and buy something more advanced if that's what they want."
Fellet says customers would be able to simply swap the devices over, insert their smart card and carry on watching TV.
"Eventually we expect the decoder side of the equipment to be built in to the TV sets themselves."
Before that happens, however, Sky TV plans to introduce its own form of email, in conjunction with Telecom.
"I like to think of it more as text messaging than email because it doesn't have the full functionality of email with things like attachments."
Fellet says Sky will offer up to 15 email addresses per household on the service.
The email service is in the final stages of implementation and although he won't say when it will be available it, viewers should be able to use the service in weeks rather than months.
(Craigs comment, well the key point is SKY would be passing the cost onto the consumer and letting people buy the box in stores. Let me get this right, they crippled the current OLD boxes by adding intereactive making them frustrating to use. A box that would probably be limited to ONLY viewing Skys channels with no capability to subscribe to any other possible pay tv service. I wonder if they would include an onboard vhf/uhf tuner for tapeing terrestrial shows. Being able to buy your own box might mean they will finally allow you to BUY a card that enables fta 1,2,3,4 Prime, TAB, viewing. After all Sky claims these channels are FREE and the $18 a month is decoder rental only.)
Debts may force Jakarta TV off the air
A satellite operator's demand for repayment of debts comes in the wake of huge deficits at the station
JAKARTA - Indonesia's longest-running television station, the state-owned Televisi Republik Indonesia (TVRI), may go off air if it fails to pay the millions of dollars it owes to a satellite operator.
Despite having gone commercial recently, the most widely accessible TV station in the country, with 400 relay stations, continues to encounter financial difficulties.
Private satellite operator Satelindo is demanding that TVRI now repay its 22.5-billion- rupiah (S$4-million) debt, which matured last year.
Failing that, it has threatened to shut off the transponder used to broadcast TVRI programmes.
Speaking of the impending crisis, TVRI president Sumita Tobing said: 'Our debts to Satelindo are due on March 17. After that, we don't know what will happen because we cannot afford to repay them.'
The TV station also owed 200 billion rupiah to several foreign news agencies, she said.
Pleading helplessness, she told the Koran Tempo daily: 'How can we pay the debts if our deficits have exceeded 90 per cent of our budget?'
The station, which receives a meagre state subsidy of 150 billion rupiah a year, chalks up operational costs of 800 billion rupiah annually.
It is supposed to receive 12.5 per cent of gross revenue from the country's private television stations. But some stations have not been able to pay their dues since the economic crisis.
Ms Sumita, who took over TVRI in June 2000 after years of experience in private TV stations, said the swelling debts were due in part to decades of poor and non-transparent management.
She has blamed corruption and 'civil servant mentality' as the root of TVRI's decline on several occasions.
She helped to resuscitate the station by introducing new programmes which enabled it to compete with the growing number of private stations.
One of the programmes, Dansa Yo Dansa, has revived the popularity of ballroom and Latin dances nationwide and inspired other private stations to run similar shows.
She has also pushed for the privatisation of TVRI which is now awaiting government approval.
It was under her stewardship late last year that the station, which had relied entirely on government subsidies since the mid-80s, began to accept advertisements to boost earnings.
Ms Sumita's efforts to modernise TVRI, established in 1962, include an attempt to get accounts audited by an independent firm but have met stiff resistance from company executives.
They accuse her of practising a 'one-woman-show management'.
Several TVRI directors have been calling for her removal from the station.
Ms Sumita's only response is: 'I don't have time to deal with these kind of things.'
(Craigs comment, is that Tarbs I hear knocking on their door?)
'RCTI' and Indosat sign World Cup TV deal
Commercial Director of Indosat Guntur Siregar and Executive Director of the private television station RCTI Wisnu Hadi signed here on Saturday a US$110,000 cooperation contract, which would enable RCTI to transmit live broadcasts of the 2002 FIFA World Cup matches in Japan and South Korea by utilizing Indosat's TV Link digital network.
"The Indosat TV Link digital network provides a medium through which a television station is able to present in real time to its viewers in Indonesia a live event that is taking place in a different part of the world," Guntur Siregar said.
He stated that the digitized Indosat TV Link provided better audio and video quality than the analog system. The higher compression ratio of the digital system would also require less satellite bandwidth and ultimately reduce the transmission cost.
"We will work hand-in-hand with our counterparts in South Korea and Japan, Korea Telecom and KDD, to provide seamless transmission services to RCTI. Indosat also has an undersea fiber-optic cable network as a backup system in case the satellite-based network experiences any problems," Guntur Siregar said.
Separately, Wisnu Hadi stated that RCTI had prepared various World Cup-related on-air programs, such as quizzes, news, soccer team profiles, world cup history and several off-air activities to pamper its viewers during the course of the 2002 World Cup, from May 31 through June 30.
"We will allocate an average of eight hours per day for broadcasting cup matches. Four hours in the afternoon will be a live broadcast of two matches, and another four hours before dawn will be a delayed broadcast," Wisnu told.
RCTI, which spent $5 million to secure the exclusive rights to be Indonesia's official 2002 FIFA World Cup TV station, is preparing to send up to 20 reporters and cameramen to Japan and South Korea, the two countries cohosting the event.
(Craigs comment, there you go I know there are a lot of Soccer fans out there who read the site.)
News Corp arm in wars again
NDS, the software subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's media empire that is at the centre of a $1 billion hacking lawsuit, has a record of involvement in fierce competitive disputes and has been under investigation by tax authorities.
NDS, the software subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's media empire that is at the centre of a $1 billion hacking lawsuit, has a record of involvement in fierce competitive disputes and has been under investigation by tax authorities.
The Middlesex-based group, which was last week accused of hacking into security systems used by ITV Digital, has an unsettling history for a company so closely involved with News Corporation. Its technology holds the keys to Mr Murdoch's pay-television business, while his sons James and Lachlan sit on the NDS board.
NDS dates back to the emergence of Sky Television, Mr Murdoch's great TV gamble of the late 1980s. Sky needed an encryption security system to ensure that its channels could only be received by paying customers. In 1988 News Corp obtained an exclusive licence to encryption technology developed by Adi Shamir, a professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Jerusalem and one of the world's experts on encryption.
A company was set up in Jerusalem to commercialise the technology; it was later merged into NDS. Today commercial functions are largely carried out in the UK, in Staines, but to this day research and development is still conducted in Jerusalem.
It was the beginning of a commercially successful operation. In 2001 the company turned over £215.6 million, with less than half its business coming from non-News Corp affiliates, and made a profit of £41.3 million. It was floated on Nasdaq in November 1999, but News Corp still owns 97 per cent of the voting shares.
In October 1996, NDS's Israel offices were raided by tax officials pursuing $150 million of allegedly concealed income. The action was settled 18 months later in a compromise deal that saw NDS pay $4 million, but it continues to deny any wrongdoing.
By the time of the settlement, NDS was involved in a different row between BSkyB, then 40 per cent owned by News Corp, and the predecessor to ITV Digital. NDS had tried to win the ITV Digital technology contract, even though it was a significant new competitor to Sky, but lost out to French pay-TV group Canal Plus in February 1998.
BSkyB's chief executive Mark Booth threatened legal action, claiming ITV Digital had picked an incompatible technology. A writ was issued but the action was dropped, with BSkyB saying it did not want to "highlight the [technical] advantages of Sky's box".
One technical advantage emerged early in 1999. According to the lawsuit filed by Canal Plus, a pirate copy of its source code first emerged on the internet on March of that year. Once that was freely available, the system's security was fatally compromised.
Canal Plus claims it was NDS that hacked the source code and had it distributed. NDS denies the allegation vigorously. What is certain is that whoever the attacker was, a hack would have required several months of work, industrial equipment and a high level of technical expertise. Several governments, universities, and companies - including NDS - have this capability.
NDS hosts anti-piracy event
With somewhat ironic timing given the NDS/Canal Plus piracy dispute, the AEPOC (European Association for the Protection of Encrypted Works and Services) yesterday (15/3/02) issued a report of its Board of Directors meeting held in London on 22nd February 2002, hosted by BSkyB and NDS.
In it AEPOC highlighted the importance of strengthening the power of Europol so that it could carry out strong action to resist cyber-crime in the audio-visual sector. Aepoc says it has always been in the front line to support any initiative at European level with regard to technological measures. The Secretary General revealed the programme of a training course to be addressed to the Police Bodies and to the other relevant authorities of the European Union and of the accession countries.
The irony increases as this course deals with piracy against conditional access systems - as well as fraudulent reception of encrypted signals. It is based on technical, commercial and investigative experiences collected by the Aepoc Members in the last active years of anti-piracy effort. "Europe needs to witness the setting up of a special department inside Europol with special technical resources and tools for investigation in order to resist criminal activity. It is also necessary to stimulate the co-operation between national authorities, and in particular between the Police Forces operating in the various countries, the TLC operators and players who know the relevant field better than any others," says Aepoc.
Its position paper recently submitted to the European Commission proposed such an initiative concerning the setting up of a specific working group at Europol, bringing together technical, judicial and investigative expertise. Consequently, Aepoc will support the Spanish Presidency's measures to be adopted in order to make the Information Society environment safer, and is going to strongly support the proposal to establish an "Alert and Technological Research Centre" within the framework of Europol.
The next Aepoc meeting will be held in Madrid during June and the Europol issue will be the main matter discussed. It is part of the strategy of the Association to aim at the creation of a transnational effort and to lobby in connection with any problem and any possible innovative root against audio-visual piracy.
AEPOC members include Betaresearch GmbH, BskyB, Canal+, Canal+ Polska, Canal+ Technologies SECA, Eutelsat, Irdeto Access BV, Motorola, NDS Ltd., NTV-Plus, Pace Micro Technology, Philips Digital Networks, Premiere, Rai, Sogecable, Societe Europeenne des Satellites, Stream, Telenor Conax, Tele+, Thomson, TPS, Viacess SA France Telecom.
Foxtel head attacks Stokes
FOXTEL chief executive Kim Williams has lashed out at Seven network executive chairman Kerry Stokes, saying it was "bewildering" that he would not accept Foxtel's latest offer to carry his C7 pay-TV sports channel.
In a fiery outburst, Mr Williams said Mr Stokes "was not a poor struggling creature" and had yet to make a significant investment in the industry.
He said Foxtel had spent $1.2billion developing the business, excluding the cost of rolling out the cable.
"Where is his investment? Where is his commitment?" he said.
Mr Williams said correspondence between Seven and Foxtel proved the pay-TV operator had made an offer to carry C7 in 2001 and again this year.
The latest deal is for C7 to be on a "tier" (so a subscriber must buy Foxtel's basic package and then pay extra for C7), but the letters show C7 wants to be on the basic service and have a "suite of channels".
Last night, Foxtel received a letter from Seven's head of new media Steve Wise asking to meet Mr Williams. It repeated the broadcaster's position that C7 was "not interested in a one-channel service".
Seven has won through courts the right to provide analogue pay-TV services on the Telstra cable used by Foxtel and access to Foxtel's set-top boxes, but Foxtel and Seven have not agreed access conditions.
Seven says it wants C7 on the "basic" service, alongside the Fox Sports channels, so they were on a level playing field.
But Mr Williams said C7 had been content to broadcast on a tier with regional pay-TV operator Austar.
"But of course there's a different rule with Foxtel because he wants a free lunch, breakfast and dinner and on silver service with a restaurant full of waiters," he said.
Mr Stokes' demand that C7 be broadcast to Foxtel subscribers paying a basic subscription indicated he was not confident viewers would pay for his product, the Foxtel chief said.
"We have a good faith offer on the table where he can access 100 per cent of the Foxtel boxes without any additional cost to him and where we accept all the administration and carriage costs," he said. "He just has to have confidence in his own service.
"The offer is there and it's up to him to make the investment and create the product, but he wants a free ride."
Mr Williams denied his outburst was linked to the Foxtel-Optus industry restructuring which is now being assessed by the competition regulator.
"The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has not in the course of the Optus discussions raised C7 once with us," he said.
But he was incensed at Mr Stokes' comments about the Foxtel and Optus restructure creating a "monolith" when his own executives had previously said pay-TV was a minnow compared to free to air TV.
A Seven spokesperson said they wanted C7 provided on terms similar to other content providers so it could add to the diversity of choice on pay-TV. "We are considering their offer as we are considering the future of C7," he said.
C7: Foxtel goes on offensive as Seven offers an olive branch
Mr Stokes ... accused of wanting 'a guaranteed financial outcome'.
Foxtel boss Kim Williams vowed yesterday that Seven Network chairman Kerry Stokes would not block Foxtel's broader pay TV ambitions, declaring that Australia's largest pay TV company would not be "sued into submission".
His comments came as Seven's pay TV chief, Steve Wise, proffered an olive branch in the drawn-out battle to broadcast Seven's nascent C7 sports pay TV channel on the Telstra-owned Foxtel cable, suggesting that he and Mr Williams meet.
Despite four years of negotiations and three Federal Court decisions in its favour, Seven has been unable to agree with Foxtel on the price it should pay to broadcast C7 over the Foxtel cable. Resolution of the long-running dispute has suddenly gained new urgency in the wake of Foxtel's radical proposal to share programming with its metropolitan rival, Optus.
Regulatory approval for the Optus agreement could hinge on Foxtel striking a deal with Seven over access to its cable. Communications Minister Richard Alston has said that it was important that the Foxtel/Optus proposal ensured smaller providers such as C7 could access substantial pay TV audiences.
Mr Williams yesterday rejected suggestions that Foxtel would have to concede some ground to Mr Stokes's Seven Network on access if it wanted to achieve its larger ambitions of sharing programming with Optus and securing government protection for digitalisation of its cable.
"Do we have to amuse and satisfy Kerry Stokes in order for us to continue to operate our business successfully? I don't think so," said Mr Williams.
Seven has already publicly indicated that is likely to reject Foxtel's recent offer to let Seven set the price charged for the C7 sports channel, with both companies splitting the subscription revenue equally. Seven wants a range of channels to be included as part of the basic service which every Foxtel customer receives, rather than as part of a "tier" which costs extra.
Mr Williams yesterday labelled Seven's offer "highly resistible', likening it to a "free ride".
"With Foxtel, Kerry Stokes wants a guaranteed financial outcome. That's preposterous," said Mr Williams. "This is a business that has $1.2 billion invested in it. Where are Kerry Stokes's colours in subscription television? They're in a bunch of lawyers' offices. We will not be sued into submission."
Both Foxtel and Seven claim they are open to commercial negotiations. Yesterday new media chief Mr Wise wrote to Mr Williams reiterating Seven's desire for an agreement that covers a "suite of channels in basic, competitively priced and for a term that puts C7 on a competitive footing". "C7 is not interested in a one-channel service on a tier for a limited period," wrote Mr Wise.
Veering away from the recent war of words between the two companies, Mr Wise suggested that he and Mr Williams meet to "progress" the access issue.
Mr Williams also dismissed Mr Stokes's recent warning that the Foxtel/Optus agreement would create a "monolith" which could control the Australian media. "I don't see in any way that the Optus agreement threatens Kerry Stokes," he said yesterday, claiming that Foxtel was the "purest example" of diversity and choice in Australian media.
Intelsat Announces Strategic Acquisitions in First Step for Delivering New Wholesale Global Connectivity Solutions
Date: 18 March 2002
Release Number: 2002- 07
Intelsat Announces Strategic Acquisitions in First Step for Delivering New
Wholesale Global Connectivity Solutions
Washington, D.C., 18 March 2002 - Intelsat, Ltd. today announced two planned
acquisitions that represent a significant first step in Intelsat's efforts
to assemble a new ground-based infrastructure to complement its global
satellite system. Intelsat expects to use this ground-based infrastructure
to begin offering hybrid space/terrestrial services in a new service
portfolio called "Global Connectivity Solutions." Hybrid services in this
family are being designed to address increasing customer demand for one-stop
shopping and end-to-end services. In addition, these acquisitions are
intended to bring Intelsat closer to its customers in the U.S. market.
Specifically, Intelsat has signed an agreement to acquire the World Systems
business unit of Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT), including existing
service contracts with World Systems' customers for Intelsat capacity as
well as earth stations located in Clarksburg, Maryland and Paumalu, Hawaii.
Under the agreement, Intelsat would also purchase the teleport facilities
and related assets of COMSAT Digital Teleport, Inc. Intelsat further
announced that it had acquired a teleport facility in Fuchsstadt, Germany
from Deutsche Telekom AG. Terms of these transactions were not disclosed.
In addition, Intelsat announced that it has established points of presence
(POPs) connected by fiber at key traffic exchange points in Los Angeles, New
York and London that will be connected to the teleport facilities to be
acquired from Lockheed Martin and Deutsche Telekom.
"These developments clearly demonstrate Intelsat's commitment to provide our
customers with the tools they need to better succeed in their own markets,"
said Conny Kullman, CEO of Intelsat, Ltd. "This move also shows how a
privatized Intelsat has quickly begun to execute its business strategy to
move from a satellite-centric to a network-centric company."
The assets to be acquired under the Lockheed Martin agreement will include:
* All of World Systems' existing service contracts for Intelsat capacity with its customers.
* The assets of COMSAT Digital Teleport, Inc., including a total of 19 antennas (of which 15 are located in Clarksburg, two are located in California, one is located in Maine and one is located in Italy).
* Tracking, telemetry, command and monitoring (TTC&M) earth stations located in Clarksburg, Maryland and in Paumalu, Hawaii. These are two of the six major earth stations that Intelsat uses to monitor and control its satellites and are currently operated by World Systems under contracts with Intelsat. The Clarksburg earth station has 11 TTC&M antennas and the Paumalu earth station has seven antennas. The teleport acquired in Fuchsstadt, Germany includes one 18-meter and two
32-meter antennas and operating facilities.
John Stanton, President of Intelsat Global Sales & Marketing Ltd., noted, "The agreement with Lockheed Martin represents more than just an infrastructure play as it will allow us to get closer to our customers in the United States and provide them with value-added services."
Ramu Potarazu, President and COO of Intelsat Global Service Corporation, added, "These initial steps represent the first elements of a basic infrastructure we are putting in place for our Global Connectivity Solutions portfolio, while streamlining our current operations. We are planning to expand our terrestrial network throughout the world via additional teleports, associated fiber links and POPs. We are looking to work with our distributors to help us lease or acquire these elements, and expect to partner with these customers to expand our terrestrial network as new opportunities arise." The closing of the Lockheed Martin transaction is subject to regulatory and other approvals and certain other conditions.
Shin Sat says India renews satellite lease
BANGKOK (Reuters) - Shin Satellite Plc, Asia's number two satellite operator, said on Monday India's Department of Space had renewed a lease of seven transponders on the Thaicom III satellite for another six months.
The firm said in a statement the contract was being renewed for a fourth year due to strong demand for satellite transponder capacity in India.
The news is seen as a boon for Shin shares which fell to their lowest level in eight months in late January due to concerns that the launch of a communications satellite in India would damage the firm's revenue.
The mailing list was down over the weekend not my fault Yahoogroups who run this free service was doing a maintenance upgrade. Once again the big NDS story dominates the news section.
The Soundtrack Channel / MC Country on B1 12733V is now Colour bars, FTA still though.
PVR File converter for the Emtech series of receivers is now available this will convert PVR video file format to MPG.
From my Emails & ICQ
From Siam Global
Further to your recent mention of SPLASH, the fta channel on NSS 703 at 57 degrees east , I could not recommend this channel more highly as the very best childrens' program on air If you want your kids to learn as well as be entertained this is the prog for you. It puts Nickleodeon and Cartoon Network to shame. The only conceivable drawback....if it can be called that... is the slight but well pronounced Indian accent of the English spoken, but the hiuge educational benefits greatly outweigh this minor drawback. So if you have kids , give it a try.
From Dave Knight
I have noticed recently (including this arvo). that Channel 10 news
Bulletins are appearing on the Mediasat occasional feed channel.
12336 Vertical, Fec 2/3, SR 30000.
Watching widescreen on a 4x3 TV makes Natarsha look really really skinny.
Found out the quickest/most drastic way to transfer files. With Emtech 300
You have to physically remove the HDD from the EmTech and put in a spare
slot on the IDE bus of a PC.
The PC recognises it as just another HDD. Much Faster than using the USB port
From Bill Richards
Optus B1 12428 V 6110 3/4 Astralink "Clipsal 500 Car Race Adelaide South Australia" Feed
Soundtrack Channel Seen FTA on B1, 12733V (NZ Beam)
From the Dish
Optus B1 160E 12428 V "V8 race feeds" , Sr 6110, Fec 3/4.
Palapa C2 113E 3760 H "Globe Vision" mux is still on , FTA, Sr 26100. Fec 3/4
Asiasat 3 105.5E 4140 V "The test card" is now encrypted.
Thaicom 3 78.5E 3551 H "The God Channel" has left again, replaced by a test card.
Launch window for the launch of Astra 3A & JCSAT 8 with Ariane on 29 March:
News Corps top lawyer fights $1bn Canal Plus action
THE News Corporation’s most senior legal counsel is involved in the defence of a $1 billion (£703 million) lawsuit against the media and communications company’s NDS technology subsidiary.
The defence of the lawsuit, filed by Canal Plus of France on Monday, and the preparation of a countersuit are being handled by the New York legal department of News Corp, parent company of The Times.
In a sign of the importance of the legal dispute to News Corp, Arthur Siskind, group general counsel and a News Corp board member, has been working on the lawsuit with lawyers from NDS.
News Corp is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit. However, it owns 79 per cent of the UK-based NDS, which is accused of encouraging piracy by sabotaging security measures behind digital television smartcards made by a subsidiary of Canal Plus.
Canal Plus, the French media subsidiary of Vivendi Universal, a rival to News Corp, has accused NDS of a “sophisticated and well-funded” effort to crack its smartcard security codes and post them on the Internet. It is alleged that this has allowed counterfeiters to watch pirated channels on services such as Britain’s ITV Digital, which loses up to £100 million a year through piracy.
It has been alleged that an employee of NDS had links to one of the websites used to post the Canal Plus security codes on the Internet.
Canal Plus is seeking more than $1 billion in damages from NDS. ITV Digital is also considering launching its own legal action. NDS has dismissed the allegations as “outrageous and baseless” and is preparing a counterclaim against the French group. NDS says Canal Plus’s technology was cracked because of its “inferior nature”.
Both parties are waiting for the imminent appointment of a judge to hear the case in a Californian court.
French agents probe Murdoch firm
Secret Service checks claim NDS stole secrets
· Canal Plus seeks $3bn in punitive damages
The French secret service is investigating Rupert Murdoch's digital encryption company, NDS, over allegations that it cracked a French firm's technology and disseminated it over the internet so it could be pirated.
It has also emerged that NDS now faces a damages claim of $3 billion, triple the amount originally thought.
Sources in the French broadcasting industry say the secret service's industrial espionage division is now investigating the UK-based firm, in which Murdoch's News Corp holds 80 per cent of the shares and 97 per cent of its voting rights.
The unit started its inquiries after Canal Plus Technologies, a subsidiary of French media giant Vivendi, filed a lawsuit against NDS in a Californian court last Monday.
'This affects French industrial policy, it's to be expected that the secret service is looking into the matter,' said one well placed source.
CPT alleges NDS dedicated a team of scientists to cracking its smart card technology. The codes were then placed on a website, DR7.Com, where they could be downloaded by card counterfeiters.
The French company is suing NDS for 'harm in excess of $1 billion', accusing it of violating a number of American laws, including the Racketeer-influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act.
However, as the act states that plaintiffs are 'entitled to treble damages and to the costs of this suit, including the plaintiffs' reasonable attorney's fees', NDS could face a claim for $3bn.
NDS describes the allegations as 'baseless' and threatens to counter-sue.
Dr Abe Peled, chief executive of NDS, said CPT's problems stemmed from 'the failure of its business plan to contain measures to protect against piracy and its failure to deal with piracy once it began'.
However, Francois Carayol, CPT chief executive, said: 'We believe NDS did illegally attack our technology. They spent a lot of time and money on this.'
The suit against NDS threatens to envelop Murdoch's sons, James and Lachlan, who are both directors of parent company News Corp. James Murdoch joined the board of NDS two years ago, while Lachlan was appointed in February.
'The bottom line is that if it is shown that they knew or ought to have known what was going on they could be personally liable,' said Steven Philippsohn, senior partner with law firm Philippsohn, Crawfords, Berwald, which specialises in internet fraud.
CPT could produce a whistleblower in the forthcoming court case. Legal experts point out CPT is not taking legal action against Al Menart, the operator of the DR7.com site, who is named in the lawsuit as assisting in the 'conspiracy'.
This is not the first time NDS has been involved in controversy. In 1996 Peled, was arrested on tax evasion charges by the Israeli authorities, who simultaneously issued a warrant for the arrest of Rupert Murdoch. The charges were later dropped.
Set-top science gives Murdoch new headache
It's back to court for News Corp's NDS
It is essential for the smooth running of Rupert Murdoch's international satellite empire, but it's given him a headache on more than one occasion. NDS, a seemingly innocuous 80 per cent-owned subsidiary of News Corporation, the media goliath controlled by Mr Murdoch, has the sort of history that would make a good programme on one of News Corp's TV channels. NDS's past is dotted with claims and counter-claims of fraud and corporate espionage, and last week it found itself accused of sabotage against its competitors.
NDS develops the encryption technology that prevents users getting satellite channels for free; it also makes the software in a set-top box used to decode satellite signals and turn them into a TV programme. It has a stock market listing in the US and its headquarters in the UK (in Staines, Middlesex); it conducts its research and development in Israel and sells its wares around the world. Customers include News Corp companies such as BSkyB in the UK and Star TV in Asia, but it also sells to competitors.
Headed by former IBM scientist Abe Peled, NDS also has Rupert's sons, James and Lachlan, on the board to make sure it's doing the job right.
But according to French pay-TV group Canal Plus, the company has a sideline in sabotaging its competitors. Last week it went to a US court to sue NDS for $1bn (£704m). The claim alleges that NDS spent "large amounts" of money working out how to crack the security code of Canal Plus' encryption technology, then put this information on a website. Tech- nology whizz kids could use it to get the pay-TV service of Canal Plus for free.
NDS calls these claims "baseless" and says it plans to counter-sue. But is NDS to blame, or is it the victim of a bigger battle? After all, Canal Plus is owned by Vivendi Universal, run by Jean-Marie Messier, one of Rupert Murdoch's main challengers for the title of the world's leading media mogul. Relations between Mr Messier and Mr Murdoch are rumoured to be souring, and this court case is likely to fuel the gossip.
It's not the first time NDS has hit the headlines. The intriguing tale of the Anglo-Israeli firm goes back to the early 1990s, when Mr Murdoch was just starting his Sky TV service in the UK. Crucial to his new venture was a bit of technology called Videocrypt, which encoded the satellite signal so that only paying subscribers could see the picture. It was made by NDS, at the time known as News Datacom.
Although News Corp had recently gone through a debt crisis, it decided to buy News Datacom from its founders, one of whom was Michael Clinger. It wasn't the last they heard of him.
Mr Clinger was wanted in the US for fraudulent accounting and insider trading. Angry shareholders wanted to sue him over his association with Endo-Lase, a failed medical supplies company. The Securities and Exchange Com- mission, the US financial regulator, didn't take too kindly to Mr Clinger's actions, either, and fined him $810,000 for inflating the company's accounts.
He then tried his luck at News Corp. Unbeknown to Mr Murdoch, after News Corp had bought News Datacom, Mr Clinger still owned the part of NDS's operations that supplied the plastic cards put into the satellite systems.
