Satellite news 23.03.06


European deal is reached on soccer TV rights

The Premier League has welcomed the end of its legal battle with the European Commission over the sale of broadcasting rights. Months of talks between Brussels and the Premier League have ended in a deal which breaks Sky's monopoly on screening the 130 live games. The EC formally agreed to allow the League to continue to sell the rights for all 20 clubs together, after the Premier League committed to ensuring no single broadcaster would be allowed to buy all of the live packages from 2007. Under the agreed arrangements, more football coverage rights, including TV, mobile phone and internet rights, will be made available for sale in open bidding scrutinised by an independent trustee. Rights for live coverage of Premier League games will be sold in six "packages" and no one buyer will be allowed to buy more than five.

ITV kids channel sets date for Sky launch

After launching on Freeview, Telewest and Homechoice earlier this month, ITV's kids channel CiTV has announced the date when it will become available on Sky Digital. Sky viewers will be able to watch the station from May 8.

'Inspirational' music channel announces launch

A brand new music TV station called 'R Music TV' is set to debut on Sky Digital on April 3. Being launched by the makers of Revelation TV, the channel will broadcast "inspirational and positive music." It will reportedly put an emphasis on "not airing any negative music with swearing, nudity, drugs or violence."

Sci-Fi to start new timeshifted channel on Sky

The Sci-Fi channel is to start a new time-shifted version of its popular channel on Sky Digital, it has confirmed. The new Sci Fi +1 station will broadcast from channel 130 from April 3. In a statement, Nick Betts, the channel's MD, said: "The launch of the +1 is a hugely significant endorsement of our brand and the universal interest in the sci-fi genre. It also marks an important step in NBC Universal Global Networks' UK expansion plans."

Oscar winning actor to host new BBC4 show

Oscar-winning screenwriter, novelist and actor Julian Fellowes is to host a new BBC4 TV show about the English language titled Never Mind the Full Stops, the BBC announced Monday. The show will feature Fellowes, who won the Academy Award for his original script for "Gosford Park" in 2002, as chairman with four guests having fun with questions involving grammar, spelling and general use and misuse of the language.

New Cyprus-themed travel channel to debut

A new travel channel targeted at viewers wanting to buy travel packages to Cyprus is to launch on Sky. Called Cyprus Direct TV, the channel intends to launch on March 27 and offer "a mix of introductory lifestyle documentaries and properties for sale." The free-to-air, 24-hour channel will also provide background information about living in Cyprus.

Digital TV news in brief...

On Sky Digital, channel 277 London TV has been removed... A new Sky Digital shopping channel has started on channel 676 called Celebrity Shop... On Sky Digital, Broadband UK2 has moved from 851 to 675... Look4Love TV has moved from 872 to 916... True Movies 2 has started on Sky channel 324... Vectone 2U has launched on channel 821.... ITV has rejected an approach from Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, Blackstone and Apax Partners, which is advised by Greg Dyke, to buy a controlling stake in the broadcaster... Sky is set to introduce a new customer-loyalty scheme to reduce churn among its Sky Movies subscribers... At The Races (ATR) is to be paid Ł1m from the Racecourse Association (RCA) and the 30 defendant courses after an out of court agreement was reached.

Fox renews Simpsons for two more series

US network Fox has commissioned two more series of The Simpsons. The announcement means that the popular animated sitcom will reach its 400th episode in the next two years. The show is now in its 17th season.

Disney Channels switch around on Sky Digital

Disney's channels have been switched around in the line-up on Sky Digital following the debut of a new station. Disney Cinemagic is on channel 611 while on 612 is Disney Cinemagic +1. Menwhile, the Disney Channel has moved from 611 to 613.

Sky is UK's most popular TV platform

Sky remains the UK’s most popular TV platform according to new research from media regulator Ofcom. For the first time, there are now more digital satellite subscribers in the UK than there are homes watching analogue terrestrial-only TV. Ofcom also added at the end of 2005, more households were watching Sky subscription services on their principal TV set than were watching any other form of television service.

BBC Japan set to close after funding problem

BBC Worldwide has confirmed that BBC Japan will be unavailable to viewers as of April 30 after distributor JMC said that it cannot afford to honour its contractual commitments. In a statement, BBC Worldwide said that JMC had sent notification that its shareholders will no longer provide financial support, which means that it will be unable to continue distributing BBC Japan. "This decision has been taken without any consultation with BBC Worldwide and is beyond the corporation's control," the statement said. "BBC Worldwide is actively seeking alternative ways to continue to provide the service in Japan."

HD being delayed by shortage in MPEG-4 chips

As Europe readies itself for this summer's World Cup in Germany, the opportunity to watch it via HD is fading, according to new research. The study by media analysts and research company Screen Digest said European pay TV operators have only just begun to ship HD-ready set-top boxes to suppliers because of delays caused by a shortage in MPEG-4 chips. Premiere in Germany, TPS in France, Sky Italia in Italy, Canal Digital in the Nordic region and the BBC in the UK all plan to broadcast games in high-definition.

Regards Satdude