News Corp discovered it was being overcharged for his services and in 1996 issued a writ in London's High Court. Amid false allegations that Israel had issued an arrest warrant for Mr Murdoch, Mr Clinger hit back in the Israeli courts, alleging that he had been bugged by News Corp. The British judge, Mr Justice Lindsay, was not impressed and eventually ruled in Mr Murdoch's favour, awarding News Corp around £28m in damages. Mr Clinger hasn't been heard of since.
More than three years on, and NDS is under attack from Canal Plus. The game has got dirty after just a few days; newspapers reported last week that NDS's head of security, Ray Adams a former policeman was involved in the investigation into the murder of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence, and was allegedly linked to one of the suspects, although he was cleared of any wrongdoing in the subsequent Macpherson report. He was also investigated over allegations of "improper relations" with gangster Kenneth Noye, which were found to be untrue.
NDS has itself put the knuckle-dusters on. It says that Canal Plus attempted to merge with it last year, using the "baseless allegations" in the writ as leverage. It has also claimed Canal Plus tried to poach the very employee who allegedly gave the encryption code to a hacking website. It looks like the start of another long and tortuous court ordeal for News Corporation.
Top Murdoch lawyer to fight hacking claim
Rupert Murdoch has called in his most senior legal adviser to fight a $1bn (£700,000) court claim that a subsidiary of his News Corporation helped hackers spread across the internet secrets about the technology used by his pay TV rivals, including ITV Digital.
Arthur Siskind, News Corp's group general counsel and one of Mr Murdoch's closest business confidantes, has been assigned to help NDS, a UK based technology firm 80% owned by News Corp, defend the claim by French firm Canal Plus Technologies.
In a move that underlines how seriously both sides are taking the dispute, the French secret service's industrial espionage team has launched its own investigation into the allegations.
In a suit filed in California last Monday, Canal Plus alleges that NDS employed a "sophisticated and well funded" team of scientists to crack the codes on the smart cards that protect the French company's pay TV systems.
Smart cards ensure that viewers can only watch programmes they have paid for. Canal Plus alleges that following the publication of its smart card codes on the web pirates were able to watch movie and sport pay channels free, depriving it of millions of pounds of revenue.
The struggling ITV Digital, a user of Canal Plus smart cards, said it had lost £100m due to widespread piracy in Britain. ITV Digital is considering launching a legal action of its own, either directly against NDS or indirectly against Canal Plus, over the security of its smart cards.
NDS, which has Mr Murdoch's sons James and Lachlan as directors, has said it plans to vigorously defend the case and is planning a counter claim. Chief executive Abe Peled has described Canal Plus's allegations as "outrageous and baseless". He says Canal Plus has fallen victim to pirates because of the "inferior" nature of its technology.
Mr Siskind and a team of News Corp lawyers in New York are drawing up the defence.
Sources close to Canal Plus suggest the French secret service interest was prompted by the financial and reputational damage the hacking has caused Canal Plus, which is a large French employer. It is a subsidiary of French media giant Vivendi Universal.
Evidence in the hands of the Guardian suggests that a former Scotland Yard commander employed by NDS helped finance a UK hacker who actively distributed ITV Digital smart card codes across the internet.
Ray Adams, head of security for NDS UK, was in regular contact with Lee Gibling, a hacker who published ITV Digital codes through his House of Ill Compute website. NDS also paid several thousand pounds into Mr Gibling's personal bank account.
Mr Adams, who retired from the Met in 1993 with back trouble, was investigated following his handling of two of the most significant crime stories of the past two decades: the first involving Ken Noye, the underworld boss convicted of handling gold from the 1983 Brink's-Mat bullion raid, and the second the racist stabbing of Stephen Lawrence.
In the first case, the 1987 investigation centred on claims that Mr Adams - by then head of the force's intelligence gathering arm, SO11 - and other officers had taken bribes and had improper relations with criminal informants. Three years after the internal inquiry began the director of public prosecutions announced there was no evidence to justify charges against Mr Adams.
In the second case the Lawrence family claimed Mr Adams may have had links to Clifford Norris, the criminal father of Dave Norris, one of the chief murder suspects. Mr Adams gave evidence to the Lawrence inquiry for two days. Sir William Macpherson, in the report on the case, concluded that while there were "strange features" to Mr Adams' account, the accusations against him were unfounded.
Mr Adams has insisted that he was unaware the website was publishing the codes. Mr Gibling has now disappeared.
Austar's star finally on rise
FOR someone whose company's survival is on a knife edge, the chief executive of regional pay-TV company Austar United John Porter was surprisingly upbeat last week as he unveiled a $682 million annual loss.
Perhaps it's because, as a 20-plus year veteran of the industry, the American has seen overseas pay-TV companies weather financial storms and eventually become profitable enterprises.
Whatever the reason, Porter told reporters and analysts last week he expects the company to be cash-flow positive this year and eventually provide returns to long-suffering shareholders. But investors, jaded by a string of failed promises, are skeptical.
They have heard Austar outline its plan to be all things to all people.
There was the broadband joint venture in New Zealand, the creation of its own internet and data network in regional Australia, the investment in a pay-TV shopping channel and the $150 million purchase of spectrum in metropolitan areas which provides two-way wireless voice and data services to computers.
That vision has now been pared back to the regional pay-TV business, and Porter has a more realistic approach.
Referring to the spectrum opportunity, he said: "It is a very exciting piece of technology but we are just not able to fund it."
The company's precarious financial position led it to last year outline cost cutting initiatives to save in the region of $90 million a year. And last week it wrote down the value of non-performing investments and assets it has mothballed by $357 million.
Porter, who is suffering with other shareholders as he has 4.6 million worthless Austar options, says the writedowns were appropriate as Austar is refocused as a regional pay-TV play.
So now that Austar has taken its medicine, the question being asked is if and when will it become profitable.
In 2001, Austar generated revenue of $345 million (up 12 per cent) but spent $434.2 million (also up 12 per cent), giving it a loss before interest, tax and depreciation of $89 million.
The majority of the expenses were "programming and communications costs", most of which relate to the amounts paid to the Hollywood film studios and others for content. In the fourth quarter, it reduced those costs by 11.9 per cent, but for major cost reduction to occur it needs the Foxtel-Optus restructure to be approved.
That will give the industry the leverage required to renegotiate those expensive contracts.
The general appeal of pay-TV could also be broadened if the federal Government allowed changes to the anti-siphoning legislation which restricts the amount of sport seen on pay-TV.
Porter admitted that if the industry did not undertake structural change, especially in relation to the Hollywood studios, Austar's pay-TV subscription base could remain flat another year. There are already signs regional consumers are disenchanted with Austar's offer. While the number of subscribers grew 2.6 per cent to 432,056 over the year, fourth-quarter subscriptions fell by 2664 from the previous quarter.
That led to the monthly revenue per user falling to its lowest level for the year to $54.10.
Porter wants to reduce programming costs and pass savings on so Austar can attract pay-TV subscribers willing to pay only about $30 a month.
That, he says, could double penetration of homes to 40 per cent within three years. But the few analysts who continue to monitor Austar say its problem is it is relying on too many ifs.
"Austar is still a high risk situation in our opinion and to achieve cash-flow profit in any short period requires a downward adjustment to existing content arrangements and renewed cost effective subscriber growth," UBS Warburg analyst Tony Wilson said.
Austar also has only $103 million cash to fund itself to a cash-flow positive position, and Wilson does not believe that's enough. He believes Austar will start selling its mothballed assets this year, such as the metropolitan spectrum and its remaining 41 per cent stake in NZ group TelstraClear.
Others have also speculated that Telstra, the 50 per cent owner of metropolitan pay-TV group Foxtel, has been eyeing Austar's interactive TV platform. Foxtel is likely to digitise if it gains the right regulatory environment, and its partners hope to offer interactivity by March next year.
But the complex back-end platform needed to support interactivity takes at least a year to develop, and the purchase of Austar's advanced system would fast-forward plans.
Also, as part of Austar's $400 million debt refinancing, Austar's parent company UnitedGlobalCom agreed to place an extra $30 million in a contingency account. Porter maintains it is unlikely the funds will be needed.
Salomon Smith Barney analyst George Colman said the debt refinancing was on better terms than he had expected, and believes the fair value of Austar's shares to be 83c compared to Friday's close of 25.5c.".
In 2002, Porter said, Austar would bed down its restructuring and seek to lower pay-TV and internet churn. Shareholders will be hoping it can deliver.
Australis suit still on the go
LESS than two weeks after the main pay-TV groups agreed on a restructure, bondholders of failed pay-TV group Australis Media are continuing to seek damages from The News Corporation Ltd and the Hollywood studios.
The bondholders, who were collectively owned $US445 million when Australis went into liquidation in 1998, have employed New York lawyers Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach.
The firm filed a statement of claim against News and the Fox, Paramount, Universal and Sony movie studios in New York's Supreme Court in 2000.
The claim centres on the deal by Foxtel (then 50 per cent owned by News, which also owns The Australian) to agree to pay Australis $US3.5 billion over 25 years for movie programming.
The bondholders claim News and the studios sought to force Australis into insolvency so they could terminate the deal.
"News ... embarked upon a deliberate campaign to do whatever was necessary to get out from under the multi-billion-dollar financial obligations the agreement imposed on News," the 106-page claim states.
And it said News procured the co-operation of the studios to "facilitate the termination of Australis's valuable contractual relations with the studios".
But a News spokeswoman, who noted that Foxtel had tried to merge with Australis, said the company, "rejects the claims entirely".
"They (the claims) are utterly wild and the case is being run by a contingency fee law firm and we regard it as a try-on," she said.
The spokeswoman also said the court had decided three weeks ago not to allow the bondholders access to a raft of Foxtel documents they had been seeking.
The bondholders are being represented in Australia by the Watson Mangioni law firm, but The Australian was told the bondholders would not allow a representative to speak to the newspaper as it was owned by News.
Stokes keen to extract better C7 offer from Foxtel partners
Kerry Stokes's Seven Network is holding out for a better offer from Foxtel that will enable it to broadcast multiple pay TV channels over the Telstra-owned cable, rather than just Seven's struggling C7 sports channel.
After struggling for years to gain access to the Foxtel cable to broadcast its fledgling C7 pay TV channel, Seven Network has yet to officially reject Foxtel's recent offer to carry C7.
However, Seven has made it clear it is unlikely to accept the proposed terms. Seven maintains it is happy to meet Foxtel to discuss "commercially agreeable terms" for access to the cable but it does not consider the current offer attractive.
Foxtel has told Seven it can set the subscription price for the C7 sports channel and the two companies will split the revenue generated.
But Foxtel will not include C7 as part of its basic pay TV service that every customer receives. Subscribers are unlikely to pay extra for the meagre C7 sports offering, when they can have the Fox Sports channels instead, which carry the prime winter sports of AFL and NRL.
Seven will decide by the end of this month whether to keep operating C7.
In this context it is seeking a broader agreement with Foxtel which will enable it to broadcast multiple pay TV channels - rather than just C7 - over the cable. However, Foxtel maintains that it has only one channel left available on its analog cable, which it is prepared to reserve for C7.
Seven views Foxtel's current offer as a Clayton's offer, given it was made just days before Foxtel struck its deal with rival Optus to share programming.
If Seven and Foxtel are unable to reach agreement on access, this could undercut Foxtel's chances of winning Australian Competition and Consumer Commission approval for the Optus deal.
Representatives from Foxtel, its shareholders Telstra, News Ltd and Publishing & Broadcasting, and proposed partner Optus met the ACCC last week to outline the program deal and Telstra's plans to bundle pay TV, telephony and Internet services.
The ACCC has informed media and telecommunications players that it will be seeking their views on the mooted agreements but has yet to formally call for submissions.
Both Foxtel and Optus are pushing for a speedy decision from the ACCC but other industry players believe the competition watchdog will drag its heels until the outcome of the current review of the cross-media and foreign ownership laws is known.
No update On Sunday
More news on the NDS / Vivendi Canal+ saga it seems Mr Murdochs really done something silly this time. It may be the end of him!! thats how major!
Site updates a bit late have been watching the NZ vs England Cricket match NZ was chasing 550 to win. NZ was 300/9 and the injured Chris Cairns came in. Then Astle proceeded to totally destroy Gilchrists world record of the fastest double hundred he bought up his 200 off 153 balls about 60 quicker than the old record! hitting 11 sixes and 28 fours. England winning by 98 with a day to spare not that anyones talking about that!
Saturn mux on B1, 12733 V has Soundtrack / Music country FTA at the moment.
V8 Race Feeds reported Today on B1 12430 V SR 6110 Fec 3/4 same as yesterday
From my Emails & ICQ
From Chris Pickstock 15/03/02
7.10 pm SA time
B1, 12397 H, sr 7200, V 308, A 256 "Wollongong v Brisbane, National Soccer League"
From the Dish
Optus B1 160E 12733 V "The Soundtrack Channel" has started in the Saturn mux , FTA, Sr 22500, Fec 3/4, PIDs 512/650. Note its timesharing with Music Country also FTA
Apstar 1A 134E 3886 V "I-Cable promo" has started, Sr 5000, Fec 3/4, PIDs 4130/4131.
Palapa C2 113E 3707 H "Myawady TV is back/still on" , Fta, Sr 5926, Fec 3/4, PIDs 4194/4195.
Palapa C2 113E 3733 H "Singapore International TV" has left .
Palapa C2 113E 3760 H "The Globe Vision" mux has left .
Asiasat 3 105.5E 4140 V A test card has started on , FTA, PIDs 43/44.
Asiasat 3 105.5E 4140 V "Alpha TV Gujarati, Zed TV and Alpha TV Punjabi" are encrypted again.
PAS 10 68.5E 3863 V "Fashion TV" is now encrypted.
Spy charge sparks TV war
LONDON - A case of alleged industrial sabotage involving one of Rupert Murdoch's companies took a twist this week with claims that merger talks have been replaced by all-out warring.
The television arm of media giant Vivendi Universal filed a multibillion-dollar lawsuit on Monday accusing Murdoch-controlled technology company NDS Group of trying to destroy its rivals by encouraging piracy.
In what looks like escalating into a corporate slugging match between Murdoch and Vivendi boss Jean-Marie Messier, the two companies have sharply differing versions of events.
Britain-based NDS said it had been approached in December by Vivendi's television arm, Canal Plus, about a technology merger, kicking off negotiations which sources close to the companies said had continued until Friday last week.
Paris-based Canal Plus countered that by saying it had been approached by NDS in September about a merger.
Canal Plus said that it unveiled the findings of its piracy investigation to NDS in December and had sought an amicable solution until last week.
"This makes the whole situation very mysterious," said one industry expert, pointing out that it would be strange for Canal Plus to prepare a lawsuit at the same time it was discussing a merger.
The length of the talks also suggests top executives such as Messier and Murdoch would have been involved.
Paris-based Canal Plus alleges that NDS spent six months in an Israeli laboratory cracking the code on its "smart card',' which gives paying customers access to a pay-TV service.
The lawsuit, filed in a United States district court in California, alleges that NDS then distributed the code to counterfeiters by posting it on a website.
The degree of detail in Canal Plus' allegations suggest it may have information from a former NDS employee, analysts say.
NDS said it was preparing a counterclaim, alleging that the piracy problem was "solely due to the inferior nature of Canal Plus' ... technology".
As part of its defence, NDS alleges that Canal Plus had unsuccessfully been trying to hire the employee it claims gave its code to the website www. DR7.com.
Canal Plus said NDS' action had caused damages of more than US$1 billion. It is claiming "treble damages" plus legal costs.
NDS claims Canal Plus used its "baseless" allegations to gain leverage in negotiations over a merger between NDS and Canal Plus Technologies.
But Canal Plus said it had been talking about an amicable solution over its piracy claims.
Canal Plus is claiming damages of more than US$3 billion ($7 billion) from NDS.
If Canal Plus' piracy allegations were proven, they would present one of the most serious cases of industrial sabotage Europe has ever seen and would be an acute embarrassment to Murdoch and his News Corp empire, which owns 80 per cent of NDS.
NDS and Canal Plus compete in providing systems for pay television operators.
NDS technology is used in 27.3 million set-top boxes around the world and Canal Plus technology in 12.5 million boxes.
News Corp stresses that NDS is an independently run company. But Murdoch's son James Murdoch, who runs News Corp's satellite-TV arm in Asia, and News Corp chief financial officer David DeVoe are both non-executive directors on NDS' board.
News Corp owned 100 per cent of NDS until November 1999, when it floated 20 per cent on the Nasdaq exchange, but it still holds 97 per cent of the voting rights.
Canal Plus said proceedings were expected to begin over the next few weeks.
It has picked a US court as Canal Plus Technologies is based in the US and NDS is alleged to have passed data on to its operations there.
Canal Plus accuses Murdoch unit of aiding piracy
Rivalry between media mogul Rupert Murdoch and the French chairman of Vivendi Universal Jean-Marie Messier took a nasty twist on Tuesday - a subsidiary controlled by Mr Murdoch was accused of stealing technology and encouraging piracy to undermine Mr Messier's pay-TV businesses.
Canal Plus, the pay-TV arm of Vivendi Universal, announced it was filing a $1bn lawsuit against NDS, the smart-card business controlled by Mr Murdoch's News Corp.
Canal Plus alleges that NDS devoted "large amounts of money" and some of its best engineers to crack a security code used by the French group's digital-TV unit.
Francois Carayol, chief executive of Canal Plus Technologies, said NDS had used sophisticated methods to break he code that went "beyond piracy or hacking".
According to Canal Plus, NDS staff working at an Israeli research and development facility managed to extract the software through electrical and optical examination, notably using chemical washes and ion beams.
"It was really astonishing and surprising for us that our best-kept secret had been exposed and published," Mr Carayol said.
Once the code was put on the internet, criminal organisations flooded the market with counterfeit cards, robbing Canal Plus operations in Italy, Spain and elsewhere of hundreds of millions of euros in revenue.
ITV Digital, the struggling UK digital terrestrial service that uses the Canal Plus technology, is understood to be considering joining the legal action.
The irony is that ITV Digital has been accused of enabling piracy by British Sky Broadcasting, the UK satellite broadcaster also controlled by Mr Murdoch.
NDS said the lawsuit was "outrageous and baseless". Abe Peled, the NDS chief executive, blamed Canal Plus's piracy problems on "the inferior nature of Canal Plus's conditional access technology, the failure of its business plan to contain measures to protect against piracy and its failure to deal with piracy once it began".
Mr Murdoch and Mr Messier on Tuesday stood above the exchange in allegations, but both men are understood to have been aware of the simmering dispute.
Nasdaq-listed NDS is 79.2 per cent owned by News Corp and is the leader in conditional access systems with about double the market share of Canal Plus.
Canal Plus alleges that three years ago, NDS provided the code to Dr7.com, a website specialising in digital television that apparently is used by counterfeiters to swap information.
Partly in response to counterfeit cards, Canal Plus, which has 15m subscribers in Europe, is to replace 8m smartcards.
The lawsuit highlights the extent to which concerns about piracy have spread from music to other media.
The internet has heightened such fears since it can frustrate efforts to trace the providers of the content software.
Note the Following is a Computer Translation , Do not rely on the accuracy of it.
Well Pay TV hacker paid
Did Murdoch let the Pay TV coding of the competition crack?
A daughter of the French mixing company Vivendi universal sued an enterprise of the Australian Medienmultis Rupert Murdochs now for a billion dollar payment of damages. The reproach: Murdochs NDS Group cracked and afterwards in the net launched the Pay TV coding of the competition.
The complaint, which was submitted on Monday with US the District Court in San Jose, sounds like the Plot of a Hollywood film: Thus the Vivendi daughter throwsCanal plus TechnologiesMurdochsNDS Groupforwards end of the nineties in their research labs in Israel the coding of the Canal plus Smart Card to have analyzed. When the code was then cracked 1998, one transferred it to the US company NDS America Inc., in order to launch it from there in the InterNet. In March 1999 the code is then on the WebsiteDR7.compublished. Afterwards the market was almost inundated according to Canal plus with falsified Smart Cards.
In a first reaction NDS, these reproaches explained were terrible "and without each basis". At the same time the company admitted to analyze the Smart Cards of the competition by Reverse engineering in order to understand their function mode and to improve the own safety mechanisms. These results were however never published.
"part of a normal provision of information"
The reproaches against NDS confirmed themselves however yesterday, to be familiar became that the company maintained obviously financial connections to a Smart Card hacker Website. After information of the Guardianit is to concern thereby in the last year the Website "The House OF Ill Compute" (thoic.com), already adjusted. The NDS management financed and beraterisch supported the Website. NDS explained left itself only advised as these reproaches only, one by the operators of the Website. "this was part of a normal provision of information", so the NDS spokeswoman Margot Field opposite the Guardian.
If one believes Canal plus, then these activities caused heavy damage to the company and its customer. Canal plus Technologies supplies world-wide Pay TV offerers with its Smart Card technology. To the customers belong for example the British offerer ITV, which wants alone by Piraterie already 100 million Pound to have lost. Kirchs premiere World sets however on another Smart Card standard. With the determination work against NDS Canal are to have helped plus also members of the Smart Card hacker Community.
After information of the Wall Street Journal the Pay TV industry already longer at the fact it is joked that one could chop times the coding procedures of the competition. But nobody considered it possible so far that a company could actually do this. However there are rumors also in the hacker scene for years over the participation of larger companies in the Pay TV black market. Thus in this scene until today also the death citizens of Berlin of the hacker and Smart Card expert Tron with possible unsuccessful enlisting attempts from this industry is brought in connection (see also: Website rolls the death up of a hacker again Tron was called for example of representatives of the company NDS "one the best Piraten of the whole world".
(Craigs Comment, its not to bad for a translation at least you have some idea of what they are talking about)
Vivendi’s Canal Plus alleges NDS helped steal digital-TV broadcasts
French pay-TV firm sues News Corp. unit for $1 billion
THE LAWSUIT, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif., involves the TV “smart cards” that both companies produce and which are supposed to ensure the secure delivery of digital-TV programming. The cards, which are inserted into set-top boxes, protect satellite and cable-TV signals from being swiped by customers who haven’t paid to receive them.
It is rare, if not unprecedented, for one media company to launch such a frontal assault on another over the issue of piracy, which they all agree is a crucial and potentially destructive problem. But in this case, Canal Plus Group, of Paris, and its Canal Plus Technologies unit allege that NDS in the late 1990s set up a massive operation at its research laboratory in Israel to break the computer code that operates Canal’s smart card. That effort, the suit says, involved “electrical and optical examination of the protected internal software code of the card using expensive machinery designed and operated to defeat Canal Plus Technologies’ protective measures.”
After the code was successfully extracted in 1998, Canal alleges, NDS transmitted it in a digital file to NDS Americas Inc. in California “with instructions that it be published on the Internet,” so that it “would be freely available to anyone who wanted to use it to produce counterfeit” Canal Plus smart cards. The suit says that, in March 1999, the code was published on a Web site that Canal says is frequented by counterfeiters.
After the code was published on the Web, Canal claims, underground markets were flooded with counterfeit Canal smart cards beginning in late 1999.
The lawsuit claims damages of more than $1 billion. It alleges violations of U.S. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and federal copyright laws, as well as a breach of California’s unfair competition statute.
NDS said it hadn’t seen the suit and had no comment. NDS, based in London, is a public company that is 80%-owned by News Corp., though a News Corp. spokesman said the company’s management operates independent of News Corp. News Corp. itself had no comment.
The satellite and cable industries, and Canal Plus in particular, have been hard hit by the piracy of programming via counterfeit smart cards. Canal Plus not only makes and sells the so-called conditional access software, it also operates pay-TV systems throughout Europe. The upshot, says Francois Carayol, Canal Plus Technologies’ chairman and chief executive, is that Canal has been hurt both in its smart-card production and pay-TV businesses.
NDS is the market leader in the conditional access software arena, with about 27.3 million TV watchers world-wide receiving programming protected by its systems. Canal Plus Technologies serves about 12.5 million users.
Richard Doherty, director of research at Seaford, N.Y.-based Envisioneering Group, said there is often “cocktail hour gossip” at TV-industry trade shows regarding the possibility that one company is trying to attack another’s software, “but usually that’s laughed about and nobody runs away to check the veracity of it.” He added that cracking a smart card’s code could be accomplished by groups of people at different locations who have access to powerful computing equipment of their own or their employer’s.
The suit comes at a crucial time for Vivendi’s faltering Canal Plus unit, which hasn’t been profitable for several years. Vivendi Universal Chairman Jean-Marie Messier has begun to pressure Canal’s management to turn things around within the next two years. But Canal Plus Technologies has been one of the unit’s success stories.
Mr. Carayol says that Canal this year plans to roll out a new version of its smart card to subscribers, beginning next month in Spain and continuing through the end of the year. “The emergency behind the swap is definitely the counterfeiting of the cards,” he said, adding that Italian authorities have estimated that millions of counterfeit Canal Plus smart cards are in use in that country alone.
There have been numerous arrests in France related to the sale of counterfeit Canal Plus smart cards. But Canal executives decided, at least for now, to pursue the larger question of how those cards were generated as a civil, not a criminal, matter. According to people familiar with the matter, they decided that a drawn-out criminal case could delay for years their ability to recover financial losses, and there was no guarantee that authorities would pursue the case. Also, there was some hesitance to appear as if Canal was cracking down on hackers, a move that sometimes has generated unfavorable publicity for other companies with similar problems.
Nonetheless, Canal officials said in the suit they were stunned when they discovered that the software code that is imbedded in its smart card was posted on the Web site DR7.com in 1999. Representatives of the site which appears to cater to people with interest in digital TV, computer code and other things couldn’t be reached for comment.
Having identified the public security breach, Canal Plus Technologies engineers set about tracing it. According to people familiar with the matter, they began developing contacts in the hacker community who could help unravel the mystery. Canal’s investigation took nearly three years.
The counterfeit smart cards can be used to pirate TV broadcasts in two ways. In some countries, like Italy, consumers can legitimately buy a set-top box, then break the law by finding a black market vendor to sell them a counterfeit smart card. That enables them to dodge billing for all available programming, including pay-per-view movies and sports. The counterfeit cards also can be plugged into the set-top boxes that Canal customers lease, enabling them to get more programming than they are entitled to.
NDS denies compromising Canal Plus security
NDS, the digital TV and conditional access provider whose R&D is based mostly in Jerusalem, today categorically denied allegations by Canal Plus that it broke its smart card security and published the information on the Web, setting the stage for counterfeit that damaged the French company's reputation and revenues.
After the allegations were made public in the form of a $1b. lawsuit Tuesday, NDS shares fell 26% on Nasdaq, from $16.95 to $10.90.
Analysts such as Deutsche Bank today dropped the company's target price from $40 to $30 and Morgan Stanley, which noted that the suit would have more of a sentiment impact than a business one, still downgraded NDS shares from outperform to neutral. Credit Suisse, however, said it believed Canal Plus had a limited chance of proving its allegations and while admitting that the suit would lend higher risk to NDS shares, maintained its buy rating and $44 price target.
No matter who will eventually be proven right, the damage to the NDS name -- which until now has been wholly identified with the fight against broadcast piracy -- has been done.
What remains is to see how is how extensive the damage will be to the company which commands some 40% of the market that provides digital TV providers with a way to insure only paying subscribers get access to special programming.
NDS President and CEO Dr. Abe Peled, who termed the allegations "outrageous and baseless," said he suspected the lawsuit's motive was connected to a merger proposition Canal Plus brought to its British colleague in Dec. 2001. As late as last Friday, merger talks were still underway.
Canal Plus has "attempted to use these baseless allegations to gain leverage in the negotiations," the NDS press release said.
The context of the lawsuit is three years old and goes back to March 1999, when counterfeit Canal Plus smart cards began to appear on the market, causing damage to both Canal Plus and its clients.
Canal Plus claims that an investigation into the security breach led to NDS, which had sent its smart cards to a laboratory in Israel to have the security software extracted and sent to the US to be posted on a Web site and exploited by counterfeiters all this to provide NDS with a competitive edge.
"NDS's unlawful scheme succeeded," the lawsuit says. "Canal Plus has lost subscribers and now faces claims from client television operators for financial compensation and other remedies due to their losses caused by the theft of programming through counterfeit smart cards."
Analysts today questioned the motive Canal Plus gave for the alleged NDS move, noting that the subsidiary of the News Corp. does not compete head on with Canal Plus, whose business focuses mainly on French TV subscribers.
Peled said in his statement that the French company's security problems were due to "the inferior nature of its conditional access technology, the failure of its business plan to contain measures to protect against piracy, and its failure to deal with piracy once it began."
"The clear evidence is that the pirate community targeted Canal Plus early in 1998 and succeeded without any help from anyone, particularly NDS."
Peled further said "the lawsuit is a blatant attempt by Canal Plus both to deflect criticism of its new generation card, which is not believed to be state of the art and to shift blame for its inadequate technology and its past losses."
According to Beth Erez, VP Israel and Latin America at NDS, the British company's technological security advantage over Canal Plus and other competitors lies in the fact that it designs its own chips instead of buying chips off the shelf from manufacturers.
"That makes it makes it a lot harder to hack our chips," said Erez. "It also makes it easier for us to recover, because we always have another chip in design while the others are dependent on the chip manufacturers."
NDS, which has not yet been served with the Canal Plus complaint, intends to file a counterclaim once it has fully reviewed the suit.
Murdoch security chief linked to TV piracy site
Evidence in the hands of the Guardian suggests that a former Scotland Yard commander who represents two of Rupert Murdoch's companies provided funds to a website that enabled counterfeiters to produce forged smart cards used to defraud ITV Digital, a principal rival in the pay TV market.
Ray Adams, who is the head of security at NDS, a company controlled by Mr Murdoch's News Corporation, had a working relationship with the website, which has now been closed down and whose founder, Lee Gibling, has gone missing.
According to emails in the possession of the Guardian, Mr Gibling was in contact with Mr Adams and received several thousand pounds from NDS paid directly into his personal bank account.
As a representative of NDS and BSkyB, News Corporation's British TV business, Mr Adams is a board member of AEPOC, a European industry action group set up to combat piracy.
Questions about Mr Adams's role have emerged following a legal action begun in California on Monday. Canal Plus, the French media company, is claiming $1bn (£700m) in damages from NDS, alleging it used a laboratory in Israel to crack the secret codes on Canal Plus's own pay TV smart cards. The information was then made available to counterfeiters around the world through favoured websites.
ITV Digital, in fierce competition with BSkyB, uses the Canal Plus access system and claims that piracy in the business has cost it at least £100m.
Last night, Labour MP Martin O'Neill, chairman of the Commons trade and industry select committee, urged the office of fair trading to investigate allegations that ITV Digital's pay TV codes were deliberately cracked and distributed to counterfeiters. He said the broadcaster's "fragile finances" meant it could be driven out of business.
The website, Thoic.com, also known as the House of Ill Compute, was routinely distributing the secret codes used to make counterfeit cards for accessing ITV Digital before its sudden closure last year.
NDS has admitted a financial link with the website, but is adamant that this was part of a legitimate intelligence gathering exercise aimed at keeping a close eye on hackers who might breach its own pay-TV security. The company says it was effectively purchasing intelligence about the hackers who were attracted to the site.
ITV Digital says neither Sky nor NDS should have had any dealings with such a website and believes the Murdoch companies should have stopped any financial support as soon as they realised the internet service was being used to undermine a rival such as itself.
The emails suggest NDS was paying the website's expenses, and even providing them with a second computer "server" when the high level of interest through the internet began to strain their facilities.
One email, from Mr Gibling to Mr Adams reads: "I hope you don't mind me spending so much time on aus and nz activities because I know you cover my work out of your budget."
Another from another NDS employee, Mike Warren, to Mr Gibling says: "Lee - your expenses were signed by R.A and have been taken by hand to finance and received by them last Wednesday I asked that they were dealt with asap."
Mr Adams denies ever having been aware the website published ITV Digital's codes. "We never saw any of those codes," he said. Asked why he had supported the website financially, and what the content of his encrypted messages had been, he said: "I am not allowed to discuss operational matters".
How codebreakers cracked the secrets of the smart card
'Unbreakable' code was posted on the internet
The process was complex, time-consuming, and very expensive. This was not about a lone hacker sitting at a computer screen trying to guess passwords. Instead, it was an attempt to split the foundation stone supporting an entire industry - the technology protecting pay TV.
The challenge handed in the autumn of 1997 to a team of scientists working quietly at a laboratory in Haifa, northern Israel, was to crack the encryption technique used to unscramble TV signals delivered to many paying customers through cable and satellite across Europe and the US.
The so-called "smart" or "conditional access" cards used to access Sky, ITV Digital, and other premium channels contain wafer-thin computer chips holding complex codes to make sure viewers see only what they have paid to see.
The Haifa team knew all about this. They worked for NDS, a Murdoch company which had begun life as a start-up firm, News Datacom, in Israel eight years earlier. Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation had backed the venture in the belief that the coming digital age required a quantum leap in areas such as data security and the encryption of communications.
NDS was to go on and design the encryption process that would be used on the smart cards handed out with every Murdoch pay TV package in the world. With 27m viewers using its cards in 40% of the world's satellite receivers, it would become a company valued at well over $1bn in its own right.
But NDS had one important rival, an encryption technology developed in France by the local broadcaster Canal Plus which had been adopted by just about all News Corporation's rival broadcasters.
The NDS team in Haifi, according to a lawsuit filed in the US district court for the Nothern District of California, set out to "sabotage Canal Plus technological security measures engineered into its smart cards."
Breaking the encryption alone would cost up to $5m. The process demanded the use of ultra-expensive electron-scanning microscopes, with the team probing wafer-thin chips no bigger than a thumbnail. Each chip contained up to 50 layers, with each layer in turn carrying up to 1,000 transistors, every one of which had to be pulled apart and analysed.
Even with access to the most sophisticated equipment and seemingly unlimited funding, it took the Haifa team six months to unravel a code which was supposed to be impossible to decipher.
From there, according to Canal Plus's $1bn claim for damages, it was a relatively straightforward matter of releasing the information and then waiting for the world's counterfeiters to undermine every rival broadcaster using the French encryption system.
In early 1999, the NDS team isolated a piece of the encryption software known as the UserROM, a portion of computer memory on a smart card which controls access to the rest of the digital data. This information was dropped into a downloadable internet file called Secarom.zip, which, according to the Canal Plus claim, was then sent to the Haifa team's colleagues in California at NDS Americas with instructions that it be published on the internet so that anyone wanting to produce pirate Canal Plus cards could do so.
Canal Plus claims that the file was then transferred to a web operator called Al Menart, who ran a website known as DR7.com, a geekish internet service which promptly published the Canal Plus code for all to see.
By late 1999 the first counterfeit cards had begun to appear and, according to Canal Plus, by September 2000 the Italian market was flooded. Proliferation across Europe was in full swing.
The cards have become commonplace in Britain, with ITV Digital complaining recently that more than 100,000 pirate cards are in circulation here.
Executives at ITV Digital, which has struggled to build a strong base of subscribers and which continues to haemorrhage cash, were apparently appalled recently by comments made by Sky's chief executive, Tony Ball, during an address to the company's US investors. "ITV Digital/DTT is completely pirated, a joke. For $7 you can buy a card for all channels," he is reported to have said.
Canal Plus faces the exhaustive process of renewing the technology in the 12 million cards issued worldwide. ITV Digital customers can expect completely new plastic by the end of the year.
François Carayol, chairman and chief executive of Canal Plus Technologies, said: "When it emerged that the most secure part of our smart card system had been invaded we immediately launched an investigation into why and how it happened.
"We certainly didn't expect our investigations to lead us to NDS. It is not the type of action we would have expected from such a well-established firm."
For its part, NDS says the whole piracy claim is an outlandish fabrication. A statement from Abe Peled, the company's president and chief executive, last night said the counterfeiters had simply targeted an inferior technology and succeeded without any help from anyone.
He suggested that Canal Plus is in commercial trouble and revealed that the French firm had approached NDS before Christmas suggesting a merger, adding that the French had been trying to poach the NDS employee accused of leaking Canal Plus's code.
In a pointer to the corporate battle that is unfolding, Mr Peled also drew attention to news reports over recent weeks suggesting disagreement within Canal Plus's parent company, Vivendi Universal, over what direction the French media business should take.
Vivendi, in its current form as a media and communications giant with interests ranging from Hollywood movies to third-generation mobile phones, has been built in double-quick speed by a former investment banker called Jean Marie Messier. He is known as Jean 2M and considered a messianic figure in French business circles, having burst out of the confines of the French national market to create a real threat to Mr Murdoch.
But he built Vivendi with a furious round of acquisitions just as the internet boom was hitting its peak.
Last week he was forced to take a write-down in Vivendi's accounts to cover the value which has been destroyed as dotcom and technology companies have imploded.
The battle with NDS is likely to test his mettle even further.
As for News Corporation, executives there will be well aware that this is not the first time that its 80% owned associate NDS has polluted the group's public image.
One morning in October 1996, Israeli tax officials, apparently acting on a tip-off from a former employee, raided the company's Jerusalem offices and also the site in Haifa. They were looking for evidence that NDS had evaded £100m in tax oversix years; 70 tax officers removed more than 50 cartons of papers from the NDS offices.
In the event, the allegations never stuck. But the mud did.
MEN In Distribution Deal With Taj Sports
Modi Entertainment Network (MEN) has signed a distribution agreement with the Taj Sports channel for the Indian market. Taj Sports is promoted by Abdul Rehman Bukhatir and is yet to be launched in India.
The channel which will go on air shortly is likely to be called TEN Sports (Taj Entertainment Network). “The channel will be distributed by HMA Udyog, a Modi group company,” said sources. It is learnt that the initial distribution deal is for a three-year period.
Sources added that there would be an automatic rollover after this. MEN already distributes Hallmark, DD Sports and FTV in the Indian market. As reported earlier in eFE, the sports channel project is being headed by Chris McDonald who is based in Dubai. Mr McDonald was earlier with ESPN STAR Sports. Taj Sports’ promoter Mr Bukhatir is considered one of the key people who brought cricket to Sharjah and played a big role in the subsequent creation of the Cricketers Benefit Fund in Sharjah.
Taj Sports will have its uplinking facility in Dubai. The launch of the channel is likely to take place sometime in April. “There is a possibility that the launch will coincide with the Sharjah Cricket Cup commencing next month,” said sources. However, there are some issues still to be resolved. “The company is still undecided on whether to make the channel free-to-air or go pay from the launch date,” sources indicated.
Taj Sports, it is learnt, is also contemplating offering blocks of programming content to other channels.
TV Today to launch English channel
NEW DELHI: Aaj Tak promoter Aroon Purie said on Friday he is planning to launch an English news channel "eventually".
He also claimed the Hindi channel has broken even within seven months of launch in July last year.
Purie is also planning to launch a newspaper, possibly an afternoon edition, soon through his online division India Today Group Online (ITGO).
On his plans to launch an English channel, Purie told PTI, "We will lauch the English channel eventually. The market is always right for launching another channel... We're working on plans."
Purie claimed that the 24-hour Hindi channel Aaj Tak broke even in July last year "and we have been generating profits ever since".
Promoters, including Purie, hold 80 per cent stake in TV Today Network, the company through which the Hindi channel has been launched, and he said there were no plans to divest further stake.
Bharti Teletech, the manufacturing arm of the Bharti Group, has picked up 10 per cent stake in TVTN through a wholly-owned subsidiary for about Rs 21 crore late last year.
Also, ICICI Ventures holds another 10 per cent stake in Purie's company.
While Purie declined further comment, sources said TVTN had been valued at Rs 220 crore and that the funds raised by offloading 20 per cent stake to private investors would be used for expansion of infrastructure, including more OB (Outside Broadcast) vans, increasing the number of cameras and flyway dishes.
Besides divestment of stake, TV Today is also planning to go public and launch an Initial Public Offer (IPO) by 2003.
At present the news channel has 10-12 minutes per hour advertising time on an average. Of the total paid-up capital of Rs 80 crore, Rs 35 crore has been invested by ICICI and Bharti Systel, sources said.
The channel currently has 24 bureaux across the country and does not plan to undertake any further expansion other than in upgrading infrastructure.
India Today Group, which has promoted the news channel, at present deals in weekly news magazines including India Today, and e-newspaper thenewspapertoday.com besides going ahead with plans in the FM radio space.
Action on B1 , with what appears to be new ABC Regional muxes. I read something in the Digital tv newsgroup that the terrestrial services would be fed off these muxes. Super V8 feeds have been reported. Should be some NRL on around somewhere this weekend so keep an eye out and keep reporting.
12320 V Sr 6110 Vpid 308 Apid 256
12420 V Sr 6110 Vpid 308 Apid 256
12430 V Sr 6110 Vpid 308 Apid 256
From my Emails & ICQ
12603 H SR 14300 ABC SA
12643 H SR 14300 - signal but no channels loading
From Chris Pickstock
2.55 pm SA time
12626 H sr 14300 also active.
Loads ABC WA, Kids, Fly, ABC TV4 card and HDTV.
ABC SA and Kids etc load on 12603 H, but at the moment I get no pictures or sound.
12643 H still has signal, but nothing loading yet.
(Craigs comment, I saw a post in the Digital TV newsgroup, mentioning 5 seperate ABC Muxes to feed terrestrial transmitters)
From the Dish
Agila 2 146E 4151 H "GMA Network and GMA Radio" have moved here from 3890 H, NTSC, 6.80 and 6.20 MHz. (any reports of this one from those in Australia who watch this service?)
Koreasat 3 116E 12530 H "CNN International Asia and 31 Satio Radio channels" have started FTA, Sr 27490, Fec 3/4, SIDs 961 and 901-931, PIDs 2432/2433 and APIDs 2305-2335.
Asiasat 2 100.5E 3660 V "Jame-Jam TV Network 3" test card has started Fta, SID 14, PIDs 2688/2689.
Yamal 102 90E 3823 R "GTRK Dalnevostochnaya" has left .
Thaicom 3 78.5E 3585 V "UNI Plus promo" on , Fta, PIDs 515/643.
Intelsat 904 58.5E 3905 L "Test carriers" seen on , NW zone beam.
Intelsat 904 58.5E 3665 L "Strong test carriers seen" , NW zone beam.
Sports is a winner when it comes to out of home viewing, reveals AMI & ESPN-Star Sports survey
A survey conducted by Asia Media Intelligence (AMI) in four Asian markets - Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok - has revealed that sports is the top choice of viewers regardless of where they are watching television. The first-ever out-of-home (OOH) viewing research was commissioned by ESPN -Star Sports among males between 18 and 45 years old. It included analysis of recent peoplemeter data.
"Our OOH study confirms existing peoplemeter research and reflects the studies in the US: sports is an appointment viewing priority - both in and out of the home. The research shows a substantial, captured and passionate audience that cannot be ignored by advertisers, marketers and media planners in their media buying decisions," says ESPN Star Sports senior vice-president advertising & integrated sales Vib Sharma.
The research suggests that there is an approximate three million male OOH viewing audience across the four-city study.
"We've always suspected that sports was driving out-of-home viewing, but have not until now been able to present quantifiable research. This study makes it clear that OOH viewing is gaining ground across Asia - be it in pubs in Hong Kong or coffee shops in Kuala Lumpur, and sports is what they are watching," adds Sharma.
Results show that 82 per cent of all those surveyed watch out-of-home. The spontaneous OOH choice was sports (78 per cent) followed by movies (36 per cent) and news (34 per cent). When aided, the number rose to 89 per cent saying they prefer to watch sports when it comes to out-of-home viewing. That means nine in 10 of those surveyed watch sports out-of-home.
When asked what sports they watched, 97 per cent of respondents said football was their sport of choice. The football respondents said they watched the most was the English Premier League (91 per cent), World Cup (59 per cent), UEFA (45 per cent). When asked who they watch with, top of the list were friends and colleagues in groups of four or more people.
A significant number - 96 per cent - of those polled viewed sports by appointment. Venues varied in each market with 71 per cent in Hong Kong saying they watched in pubs and bars, 65 per cent in Bangkok and 61 per cent in Singapore said they watched at friend's homes, while respondents in Kuala Lumpur said they watched at different locations, restaurants (52 per cent), streetside stalls (45 per cent), friend's home (43 per cent), coffee shops (40 per cent) and pubs and bars (36 per cent). These findings reflect Asian market nuances. In Hong Kong for instance where socializing is a big part of the lifestyle, pubs and bars were the top OOH venues.
Peoplemeter data from Taylor Nelson Sofres in Singapore shows that sports reaches more viewers than any other genre on cable with an 86 per cent reach, followed by other English programming and documentaries at 85 per cent and music at 78 per cent.
The English Premier League also came out tops in peoplemeter research with EPL matches consistently ranking among the top five. Sports was also seen to reach a comparative weekly cumulative 78 per cent more viewers than all three cable news channels combined (CNN, BBC World and CNBC).
ASIASAT PRESS RELEASE
ASIA SATELLITE TELECOMMUNICATIONS HOLDINGS LIMITED
FULL YEAR RESULTS ANNOUNCEMENT
FOR THE YEAR TO 31st DECEMBER 2001
HONG KONG, 14th March, 2002 -- Asia Satellite Telecommunications Holdings Limited (‘AsiaSat’ -SEHK:
1135HK; NYSE: SAT), Asia’s leading satellite operator, today announces its final results for the year to 31st December, 2001.
GOOD RESULT IN DIFFICULT MARKET
• Turnover HK$969M -3%
? Profit attributable to shareholders HK$563M -2%
? Earnings per share HK$1.44 -3%
? Final dividend per share HK$0.14 No change
? Strong balance sheet, debt free at the end of 2001
• AsiaSat’s 3 in-orbit satellites continue to operate well
? Overall transponder utilisation rate for AsiaSat 2 and AsiaSat 3S was 65% at the end of 2001 even
in a soft market
? AsiaSat 4 planned for launching mid 2002
? New satellite control centre for expanded satellite fleet and additional customer services
AsiaSat’s Chairman, Romain Bausch, said, “We entered the year 2002 with caution. Fortunately, some
80% of our 2001 revenue is already contracted for 2002, and this provides some comfort. Unless clear
signs of economic improvement appear, we expect that it will be difficult to achieve any significant
growth, or even to maintain the same level of results as in 2001. Although we believe that the year
2002 will be a difficult year for growth, we do expect that it will be a year of opportunity. The Board is
confident in the future of satellites in Asia and believes that the Company is well positioned to
capitalise upon the economic recovery of the region.”
For further information, please contact:
Asia Satellite Telecommunications
Winnie Pang 2805 6657
Weber Shandwick Worldwide
Mike Wong 2533 9922
Canal Plus & News Corp's NDS fight over conditional access hacking
French pay-TV major and technology supplier Canal Plus and the News Corp owned subscription and conditional access hotshot NDS are locked in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation. The former is taking the latter to court and is likely to claim damages running into a billion dollars.
The Canal Plus accusation: NDS - the maker of smartcards - assisted viewers in pirating its software by extracting the software on Canal Plus cards. NDS published it on websites and then counterfeiters used it to produce thousands of illegal smartcards, Canal Plus has alleged. This, it claims allowed viewers access to the channels without paying up.
Canal Plus claims that its smartcard technology allows encryption of signals by broadcasters. So the process of revenue collection from subscribers is smooth. It claims that security measures were running fine until March 1999 when its software code was copied and published on the website DR7.com.
It claims to have spent more than $US35 million on the technology. It has accused NDS of getting its smartcards and sending them to an NDS laboratory in Israel for analysis. Canal Plus has alleged NDS' activity has led to a loss of over $US1 billion as a result, which reports say it will seek to recover from its rival.
In its official statement the French company said: "NDS engaged in a conspiracy to harm Canal Plus' competitive position in the digital television market."
On its part NDS in an official statement retaliated by describing the lawsuit as outrageous and baseless. NDS claims unwavering commitment to eradicating piracy from the conditional access industry.
NDS President and CEO Dr Abe Peled said that his company was in no way connected with the piracy problem that has been the bane of Canal Plus since 1999. He said: "That problem is due solely to the inferior nature of Canal Plus' conditional access technology, the failure of its business plan to contain measures to protect against piracy and its failure to deal with piracy once it began."
The statement also mentions that apparently Canal Plus approached NDS in December 2001 to merge the two companies as its technology was not good enough. NDS sees the allegations as an attempt by the French major to gain leverage in the negotiations. In the statement NDS also says that Canal Plus acknowledged that it had reversed engineered its competitors' cards. NDS has also accused Canal Plus of trying to hire away the NDS employee they claim gave their code to DR7. Canal Plus' own lawyer has been involved in this poaching process it is alleged.
NDS has also accused Canal Plus of trying to divert attention from criticism directed at the French company's new generation card, which is not believed to be state of the art, and of trying to shift blame for losses which have been accumulating.
The ensuing war could have implications as far as India is concerned. NDS has a development center in Bangalore. NDS India focusses on developing interactive TV applications and broadband technologies in conjunction with NDS R&D centers in Israel, China and the UK. MD NDS India is Lalit Ahuja who used to be CEO of Star India.
Meanwhile Rupert Murdoch's Star Networks rival Zee is a customer of Canal Plus. In 2000, Phillips supplied DSX6071/94 DVB-compliant set top boxes to Zee Telefilms for its direct-to-operator digital TV channel bouquet project. The boxes were installed with Mediaguard and Mediahighway software supplied by Canal Plus Technologies. This allowed the Zee network to encrypt its channels, which were in the free to air mode then.
The provision of the set-top box's marked the start of Zee's Director-to-Operator plan which was designed to bring increased channel service to the consumer and subscription revenues for the network.
The year before it had been reported that Zee formed an alliance with Canal Plus for a proposed DTH platform.
Additionally, the year 2000 saw the announcement of the deployment of NDS' Open VideoGuard digital conditional access system for Doordarshan's next generation of digital entertainment and interactive TV services.
The NDS Open VideoGuard conditional access system is integrated at Doordarshan's broadcast center in New Delhi, The broadcast signal is delivered to authorized set-top boxes located in cable headends all across the country.
Reports indicate that the controversy is likely to impact the UK pay-TV industry. This is because ITV Digital, which also has a piracy problem, uses the same smart card technology as Canal Plus. Canal Plus claims a base of 6.1 million digital customers across 11 European countries. It also says that 12.5 million set-top boxes use its software through its subsidiary, Canal Plus Technologies.
NDS has announced that it plans launching a counterclaim once it fully studies the lawsuit.
Does anyone have any i.d info for the Space TV receivers that were used for the Palapa C2 service? Can they be usesd for FTA after unlocking with the pin code? and if so what is the pin code.
Optus B1 in NZ anyone notice lower signal levels, on ABC? in the last week?
From my Emails & ICQ
I've noticed the channel name on the PCM Test Card
on Asiasat3 (3760H 26000 7/8) has come up with the
name "Intelivision". I'd assume this to be the company
Intelivision LTD which broadcasts the kids channel
"Splash". This might be an indication that "Splash"
may be starting soon here ?
(Craigs comment, yes when Splash channel was launched it mentioned it would be also on "Asiasat hotbird" Asiasat 3, Splash is currently available FTA on NSS at 57E. Its English kids programing and general entertainment. It could be worth watching.
From the Dish
PAS 2 169E 12297 H "CTS" has started on , Fta, Sr 3333, Fec3/4, PIDs 33/34.
JCSAT 3 128E 3960 V "FTV, CTS, CTV and TTV" on are Fta again.
Koreasat 2 113E 12330 H "OCN Action has replaced OCN" enc., SID 20505, PIDs 1500/1501.
Asiasat 3 105.5E 3760 H "Testcard up for Splash TV?" Sr 26000 Fec 7/8
Asiasat 3 105.5E 4140 V "Zed TV, Alpha TV Network and Zee News" are fta at the moment, New Fec 3/4.
Asiasat 2 100.5E 3796 V New SID and PIDs for Fashion TV on : 103 and 123/133.
Yamal 102 90E 3527 L "Yuzhniy Region" is back on , Fta, 4285, Fec 3/4, PIDs 308/256.
Thaicom 3 78.5E 3551 H "The God Channel" has left , PIDs 1025/1026, replaced by occasional feeds.(nothing ever lasts long here)
PAS 10 68.5E 12428 HA Doordarshan mux has started testing, FTA, SR 21094, Fec3/4, PIDs 512/650-515/680, Indian beam , line-up: DD National,DD Metro, DD Bharati and DD World.
Intelsat 904 58.5E Test carriers seen on 3746 L, NW zone beam.
Austar bloodied, sure, but not beaten
Austar lost $682 million last year after writing off $240 million worth of assets in an attempt to make its struggling regional pay TV business profitable.
The company has racked up $1billion in losses during the past two years as a result of ill-judged investments, stagnating subscriber growth and expensive programming contracts in US dollars.
However, the company believes the worst now is behind it, having recently refinanced its $400 million loan and undertaken a business restructure.
Austar is confident the company will become earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) positive this year.
Austar's decision to write down the carrying value of many of its assets blew out its 2001 loss to more than double the $319 million lost in 2000. The $240 million write-off included writing down the value of Austar's spectrum licences to zero as well as restructuring costs.
"We have taken a very aggressive approach to writing down the carrying value of certain assets we are currently not exploiting in the company," chief executive John Porter said.
"We think it is very prudent to wipe the slate clean and launch forward with a clean sheet."
When asked if there was the potential for more writedowns in the future, Mr Porter said: "I don't think there's anything left - seriously."
The 2001 result was also weighed down by the $117.5 million Austar lost on TelstraClear, its New Zealand pay TV joint venture with Telstra. This marked Austar's final investment in TelstraClear, after it offloaded all funding commitments to Telstra last October.
Mr Porter conceded that Austar would ultimately exit New Zealand.
After dabbling in voice and data services last year, Mr Porter said Austar was pursuing a "back to basics" strategy in 2002.
"2001 was a year in which we became a lot less aspirational," Mr Porter said.
"There has been a major refocus on the core pay TV product and its bottom line profitability. We have cut costs dramatically to match our revenue and available cash."
Austar overhauled its business last December in a bid to shore up its financial position and win the ongoing support of the company's bankers.
The company sacked a third of its 1200 staff, closed 23 regional offices and outsourced many business functions.
The restructure should save the company $90 million a year and has enabled Austar to cut its subscriber acquisition costs by between 30 and 40 per cent.
After breaching its loan covenants on January 1, Austar finally renegotiated its $400 million debt last month. Austar is confident its business plan will not require additional funding.
Austar's revenue rose 11 per cent to $372 million last year. It had $103 million cash left in the bank at the end of December.
Excluding the writedowns and TelstraClear investment, Austar lost $325 million in 2001. This was less than the $343 million investors had been expecting. Austar's $89 million EBITDA loss had been flagged at the end of January.
Austar shares closed unchanged at 29c yesterday.
Like its peers in the media and telecoms sectors, Austar is reviewing the implications of the proposed Foxtel/Optus deal which would see Foxtel programming shown on the Optus service.
Stokes sees dangers in creating pay TV 'monolith'
Seven Network chairman and aspiring pay TV content supplier Kerry Stokes warned yesterday that a Foxtel "monolith" could control the Australian media if Foxtel's proposed deal with its pay TV rival Optus went ahead.
The ACCC is assessing the competitive implications of Foxtel's proposed deal with Optus which would see Foxtel - owned by Telstra, News Corp and Publishing & Broadcasting - control 70 per cent of Australia's pay TV industry.
"This is a time when we set down what is in fact going to be the future of communications in this country," said Mr Stokes, warning that the consequences had to be fully considered.
"If you end up with a converged media market then the size of the media units compared to Telstra/Foxtel/News becomes so small that, as a comparison to that monolith, you could put two television stations and newspaper and radio stations [together] and it still wouldn't be bigger than that monolith."
Despite its long-running battle to gain access to the Foxtel cable (owned by Telstra) to broadcast its C7 pay TV sports service, Seven has yet to publicly raise any objections to the Foxtel/Optus agreement. "There's not sufficient information available to base our opinion on," Mr Stokes said.
However, he noted that: "Diversity of cable and satellite services is as important as diversity of choice in any other media."
Mr Stokes denied that Seven's dispute over access to the Foxtel cable owned by Telstra was linked to its stance on the proposed Foxtel/Optus deal. Despite three court decisions in its favour, Seven has been unable to reach agreement with Foxtel on the cost of accessing the Telstra cable. "That's public infrastructure to which everybody is entitled access," Mr Stokes said.
As C7 was previously the exclusive supplier of sports content to Optus, Seven is considering the future of the service in the wake of Optus's agreement to carry Foxtel channels on its service.
Days before the Foxtel/Optus deal was revealed last week, Foxtel told Seven it could set the subscription price charged for C7 content, with both companies sharing the revenue generated. Mr Stokes refused to say whether Seven would accept Foxtel's offer. "I've advised Foxtel of our position on that. We don't negotiate through the press," he said.
Mr Stokes said that Seven's pay TV aspirations remained unchanged in the wake of the Foxtel/Optus deal. "We have always sought to have a subscription and revenue presence on more than one channel," he said.
Analysts fear for Murdoch firm in piracy row
Analysts have reacted negatively to the NDS scandal, warning that the legal battle looming over the Rupert Murdoch-owned technology firm could turn investors against the company.
Analysts at Morgan Stanley said a £700m lawsuit brought against NDS by the French pay-TV group Canal Plus posed questions about the company's integrity.
"The Canal Plus claims are serious as they question NDS's integrity and business practices. We anticipate prolonged legal procedures before being able to assess the potential impact (if any) on NDS," Morgan Stanley said.
NDS, which is controlled by Mr Murdoch's News Corporation, has been accused of breaking the viewer access codes used by rival pay-TV operators and then handing the information to counterfeiters through a website.
ITV Digital claims it has lost £100m as a result, with 100,000 fake smart cards flooding the market.
Morgan Stanley said there was no sign of an immediate impact on NDS's business, but the sheer weight of bad publicity from the scandal could affect the UK-based company.
"We think the lawsuit will limit upside for investors. We do not foresee any impact on NDS's ongoing business for the time being but we are, at this stage, more concerned about the sentiment impact," he said.
Morgan Stanley downgraded NDS to "neutral" from "outperform".
The Canal Plus allegations, which have been denied by NDS, have already hit the technology company's share price, which tumbled 26% in New York yesterday.
A News Corporation spokesman dismissed fears that the NDS furore will affect Rupert Murdoch's media group.
"This will be shown to be a load of bunk, so I don't think it will affect us at all," he said.
Chatroom was pretty quiet last night I guess everyone was watching the cricket. Another day with plenty of news items. More Tarbs talk in the news section. They seem to have plenty of money to throw around. One item mentions they could have as service to NZ. I don't see them getting space via SKY NZ on B1. So that could mean either PAS 2 KU or via C1 when it launches. Reception in NZ would be on 85CM dishes and larger if via Pas 2 KU band
New approach to try and get Tv3 unencrypted via SKY?? someone brought up a very interesting point about shows on Tv3 being NZ On-air funded. Time for some more emailing I think.
From my Emails & ICQ
Nothing to report
From the Dish
PAS 2 169E 12292 H "CTS" has left .(Asia Beam)
PAS 2 169E 12292 H "National Open University" has moved here from 12297 H, FTA, Sr 3722, Fec 3/4, PIDs 33/34,Chinese beam.
Palapa C2 113E 3706 H "Myawady TV" has left . (Moved back to Asiasat 2??)
Asiasat 2 100.5E 3708 V "Extreme Sports Channel" has started, Encrypted Codicrypt, PIDs 769/770.
Asiasat 2 100.5E 3796 V "Fashion TV" is now encrypted.
Thaicom 3 78.5E 3551 H "The God Channel" has started on , FTA, PIDs 1025/1026 and 1537/1538, global beam.
Intelsat 904 58.5E Very strong test carriers seen on 4095 R, 4095 L, 4315 R, 4135 L and 4178 L, global beam.( Any Australian reports of this one?)
Broadcaster wins a spot in the US
Fledgling ethnic pay TV operator Television and Radio Broadcasting Services will begin broadcasting in the US later this year after striking a satellite deal with Hughes Corporation subsidiary PanAmSat.
After eight months of negotiations, TARBS yesterday signed a 10-year deal with PanAmSat to lease capacity on its direct-to-home satellite platform.
The terms of the agreement have not been revealed.
TARBS expects to start broadcasting 52 channels into the US in the second half of this year.
Founded by former property developer Mike Boulos in 1999, TARBS already broadcasts 52 pay TV channels in 20 languages to more than 200,000 Australians via satellite.
TARBS also supplies content to free to air broadcaster SBS.
Metropolitan pay TV operator Optus has been carrying TARBS's Phoenix multicultural channel for more than a year.
TARBS has spent more than $200 million developing its Australian service and expects to break even on this investment within three to four years.
It plans to spend a total of $US400 million ($766 million) establishing a worldwide ethnic pay TV service, using programming sourced from government and private broadcasters in 30 non-English speaking countries.
TARBS is talking with a number of potential financial backers.
US subscribers are forecast to account for 2 million of the 3 million customers TARBS expects to have signed up within five years. Australians should make up 500,000 customers.
Chief executive Regina Boulos said the PanAmSat deal positioned TARBS as the world's largest broadcaster of ethnic television and radio services.
"We now have in place the global satellite platform that will facilitate the delivery of ... programming ... to virtually any migrant home throughout the world," Mrs Boulos said.
TARBS expects to launch a European service within three to six months. It set up its European headquarters in Greece last year.
TARBS also plans to increase the number of channels broadcast in Australia to 65 and will soon expand into New Zealand.
(Craigs comment, ok "Broadcaster wins a spot in the U.S" what idiot thought up that heading, they didn't WIN anything they paid money and arranged a contract deal, nothing special about that. "TARBS already broadcasts 52 pay TV channels in 20 languages to more than 200,000 Australians via satellite". Who supplied those viewer figures and how accurate are they? Last but not least "TARBS also plans to increase the number of channels broadcast in Australia to 65 and will soon expand into New Zealand" I can't see them going on Sky NZ, so that must mean via Pas 2 KU or when C1 launches later this year. If via Pas 2 KU it will need a 90cm or possibly larger in many parts of NZ)
Broadcaster tunes in for the world
TELEVISION & Radio Broadcasting Services has sown the seeds for its planned global dominance as an ethnic satellite broadcaster after securing a foothold in the lucrative United States market.
Mike Boulos"company revealed yesterday it had struck a 10-year agreement with Hughes Corporation's 81 per cent-owned PanAmSat Corporation to broadcast 52 channels in the US in the second half of 2002.
"We've had our sights on the global market - the concept is that we see TARBS delivering ethnic services to migrants around the world," chief executive Regina Boulos said.
The multi-transponder deal is expected to treble the value of the company to an estimated $3 billion to $5 billion over the next three to four years.
Although TARBS is already beamed into select countries in Europe, the US deal provides the group with its first significant international satellite platform. It will be the springboard for similar operations in other parts of the world.
"We actually provide services to specific homes across Europe and Asia but not on this scale," Ms Boulos said. A fifth of the channels carried on PanAmSat's direct-to-home satellite platform will be English language.
Ms Boulos said the agreement would give the satellite broadcaster access to two million customers within five years.
MTV to launch in Indonesia in May
Viacom-owned global music channel MTV is set to add another channel to its empire when it launches MTV Indonesia in May.
MTV Networks Asia has signed a deal with broadcast network Global Television and its parent outfit, investment holding company Bimantara Citra, and will be aired on the Global TV platform, an official release states.
The deal also marks a split of sorts with MTV's current terrestrial partner in Indonesia, Anteve. MTV and more recently kids' channel Nickelodeon programming has been carried on Anteve for 38.5 hours per week. The new arrangement will see MTV Indonesia on Global TV while Nickelodeon will air on Anteve.
Available as a 24-hour UHF terrestrial channel, MTV Indonesia will offer a mix of programming of Indonesian and international shows. In addition to Indonesian-specific programmes like MTV Ampuh, MTV Getar Cinta, MTV Land, MTV Mix, MTV Salam Dangdut, MTV Seratus Persen Indonesia, MTV What's Up and MTV Wow, more local content will be added to the channel. To cater for the new shows, the current cast of MTV VJs will also be expanded in the near future, the release says.
MTV Indonesia will initially be available in five key cities - Jakarta, Bandung, Semarang, Surabaya and Medan and expects to reach 15 million households. Subsequently, it will be rolled out to more cities in the country.
"Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world and a very important market to MTV Asia. We are very excited about working with Global TV and look forward to introducing more unique and relevant content to the Indonesian audience. With MTV's proven music expertise and Bimantara Citra's presence and clout in the domestic market, I am confident we can further build MTV's undisputed leadership in the Indonesian music television business," said Peter Bullard, senior V-P and MD of MTV Southeast Asia and MTV Network Group.
"The youth segment is very promising and still untapped in Indonesia. With the support of MTV Asia, we believe that MTV will be recognized as the most effective vehicle in reaching to the youth in this market," said Adji Gunawan, CEO of Global TV.
Foxtel takes pay TV deal to regulator
Pay TV operator Foxtel began the laborious process of winning regulatory approval for its programming deal with rival Optus yesterday and met the competition watchdog in Canberra.
Representatives of Foxtel's shareholders Telstra, News Corp and Publishing & Broadcasting travelled to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission headquarters to outline the agreement with Optus and the proposal for Telstra to bundle Foxtel with telephony and Internet services.
In what was described as "very preliminary" meetings, Foxtel chief Kim Williams, Telstra Media head Gerry Sutton, PBL general counsel James McLachlan and News counsel Ian Phillips met senior ACCC staff including mergers and acquisitions commissioner Ross Jones.
Under the proposed deal struck a week ago, Optus will carry Foxtel content on its cable and Foxtel will assume Optus's $600 million US programming liabilities. In a separate deal, News and PBL have agreed to allow Telstra to sell combined pay TV, telephony and Internet packages.
ACCC chairman Professor Allan Fels - who was not present at the meeting - said the commission had yet to form a view on whether the Foxtel/Optus alliance would substantially lessen competition in pay TV.
"It's early days and we need further details," Professor Fels said. Issues of concern include the prospect of Foxtel controlling the metropolitan pay TV market, and Optus being limited to carrying the Foxtel service on its cable while Foxtel can broadcast Optus content on both cable and satellite.
Telstra Media's Mr Sutton said yesterday's meeting was "just the first round". "Now we wait and see what they want from us next," he said. "I think the deal is well structured and it makes a lot of sense. I have confidence that at the end of the day it will work for everybody, but I'm making no predictions for the ACCC."
The ACCC has written to third parties including aspiring pay TV content suppliers Kerry Stokes's Seven Network and Mike Boulos's Television and Radio Broadcasting Services, seeking their view on the proposal. Keen to broadcast their own content over the Foxtel cable, both Seven and TARBS have been unable to reach agreement with Foxtel on price.
Foxtel has told Seven it can set the price charged for its C7 sports service, with both companies splitting the revenue generated.
Seven is unlikely to accept the offer. It is assessing C7's future in light of the fact that the successful Fox Sports channels will now be shown on Optus, which previously only carried C7.
Murdoch company accused of piracy
A company controlled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and with Lachlan Murdoch on its board has been accused of piracy in a US court.
NDS, a British smartcard company, is accused of deliberately cracking the security software of rival Canal Plus and publishing it on websites, where it was picked up and used by counterfeiters to produce thousands of illegal smartcards.
Canal Plus, the European pay TV group controlled by Vivendi Universal, has filed a lawsuit claiming it has lost more than $US1 billion ($A1.9 billion) in the scam.
"Piracy has been a significant and expensive problem for us," British television network ITV, which uses the Canal Plus technology, told London newspaper the Evening Standard.
"We have been working for some time with Canal Plus to uncover the source of the piracy. The implications of the claims now being made are truly shocking and we are considering all our options."
BSkyB, owned by News Corp, uses NDS technology and Lachlan Murdoch joined the NDS board last month.
NDS declined to comment until it had looked at the filing in detail, the paper said.
The Canal Plus suit filed with Palo Alto court in California last night described the "cloak and dagger" operations allegedly carried out by NDS.
Canal alleges that its smartcard technology, which allows broadcasters to encrypt their signals and ensures that they can collect revenue from subscribers, incorporated security measures that were "more than adequate until March 1999 when its software code was copied and published on a website called DR7.com".
It said it had spent more than $US35 million ($A67.5 million) developing the technology and alleges that NDS obtained its smartcards and sent them to an NDS laboratory in Israel for analysis.
"At this facility, NDS had acquired and assembled the costly equipment needed to make invasive attacks on smartcards," it said.
It claims that a dedicated team of scientists successfully extracted the software on the cards and NDS then took steps to have it published so that counterfeiters could exploit it.
Counterfeit cards began to appear in late 1999 and by September 2000 the Italian market was flooded, followed by other countries.
"In some markets, consumers have as ready access to the counterfeit cards as to legitimate ones," the suit said.
Pay TV giants at war over encryption
The technology giants who make Pay TV pay are at war over encryption. French broadcaster Canal+, part of Vivendi Universal, is accusing another company, NDS, of "sabotaging" its Mediaguard encryption system with "sophisticated and well-funded effort". NDS is controlled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, which owns a number of satellite broadcasters.
Canal+ filed a US lawsuit against NDS on Monday, claiming violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the US Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and California's Unfair Competition statute. The French company alleges "conspiracy to harm Canal+'s competitive position in the digital television market".
Canal+ says it has "solid evidence" to prove to the US District Court in San Jose, California that an NDS laboratory in Israel used electrical and optical equipment to prise the security codes from Mediaguard smart cards.
Canal+ alleges that NDS then provided the codes to a web site Canal+ says is frequented by counterfeiters. Other web sites mirrored the information and pirates used the codes to make fake smart cards that give viewers free access to Pay TV programmes protected by Mediaguard. "The horse was then out of the box," says Franciois Carayol, Executive Vice President of Canal+.
However, NDS dubs the lawsuit "outrageous and baseless". NDS President and CEO, Abe Peled, says: "The clear evidence is that the pirate community targeted Canal+ early in 1998 and succeeded without any help from anyone, particularly NDS."
He adds: "This lawsuit is a blatant attempt by Canal+ both to deflect criticism of its new generation card, which is not believed to be state of the art, and to shift blame for its inadequate technology and its past losses." NDS says it intends to counterclaim against Canal+ for their "tortious conduct".
Canal+'s case has been filed in California because the company claims the secret codes were handed to the web site in that state.
After two years of planning, Canal+ will in April start the mammoth job of switching broadcasters and customers to a new broadcast system. This involves replacing over 13 million legitimate smart cards. This will be completed by the end of 2002. "But we must also attack the root cause, or it could happen again," says Carayol.
Canal+ is asking for a billion dollars in damages, but Carayol says this can only be an estimated loss: "This is an underground business."
Mediaguard is used to protect Canal +'s Pay TV broadcasts in more than a dozen countries including France, Italy, Spain, Poland, the Benelux countries and Malaysia, as well as by ITV Digital (formerly On Digital) in the UK.
Canal+ say the first hacking was seen in late 1998. But until now the problem has been played down. In June 2001, On Digital was still saying that piracy was not a serious issue. "It's a comparatively small problem," assured a spokesman.
But Canal+ now says "piracy became massive throughout 2000". The UK's Federation Against Copyright Theft now raids pirate card makers and vendors in the UK, every week or so.
Canal+ Group Files Lawsuit AgainstNDS TO Recover For Acts of unfair Competition
NDS’s Actions Designed to Eliminate Competition in Digital Television Market
CUPERTINO, Calif.; PARIS, March 12, 2002 Canal+ Group, a division of Vivendi Universal (NYSE: V; Paris Bourse: EX FP) and its subsidiaries, Canal+ Technologies S.A. and Canal+ Technologies, Inc. (“Canal+”), today announced that they have filed a lawsuit against NDS Group plc (Nasdaq/Nasdaq Europe: NNDS), a company controlled by News Corporation Ltd. (NYSE: NWS). Canal+’s Complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District Court of California, alleges that NDS engaged in a conspiracy to harm Canal+’s competitive position in the digital television market.
Canal+ alleges that NDS illegally attacked Canal+ Technologies’ previously unbroken security system that had been developed to ensure that only authorized customers have access to digital television signals. NDS spent large amounts of money and resources to extract the code from Canal+’s digital TV smart card, and then provided the code to a Web site frequented by counterfeiters. After the code was published on the Internet, criminal organizations flooded the market with counterfeit cards.
Canal+ estimates that NDS’s actions have harmed Canal+ in excess of $1 billion. Canal+’s Complaint alleges violations of The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, The Copyright Act, the California Unfair Competition statute, and other violations of tort law.
?The future of digital television depends on the industry working together to combat signal theft and to protect the integrity of distribution systems,” said François Carayol, Executive Vice President of Canal+ Group and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canal+ Technologies. “No person or company is above the law and we intend to see the law applied to halt NDS’s illegal actions. We hope that NDS will immediately stop this unlawful and anti-competitive activity.”
Livechat tonight 9pm NZ and 8.30pm Syd time onwards (you can come in earlier if you like) A bit of action on Palapa C2 hopefully something new and FTA will come up there. Things are fairly quiet today, I hope to have something major to announce soon!
Satfacts page updated
From my Emails & ICQ
From Andrew Harrison
Cakrawarta 1 at 107.7 E
ABC Asia Pacific has been added to the Indovision pay tv line up (Channel 55) !!
From the Dish
Intelsat 701 180E 4086 L The SR for this mux is still 12250.
Agila 2 146E 3733 H "Net 25" has started on , Fta, Sr 2343, Fec 3/4, Vpid 308 Apid 256.
Palapa C2 113E 3760 H "Eight Globe Vision test card"s have started on , Fta, Sr 26000,PIDs 102/103-138/139.
Telkom 1 108E 3500 H "Channel NewsAsia and BBC World" have started on , enc., Sr 28000, PIDs 60/61 and 80/81.
Telkom 1 108E 3580 H "TVRI, MTV Asia, Phoenix Chinese, Hallmark Channel Asia, Nickelodeon and NHK World Premium" have started enc., Sr 28000, PIDs 33/36-208/209.
Intelsat 804 64E 3644 R "Radio One" has started on , Fta, SID 20, APID 514.
PanAmSat sees expanding via mergers, ventures
NEW YORK, March 11 (Reuters) - Satellite operator PanAmSat Corp. (SPOT) said on Monday it expects to expand its fleet through mergers and joint ventures, and it may acquire existing satellites rather than building new ones.
Speaking at the Merrill Lynch Global Communications Investor Conference in New York, PanAmSat Chief Executive Joseph Wright said the company "can acquire satellites in orbit with contracts on them" for less money than building them from scratch.
"We're going to be expanding through mergers, joint ventures, partnerships," Wright added, without naming potential partners.
PanAmSat, which is 81-percent owned by Hughes Electronics Corp., plans to be acquired by satellite broadcasting company EchoStar Communications Corp. (DISH)
DTH guidelines in for a jig
NEW DELHI: The government is likely to revisit the investment guidelines on direct-to-home broadcasting. This follows the non-starter of the service -- even a year after it was thrown open to both private and public players.
This assumes added significance in light of the hi-profile visits of News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch and Gerald Levin of AOL Time Warner to India this week. Murdoch has been looking forward to starting a DTH operation in the country for the last few years.
The government is having second thoughts on the opening up of Ku-band transmission for exporting television content from the country. This move, if it comes through, is likely to benefit content producers and broadcasters who target the Indian diaspora.
Senior government officials indicated that the government is likely to ask the Group of Ministers, headed by L K Advani - that had initially given its nod to the policy - to take a re-look at the investment guidelines.
Industry has taken objection to the 20 per cent sectoral cap on broadcasters and cable network companies and the 49 per cent cap on foreign direct investment.
The government had cleared the DTH policy in November 2000, after the GoM passed it in October.
As per the guidelines, each player has to come up with an entry fee of Rs 10 crore along with a Rs 40 crore bank guarantee. The DTH service provider has also to offer 10 per cent revenues to the government as annual fees.
To prevent the emergence of a vertically integrated monopoly, guidelines stipulate that no broadcaster or cable operator would be allowed to own more than 20 per cent stake in any DTH platform.
The government has made it mandatory on the DTH service provider to uplink from within the country.
Broadcasting industry's woes in this matter are likely to be taken up with Information & Broadcasting Minsiter Sushma Swaraj over an interaction session with the Industry in Mumbai next week.
Discovery , Sony tie up in India market
MUMBAI: Two of the top companies in the Indian TV market -- the Discovery Channel and Sony Entertainment Television -- said on Saturday they intend to join forces, forming a programming distribution alliance with the potential to shake up the TV industry in India.
Discovery Networks International (DNI) and Sony Entertainment Television India said they are forming an alliance to distribute their top channels like Animal Planet, the Discovery Channel and SET Max.
The alliance brings together Discovery, which specialises in science and nature programming, with content provided by Sony, a unit of Sony Pictures Entertainment, which owns Columbia TriStar International Television.
The alliance could raise the ratings of Sony TV in India, which it is the No 3 commercial broadcaster behind market leader Star TV and second-ranked ZEE.
"This joint venture enables both partners to offer consumers a comprehensive and diverse bouquet of programming choices, enhancing both partners' distribution strength," Michael Grindon, the president of Columbia TriStar International Television, was quoted as saying in a statement.
Dawn McCall, the president of Discovery Networks International, was quoted in the same statement as saying: "Sony and Discovery bring unique, complementary strengths and knowledge to this new joint venture that will offer consumers endless entertainment choices."
The alliance will begin jointly distributing six channels from April 1.
The partners intend to convert the alliance into a joint venture, subject to government approval which is required as both are foreign companies, the companies said.
Both the Discovery Channel and Sony Entertainment Television began broadcasting in India in 1995. The former now reaches over 21 million subscriber households, the latter more than 29 million.
Discovery Channel is a unit of privately held Discovery Communications Inc, based in Bethesda, Maryland. Its programming is distributed in more than 155 countries and territories worldwide.
Its programming includes the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, People+Arts, Discovery Sci-Trek, Discovery Travel & Adventure and Discovery Civilisation.
SET's channels include MAX, which shows Hindi movies, cricket and special events, and CNBC, a business and financial programming channel.
The alliance is being formed at a time when commercial broadcasters in India are counting on rising subscription revenue to offset a decline in advertising revenue.
At Sony Entertainment Television, advertising revenue fell more than 25 percent in the April-December period to $64 million from $86 million in the corresponding nine-month period a year earlier, The Economic Times, a leading Indian financial daily, reported last month without citing sources.
"Subscription fees, on the other hand, are bringing in 70 million rupees ($1.4 million) a month and the projected revenue for the year is put at $12.7 million," nearly three times the previous year's figure of $5.0 million, the same report said.
The tie-up with Discovery, which the partners said has been under negotiation for six months, appears to be the key factor behind those bullish projections.
But at a news conference on Saturday to announced the alliance, the partners offered no financial projections for the venture.
Sony TV's two major competitors in the Indian cable TV programming market are Zee, India's largest listed media company, and Star TV, a unit of media baron Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.
The ZEE network, which broadcasts 14 channels, includes listed Zee Telefilms.
Sony Entertainment Television, Zee and Star TV programming is distributed via cable networks primarily operated by a patchwork collection of small service providers.
The three broadcasters have complained for years that the cable operators under-report the actual number of subscribers, and thus pay less then they should for the programming supplied. The amount owed by cable operators is based on the number of subscribers served.
Old not turning to gold for movie channels
NEW DELHI: The sepia-toned images of Raj Kapoor or the gravelly voice of Clark Gable don’t sell for Indian couch potates.
Indians don’t seem too hot about classic movies. First, Turner Classic Movies exited the country, leaving its night-time slot to be covered by Cartoon Network. And even the Hindi movie channels, be it the “classic” movie channel Star Gold, Sony’s movie channel SET Max or Zee Cinema rarely ever show black and white Hindi movie classics.
The rare appearence on TV of pre-1960s movies of Madhubala, Raj Kapoor or Kishore Kumar on TV is particularly galling for a “self-declared” classic movie channel like Star Gold. According to Star’s programming head Sameer Nair, though Star Gold continued to be dedicated to the “classic” genre, “it had decided to introduce an element of popular films (read post 90s films) to broadbase the distribution”. He, however, leaves the question open on whether going forward Star Gold will metamorphse into a mainstream movie channel.
Nair blames the “one TV home” culture in India for the problems of all niche channels, be it Star Gold or MTV. “Single TV homes makes multiple viewing experiences very difficult and the big general entertainment channels like Star, Sony and Zee do have an edge over niche channels, since TV in India has a largely family audience.”
SET Max’s business head Rajat Jain feels that the “pre-1975 movies don’t have much of an appeal with the younger generation.” He added that SET Max’s own Hindi classics movie slot was hardly very hot with the viewers. Anyways, a cursory glance on the top Hindi movie ratings shows the latest movies like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai or Ishq topping the charts, and hardly ever a classics gets top billing in ratings sweepstakes.
Zee’s director (marketing) Partha Pratim Sinha bluntly says, “No Hindi movie channel can sustain itself on classic movies. It will just not get the advertising.”
He, however, points out that Zee Cinema has “nostalgia” slots “which do have a type of demand.” Sinha points out that mixing and matching all genres of movies new and old is the test of a good movie channel.
Its Monday and lots of news items day!
Someone is working on a new look for the site, not sure if I will use it or not yet though. We do need a major overhaul in look to make things more professional looking. Maybe out there in reader land there are some Pro webdesigners who would have some ideas or ability to help out.
History for January and February has been added
From my Emails & ICQ
From Andrew Harrison
History Channel Feed FTA seen on I701 3769R sr 20000 channel 4
From George in Thailand
Some more updates
PAS 4 is back on-air- with ku-feeds
- DD 10 Looks like its just feeds now
- DD 11 also feeds not full time
- DD 4 is full time programming
- DD 9 is also full time programming
- Fashion TV is unencrypted again! Can't they make up their minds!!!!!!
- A Dubai Mux has started (Wonder if TARBS is getting this one?)
OK all for now
From the Dish
Intelsat 701 180E 4086 L New SR for the French mux is 12041.
Gorizont 33 145E 3975 R "RTR and Radio Rossii" have NOT started.
Asiasat 2 100.5E 3766 V "Myawady TV" has left , moved to Palapa C2.
Asiasat 2 100.5E 4020 V A Dubai mux has started, clear, Sr 27500, Fec 3/4,
NID/TID 318/5101, SIDs 9501-9504 and 9523-9524, PIDs 4130/4131-4642/4643
and 4098-4099, line-up: Dubai EDTV Europe, Dubai Sports Channel Europe,
Dubai Business Channel and UAE Radio Dubai.
(Craigs comment, obvious thing here would probably be the Dubai channels leaving the other transponder, lets hope the Dubai Channels stay FTA and the move isn't Tarbs related)
Asiasat 2 100.5E 3796 V "Fashion TV" is FTA still.
ST 1 88E 3632 V The test card has left again.
PAS 4 72E The Euro KU beams reported active anyone checked cband?
PAS 10 68.5E 3863 V "Idols" has started on , Irdeto 2 (Encrpt), PIDs 521/649, 14-20 CET.
Intelsat 804 64E 3646 R "ITV (Tanzania)" has left .
Intelsat 804 64E 3644 R An ITV (Tanzania) mux has started , Sr 9164, Fec 1/2, PIDs 257/258,
513/514 and 258-259, line-up: ITV, ITV 2, Radio One and East Africa FM.
Intelsat 904 58.5E Intelsat 904 is now geostationary at 58.5 East.
NDS & UEC Tech to produce new set-top boxes
News Corporation subsidiary NDS is partnering with South Africa's UEC Technologies to develop two new set-top boxes.
One of the boxes is to incorporate a hard drive, NDS's XTV personal video recording (PVR) technology, and its Open VideoGuard conditional access technology. The other box, which will be targeted at the US market, will incorporate a DOCSIS modem and VideoGuard. The companies are yet to announce how much the new boxes will cost and when they will be available on the market.
(Craigs comment, I guess this one is the news item of the day!! no other details as yet)
Pressure on Foxtel for rural pay TV
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission would force Foxtel to guarantee rural customers access to pay TV as part of approving the company's proposed deal with Optus, chairman Allan Fels said yesterday.
Professor Fels' proposal would finally allow Victorian customers in Bendigo and Ballarat to have access to pay TV through minor competitor Neighbourhood Cable.
Foxtel's agreement with Optus to share content, announced last week, amounted to the establishment of a monopoly on pay TV programming, Professor Fels told the Seven Network's Sunday Sunrise.
"It has very far-reaching potential effects on pay television, on telephone competition, the whole broadband development, including in rural and regional Australia," he said.
He said conditions the ACCC might impose on Foxtel might include obligations to carry channels such as C7 and obligations to supply content to smaller competitors such as Neighbourhood Cable.
ACCC commissioner Ross Jones said the ACCC had been trying "for years" to get Neighbourhood Cable access to Foxtel content. Cable companies can offer broadband and telephone services over their networks as well as pay TV, but pay TV is the biggest lure for customers, so companies denied access to Foxtel content generally expect to struggle.
The ACCC is particularly concerned that Foxtel, by refusing content to smaller competitors, might stifle the potential for telephony competitors for Telstra - its 50per cent shareholder.
Mr Jones said the ACCC would also examine what Foxtel could charge competitors for access.
Telstra chairman Ziggy Switkowski told the Seven Network yesterday that network access "shouldn't be an issue". "We will ask for commercial terms; I assume that Foxtel will happily carry other people's content and channels, particularly in the digital environment," he said.
Mr Switkowski also said that Foxtel's move to the "digital environment" could come as soon as next year, in a signal the Foxtel-Optus agreement had hastened the process.
Communications Minister Richard Alston has signalled he would consider legislation regulating access to Foxtel if the ACCC is unable to effect satisfactory conditions on the agreement.
Trade Minister Mark Vaile, speaking on Ten Network's Meet The Press, said the government remained "resolute" in its intention to ensure regional Australians received adequate pay-TV services.
Opposition communications spokesman Lindsay Tanner said the ACCC should act to protect consumers against an abuse of monopoly power.
Soccer: Sky's Kingz deal faces fight
New Zealand Soccer is prepared to go toe to toe with Football Kingz' owner Sky Television over its plans to sell the ailing club to its chief executive Chris Turner and fellow board member Ted Midlane.
Sky chief executive John Fellet said last week the board had agreed to sell a 90 percent shareholding in the club to the pair.
The deal was conditional on approval from New Zealand Soccer and Soccer Australia.
New Zealand Soccer chief executive Bill MacGowan was "gob-smacked" at the deal. He arrived back from a short visit to Britain on Friday to be told of the agreement.
He brought back a proposal for a group of Auckland businessmen, a high-profile British club and New Zealand Soccer to take the reins.
"We were advised by Sky in January that they were withdrawing their shareholding in the Football Kingz," MacGowan said.
"It was agreed New Zealand Soccer would try to put a new investment group together to run the Kingz. I went to the group with which I was talking and we looked at the options.
"Sky were kept fully informed. I was surprised, to say the least, when John Fellet told me on Friday of the heads of agreement Sky had with Chris Turner and Ted Midlane.
"Under our proposal, New Zealand Soccer, who would have no financial input, would take responsibility for marketing, financial/accounting matters, sponsorship and media," MacGowan said.
"We would provide the non-footballing services.
"Football Kingz Ltd - with a board comprising the four backers and one each from the British club, Sky and New Zealand Soccer - would appoint the coach and football manager and contract the players."
It was understood MacGowan has put a similar proposal to the club's board before but had been out-voted.
MacGowan would not be drawn on any future role for Turner and Midlane.
High on the list of concerns for MacGowan and his group - should they gain control - was the "out of control" wages bill. While nobody was giving figures, it seemed around $2 million was being paid to the players this season.
Cutting that, by at least half, was high on MacGowan's hit list.
"The only way the Kingz can survive is by cutting player payments," he said. "Players simply can't demand the level of payments they have been getting. We are absolutely certain the Kingz can survive with part-time football."
Of a likely budget, MacGowan said: "We are not talking huge numbers. The club obviously needs to be capitalised in a way to ensure its financial position."
MacGowan was adamant the Kingz must survive "with stability".
"New Zealand Soccer needs to be in a position to go to (world governing body) Fifa in 15 months and show the Kingz have played, and will continue to play, a vital role in the game's development here.
"We have to do all we can to foster the game here rather than turning to imports. That would be one benefit of building a strong link with a British club."
MacGowan said he had a timetable which would provide a formal offer to Sky by Friday.
Before then, he faced a meeting this afternoon with Turner and, on Wednesday, a meeting of the Kingz board.
Although Turner and MacGowan come together from opposite ends of the football field, on one issue they do agree.
"The player's budget will be reduced by quite a bit," Turner said.
"The club is financially secure for the next 18 months, if nothing changes. If a shareholder or shareholders became available, we would look at that, provided we felt they could add value to the Kingz.
"I'm confident New Zealand Soccer and Soccer Australia will agree to Sky's proposal.
"Sky doesn't want to own a football club. It is happy and keen to retain a 10 percent shareholding and a director on the board, and will continue to broadcast games.
"Owning a football club is not its core business but by doing what it has done, it has allowed us to continue running the Kingz."
Turner said he had discussed the club's future with MacGowan and said he did not expect any problems with New Zealand Soccer.
But McGowan's plans mean today's meeting might not be quite the same friendly "howdy-do" Turner was expecting.
(Craigs comment, the KingZ and Sky go together perfectly, Sky has awful games ditto for the KingZ, both are familiar with large weekly losses as well!)
Twinkle, twinkle little LED (now I know what's in your head)
Security researchers have published a paper warning that LED status indicators on datacomms kit can leak information to eavesdroppers.
A paper, Information Leakage from Optical Emanations, by Joe Loughry of Lockheed Martin Space Systems and David A.Umphress of Auburn University in Alabama explains how it's possible to correlate flickering lights with information flowing through a device.
On the face of it this seems impractical but the researchers have carried out tests which show "that it is possible to intercept data under realistic conditions at a considerable distance". Snoopers could intercept data from at "least across the street" using inexpensive equipment (which they haven't actually built yet), they suggest.
"Many different sorts of devices, including modems and Internet Protocol routers, were found to be vulnerable" to what the researchers describe as an "Optical Tempest" attack. Tests suggest lower speed device (such as 56Kbps) might be most subject to the theoretically undetectable attack.
The ability to monitor computer by intercepting stray radio-frequency emanations computers and displays has been common knowledge for some time, but there's been little mention of spying on signals in the optical spectrum.
One drawback is that such signals may be a noisy representation of the data flowing through them, as Loughry and Umphress acknowledge. Another difficulty, is that an attacker would need line of sight for effective snooping.
Paranoid punters may want to review that paper on the subject before deciding if they need to put duct tape over their LEDs or equipment redesign, both of which are suggested as countermeasures by the researchers. ®
(Craigs comment, and you thought storys of Foxtels LED seeking Helicopters were just rumours!m,tape up those LEDS!)
Tricky hurdles before pay-TV finds itself in the box seat
The next hurdle blocking the long march of Australian broadcasting towards some kind of sense is a deal between the free-to-air broadcasters and the pay-TV operators to share digital boxes.
The hurdle after that will be some way to ensure Foxtel supplies programming - especially movies - to anybody, not just Optus.
The deal between Foxtel and Optus to share programming, and between Foxtel and Telstra to allow the phone company to bundle pay-TV, was only the first - and easiest - part of the story.
The next thing involves organising the rollout of a digital set-top box that can be used for both pay-TV and free-to-air, which will be difficult and complicated, and will dominate the industry for the next 12 months.
Two weeks ago Communications Minister Senator Richard Alston called for a "dual tuner" - that is, the same box to handle both free-to-air and pay signals. At the same conference, his Opposition counterpart, Lindsay Tanner, called for the same thing.
It was the first time either politician had made such a clear statement on this issue, and the minister's statement in particular put it squarely on the agenda. Then on Tuesday Foxtel and Optus announced their deal to rationalise program supply, and pretty soon there were rumours that included in the deal was a side arrangement between Kerry Packer's Nine Network and Foxtel, of which it owns 25 per cent, to distribute a joint digital box, cutting out the other networks.
They haven't, in fact, but it is true that the networks, as a group, are now talking to the pay-TV companies about sharing boxes. This was surprisingly and dramatically made clear yesterday morning at Café Sydney on Circular Quay, during a breakfast organised by Michael Walsh, who runs an industry newsletter service called Australia.internet.com.
About 250 broadcasting and new media types watched enthralled as Judi Stack of Seven (she is also chair of FACTS and of the industry's digital-TV strategy group), Kim Anderson of Nine, Steve Rubie of Ten and Will Berryman of SBS, put on a display of sweetness and light not seen before. Not only did they agree about the direction of digital TV, but also agreed to work with the pay-TV operators. Alston, it seems, has been heard and heeded.
Both sides have a lot to gain out of installing common digital boxes, but it's much easier said than done. For Foxtel, Optus and Austar, having their software in every home with the digital-TV boxes will potentially give them 100 per cent reach; the networks, meanwhile, like the idea of getting instant critical mass for digital TV through the pay-TV operators putting boxes in 1.5 million homes free of charge.
The technical issues are being solved because the networks are giving up on Multimedia Home Platform - the software platform they adopted 18 months ago - because it is taking too long. There is now a push for something called DVB html, which is a "subset" of MHP and more of an open platform - able to be used by the pay-TV systems as well.
The big problem will be money, as usual. Up to now the networks' plan with digital TV has been to stay out of set-top boxes and to just let manufacturers make them and retailers sell them. You can buy them now, fairly cheaply, except that hardly anyone is.
Pay-TV subscribers don't pay for their boxes: Foxtel or Optus give them to anyone who signs up for the $50 or so a month.
How do you reconcile these two business models? If each box delivers both pay and free-to-air, how much does each side pay, and how do the networks recover their share of the cost? And what happens if Foxtel subscribers drop the service but still want digital free-to-air? They have to keep the box, but who pays for that?
If Foxtel's and Optus's wildest dreams come true, pay-TV penetration in Australia will rise to 50 per cent and stop (it's now less than 20 per cent). How will the other half get digital TV, especially once the analog signal is turned off? If it's to be through the single pay/free box, do they buy it at Harvey Norman or get it free?
And who "owns" the customer? Under the bundling deal between Foxtel and Telstra, Foxtel's customer relationships will henceforth be controlled by Telstra, since, over time, the pay-TV bill will be put on the phone bills. Same goes for Optus.
At the moment, the TV networks don't have direct relationships with their viewers - they rely on OzTAM for a guess at how many people are watching. But one of the great benefits of digital TV for the networks will be the ability to know and control their customers. They are not about to give that up to Telstra and Optus.
None of the above is impossible.
An important side issue is the openness of access to pay-TV programs. The ACCC has been asked to approve the deal between Foxtel and Optus in which they will compete for subscribers but share much of their programming - in particular their movies.
The deal will, and should, be approved, but only on condition that movies be available to other competitors of Foxtel, not just Optus.
Control of the movies from all seven Hollywood studios will create a duopoly. Without access to them, no other operator will get a look in. With anti-siphoning rules limiting the sport offering on pay-TV, movies are the key to getting subscribers in Australia.
Competition is not held back by infrastructure: 280,000 of Foxtel's 780,000 subscribers are on satellite, not cable, so the fact there are only two proprietary cable networks will not keep out competitors.
Arguably, the future of pay-TV in Australia is all about satellite, not cable. The two main HFC networks pass less than a third of Australian homes and will never be extended; DSL technology on Telstra's copper wires can theoretically deliver pay-TV, but it needs to be substantially upgraded and even then it is not the best way to do it.
Satellite is clearly the best and the cheapest, and it's not too hard to get a basic competitive pay-TV business off the ground.
Dishes cost about $60 each, and a simple Taiwanese set-top box costs about $150. A transponder can be rented for about $2 million a year from PanAmSat Inc on the PAS-2 satellite that has a Ku-Band footprint covering all Australia.
You can buy CNN, BBC World, ESPN, Discovery and a few other channels without any problem, but the big problem in Australia is getting hold of movies, because they're controlled by the duopoly: Foxtel and Optus.
The ACCC should put an end to it - and approving the newly reached deal with conditions is its chance to do so.
(Craigs comment, if only it was as easy to setup a pay tv service as they make it out to be!)
PanAmSat, Australia's TARBS Sign Pact on TV Platform in U.S.
Television & Radio Broadcasting Services Satellite Company (TARBS), Australia's leading multicultural broadcaster, will launch a TV platform in the United States in cooperation with PanAmSat Corporation.
TARBS will use multiple satellites in PanAmSat's fleet for the new platform to broadcast more than 50 channels of multicultural TV programming direct to consumers' homes in the United States. TARBS said it was targeting the addition of more than two million customers over the next five years. Its agreement with PanAmSat will facilitate the delivery of programming from its broadcasting partners to virtually any migrant home throughout the world.
TARBS is the medium of choice for multicultural Australia. It recently launched a fourth transponder, further expanding its language channels from 39 to 52 channels, covering 20 languages, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, broadcasting throughout Australia. It is planning to acquire a fifth transponder to further strengthen its language packages.
As part of its plan to create an international multi-cultural Pay TV and pay radio service, TARBS has created a pan-Asian and African satellite platform with the signing of two long term agreements with a major Middle Eastern media group and a European telecommunication group two years ago.
The agreements enable TARBS to complete its Australian digital satellite distribution platform channel line-up comprising 39 English language and foreign language Pay TV channels and radio Australia wide.
The pan-Asian and African satellite platforms also form an important part of TARBS' plans to offer multi-cultural Pay TV and pay radio channels throughout the entire Asia, Africa, and the West Coast of the United States of America.
TARBS has concluded an agreement with Unitel Hellas S.A (Unitel) of Greece for the provision of multi-transponder digital satellite uplink and downlink services via the Thaicom 3 satellite. The Unitel Hellas satellite teleport is about 50 km north of Athens. Unitel, a member of the Ergodata Group of Companies, is an end-to-end telecommunications company focusing on satellite-based services and operates one of the largest private teleport facilities in Greece.
The second agreement is with the Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU), The Middle East's largest TV and radio producer and broadcaster. ERTU will similarly provide multiple digital channel downlink and uplink services via the AsiaSat 2 satellite. The ERTU's satellite teleport is located in Maadi, Egypt.
Under the agreement Unitel and ERTU will provide transmission services that enable TARBS to distribute the international TV and radio signals of leading private and government broadcasters in Europe, The Middle East and North Africa that have entered into long term exclusive distribution agreements with TARBS.
International signals from these broadcasters include Egyptian Space Channel 1 & 2 (Egypt), Nile TV (Egypt), Nile Drama (Egypt), Nile Variety (Egypt), Nile Family (Egypt), Nile News (Egypt), Future TV (Lebanon), TV Globo International (Brazil), TV Chile (Chile), TV Polonia (Poland), MKTV Sat (Macedonia), Mega Cosmos (Greece) and NTV & NTV Plus (Russia).
The company has successfully converted its Microwave Multipoint Distribution (MDS) B Band Apparatus Licences to spectrum licences, operating in the 2.3 to 2.4 Gigahertz spectrum, in Australia's six largest capital cities - Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane.This opens the way for the company to expand its Pay TV business and launch a range of high speed Internet, e-commerce and telecommunications services.
Australia Launches Into the Space Age
Australia has set aside US$53 million to establish a spaceport on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean.
The US$408 million project between Australia and the Asia Pacific Space Center (APSC) will be the first fully commercial land based space launch facility in the world. Senator Nick Minchin, Australian Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, said the spaceport will establish Australia as a significant player in the satellite launch industry dominated by the United States, Russia, the European Union and China.
When inaugurated in 2003, the facility will be operated with technical assistance from Russia. APSC has formed an international consortium with the Russian space agency, Rosaviakosmos, and with Rocket Space Corporation Energia, TsSKB-Progress and the Central Bureau of General Machine Building (KBOM) to develop the Aurora launch system and provide technical equipment for the spaceport. An agreement between the Australian and Russian governments authorizing joint Australian/Russian space launch services was signed in May 2001.
Minchin said the APSC project would lead Australia into the highly prized geostationary launch market while offering capabilities for low earth orbit launches, as well. The APSC project focuses on the growing Asian satellite market. The center will also open opportunities for the Australian space sector, especially in the design, manufacture, testing and flight preparation of satellites, and in launch related technologies.
It will also be used in test flights of satellites and space communications. The Aurora launch vehicle for the project will be supplied by APSC's Russian partners and is based on the successful and reliable Soyuz family of rockets. The Aurora launch vehicle uses four strap-on liquid oxygen-hydrogen boosters. There are three- and four-stage versions designed to deliver payloads to different orbits. Aurora's four-stage version can deliver 4.5 metric tons of payload to geosynchronous transfer orbit and more than 2 metric tons directly to geostationary orbit.
APSC will invest a minimum of US$8 million over the first five years of launch operations towards the establishment of a Space Research Center. The center would be a partnership between APSC and Australian universities to support and sponsor research, teaching, and technical and managerial capacities in the Australian space industry.
Global demand for satellite launches will be worth up to US$40 billion this decade, according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and Australia can expect between 10 and 20 per cent of this market. Australian launch operations could contribute up to US$684 million to the country’s balance of payments in their first ten years of operation. The Allen Consulting Group estimates that the project will bring a net gain to Australia of US$1.3 billion in net present value.
The APSC project is also expected to ensure a better economic future for Christmas Island, whose 1,200 residents are currently dependent on an existing phosphate mine. APSC will generate up to 400 jobs in the construction phase and some 550 jobs when fully operational.
The island's proximity to the equator (it lies between 10 degrees 30 minutes South and 105 degrees 35 minutes East) makes it an ideal satellite launch site as heavier payloads can be sent into orbit using less fuel. Located 1,500 km off Australia's northwest coast, Christmas Island is the summit of an undersea mountain covered and has an area of 135 square km (52 sq miles).
Russian launch technology will be protected in Australia under a Technology Safeguards Agreement currently being negotiated between the Australian and Russian governments, consistent with the commitments of both countries under the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). The agreement will strictly monitor the control and use of the launch technologies. The MTCR is an international arrangement set up to prevent the proliferation of ballistic missile technology.
News Corp Expands Presence in China with New Channel
News Corporation is banking on the universal appeal of the American hit sitcom “Friends” to win over Chinese viewers to its new channel.
The Chinese-language version of Friends will bear the title, “Joyful Youth,” and will launch the new channel, called Xingkong Weishi, or Star Satellite TV within the month. The Mandarin version of Friends will be among a host of locally produced talk shows, dramas and game shows that Star Group will offer one million cable TV viewers in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong whose dominant dialect, however, is Cantonese and not Mandarin. The new channel will target 18-to-45 year-old viewers and will produce 60 percent of its programming in China.
Xingkong Weishi broadcasts, however, will be limited to the Pearl River Delta region. The agreement also requires News Corp to carry an English channel of state run China Central Television on its cable systems in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Late last year, China gave permission for cable distribution in Guangdong to three foreign media companies (News Corp, Phoenix Satellite TV and AOL Time Warner).
The move is the first time foreign channels will gain legal access to Chinese homes. News Corp and other foreign broadcasters have been restricted for decades to hotels above three stars and residence compounds approved for foreigners. News Corp hopes its shift to local language programming will prove the correct start to its ambition of becoming a national channel reaching China's 100 million homes via cable TV.
Thai Shin Satellite to get $250-M Loan from U.S. Export-Import Bank; Sees Increase Revenues in 2002
iPSTAR will provide a revolutionary satellite-based Last Mile broadband Internet services, serving all kinds of multimedia contents, applications and services.
Thailand's Shin Satellite pcl will receive a US$250 million loan from the U.S. Export-Import Bank to finance its new iPSTAR 1 broadband Internet satellite.
Shin Satellite will provide the rest of the funding for the US$340 million project from its own revenues. Shin Sat now has three satellites covering Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East and most of Europe. The company claims to be Asia's second biggest satellite operator in terms of market share after Hong Kong's Asia Satellite Telecommunications (AsiaSat).
iPSTAR 1, to be launched in 2003, will have a capacity of 40 gigabytes per second to 14 gateways in the Asia-Pacific covering China, Japan, India and Australia. It will provide telecommunications and multimedia services to households, business and public organizations. Individual households will have access to a wide variety of pay TV and VOD services, IP voice telephony and high-speed Internet connections.
ShinSat expects that iPSTAR to become its flagship satellite with 13 million users by 2008, of which 600,000 customers will be in Thailand. Its biggest market, however, is expected to be China. The new satellite is seen as the main driver of the company's future earnings. ShinSat has already sold 30 percent of iPSTAR’s capacity to companies in China, Malaysia and India. The company had lately entered into contracts with companies in Malaysia and China that will receive transponders in exchange for investment in iPSTAR.
Executive chairman Dumrong Kasemset revealed that about 45 percent of the satellite's total capacity would be filled after deals are completed with India and Australia. Kasemset also said that company revenues for 2002 were expected to rise at least 22 percent from US$119.5 million last year because of strong demand for high-speed data communications. Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra founded ShinSat and his family still owns 51 percent of the company.
ShinSat currently operates three satellites: Thaicom 1A, 2 and 3. Thaicom 1A and Thaicom 2 are two Hughes HS-376 spacecraft. Thaicom 1A carries 12 C-Band transponders and 3 Ku-Band transponder while Thaicom 2 has 10 C-Band transponders and 3 Ku-Band transponders. The C-Band footprints of Thaicom 1A and Thaicom 2 cover Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Korea, Japan and the east coast of China. Thaicom 1A and Thaicom 2 provide a high Ku-Band spot beam over Thailand and Indochina.
Thaicom 3 is ShinSat’s second-generation satellite and is one of the most powerful and technologically advanced satellites ever built. Thaicom 3 has 25 C-Band transponders and 14 Ku-Band transponders and is a three-axis stabilized spacecraft. Seven C-Band transponders cover Asia, Europe, Australia, and Africa, or more than 120 countries and three billion people.
Sony, Discovery ink distribution deal, warn of hike in subscription rates
It has been a marriage a long time in the making. Sony Entertainment Television (SET) India and Discovery Networks International (DNI) announced yesterday a distribution alliance that brings the two DNI channels, Discovery and Animal Planet, onto the Sony platform.
While talk of such a deal has been doing the rounds for well over a year now, company officials admitted that some urgency came into the whole equation only in the last three months. It may be recalled that it was just under three months ago (13 December to be exact) that Subhash Chandra's Zee Telefilms and AOL Time Warner's Indian unit announced a channel distribution joint venture that brought the three Turner International channels Cartoon Network, CNN and HBO onto Zee's 14-channel bouquet.
The two companies will be setting up a joint venture to handle distribution. Queried as to what sort of equity break-up the new company would have, neither Sony Entertainment Television CEO Kunal Dasgupta nor Discovery Networks India MD Deepak Shourie would offer any clues. Their explanation: It will be worked out after regulatory approvals (from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board?) had been secured. However, if the JV is anything like the Zee-Turner one (where Zee has a 74 per cent stake), SET is likely to hold a larger chunk of equity.
The deal is to take effect from 1 April and the new venture will be headed by Shantonu Aditya, senior V-P, franchise channels and distribution, SET India, who will be the company president. From the Discovery side there is Anuj Gandhi, director, affiliate sales, India & South Asia, as the JV's vice-president.
The alliance is being formed at a time when commercial broadcasters in India are increasingly looking at subscription revenues to shore up bottomlines in a climate where the fight for a share of the stagnant ad pie is becoming more and more difficult.
With the addition of Discovery and Animal Planet, the SET bouquet offers a six-channel compact quality package that includes SET, SET MAX, action channel AXN, and business news channel CNBC. One thing that Dasgupta made clear without providing any numbers was that the bouquet would cost more. Queried as to how they expected cable operators to accept increases when resistance was becoming increasingly strident, Shourie said the quality of the package added to an improvement in the services that two companies working together would bring in would make the difference.
MAJOR INCREASE IN CONNECTIVITY IS THE GOAL: The addition of the Discovery package is even more significant now that Sony has acquired the Indian broadcast rights to ICC designated tournaments for the next six years. The newly acquired cricket properties will without doubt be the cornerstone of Sony's drive to increase connectivity across the country as well as push through whatever new subscription rates that will decided. The two channels just add some more muscle to that effort and it is an alliance that is bound to prove mutually beneficial.
"This joint venture enables both partners to offer consumers a comprehensive and diverse bouquet of programming choices, enhancing both partners' distribution strength," Michael Grindon, president of Columbia TriStar International Television, SET India's parent company, said in an official release.
According to the same release, Dawn McCall, the president of Discovery Networks International, said: "Sony and Discovery bring unique, complementary strengths and knowledge to this new joint venture that will offer consumers endless entertainment choices."
Both the Discovery Channel and Sony Entertainment Television began broadcasting in India in 1995. According to the channels' estimates, the former now reaches over 21 million subscriber households, the latter more than 29 million.
(Craigs comment this is of course via Pas 10, encrypted in Power Vu)
T S I C H A N N E L N E W S - Number 10/2002 10 March 2002 -
A weekly roundup of global TV news sponsored by TELE-satellite International
Editor: Branislav Pekic
Edited Apsattv.com Edition
A S I A
FOXTEL AND OPTUS ANNOUNCE PROGRAMMING DEAL
The country’s two major pay-TV operators, Optus Television and Foxtel, have
reached a programming agreement that Foxtel hopes will give it more clout in
dealing with U.S. studios. The two companies said on March 5 that from November
until 2010, Optus will be able to resell Foxtel’s subscription channels,
including its movie channels, on its cable network. Under the new deal, Foxtel
will assume Optus’ financial obligations under its film and content agreements
and will show some Optus contentto be specified at a later dateon its service.
Optus as a full-service pay-TV operation will ultimately disappear as early as
next year. The agreement means that Foxtel, which currently has a subscriber
base of about 800,000, will represent more than 1 million subscribers in its
negotiations with the Hollywood studios. The deal is conditional on regulatory
approval, as well as consent from the Hollywood studios: Paramount, Universal,
Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Disney, Warner and MGM. Foxtel is 50 per cent
owned by Telstra and 25 per cent apiece by Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited (owner
of The Australian) and Kerry Packer’s Publishing & Broadcasting Ltd.
TARBS RENEWS TRANSPONDER DEAL WITH PANAMSAT
PanAmSat Corporation on March 5 announced a new 10-year, multi-transponder
sales agreement with Television & Radio Broadcasting Services (TARBS),
Australia's leading multicultural broadcaster, to launch a new direct-to-home
TV platform in the US. In addition to using multiple international satellites
in PanAmSat's fleet for DTH and contribution services in the Asia-Pacific,
TARBS will now broadcast more than 50 channels of multicultural television
programming direct to consumers' homes in the United States over the Galaxy XR
North American satellite. In total, this new sales agreement consists of C- and
Ku-band capacity on the PAS-2 and PAS-8 Pacific Ocean Region satellites, the
PAS-10 Indian Ocean Region satellite and the Galaxy XR spacecraft. TARBS has
been a PanAmSat customer since 1999, when it launched an ethnic programming DTH
platform in Australia over the company's PAS-8 satellite. TARBS will use
PanAmSat's PAS-2, PAS-8 and PAS-10 satellites to deliver a wide array of ethnic
programming, covering more than 20 languages, from throughout Europe and Asia
to their broadcast operations center in Sydney, Australia. There, TARBS will
combine the contributed feeds with in-house produced channels for transmission
to PanAmSat's Napa, California teleport facility. The multicultural programming
bouquet will uplink to Galaxy XR for broadcast throughout North America.
SEVEN NETWORK CONSIDERS FUTURE OF PAY-TV OPERATOR
The Seven Network Ltd says it is committed to a significant presence in pay-TV
but is looking at the future of C7, its sports based service, following the
March 5 agreement between the biggest pay-TV operators Foxtel and Optus. Seven
spokesman Simon Francis said deliberations on the future of C7 were continuing
as were discussions with Optus regarding the sports channel, with a decision to
be made in the next month. C7 is currently carried on the Optus platform and by
Austar as a tier or extra service paid for by subscribers. Last year, Federal
Court rulings opened the way for Seven’s pay-TV arm to be granted access to the
Foxtel platform. Mr Francis said Seven wanted to move C7 and other potential
Seven networks onto the Foxtel platform on terms “which are reflective of other
commercial arrangements between Foxtel and its suppliers”.
MEN CLOSE TO SIGNING DISTRIBUTION DEAL FOR TEN SPORTS CHANNEL
According to local press reports, there is a strong possibility that MEN will
sign a deal as the distribution platform for the soon-to-be-launched Taj
Entertainment Network (Ten) sports channel. Ten is being launched by promoter
of Sharjah cricket Abdulrahman Bukhatir through his company Taj Sports, and is
expected to be unveiled on 6 April, just ahead of the start of the next
tri-nation Sharjah cricket tourney. MEN chief executive Rajan Kaaicker was
equally noncommittal when asked to respond to industry reports that Ten would
be offered as part of the MEN bouquet at an a la carte subscription rate of Rs
8 per month after an initial free trial period. The other channels on the MEN
bouquet are DD Sports, Hallmark, FTV and MCM (the last two are French fashion
and music channels respectively). According to industry sources, there are
three possible bouquets that Ten could hop aboard - MEN, Zee and Sony
TV CHANNELS MOVE TO INSAT 3C SATELLITE
Almost all of Indian National TV, Doordarshan’s, regional TV channels have
started to migrate to the recently operational Insat 3C at 74 degrees East. It
replaces broadcast capacity on the Insat 2C satellite at 93.5 degrees East,
which is nearing the end of its operational life. The channels affected include
DD9 (Karnataka), DD11 (Gujarati), DD4 (Kerala), DD 10 (Maharashtra) and DD Gyan
Darshan, the educational channel. Insat 3C has 24 C-band transponders, six
extended C-band transponders and two S-band transponders for broadcast use.
MTV TO LAUNCH IN MAY
Global music channel MTV is set to add another channel to its empire, reaching
15 millon new households, when it launches MTV Indonesia in May. MTV Networks
Asia has signed a deal with broadcast network Global Television and its parent
outfit, investment holding company Bimantara Citra. The 24-hour terrestrial
music channel will feature a mixture of Indonesian and international shows, and
will air on the Global TV platform. MTV Indonesia will initially have a
distribution of 15 million households in five key cities - Jakarta, Bandung,
Semarang, Surabaya and Medan.
SKY PERFECTV EXPECTS HIGHER LOSSES
Sky Perfect is expecting a pretax Y25 billion loss through 2002, according to
local reports. The digital satellite platform expects the losses to be high
after spending Y13 billion on the TV rights to the upcoming football World Cup
and a further Y12 billion on other programming through the year. Sky, which
earlier this week announced it had exceeded the 3 million subscribers mark for
the first time, forecasts 500,000 new customers will sign up in 2002.
Meanwhile, media investor Softbank has sold a 5.1% stake in Sky Perfect to
Nippon Television Corp. for Y11.7 billion. The move reduces Softbank’s stake in
Sky Perfect to 1.07%.
Sorry about the delay in updating another project got in the way of things, then my little Nephew turned up and wanted to play Midtown Madness so he took over the PC. You can't reason with a 3 year old :-)
From my Emails & ICQ
From George in Thailand
Dear Craig and all Apsattv'ers
Some info and updates from S.E. Asia
Insat 3C The channels I can get are DD 4 / DD 9 sometimes DD 11 and sometimes DD 10 but it looks like they are all on different beams even though they report there is only one main beam?
All the analogues come in fine except DD 13 North-East the signal is execptionally marginal but the footprint I think covers Thailand fine even though the footprint map says otherwise.
PAS 2 The BBC World on 3901H has left but it signature still comes up. The signature for ABC Asia Pacific on 3901H still comes up as Adhoc II ? (Wonder why they don't change it?) and the BBC World feed on 3743/3744 V has increased in signal strength (coincidence?)
And reports are ART has encrypted on 3836V
and thanks a lot Craig for posting sat info for all of the Asia-Pacific region
From ME 08/03/02
B1, 12348V Sr 6110 Fec 3/4 Vpid 308 Apid 256 "Fox Sorts BBall feed"6.pm Syd time
From the Dish
PAS 2 169E 3836 V "ART Australia" is now encrypted. (Another FTA bites the dust? Tarbs??)
PAS 2 169E 12577 V Two Panamsat test cards have started , FTA, Sr 18860, Fec 3/4, PIDs 3110/3115 and 3120/3125, NE Asian beam.
Agila 2 148E 3711 H New SR for ABC 5 3358.
Agila 2 148E 4072 H "GMA Network and GMA Radio" have started FTA, SR 3515, Fec 3/4,PIDs 308/256 and 257.(Analog could disapear?)
Gorizont 33 145E 3775 R "ORT (+8h), Radio Mayak and Radio Rossii" have started , SECAM,7.00, 7.50 and 8.00 MHz.
Gorizont 33 145E 3975 R "RTR (+8h) and Radio Rossii" have started, SECAM, 7.50 and 7.00 MHz.
JCSAT 3 128E 3960 V "FTV, CTS, CTV and TTV" are encrypted again.
Thaicom 3 78.5E 3600 H "The Anjuman TV promo" has left , replaced by a test card.
Thaicom 3 78.5E 3671 H An MRTV mux has started on , FTA, Sr 13330, Fec 3/4, PIDs 33/37,
49/52 and 3601/3605, global beam, line-up: MRTV 3, occasional feeds and MRTV.
Thaicom 3 78.5E 3666 H "MRTV" has left , moved to 3671 H.
Thaicom 3 78.5E 3676 H "MRTV 3" has left , moved to 3671 H.
Davis Broadband Tapped by E! Networks to Expand International Reach
Los Angeles-based Davis Broadband Group, Inc. (DBG), has been selected by E! Networks to assist the company with its aggressive expansion campaign in the international markets arena with the launch of the E! International Network on April 1. DBG, an international media and entertainment solutions company, specializes in offering creative management and technology implementation solutions to the global media and entertainment industries.
The English language E! International Network, available to cable and satellite services in Europe, Asia Pacific and the Middle East, will launch as a single global feed, customized for international consumption and using subtitles and dubbing where necessary. DGB will provide E! Networks the global satellite and technical operations support and regulatory expertise that is critical to the successful launch of the new channels in international markets.
"We respect the extensive experience in satellite and technical operations that DBG and its founder, George Davis, possess," said Kevin MacLellan, Senior Vice President, International, E! Networks. "George has played an integral role in the launch and management of numerous international television channels, and we are confident that our E! International Network will experience the same success with DBG on our team."
"Our relationship with E! allows DBG to showcase the full range of our international expertise. Our senior level relationships with the satellite carriers, technology service providers and international programmers, gives us the advantage in assisting E! as it expands its presence around the world," said George Davis, president and founder, Davis Broadband Group, Inc.
Los Angeles-based Davis Broadband Group, Inc. (DBG), an international media and entertainment solutions company, offers creative management and technology implementation solutions for the global media and entertainment industries. DBG provides strategic analysis for the cost-effective implementation of both the short and long-term physical distribution of international channels including terrestrial and satellite links, audio configurations, standards conversion, subtitling and dubbing. DBG's reach extends to 45 countries worldwide, and helps clients to navigate through the unique cultural, technical and regulatory environment of the international markets.
(Craigs comment, E! launches on Sky NZ on April 1st, not sure who will take it in Australia)
Intelsat, Ltd., Announces Planned Initial Public Offering
From Intelsat Press Release
Washington - 8 March 2002 -- Intelsat, Ltd., today has announced its
intention to conduct an initial public offering of its ordinary shares in an
amount of approximately US$500 million. In addition, it is anticipated that
Intelsat Ltd.'s current shareholders will be offered the opportunity to sell
ordinary shares in the offering. It is also anticipated that the initial
public offering would occur before the end of this year. It is currently
expected that a registration statement relating to the initial public
offering will be filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in
mid-2002. The purposes of the initial public offering are to raise money
for general corporate purposes and to repay outstanding debt, and to comply
with the Open-Market Reorganization for the Betterment of International
Telecommunications Act (known as the ORBIT Act). The ORBIT Act requires
Intelsat, Ltd. to complete an initial public offering by no later than 31
THIS NOTICE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AN OFFER FOR SALE OR THE SOLICITATION OF AN
OFFER TO BUY ANY OF INTELSAT, LTD.'S SECURITIES. INTELSAT, LTD.'S INITIAL
PUBLIC OFFERING WILL BE MADE ONLY BY MEANS OF A PROSPECTUS.
+1 202 944 7406
SAFE HARBOR STATEMENT:
Some of the statements in this news release constitute "forward-looking
statements" that do not directly or exclusively relate to historical facts,
including statements relating to the estimated size of our contemplated
initial public offering, the estimated timing of the offering and the
possible sale of shares in the offering by some of our current shareholders.
The forward-looking statements in this news release reflect our intentions,
plans, expectations, assumptions and beliefs about future events and are
subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside
of our control. These factors could cause actual results to differ
materially from the expectations expressed or implied in the forward-looking
statements and include known and unknown risks. In connection with our
contemplated initial public offering, known risks include, but are not
limited to, insufficient market demand for our equity securities; our
inability to obtain regulatory approvals in a timely manner; changes in laws
and regulations; and changes in the condition of the financial markets.
Because actual results could differ materially from our intentions, plans,
expectations, assumptions and beliefs about the future, you are urged to
view all forward-looking statements contained in this news release with
caution. Intelsat does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any
forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future
events or otherwise.
Pay-TV operators fear wholesale changes
THE nation's third and fourth largest pay-TV operators are divided on the benefits of the proposed industry restructure.
Chief executive of regional pay-TV group Austar John Porter said it was a win for consumers who would gain more services and better programming.
But chairman of niche pay-TV group Television & Radio Broadcasting Services Mike Boulos vowed to oppose the changes as he believed Foxtel would price wholesale content too expensively.
"They will control that content and prevent other players from having a fair go," he said.
Mr Boulos has been unsuccessful in gaining access to general programming to add to his 52 ethnic and adult channels, which are available via satellite across Australia.
Meantime, Mr Porter does not expect the rationalisation to lead to an imminent takeover bid for Austar but he does not rule it out in the long term.
Mr Porter, whose company has 432,000 rural subscribers and had been in merger talks with Optus, said Austar would benefit from lower content costs.
"My belief is that we will more than likely continue to operate as a stand-alone business with a bundling proposition of our own," he said.
He believed Foxtel and Optus would be too busy bedding down their restructure to focus on an Austar bid and other telephony companies might be interested in bundling with Austar.
"A range of telecommunications companies could look at working more closely with us in the form of a commercial relationship or something more significant," he said.
Bundling has become the new focus of competition in the capital cities under the Foxtel and Optus deal.
If approved by the competition regulator, Foxtel will be the major content owner, which distributes to itself, and to Telstra and Optus, which will bundle it with other services. But Mr Porter did not believe Foxtel would be interested in bundling pay-TV with other services in country areas.
"Their business model seems to be to not duplicate infrastructure but to allow distributors the ability to go out and build a customer base for them," he said.
Mr Porter was also confi dent of benefiting from lower content costs as Austar was a major supplier of content to Foxtel through the XYZ Entertainment partnership.
He said Austar began bun dling last year and 15 per cent of customers now took more than one service.
"This transaction is a huge endorsement of bundling as a strategy, so much so that Optus is willing to bet its future on it," he said.
(Craigs comment, "But chairman of niche pay-TV group Television & Radio Broadcasting Services Mike Boulos vowed to oppose the changes as he believed Foxtel would price wholesale content too expensively."They will control that content and prevent other players from having a fair go," he said." So Tarbs isn't happy about others controlling content and access to it? What the heck have they been doing on Cband then? tieing up the content and controlling access to it!. Tarbs are to big for their boots. If they think things are egtting tough wait until they try and crack the u.s market)
Advantage Stokes in Optus play
The Seven Network's Kerry Stokes has Foxtel over a regulatory barrel.
Seven Network chairman and pay TV aspirant Kerry Stokes had mixed feelings on Tuesday when he heard about deal between Foxtel and Optus to revolutionise the local pay TV industry.
On the one hand, he was mightily peeved that the hugely successful Fox Sports channels would now be shown on Optus, previously the exclusive domain of Seven's struggling C7 pay TV sports service.
On the other hand, Stokes - the Seven Network's executive chairman - knew he was in the box seat.
He is the only obstacle in the way of Foxtel and Optus winning approval from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for their watershed deal.
Stokes has been chasing Foxtel through the courts since 1997, seeking access to its analog cable to broadcast his own pay TV service.
Despite three court decisions in Stokes' favour, they have been unable to agree on commercial terms.
But the pressure is now on Foxtel to cut a deal with Stokes, if it is to allay ACCC concerns that the Optus agreement effectively delivers it a monopoly over pay TV in Australia.
Stokes was calling Foxtel a "cartel" even before the deal this week with Optus that gave Foxtel control of the entire metropolitan pay TV market. But he has been noticeably quiet - this time around he doesn't need to be out there waging a propaganda war in the press.
He knows he has Foxtel over a regulatory barrel.
Besides, Communications Minister Richard Alston has been fighting Stokes' battle for him. Hours after the Optus deal was announced on Tuesday, Alston warned Foxtel that reaching agreement with C7 was crucial if it wanted government protection for digitising the Foxtel cable.
"A commitment by the Foxtel shareholders to expeditiously resolving this matter will demonstrate their bona fides at a time when the government is considering whether to provide upfront regulatory certainty to facilitate the provision of digital pay TV services," Alston said.
Anticipating this reaction, Foxtel put an offer to Seven last Friday. Foxtel said Seven could set the C7 subscription price and the two companies would equally split the revenue generated. Foxtel has reserved space on its cable for the C7 service.
Having spent months wrangling with Foxtel only to receive this proposal days before the Foxtel/Optus deal was struck, Seven finds it difficult to take it seriously, regarding it as a Clayton's offer.
Seven wants the C7 sports channels to be included in the basic Foxtel service that every subscriber receives. But Foxtel is adamant that it would have to be sold as a premium channel that costs subscribers extra. "We've put the gauntlet down saying let the consumer decide," says Foxtel chief Kim Williams.
But as both Williams and Stokes are well aware, viewers are unlikely to decide on the C7 channels, which don't carry the prime winter sports of AFL and NRL, when they can have the Fox channels, which do.
Which leaves C7's future in doubt now that Fox Sports programs will be available to both Foxtel and Optus subscribers.
Relations between the Seven and Foxtel camps have become increasingly strained since the News Ltd-led consortium paid $550million for the broadcast rights to the AFL, previously the linchpin of Seven's free-to-air and pay TV sports line-up. Stokes, noted for his litigiousness, launched legal action against the Foxtel shareholders last July accusing them of colluding in their AFL bid in an attempt to kill off C7.
The sense of frustration emanating from the Foxtel bunker down at Pyrmont is palpable. "You can't sue your way to good business outcomes," says Williams. "They can only be negotiated by both sides." And at this stage, agreement seems a fair way off.
But until Stokes is mollified, the government will not commit to protecting any investment Foxtel may make upgrading its network to digital. And Foxtel must go digital if it is to emulate the success of United Kingdom operator BSkyB, which is making a stack of money from interactive services.
Just where Foxtel and Seven find common ground will depend on how far Foxtel is willing to bend for regulatory peace, and how much sway Stokes really holds in Canberra.
It irks Foxtel no end that Stokes is frequently viewed by the media and politicians as the little Aussie battler struggling against the mighty Foxtel shareholders Telstra, PBL and News Ltd, particularly when two of the top dogs in question are the Packer and Murdoch media dynasties.
Angling to become the third force in the Australia media sector, Stokes is renowned for his steely determination.
"He's trying to emulate Kerry and Rupert," says one industry observer.
"He's not always been successful, but he's been ahead of the game most of the time. It's the same two steps forward, one step back strategy. But the net is still one forward - that's the kind of operator he is."
And while the Foxtel/Optus deal could initially be a step back for the C7 sports service, it could prove to be a big leap forward for Stokes' broader pay TV ambitions.
"One could be forgiven for thinking that Kerry Stokes wants a free breakfast, lunch and dinner," Foxtel chief Kim Williams said this week.
Foxtel will never give that much away, but Stokes could very easily end up with free breakfast and lunch.
Optus triumphs in a channelling of pay TV energies
Pay TV is part of a wider battle in local telephony.
Singapore Telecommunications this week put its loss-making Optus pay television business on the express route to profitability.
More than that, it is set to emerge the clear winner in the remodelling of an industry that has wallowed in red ink throughout its seven years.
Although Foxtel will become the all-powerful content gatekeeper in an effective monopoly, it is Optus that will be dealt a winning hand by withdrawing from the pay TV market as a costly program supplier.
"I believe Optus will be more of a winner, because winning is about dollar gain relative to size," said a prominent industry insider.
Should the deal clear regulatory snags, as many analysts expect, Optus will carry Foxtel's superior programming and palm its onerous Hollywood contract liabilities worth about $600million to the dominant pay TV provider, equating to a $30 million improvement in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA).
The telco also gains a cool $900million by leasing its satellite capacity to Foxtel over the next 15 years.
This places Optus on a level playing field with Telstra, which will adopt the Optus strategy of bundling telephony, Internet and pay TV products to improve its subscriber growth trajectory and reduce churn.
"From Optus' perspective, it has got rid of an expensive albatross from its neck," said Rothschild investment banking managing director David Kingston. "Going forward, it enables them to bundle on a like-to-like basis with Telstra, and there is no difference except with price and image."
A leading media analyst says "the battle will be won or lost" in local telephony. "It provides Telstra with a strengthened defence position as Optus improves its bundled offering, leaving the consumer differentiation in the broadband space," he said.
Optus' acting managing director of consumer and multimedia (CMM), Martin Dalgleish, says the sector has finally found a formula for a sustainable future.
"It's an important step, and this will be a profitable outcome relative to where we have been," he said.
"The industry made a high subscription investment and a lot of that value gain was transferred to a lot of content players out of Australia (but) we'll see a lot of that start to shift back."
From the start, there has been a cloud over whether the Australian market could sustain more than one pay TV player.
This grew decidedly more ominous during the early scramble between Optus, Foxtel and Australis to secure exclusive programming contracts in US dollars to drive subscriptions.
With the Hollywood studios taking full advantage of their desperation, the legacy of the costly deals set the players on a widening loss-making path.
Both the long-term nature of the contracts with Disney, MGM and Warner Bros, due to expire around 2007, and aggressive minimum subscriber guarantees put a serious dent in new owner SingTel's commitment to Optus Vision.
Industry insiders believe the punitive minimum subscriber guarantees locked in with the movie houses meant Optus was paying for film content as if it had nearly twice the number of subscribers.
In an apparent turnaround after this week's landmark deal, pay TV has suddenly become an integral part of its business model, at the same time killing off merger plans with troubled satellite broadcaster Austar.
"There is no need for SingTel to shut down its pay TV business - a lot of that stuff has come out from SingTel posturing because it wants to ensure this deal goes through," the analyst said.
"From Telstra's point of view, there's no doubt it has also got a good deal, apart from the fact it has let its competition out of jail by bearing Optus Vision's (programming) losses."
So far, the bundling strategy has enabled Optus to outpace Foxtel, growing its subscriber base by 17 per cent to 270,000 over the past year.
Analysts warn the new arrangement poses a number of risks to Foxtel and its shareholder Telstra because both stand to gain market share at the expense of reinvigorating Optus. At present, 44 per cent of Optus customers have more than one product, and this is expected to grow substantially.
With the two players seeking to cauterise the bleeding in their pay TV businesses, the benefits will be comparatively greater for Optus. However, the magnitude of Optus' returns hinges on Foxtel's programming fees, which are likely to be closer to retail price.
Optus' CMM division faces a full-year loss of $100 million on the EBITDA line. This drifted $74 million into the red in the nine months to December 31.
"The real problem with this business historically is that it hasn't made any money; it has been stubbornly and steadily negative at the EBITDA level without any improvement," a prominent telecommunications analyst said. By skilfully extricating itself from its content liabilities, Optus is now forecast to break even a year earlier, by the end of calendar 2003.
"The programming costs are too high and it has not been able to get a huge number of customers to overtake minimum subscriber guarantees with the studios," the analyst said.
With the price of Foxtel content more transparent to customers, Optus will be under less pressure to fund its loss-making pay TV business with its telephony services.
Despite being Australia's dominant pay TV player with 780,000 subscribers, Foxtel is also losing $100 million a year, but the loss is spread across three investors - Telstra, which owns 50 per cent, and Publishing and Broadcasting and News Corporation, each with 25 per cent.
Analysts say the consolidation of the two main players' programming assets, ending an era of exclusive US programming contracts, could enhance the value of the CMM business, which houses the Optus pay TV operation, by as much as 50 per cent.
One analyst said this division, which also contains the high-speed platform optus@home, the optus@net dial-up service and telephony, now had a market value of $500million to $1billion. "It's now not taking customers unless they connect to the telephony service, so it's hard to draw out the value," he said.
Price will determine the magnitude of the growth in value. In a recent research report, Macquarie Equities suggested Optus would set its price at a "safe 5 per cent to 10 per cent margin" below Telstra.
"Pricing is going to be the name of the game, provided the services work equally as well - when you've got a duopoly, you don't tend to have a pricing war," Mr Kingston said.
Image will be an equally important distinguishing feature, although the deal should enable Optus to reduce its marketing overheads significantly.
"Consumers tend to make emotive decisions with telecommunications providers, particularly in the bundling area," Mr Dalgleish said.
"Customer service is also vital in keeping and gaining new customers and generating long-term tenure agreements."
Optus plans to cut its capital-spending commitments by as much as $300 million down to $100 million annually. It expects the savings to flow from take-up of interactive or digital TV services in addition to new subscriber connections and an absence of program liabilities.
Mr Dalgleish said the telco planned to broaden the interactive trials to 3000 customers by March, believing these services would eventually form a critical part of its bundling strategy.
There is a new magazine out in the shops "Satellite Tests 2002" a one off magazine from the U.K I just bought a copy tonight have not looked through it properly yet. The adverts are interesting they certainly have a lot of hardware choices over there. This magazine should be in shops in Australia thought if I remember rightly a few had trouble tracking down last years issue.
Not much news around today.
From my Emails & ICQ
B1, 12348 V Sr 6110 Fec 3/4 Vpid 308 Apid 256 "Globecast LF8 Basketball feed"
From Chris Pickstock
B1, 12367 V, sr 6110, Golf, same as yesterday
B1, 12397 H, sr 7200, Cricket. C7 feed of Aboriginal XI v ACB XI from Canberra.
From the Dish
Agila 2 146E 3614 H "Two 10 TV promos" have started, Sr 6620, Fec 3/4, PIDs 32/33 and 34/35.
Asiasat 3 105.5E 3760 H "Tech TV" is encrypted in PowerVu.
Asiasat 3 105.5E 3980 V "National Geographic Channel" has started Vpids 517 Apid 660.
Asiasat 2 100.5E 3708 V "Reality TV" has started Codicrypt, PIDs 1025/1026.
ST 1 88E 3632 V The test card is back on , FTA, SID 214, PIDs 5665/5666.
Insat 3C 74E 3919 V "DD 4 - Kerala" has started, Sr 5000, Fec 3/4.
Insat 3C 74E 3799 V "DD 10 - Maharashtra" has started , SR 5000, Fec 3/4.
Insat 3C 74E FEC for DD 9 - Karnataka and DD 11 - Gujarati on 3731 V and 3851 V: 3/4.
(Craigs comment, while noone in Australia reports receiving this satellite, its published for the benefit of our readers in Asia who can get it)
Opposition claims DSD can spy without scrutiny
The Federal Opposition says new rules allow Australia's secret satellite spy agency, the Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) to spy on Australians without scrutiny, in some circumstances.
The rules apply under new laws which began operation at the end of October last year.
The top secret spy agency has been in the news frequently in recent times, with the inspector-general of Intelligence and Security, Bill Blick, still looking into allegations the agency broke its guidelines by intercepting telephone calls during the Tampa crisis.
During the recent estimates hearings in Canberra, members of the agency refused to hand over the now redundant rules from 1998, saying they were secret.
But Labor did manage to get the current rules.
A spokeswoman for the Opposition says the new regime does allow the agency to spy on Australians talking to foreigners overseas, because it does not regulate interception of such conversations.
Federal Opposition leader Simon Crean says former defence minister Peter Reith must answer allegations he secretly altered legislation to make it possible for the Government to spy on Australians.
Mr Crean says that not only were people being lied to, but Mr Reith made new laws to make it easier for Australians to be spied on.
"I've said before that this is a government that lied, spied and denied," he said.
"We're getting to the bottom of the lies, we know the Government's continuing denials.
"Now there's more evidence about the spying."
Aastha channel to beam in UK, US, Canada
Indian spiritual channel Aastha will soon be spreading its wings to the UK, USA and Canada.
According to Kirit Mehta, promoter of CMM Broadcasting Network Limited, which runs the digital channel: "Plans are at an advanced stage to distribute Aastha channel in the UK, USA and Canada, since there is much demand for this channel in these countries."
"Currently these three countries are not being covered through the present global beam of Thaicom-3. Several interested parties from these countries have approached us with telecast offers, after we telecasted a few live programmes covering these regions.
"We are also in the process of turning the Aastha channel into a pay service by teaming up with DTH and multiple system operators in these countries as well as in countries which are presently being covered through Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, West Asia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mauritius, Maldives and Sri Lanka."
In India, Aastha has a higher viewership than CNBC, CNN, Hallmark and Jain TV, a company release states. Most of these numbers however, are not in the cities but come from the rural populace.
On the international arena, CMM Music, the other channel under the CMM label, claims higher viewership than rivals Zee Music, B4U and Channel V.
Aastha and CMM Music have a programme library of over 8,000 and 4,000 hours respectively, the release says.
CMM has also announced that Ernst & Young has been appointed to value the intrinsic worth of the channels. The company is hopeful that the valuation exercise will help rope in more strategic investors.
If this happens, the channels will be able to make good on their aggressive expansion plans.
(Craigs comment, what's the odds of a certain Ethnic Pay TV service grabbing this one?)
Good news in the news section Jcsat 8 is comming soon! later this month hopefully! It should give us Cband signals at 154E. It would be nice if we got some FTA Japanese channels for a change. No doubt it would be short term before some ethnic pay tv service snapped them up.
From my Emails & ICQ
Golf feed spotted this afternoon on
B1, 12367 V Sr 6110 Vpid 1160 apid 1120
From the Dish
Optus B1 160E 12688 H "ABC TV Victoria" has replaced ABC TV NSW , FTA, PIDs 2308/2309.New PIDs for the test card: 2316/2317.
Optus B3 156E 12313 H "FYI" is FTA again.
Optus B3 156E 12336 V "Maharishi Open University Asia" has left .(I wonder if TARBS took him??)
Asiasat 3 105.5E 3940 V "Star Children, Channel V Taiwan and Star Plus" have started,
Videoguard, PIDs 515/652, 516/656 and 519/668. Star Movies has replaced Star World on PIDs 514/648, Mediaguard.(Encrypted)
Asiasat 3 105.5E 3980 V "National Adventure Adventure 1" has started, Mediaguard,PIDs 512/640. Granada UK TV has replaced National Geographic Channel 1 on PIDs 513/644,
LMI 1 75E New SID for TV Lanka on 3430 H: 1.
LMI 1 75E 3990 V "TV Malagasy" is back , SECAM, 5.80 MHz, beam A.
Boeing-Built JCSAT-8 and ASTRA 3A Satellites Reflect WorldWide Effort
Boeing passed a major milestone involving four continents today with the shipment of two satellites that are set for a dual launch on an Ariane 4 rocket from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana in the second half of this month.
The satellites, JCSAT-8, which was built for JSAT Corporation of Tokyo, and ASTRA 3A, built for SES ASTRA of Luxembourg, are the first Boeing-built satellites to launch together on a single launch vehicle in five years. Both companies are long-time customers of Boeing Space and Communications (S&C), a unit of The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA). The satellites were built in El Segundo, Calif., by Boeing Satellite Systems, the satellite operations unit of Boeing S&C.
"Our last dual launch was in early 1996," said Randy Brinkley, president of Boeing Satellite Systems. "Getting two different customers' satellites ready for the same launch can only happen as a result of a tremendous and highly coordinated effort by our factory, our customers and the launch provider."
JCSAT-8 is the 62nd Boeing 601 to be delivered. With 84 ordered to date, the Boeing 601 is the world's most-purchased satellite model. JCSAT-8 is the fifth Boeing 601 and the seventh Boeing spacecraft for the JSAT fleet. JCSAT-8 will provide coverage to Japan, East Asia, Australia and Hawaii from the orbital slot of 154 degrees East longitude.
ASTRA 3A is the 56th Boeing 376 to be delivered. The Boeing 376 is second only to the Boeing 601 in popularity, with 57 ordered to date. ASTRA 3A is the second Boeing 376 and the tenth Boeing satellite built for SES ASTRA. ASTRA 3A will augment the existing SES ASTRA fleet of 12 spacecraft to help meet growing demand for digital satellite services from the 23.5 degrees East orbital slot.
JSAT is a leading satellite operator in the Asia-Pacific region. The company owns and operates eight satellites in seven orbital slots. JSAT provides communications and broadcasting services that offer a range of unique features made possible by satellite communications, which is well suited to support the high-volume, wide-distribution, high-speed networks.
The ASTRA Satellite System is Europe's leading analogue and digital satellite television broadcast system. At the end of 2000, ASTRA served approximately 86% of all European satellite and cable homes. ASTRA is owned and operated by SES ASTRA, a wholly owned subsidiary of SES GLOBAL, the world's premier satellite operator.
Boeing Space and Communications (S&C), headquartered in Seal Beach, Calif., is the world's largest space and communications company. A unit of The Boeing Company, S&C provides integrated solutions in launch services, human space flight and exploration, missile defense, and information and communications. It is NASA's largest contractor; a leading provider of space-based communications; the primary systems integrator for U.S. missile defense; and a leading provider of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. The global enterprise has customers worldwide and manufacturing operations throughout the United States and Australia.
NOTE TO EDITORS: Photos of the ASTRA 3A and JCSAT-8 spacecraft are available upon request or can be downloaded from the Boeing Satellite Systems web site at: http://www.hsc.com/hsc_pressreleases/photogallery/photogallery.html
(Craigs comment, Jcsat 8 promises good Cband coverage of Australia and NZ!)
Inquiry into Foxtel-Optus deal
Australia's competition watchdog will scrutinise whether Foxtel's newfound dominance of pay TV will squeeze small Internet, cable and content providers out of existence.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission also warned that the content-sharing arrangement between Australia's two largest pay TV operators could hit regulatory snags.
"It most definitely has competition issues in that it creates a single buyer of pay TV programming, which has some positive and negative elements," ACCC mergers and acquisitions commissioner Ross Jones said.
"On top of that there is a whole set of bundling issues that have pro-competitive and anti-competitive elements - people who have only one product to sell, like mobile phone companies, can't compete."
Neighborhood Cable, of Ballarat, the major independent pay TV company in Australia, views the deal with some alarm, believing it could threaten its viability unless a firm government hand is kept on wholesale pricing of content.
"It would certainly be against our best interests if Foxtel tried to become the exclusive wholesaler of pay TV content in this country," said Fred Grossman, chief operating officer of Neighborhood Cable.
Under the deal forged with Optus, Foxtel now had the subscriber numbers to broker such exclusive deals with major international content providers such as BBC, CNN Time Warner and Disney, he said.
"If, on the basis of their new subscriber numbers and spread, they negotiate an exclusive deal for Australia with the content providers overseas, they would be cutting out small regional providers such as us," Mr Grossman said.
However, Michael del Gigante, chief executive of TransACT, the Canberra high-speed network provider, said the deal could result in a broadening of reach for pay TV customers.
The Internet Industry Association, which represents up to 100 ISPs, plans to hold an urgent meeting on Friday to discuss the effect of the deal on its members. Under the deal, Foxtel would bundle its pay TV service with Telstra's Internet and telephony products to improve subscriber numbers and move closer to profitability.
Telstra shareholders yesterday gave the deal the thumbs up, its shares rising 16 cents to $5.50 despite reporting a 20 per cent drop in net profit to $2 billion for the first half.
Chief executive Ziggy Switkowski yesterday said the deal would have a positive impact on revenues for Telstra, which owns 50 per cent of Foxtel.
Mr Jones said it would examine all aspects of the pay TV proposal in the coming weeks, including any conflict arising from Telstra's involvement as a Foxtel shareholder and telephony/Internet provider.
If the deal threatens to erode competition in any market, the ACCC will block the merger unless the commercial parties agree to certain concessions or prove it is in the public interest.
Foxtel chief executive Kim Williams was optimistic the deal would avoid regulatory hiccups, insisting there would be no price collusion with Optus.
With Foxtel effectively the only pay TV content provider, organisations such as the AFL could be compromised when negotiating sporting rights.
Foxtel's reach would extend to more than one million subscribers if it is also carried on the Optus network.
The Federal Government and Opposition yesterday reiterated the need for greater access to the Telstra and Optus cables for smaller providers.
Telstra wishes on a Foxtel star
THE dramatic upheaval in the media and telecommunications industry this week has pushed pay-TV company Foxtel to centre stage of a new growth strategy at Telstra.
Announcing yesterday a 20 per cent fall in half-year net profits and a clouded outlook for the telecommunications industry, Telstra chief Ziggy Switkowski offered Foxtel and the digitisation of the network as a big agenda item for Telstra and its partners in the pay TV company - the News Corporation Ltd and Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd.
His comments elevate the importance of Foxtel in Telstra's strategy to maintain profits and underline the urgency behind the ground-breaking deals this week which, if approved by the Hollywood studios and the regulators, mean Foxtel becomes the broker of Hollywood movies and content for the pay-TV industry in Australia.
"The announcements regarding Foxtel should accelerate subscriber growth and eventually opens an exciting new world of opportunity for digital entertainment," Dr Switkowski said. "I would characterise it as a defining step. Customers now, from our perspective, can bundle pay TV and telephony products (under a single Telstra bill).
"The offering will deliver an expansion of the pay-TV subscriber base ... there will be revenue increases. It is not the silver bullet ... (but) an important part of the marketing mix."
The blue-sky from the Foxtel deal was well timed for Telstra which, as expected, announced a 20 per cent fall in net profits to $2.1 billion and an underlying operating profit (before interest and tax) of $3.6 billion, up two per cent.
Despite the fall, the dividend was increased to 11c from 8c.
Dr Switkowski said the high payout was unlikely to continue in the second half, saying to an analyst "you should enjoy the temporary experience of a high dividend".
Dr Switkowski added that the company's mobile divisions, where revenues jumped 13.2 per cent for the half, it's ramp-up of high-speed internet services to Australians and a turnaround in the company's international divisions were the company's other core growth areas.
"The horizon, out there toward the end of the year, is brightening a little bit," he said.
Yesterday's result highlighted a worrying underlining trend at Telstra of falling revenues in the sale of things like data carriage for big companies, an area of Telstra's business that is being hit hard by price competition.
Only two years ago it was to be one of the big growth drivers at Telstra but now growth has collapsed. Telstra's head of retail Ted Pretty said there were at least two more quarters of pain to go.
Revenues in this division fell as much 47 per cent, where Telstra's sales from international leased lines for example sunk to $64 million for the half from $122 million.
But higher revenues from selling internet access, which soared to $250 million from $176 million, meant the overall result was down 4 per cent to $1.58 billion.
DD channels migrate to Insat 3C
The state broadcaster is in the process of switching satellite loyalties.
Almost all of Doordarshan's regional channels have started migration to Insat 3C which became operational from 22 February. Isro's latest multi-purpose geostatinary satellite is expected to boost satellite communication capabilities of the country, even as Insat 2C, which is nearing the end of its productive life, is being phased out. Most of the channels were earlier on Insat 2C and 2E, but are now being beamed via Insat 3C.
These include DD9 (Karnataka), DD11 (Gujarati), DD4 (Kerala), DD 10 (Maharashtra) and DD Gyan Darshan, the educational channel that was started two years ago.
Insat 3C has 24 normal C-band transponders, six extended C-band transponders, two S-band broadcast satellite transponders and a mobile satellite service transponder. Isro has said that there is already a large commitment from Indian users for the use of the satellite. Insat 2A to be launched later this year, are targeted at domestic users whereas Insat-3C was mainly built for India coverage.
(Craigs comment, I hope the DD Metro and National channels don't move from Insat 2E at 83E! lots of Indians in Australia view the services on the Wide Beam)
Seems to be a week full of PAY TV related announcements. While this site promotes FTA satellite reception we can't ignore what is also happening in the pay scene. Its all satellite tv in the end the Pay channels involved do all broadcast some channels FTA.
The big announcement of the day is the new Tarbs / Panamsat deal involving Pas 2, 8 and 10. I hope it dosn't mean they try to snap up any new service that dares to broadcast FTA via Panamsat. I wonder if it means they will also use Pas 2 KU. It would make a lot of sense.
The is loads of news items around about the recent Australian Pay TV announcements, rather than repost all of them all here I suggest you visit http://www.auspaytv.com/news/
All you guys who were wondering about the G.P Feed last weekend? I just saw this
"LMI-1 satellite provided four-day broadcasting of Grand Prix 2002 (Melbourne, 28 February - 3 March) from Australia to Germany. "
LMI is of course at 75E and covers Australia nicely. (Even if a little tricky in Eastern Australia) Perhaps this was where the multichannel feed was. Might be worth checking in the future!
Test Cricket Sri Lanka vs Pakistan starts later, might be worth looking around for a feed.
From my Emails & ICQ
From "A. Installer"
RE: Sky NZ newest update problems
Many people phoning me re this problem as they cant get through to Sky.The
only way to get the units working again is to unplug the power and repower
them up again.A mate of mine is working on the problem know with them.
From "R" also a Sky Installer
RE: Sky NZ newest update problems
Problems seems to be the worst ever. Some of the older models of Zenith
decoders are not accepting the new software download.
From Chris Pickstock
B1, 12690 H
ABC Victoria has replaced ABC NSW, Vpid 2308, Apid 2309, FTA
ABC TV 4 testcard is now Vpid 2316, Apid 2317, FTA
It seems strange now that we have ABC NSW, Victoria and Queensland on the 3 frequencies (12670 H, 12690 H and 12707 H) and in a few weeks time when daylight saving finishes all will be back at the same timezone. Perhaps ABC SA and ABC WA are out there on another frequency that we haven't found yet.
From Dave Keller 04/03/02
On B3, Mediasat Rove feed (encrypted), and also on B3 on 12363V 6110 3/4 OB
also for Rove.
(Craigs comment, thanks for that we were saying in the chatroom last night no one had seen Rove recently)
From the Dish
JCSAT 3 128E 3960 V "FTV, CTS, CTV and TTV" are FTA again.( I have to ask why do FTV, CTS and TTV pop up all over the places on and off FTA??)
Thaicom 3 78.5E 3640 H "El-Bernameg Al-Aam" has started on , fta, APID 668, no SID.
Thaicom 3 78.5E 3640 H The test card is back on PIDs 523/651, no SID, fta.
PanAmSat Strengthens Relations with TARBS
PanAmSat Corporation today announced a new 10-year, multi-transponder sales agreement with Television & Radio Broadcasting Services (TARBS), Australia's leading multicultural broadcaster, to launch a new direct-to-home (DTH) television platform in the United States.
In addition to using multiple international satellites in PanAmSat's fleet for DTH and contribution services in the Asia-Pacific, TARBS will now broadcast more than 50 channels of multicultural television programming direct to consumers' homes in the United States over the Galaxy XR North American satellite.
In total, this new sales agreement consists of C- and Ku-band capacity on the PAS-2 and PAS-8 Pacific Ocean Region satellites, the PAS-10 Indian Ocean Region satellite and the Galaxy XR spacecraft. TARBS has been a PanAmSat customer since 1999, when it launched an ethnic programming DTH platform in Australia over the company's PAS-8 satellite.
"We are very excited by this opportunity to expand our relationship with TARBS because it demonstrates the high importance we place on working closely with our customers to help them enter new markets and grow their business," said Tom Eaton, PanAmSat's executive vice president, global sales and marketing. "The combination of our global network with TARBS' unique international channel lineup offers a new and compelling cultural link between members of ethnic communities in the U.S. and their places of origin."
"The TARBS agreement was an excellent opportunity to prove PanAmSat's renewed commitment to our existing customers," said Ashley Fernandes, PanAmSat's vice president, Asia-Pacific sales. "The Sydney sales team has worked very closely with TARBS over the last several months to develop a service that matched their plans and requirements, which we believe will enable them to expand their subscriber base exponentially."
On signing the agreement, Mrs. Regina Boulos, TARBS' chief executive officer, said "This landmark deal will position TARBS as the largest platform provider and broadcaster of ethnic television and radio programming services in the world. TARBS is targeting to grow to more than two million customers over the next five years, and we now have in place the global satellite platform that will facilitate the delivery of quality programming from our broadcasting partners to virtually any migrant home throughout the world."
"TARBS' digital satellite television and radio services, which we market throughout the world as TARBS World Television, provides our customers with strong and compelling linkages back to their cultural heritage, and strengthens the ties between their old and new cultures," said Mike Boulos, chairman of TARBS. "TARBS World Television is only possible on a global scale through use of satellite technology, and our newly strengthened partnership with PanAmSat has enabled us to move forward aggressively in implementing our global business strategy, to the benefit of migrant communities no matter where they are in the world."
TARBS will use PanAmSat's PAS-2, PAS-8 and PAS-10 satellites to deliver a wide array of ethnic programming, covering more than 20 languages, from throughout Europe and Asia to their broadcast operations center in Sydney, Australia. There, TARBS will combine the contributed feeds with in-house produced channels for transmission to PanAmSat's Napa, California teleport facility. The multicultural programming bouquet will uplink to Galaxy XR for broadcast throughout North America.
TARBS is an experienced satellite broadcast operator whose business is to source and distribute multicultural television and radio programming from around the world to ethnic audiences wherever they may live - this is "TARBS World Television." TARBS is headquartered in Sydney, Australia and currently broadcasts 52 24-hour channels of subscription television and radio programming, sourced from government and private broadcasters in 28 non-English speaking countries. TARBS' Australian services are available to a potential audience of 1.5 million ethnic homes in Australia where a language other than English is heavily used. TARBS has substantial investments in broadcasting, satellite transmission, and information technology infrastructure, and recently expanded its operations to Athens where it owns a substantial share in what is to become the largest Satellite Teleport Centre in Europe. TARBS distributes programming throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Oceania, and it is currently in the process of expanding direct-to-home operations into North America.
PanAmSat Corporation is the premier provider of global video and data broadcasting services via satellite. Operating a global network of 21 in-orbit spacecraft with 870 transponders, the company reaches 98 percent of the world's population through cable television systems, broadcast affiliates, DTH operators, ISPs, and telecommunications companies. The company serves the top video and network services customers in the world, such as Disney, AOL Time Warner, Viacom, BBC, British Telecom, CCTV, NHK, and Telstra and is expanding into new markets like Mexico and Brazil. In addition, PanAmSat is focused on improving its financial performance, EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization), earnings per share, and free cash flow in order to become the financially strongest satellite operator in the world and better serve its large international customers. PanAmSat is 81 percent owned by HUGHES Electronics Corporation.
HUGHES is a world-leading provider of digital television entertainment, broadband services, satellite-based private business networks, and global video and data broadcasting. HUGHES is a unit of General Motors Corporation.
FOXTEL will share content and satellite space with rival Optus and let Telstra bundle up its pay-TV service with telephony under two watershed deals which are set to reshape Australia's loss-making pay-TV industry.
The breakthrough Optus agreement, which remains subject to regulatory and other approvals, effectively establishes Foxtel as Australia's monopoly content provider while the other puts Telstra on a competitive footing to offer telephony and internet customers a bundled pay-TV service on a single bill.
Optus, which has suffered from high costs and lack of access to first-rate sports programming, already offers this service.
Federal Communications Minister Richard Alston yesterday applauded the initiatives which he expected to enhance both consumer services and industry competition, but said he would be guided by advice from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
The new arrangements also set the scene for development of digital television which has stalled due to reluctance by Foxtel (jointly owned 50 per cent by Telstra and 25 per cent each by News Corp and PBL) to spend some $500 million on infrastructure only to have access prices declared later by the ACCC.
However, Senator Alston put the Foxtel partners on notice to settle their access dispute with Seven pay-TV offshoot C7, which has been trying for several years to access the Telstra-owned cable network, or risk government intervention.
"A commitment by the Foxtel shareholders to expeditiously resolve this matter will demonstrate their bona fides at a time when the Government is considering whether to provide upfront regulatory certainty to facilitate the provision of digital pay-TV services," he said.
Seven said yesterday the future of C7, currently carried by Optus and Austar, was likely be decided within the next month.
Under the new content and satellite deal, Foxtel has agreed to give Optus access to two quality sports programming channels from next month and the right to bundle and resell its entire service from November 1.
In turn, Foxtel will pay $40 million a year to lease "substantial" space on Optus's yet-to-be launched C1 satellite and assume the cost of Optus's movie contracts based on unrealistic subscriber numbers saving it some $30 million a year.
Telstra media executive director Gerry Sutton said Foxtel would take 14 transponders, sufficient for 120-150 channels. "That really does foreshadow a movement into digital," he said.
Under a separate bundling agreement Foxtel has given Telstra the right to resell Foxtel's pay channels and set the retail prices and offer discounts on any packages that include Foxtel's service.
Foxtel, with 770,000 subscribers, is Australia's largest pay-TV company, followed by regional carrier Austar with 420,000 and Optus with 270,000. Optus has recently been in merger discussions with Austar which stands to gain under the new arrangements through the anticipated fall in programming costs.
Telstra managing director Ziggy Switkowski said yesterday the bundling deal was about giving customers more choice and access to discount prices to reward loyalty, while his Foxtel counterpart Kim Williams said the agreement offered the pay-TV company "fresh impetus" to grow the subscriber base.
However, Optus which is owned by Singapore Telecommunications Ltd, stands to gain the most immediate benefits.
Chief executive Chris Anderson said yesterday the content and satellite agreement would significantly strengthen the company's bundled telephony and pay television offering and boost earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation by more than $30 million.
"There's a $30 million or so EBITDA contribution from the deal, plus there's a significant margin from our selling of satellite (capacity)," he said, adding that the satellite component would generate revenue of some $40 million.
While not ruling out content-based competition in future Mr Anderson said Optus aimed to first take advantage of better margins offered by the deal.
"Our margins will turn from negative to positive, from fixed costs to variable costs and our content disadvantage will be removed because we've got all the content available," he said.
"All of our minimum subscriber guarantees and costs are going to be absorbed by Foxtel, so to that extent it makes us a much stronger competitor in telephony," he added.
Subscribers win in pay-TV deal
PHONE bills will fall and the number of channels and programs on pay-TV will increase dramatically under a long-awaited shake-up of Australia's subscriber television industry.
Pay-TV viewers will be able to add sports shows and movies from rival operators in a deal that ends a dysfunctional era for the industry.
After years of financial bleeding, Optus and Foxtel struck a deal yesterday to share programs and enable Foxtel viewers to bundle their pay-TV bills with phone and Internet charges.
The deal means Optus viewers will have access to any Foxtel content and vice versa.
But most significantly for the industry, Foxtel has taken over Optus' contracts with Hollywood's movie houses, meaning that deals struck at "extortionate" levels years ago will be renegotiated at more realistic levels.
The deals were originally negotiated when there were three operators in Australia and competition for the best movie packages pushed prices up to five times the level of anywhere else in the world.
Optus subscription revenues have been worth less than its Hollywood bill, with the shortfall made up in telephone bills.
"There is only one big loser out of this deal, and that's the rapacious Hollywood studios," said one senior industry source.
While the current contracts run until 2006, sources said that Foxtel -- as the only bidder -- would seek to renegotiate the contracts immediately.
The deal was made possible by a breakthrough in negotiations between Foxtel's shareholders, Telstra (50 per cent), News Ltd (25 per cent) and PBL (25 per cent).
For its part, Telstra finally agreed to allow News and PBL to onsell their profitable Fox Sports channels to Optus.
In return, News and PBL dropped their campaign for Telstra to reduce its stake to make the three players equal shareholders. They also have agreed to allow Telstra to market Foxtel along with telephony and Internet services, which is known as bundling.
Telstra chief executive Ziggy Switkowski said consumers would be the biggest winners out of the deal.
"[It] allows customers more choice, it gives Telstra new competitive products to offer and Foxtel an opportunity to grow its subscribers," he said.
"The bundling of telephone, Internet and subscription TV services on a single customer-convenient bill will allow Telstra to discount prices and reward loyalty." Until now, only Optus has been able to offer bundling.
The new regime, subject to approval by competition tsar Allan Fels, will begin on November 1. But from April 1, Fox Sports channels will be available on Optus, known as Optus Sports 1 and 2.
Foxtel hopes it can start making money from pay-TV via:
* THE extra revenue from Optus for Fox Sports;
* A LIFT in subscribers resulting from Telstra's bundling package and the extra programs on offer; and
* BIG cost savings from renegotiated contracts with Hollywood.
Federal Communications Minister Richard Alston gave the deal his qualified blessing, saying it would deliver to subscribers a wider range of programs.
Modi Entertainment close to deal with Taj Sports?
"Everyone is talking to everyone." That was all Lalit Modi, vice-chairman and president, Modi Entertainment Network, would offer other than a "no comments" when asked about a strong buzz in the industry that MEN was close to signing a deal as the distribution platform for the soon-to-be-launched Taj Entertainment Network (Ten) sports channel.
Ten is being launched by promoter of Sharjah cricket Abdulrahman Bukhatir through his company Taj Sports, and is expected to be unveiled on 6 April, just ahead of the start of the next tri-nation Sharjah cricket tourney. The kick-off date of the tournament involving Pakistan, Sri Lanka and New Zealand is 8 April.
MEN chief executive Rajan Kaaicker was equally noncommittal when asked to respond to industry reports that Ten would be offered as part of the MEN bouquet at an a la carte subscription rate of Rs 8 per month after an initial free trial period. The other channels on the MEN bouquet are DD Sports, Hallmark, FTV and MCM (the last two are French fashion and music channels respectively).
According to industry sources, there are three possible bouquets that Ten could hop aboard - MEN, Zee and Sony Entertainment. At this point MEN appears to have the best chance of signing the deal, the industry buzz goes.
This is quite a turnaround from what Bukhatir had late last year been quoted as saying that while he was negotiating with different bouquets for distribution and marketing, Zee was the preferred partner.
At this point it looks as if MEN is promising a larger subscriber number delivery than what Zee can guarantee because of the DD Sports reach. This appears to be the reason that the pendulum is swinging more MEN's way.
Sony Entertainment cannot be ruled out of the equation either, especially after it bagged the India broadcast rights for International Cricket Council-promoted events for the next six years.
One network Bukhatir has ruled out though is the Murdoch-led Star TV because of the ESPN Star Sports connection. There is just too much overlap between the two in the kind of fare on offer.
Ten is expected to launch with a footprint spanning Australia to England. Taj Sports CEO Chris McDonald, earlier with ESPN Star Sports as senior V-P, advertising and integrated sales, was down in Mumbai recently with his full team looking into distribution and marketing issues, sources aver.
There is more to Ten than just cricket though. While cricket will dominate, it will also have wrestling, tennis, football and rugby. The company has rights for NBA and WWF events, Bukhatir has been quoted as saying.
Aside from Sharjah rights, Taj reportedly also has Sri Lanka cricket rights which was earlier with WSG Nimbus.
Livechat tonight 9pm NZ and 8.30 Syd time onwards in the chatroom.
Reports were coming through in the NZ newsgroups of Sky receivers reporting "network error" and locking up. A check with my Nokia shows on 12671 V more interactive stuff has been added "Sky Mail" and "My interaction" Another interesting thing TVNZ on 12456 V has dropped picture resolution down to 544x576. Skys is 720x576 for Tv1/2 could it be the 12456V feed is about to change? Maybe related 12671V is the transponder that carrys TV1 and Tv2 FTA via Sky.
Most of the satellite pages have now been updated.
From my Emails & ICQ
From Chris Pickstock
ABC Queensland has replaced ABC NSW on 12707 H. Vpid 2308, Apid 2309 but is showing the same as ABC SA.
ABC kids now looks like it has altered time zone to suit South Australia. eg. 1/2 hr behind Eastern Time.
From the Dish
PAS 2 169E 12577 V "She TV" has left . (Asia Beam)
Optus B1 160E 12706 H "ABC TV Queensland" has replaced "ABC TV NSW" on , PIDs 2308/2309, FTA.
Palapa C2 113E 3976 H "Radio Australia, ABC Triple J and ABC NewsRadio" have left .(anyone confirm?)
Palapa C2 113E 11616 V "Maharishi Open University Asia" has left .
Thaicom 3 78.5E 3614 V "Radio Pakistan" has started on , APID 256, FTA.(asia beam)
Thaicom 3 78.5E 3585 V "UNI Plus" has started regular transmissions Vpid 515 Apid 643.
Insat 3C 74E 3749 V "DD 9 - Karnataka" has started on , PAL, 5.50 MHz.
Foxtel and Optus in Breakthrough agreement
FOXTEL and Optus today announced a breakthrough agreement in
subscription television for Optus to resell FOXTEL subscription
television channels on the Optus Television cable network once all
necessary conditions are satisfied.
Under the agreement, FOXTEL will assume Optus' financial obligations
under its movie and other content arrangements. Subject to the
consent of content providers, FOXTEL will also supply some Optus
content over the FOXTEL platforms.
The FOXTEL service to be delivered on Optus will commence on 1
November 2002. In addition, from 1 April 2002, FOXTEL has agreed to
supply two quality sports programming channels to Optus.
Optus' right to resell the FOXTEL service continues until 2010.
Once the arrangement takes effect, customers on both the FOXTEL and
Optus platforms will have access to Australia's best subscription
Concurrently, Optus will lease to FOXTEL a substantial volume of
capacity on the Optus C1 satellite, which is scheduled to launch in
Both parties said that the arrangements would re-energise the
Australian subscription television sector, and give more Australians
access to competitive attractive programming choices.
Optus Chief Executive, Chris Anderson, said the agreements would
significantly strengthen Optus' bundled telephony and subscription
television offering. "It will lead to the reconfiguration of an
industry that is subscale for the benefit of the Australian consumer.
"Optus will benefit from more appealing subscription television
content - particularly movies and sport - to bundle with our
telephony and internet products. We will now be able to provide even
more vigorous competition in local telephony and broadband services.
"Subscription television costs have long been an economic burden for
Optus - in many ways hindering its development in the roll-out of
local telephony and other new services. The implementation of this
deal will remove that burden and give us a much stronger foundation
for growth," Mr Anderson said.
FOXTEL's Chief Executive, Kim Williams, said: "We are delighted to be
able to expand distribution of our FOXTEL channels through Optus.
These arrangements will give more Australians more choices about how
to receive FOXTEL and will lead to greater competition in
subscription television and telephony."
The Binding Conditional Agreement is subject to a number of matters
including the ACCC not intervening in the transaction and consents
from various content providers. The new content and satellite lease
arrangements will come into effect if all necessary conditions are
Details of packaging and pricing of the service and other matters
will be announced in due course if the necessary conditions are
For more information.
Stephen Woodhill Mark Furness
Phone: +61 2 9342 7850 Phone: +61 2 9200 1453
Transvision's Hawaii Teleport Selected to be Exclusive Provider of Uplink Service For New Satellite TV Channel
Transvision has three transportable satellite uplinks located permanently in Hawaii and others located in California, Australia, Argentina and Brazil.
The Hawaii Pacific Teleport (owned and operated by Transvision International Teleport, LP) has announced that the Enterprise Network, a new UK based business to business satellite television channel has selected the HPT teleport and Agila2 satellite for trials in South and South East Asia. HPT is currently broadcasting an Enterprise Network corporate video in both PAL and NTSC format on extended C-band transponder 27 of the Agila satellite located at 148E.
The Enterprise Network is currently evaluating Hawaii for its new operating base for broadcasting its unique channel into Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Indochina, the Philippines and India. Nick Shipley, CEO of the Enterprise Network, said "we have been looking a Cyprus as possible satellite gateway to Asia using AsiaSat2 however the package offered jointly by Mabuhay Satellite and HPT has many attractions. Hawaii’s proximity to the Asian market whilst still being part of the United States is an advantage when talking to the large US corporations with whom we are discussing sponsorship roles."
Vince Waterson, VP of business development at HPT who negotiated the contract with the Enterprise Network, said "Our teleport has developed a proactive approach to getting new customers. When we heard that many of the sponsors of the Enterprise Network B2B programming would be large US corporations we went on a mission to persuade them to look at Hawaii as their gateway to Asia. I am happy to say that Enterprise are enthusiastic about using this unusual gateway to Asia for European broadcasters."
The Enterprise Network trials will focus on the number of cable tv headends in Asia which receive signals from Agila2 satellite.
Johnson Regalado of Mabuhay Satellite said that Enterprise Network selected Agila 2 for the trial because of the ideal foot print which covers most of its customers in Asia. "And also we are happy to work with HPT because of their proactive approached in providing solutions to the customer, being consistent with our own philosophy," he adds.
T S I C H A N N E L N E W S - Number 09/2002 3 March 2002 -
A weekly roundup of global TV news sponsored by TELE-satellite International
Editor: Branislav Pekic
Edited Apsattv.com Edition
HNS SETS RECORD FOR DIRECTV BOXES
Hughes Network Systems (HNS) announced on March 5 that it shipped 2
million DirecTV receivers in 2001, reaching a new milestone of 8 million
total systems shipped since it began production in 1996. HNS recently
launched its Director Pack receiverthe only set-top in the United
States with both Dolby-certified TruSurround by SRS sound and
interactive TV Wink capabilities. The Director Pack is a DirecTV digital
satellite receiver that combines sleek ergonomic design, superior audio
and picture quality, and several new functions exclusive to HNS. Some of
the features include the Zoom Picture-In-Guide and the Audio and Video
Adjustment functions, which allow customers to adjust picture and audio
quality regardless of the brand or age of the television. In addition to
the Director Pack, the Executive Director Pack receiver provides a
backlighted RF remote control, Dolby Digital outputs, and Advanced
One-Touch Record -- a Personal Video Record (PVR)-like feature that
enables the user to search for programs by name and automatically record
them on a VCR. The Platinum HD receiver delivers high-definition
programming from both DirecTV and terrestrial broadcasts.
MTV EXPANDS MUSIC CHANNEL OFFERINGS
MTV Networks on March 26 announced that it is expanding its suite of
channels available for digital distribution, launching four new 24-hour
channels for kids and music fans. The new channels include MTV Hits, MTV
Jams, Nicktoons TV and VH1 Mega Hits, expanding and strengthening MTV
Networks’ digital offerings to thirteen services. In addition to
carrying MTVN’s core digital services, Cablevision is the first operator
to sign on for services from the new package and to add MTV Hits and
Nicktoons TV to their iO: Interactive Optimum digital service line-up.
MTVN’s core digital services include: VH1 Classic featuring the greatest
music from the 60s, 70s and 80s with nearly 12 million subscribers;
Noggin, the innovative, commercial free educational network from
Nickelodeon and Sesame Workshop, now available in over 22 million homes;
and Nickelodeon Games and Sports (GAS) with 10 million subscribers. Nick
Too, VH1 Country, VH1 Soul, VH Uno, and MTV Espanol complete MTVN’s
digital offerings. MTV2, with 40 million subscribers, has both analogue
and digital carriage. MTV Hits will program the best Pop music from some
of the hottest artists and will focus on the younger end of MTV’s
demographic, serving the 12-24 market. MTV Jams will feature the best
Rap, R&B, Hip-Hop, and Soul music and artists and will replace MTV X
across all digital cable services. Nicktoons TV, the first ever 24-hour
channel built on Nickelodeon animation, will replace Nick Too in some
areas on the West Coast. VH1 Mega Hits is an all video channel featuring
the biggest hits from all popular genres from the 90s and today.
SOUNDTRACK TO EXPAND WORLDWIDE
Cable network Soundtrack Channel (STC) will launch in 8 territories
including Japan and Brazil after acquiring a group of country music
channels from one of its three parent companies, Gaylord Entertainment.
STC is a joint venture between Gaylord, former E! Networks
vice-president of international Bill Lee, and California-based
post-production and editorial outfit MWP Editorial. It launched in
Australia, Brazil, Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, Korea, New Zealand and the
Philippines on March 1 on systems previously
carrying Gaylord’s MusicCountry network and will reach an estimated 4
million subscribers. STC will air a mixture of music videos,
entertainment news and interviews, as well as details of latest releases
in cinemas, on video/DVD and pay-per-view and video-on-demand. It will
be both advertiser and subscription-supported.
A S I A
CHINA - HONG KONG
GOLD TV EXPANDS COVERAGE OF SHOPPING CHANNEL
GTM Holdings, Inc. announced on February 28 the enlargement of its
home-shopping channel into Hong Kong and expanded regions of China. This
new distribution will include Hong Kong cable operator icable and Macao
Satellite Travel Channel Satellite. These new channels will give Gold TV
exposure in a highly cosmopolitan city of Hong Kong and additional
cities and regions in Mainland China.
PUBCASTER LAUNCHES DIGITAL TRANSMISSIONS
Public broadcaster Doordarshan launched digital terrestrial
transmissions in New Delhi last week and plans to roll out the pilot
project to other cities in three months. The venture enables Doordarshan
to broadcast up to six channels from a single transmitter. The
government has earmarked $6.25 million to finance more transmitters and
set-top boxes in a country where viewers already have to choose between
25 set-top boxes to pick up the channels they require. The broadcaster
has no plans to discontinue analogue broadcasts.
NEW DIGITAL TV PLATFORM LAUNCHES
CS Nippon Corp., a joint venture of Nippon Television Network Corp. and
the Yomiuri Shimbun on March 1 became the first operators to offer
digital TV services via a new satellite on March 1, beaming content such
as professional baseball games and financial market information on seven
channels. CS Nippon said it will charge subscribers Y900 a month for its
live coverage of all games of the Yomiuri Giants baseball team. Services
on a pay basis will start in April after a one-month no-pay service.
Plat-One Corp. will handle uplinking of TV programs to the satellite and
manage subscriber information for CS Nippon’s pay service. Plat-One
President Hisami Kataoka told a news conference, “We will seek to obtain
one million subscribers in three years.” Plat-One was established in
2000 by a group of investors including trading house Mitsubishi Corp.,
Nippon Television Network and satellite-broadcasting operator WoWoW Inc.
to provide next-generation digital broadcasts. It will broadcast a news
service edited by Kyodo News as part of its services. SKYPerfect
Communications Inc., which has provided satellite TV services since
1996, plans to use the new satellite to air its programs under the brand
of “SkyPerfecTV!2.” SKYPerfect Communications plans to start providing
its TV services on a pay basis sometime between May and July after
beaming programs on a no-pay basis for a period, company officials said.
SKY LIFE LAUNCHES SATELLITE TV SERVICE
Korea Digital Satellite Broadcasting (KDB) officially launched its
multi-channel broadcasting service SkyLife on March 1, opening a new
chapter in Korea’s broadcasting industry. SkyLife offers 146 channels -
76 standard networks, 60 audio channels and 10 pay-per-view stations -
which cover a wide variety of specific interests such as news,
entertainment, religion, education, home shopping and sports. Also, the
satellite broadcaster is allowed to retransmit major international
channels such as CNN, NHK and CCTV, while carrying signals for existing
local terrestrial networks such as KBS, MBC, SBS and even AFN. For the
SkyLife service, Korea Telecom is using Koreasat 3, a hybrid multimedia
satellite launched in September 1999. Unlike Koreasat 1 and 2, Koreasat
3 can provide multimedia services to any country in Southeast Asia. With
its Ka-band frequency, the satellite can be applied to meet the
increasing demand for high-speed broadband services, including satellite
multimedia service, interactive TV and high-definition TV. Also, it has
the capacity to offer multi-channel direct broadcast service (DBS) and
direct-to-home (DTH) service. KDB adopted the European-based platform
called Digital Video Broadcasting Project-Multimedia Home Platform
(DVB-MHP), as the technology standard upon which to operate its service.
As of January 31, SkyLife had secured 300,000 subscribers, and the
number is rapidly increasing, according to its representatives. It hopes
to secure 2 million subscribers by the fourth year of its launch and to
begin to generate profits in the fifth year, and reach the break-even
point in the seventh year. The state-run telecom giant Korea Telecom
holds an 18 per cent stake in the Korea Digital Broadcasting consortium
composed of major broadcasting companies and newspaper publishers. The
consortium consists of 107 companies including Samsung Electronics,
Hyundai Corp., Hanwha, Asiana Airlines and Hansol CSN.
I have nearly finished updating the satellite pages, will put them up later tonight if I have time to finish them. The interesting news item today is TVNZ wanting to do something about regional advertising. I see the article mentions using there own space. I don't see Sky having the space to allow double up's for of TVNZ (Possibly 3 broadcast for each channel would be needed). I can see what is coming next. Sky grabs B1 12456V and we get 3 copies there of Tv1 + TV2 but with regional adverts included. Most probably NDS Encrypted and no longer FTA!
Teletext is not working anymore on TVNZ on B1? anyone else have the same problem?
Various people enjoyed the G.P feeds on the Weekend. Services in use were.
B3, 12336 V
B1, 12522 H Sr 6110 Fec 3/4
Panamsat 2 ( No freq given)
From my Emails & ICQ
From Chris Pickstock 4/03/02
ABC Queensland has replaced ABC NSW on 12707 H. Vpid 2308, Apid 2309
ABC kids now looks like it has altered timeliness to suit Queensland
From Chris Pickstock 3/03/02
ABC Kids/Fly, ABC NSW, the TV4 testcard, and ABC HDTV appear to have gone from B1, 12706 H. ABC TV 4 still loads, with new Pids of 2316, 2317 but I receive nothing. All the channels still load on 12671 H, and 12688 H. I am just wondering as to whether they are changing things, perhaps to 3 time zones. (Why else would they have the exact same thing on 3 frequencies)
8.45pm SA time
B1, 12397 H Sr 7200, Vpid 308, Apid 256,
Women's Cycling, World Cup event from NSW I think. This appears to be a highlights package.
From the Dish
PAS 8 166E 3860 H "SET International" has started on , SID 8, PIDs 480/481, clear. H&W eTV has left this mux, replaced by a test card.
Optus B3 156E 12564 H "The Soundtrack Channel" has replaced MusicCountry Pacific Rim on ,SID 1302, PIDs 513/641, Irdeto 1.
Asiasat 3 105.5E 3700 V "Asianet Bharathi and Asianet Kaveri" are still FTA.
Asiasat 2 100.5E 3796 V "Fashion TV" is still FTA, new PIDs: Vpid 308 Apid 256.(What a relief!)
Thaicom 3 78.5E 3554 V "Southern Spice" has started on , SID 2, PIDs 513/641. ( Not much use to those in Australia, you can get this at 57E)
Thaicom 3 78.5E 3585 V "Tara Gujarati" has left , replaced by a test card.
Thaicom 3 78.5E 3585 V "SN TV" has left , replaced by a test card.
Thaicom 3 78.5E 3480 H "NTA" is back on , SID 21, Vpid 520 Apid 648, FTA.
Asiasat 3 105.5E 4153 V "Zee News" has left
Asiasat 3 105.5E New frequency and SR for the Zee Network mux on tp 13V: 4140 V and Sr 22000.
Insat 3C 74E 3731 V "DD 9 - Karnataka" has started on , SR 5000, PIDs 308/256, clear.
Insat 3C 74E 3851 V "DD 11 - Gujarati" has started on , SR 5000, PIDs 308/256, clear.
PAS 10 68.5E 3863 H NID/TID and SIDs for the Singtel mux : 1/100 and 31-34.
Local advertisers screened out
TVNZ is in talks with Sky TV to look at the possibility of adding regional advertising to Sky's digital network in response to growing concern from advertisers.
Currently viewers who watch TV1 and TV2 through their Sky decoders see only national and Auckland ads.
That's a concern to businesses that have bought regional ads with TVNZ because Sky's expanding digital subscriber base is fast diluting their audience. Nationally Sky now has about 300,000 digital customers.
TVNZ spokesman Glen Sowry said the network was aware of regional advertisers' concerns and was looking at its options including discussions with Sky.
"One of the things we are considering is the option of introducing regional breakouts on the digital service using our own satellite capacity, through the Sky box," he said.
TVNZ's regional advertising rates had not changed since Sky introduced free-to air channels to its digital network.
"The vast majority of viewers still watch TV1 and TV2 free to air," he said.
Prime TV advertisers are not affected as it uses different technology that allows it to sell regional ads through the digital network. The situation at TV3 is unclear - it did not return calls by press time.
Sky director of communications Tony O'Brien said regional breakouts could become an option for advertisers on the company's digital service in the future.
"(But) on our UHF network it is not cost-effective for Sky to add regional advertising breakouts."
The issue has particular relevance to the Wellington region where Sky last week completed the transfer of about 25,000 Saturn subscribers to its digital network in a deal with TelstraClear. It's estimated about 30 per cent of homes in the Wellington region now receive Sky's digital feed.
Newbolds Adelaide Rd store co-owner Nigel Girdlestone said the issue was not lost on local businesses.
"We are well aware of it. It's made us look at where we advertise, local TV, radio, newspapers. Newspapers are perfect for regional advertising, getting leaflets out, local specials, and radio gives you a better burst locally (than a national TV ad)," he said.
DBS in Asia: More Patience Before Profits
Yes, there is a profitable market for Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) services in Asia but providers will have to be patient. Very patient.
Asia-Pacific has five times more television households than North America but only one quarter of DBS satellite television users, according to research firm, Frost & Sullivan. As a result, Asia has great DBS potential but it is a struggle for profitability against the more establishedand cheapercable TV services.
Frost & Sullivan estimates that DBS generated revenues of close to US$2 billion in 2001 and is projected to surge to over US$6 billion by 2008. Despite this rosy outlook, the research firm failed to identify a single, profitable DBS multi-channel pay-TV service provider.
One advantage of DBS over cable is the formers’ ability to offer a greater range of channel options than cable. This has been a key advantage in expanding the DBS’ subscriber base, but has not been powerful enough to wean subscribers away from cable. DBS' independence of a wireline infrastructure is also a unique advantage that has allowed it to reach previously inaccessible customers. These improvements have made DBS a tougher competitor for cable and the pay-TV services industry, and have goaded both into broadening their programming offerings.
Frost & Sullivan believes the success of Asia’s DBS service providers in capitalizing on these advantages has forced cable to modernize at a faster rate. Many Asian countries are seeing new, digital cable systems that offer a quality of service equal to DBS. Potential subscribers who have a choice between DBS and cable will now find that the differences between both are narrowing, which is an advantage for the more expensive DBS providers.
To succeed financially in Asia, DBS service providers have to focus on making a long-term commitment to their subscribers. This includes upgrading set top equipment to support interactive TV (ITV) services and bundling services such as the Internet and satellite TV.
Asia’s experience in DBS has parallels in the USA, the world leader in this technology. The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) reported that DBS remains a potent growth industry. According to CEA, about 4.3 million direct broadcast satellite (DBS) systems were sold to dealers in 2000, up 17.2 percent from the prior year. In 2001, this is expected to grow 5 percent to 4.46 million systems. By the end of 2000, the two DBS providers, DirecTV and the DISH Network, had garnered cumulative subscriber numbers approaching 15 million homes.
Both had also announced the activation of services that their latest generation set-top receivers can display on top of video programming. The data-enhanced services offer everything from supplementary text information about a TV program to interactive online shopping via the television. These are services that will migrate to Asia as DBS continues to make more inroads.
Internet via satellite is also another powerful edge DBS has over conventional cable. Although Internet access via satellite has been available for several years, those early services offered only high-speed downloads to PCs, while a separate dial-up Internet access service was required for back-channel communication.
In 2000, new services on both platforms rolled out in the USA to enable broadband download and back-channel communication through one dish. That same dish also can be used to receive TV services.
These services deliver more than 100 channels of sharp, clear images and sound comparable to that of DVD players. In 2000, DirecTV and DISH each offered two to three channels of HDTV programming. Additionally, some satellite providers recently started delivery of standard definition broadcasts with special 5.1-channel Dolby Digital audio surround sound, comparable to that offered by DVD players.
In 2000, the two high-power DBS systems used 18-inch or 24-inch dishes to collect MPEG-2 digitally compressed signals with more than 200 channels of video and audio programming. Both services pushed subscriber registrations with promotional incentives, including free installation and virtual hardware giveaways in exchange for minimum service commitments of a year or more.
Both systems offer similar programming packages consisting of basic and premium cable networks, pay-per-view movies, news, information and sports networks. But the larger capacity available to satellite operators offers a greater selection of premium and special interest programming than most analog cable systems.
Research firm The Yankee Group predicts that DBS will have 16.5 million subscribers in the United States by the end of 2003, as DBS continues to make inroads into cable markets as well as expanding the market for multi-channel video programming. It predicts 15.7 million DBS subscribers in 2002 from an estimated 14.6 million in 2001.
The company predicts that DBS penetration will continue to grow, particularly in areas not passed by cable or those areas serviced by cable systems with more antiquated plant and limited channel capacity.
In addition, DBS will continue to see slow but steady growth in urban and suburban markets particularly as technological, operational and marketing advancements create new opportunities in Multi-Dwelling Units (MDUs) containing five or more residences.
The Yankee Group also said 60% of new DBS subscribers have access to cable TV and 17% of those with access subscribe to cable. Some 49% of households in the United States know someone with a DBS system while 87% of DBS subscribers would likely recommend their system to a friend, and 45% new DBS subscribers consider friends and family to be the most influential source of information when deciding to purchase a DBS system.
Yankee said this new profile of the American DBS subscriber can be traced to aggressive pricing by DBS service providers. As prices for hardware and installation continue to fall, DBS becomes more appealing to the average basic cable customer. This is particularly true in rural areas when they factor in the increased number of programming options, improved sound and picture quality, as well as expanded premium and PPV choices.
Hopefully I will get time to update the satellite pages tonight there has been heaps of changes recently. I spent 10 minutes checking out Sky tv last night and managed to crash the box! Thank you to all those who are still sending in ideas for programming that they would like to see up there via a FTA Cband channel. Comedy, Sports and Movies is what everyone seems to be asking for.
Due to the G.P Coverage there will be no Space Pacific / Satfacts show on Mediasat Sunday
Satfacts page updated
From my Emails & ICQ
Optus B3 Mediasat F1 Digital Plus (Interactive TV) feed
12336 Vertical, Fec 2/3, SR 30000.
8:17 AM Sydney Time.
Regards to one and all
Colin (aka VK2TRC
I701 180 E 3846 RHC , SR 8000 , Fec 1/2 has Testcard ( with two audio )
Hi Craig and good afternoon.
Could you please post the following in your page. Appreciated.
Nokia 9800S with Viaccess Cam and Xanadu receivers, both new and boxed for sale.
READING TODAYS APSATTV REPORTS ONE COULD CLEARLY SEE THE IMPORTANCE OF SATELLITE TV.
RIOTS AND MAYHEM ON THE STREETS OF ANTANARIVO THE CAPITAL,.
MARTIAL LAW IMPOSED
THEN WHAT HAPPENS ?
MADAGASCAR TV, ON LMI FOR DONKEYS' YEARS , TAKEN OFF AIR.
BBCWORLD REPORTS ALMOST DAILY FROM MADAGASCAR AS HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS DEMONSTRATE IN THE STREETS ALLEGING FRAUD IN THE RECENT ELECTIONS AND THE COUNTRY TOTTERS ON THE VERGE OF CIVIL WAR WHICH COULD ERUPT AT ANY MOMENT. JUST WHEN LOCAL BROADCASTS BECOME VITALLY IMPORTANT TO KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON, THE SAT LINK IS CUT BY THE GOVERNMENT !
(Craigs comment, certainly no coincidence )
From the Dish
N-Sat 110 110E 12291 R "A Plat One promo" has started on , ISDB/clear, ch 1.
N-Sat 110 110E 12731 R "A Plat One mux" has started on , ISDB/clear, line-up: G+ Sports & News, NNN 24, DPSTV, Bloomberg TV Japan, Music Japan, Science Channel and Data College, chs 4-10.
Asiasat 3 105.5E 3700 V "Asianet Bharathi and Asianet Kaveri" are now encrypted.
Asiasat 3 105.5E 3760 H "Tech TV" is now encrypted.
Asiasat 2 100.5E 3796 V "Fashion TV" is now encrypted, new PIDs 123/122.( Such a shame when a popular channel like this one leaves) ;-)
Insat 2C 93.5E 4121 H "DD 11 - Gujarati" has left , PAL, moved to Insat 3C.
Insat 2C 93.5E 4161 H "DD 4 - Kerala" has left , PAL, moved to Insat 3C.
Insat 2C 93.5E 3889 H "DD 10 - Maharashtra" has left , PAL, moved to Insat 3C.
Insat 2C 93.5E 3802 H "DD 9 - Karnataka" has left , PAL.
Insat 2C 93.5E "DD 10 - Maharashtra" has left 3870 H.
Insat 2C 93.5E "DD 11 - Gujarati" has left 4140 H.
Insat 2C 93.5E "DD 4 - Kerala" has left 4180 H.
Insat 2C 93.5E "DD 9 - Karnataka" has left 3819 H.
Thaicom 3 78.5E 3480 H "NTA" has left , replaced by a test card, clear.
Thaicom 3 78.5E 3460 H "The IRIB 3 info card" has left .
Thaicom 3 78.5E 3600 H "Maharishi Open University Asia" has left .
Thaicom 3 78.5E 3585 V "Tara Punjabi" has left , replaced by a test card.
LMI 1 75E 3858 V Occasional feeds on , Sr 18130, Fec 5/6, beam A.
Insat 3C 74E 3869 V "DD 11 - Gujarati" has started, PAL, 5.50 MHz.
Insat 3C 74E 3781 V "DD 10 - Maharashtra" has started, PAL, 5.50 MHz.
Insat 3C 74E 3901 V "DD 4 - Kerala" has started, PAL, 5.50 MHz.
PAS 10 68.5E 3776 V The Discovery India mux has left , moved to 3974 V.
PAS 10 68.5E 3905 V "Maharishi Veda Vision" has left , PAL, moved to Europe*Star 1.
PAS 10 68.5E 3932 V Both Maharishi Open University have left .
Nothing for today
We just got Sky tv put on someone in my household wanted it. Can't say I will be watching it except if the cricket or rugby Tests are on. Waste of money $48 a month $130 install (ripoff all they did was plug the decoder in and show us how to use it 45 min job) as we already had the dish on the roof. Otherwise the install was going to cost $249! those in the UHF areas that Sky broadcasts to can get the same thing for $99!
Another dead news day, hope there will be some feeds action this weekend.
From my Emails & ICQ
From Tony Drexel
Tech tv advertising they will be encrypting as from the 1st of March 2002.
Encryption test lasting for one minute at 12.45am Central Standard Time 01/03/2002
After test, Tech tv resumed free to air broadcasting.
(Tech tv Asiasat 3S 3760 Hz 26000)
From the Dish
PAS 2 169E 12732 V "TVBS, Sun TV, TTV, CTV, CTS, FTV Entertainment, the MMBN test card,
BBC World and TVBS Newsnet" have left .
PAS 8 166E 12432 H Occasional feeds on , Sr 4420, Fec 3/4.
Optus B1 160E 12483 V "The Saturn Cinema promo" is now encrypted.
Asiasat 3 105.5E 4153 V "Zee News" Reported here FTA probably a feed, Sr 5500, Fec 3/4
Intelsat 804 64E 3669 R "The TV Africa" mux is encrypted again.
ST 1 88E 3632 V "The test card has left"
LMI 1 75E 3980 V "TV Malagasy and Radio Malagasy" have left , SECAM.
European rocket places telecoms satellite in orbit
A European rocket launched an Intelsat telecommunications satellite early Saturday shortly after takeoff from French Guiana, the launch operators, Arianespace, announced.
The satellite will be placed in geostationary orbit, at an altitude of 36,000 kilometers (22,000 miles), at 60 degrees east, above the Indian Ocean.
It is to provide Internet, telephone and television services for Europe, Africa, the Far East and Australia.
The Ariane 44L, equipped with four liquid-propellant strap-on boosters, took off on schedule Europe's Spaceport at Kourou at 0659 GMT, and released the satellite 21 minutes later.
Ariane is operated by Arianespace, the marketing arm of the European Space Agency (ESA).
Built by Space Systems/Loral of Palo Alto, California, Intelsat 904 is the 20th satellite launched by Arianespace.
(Craigs comment this was last Saturday)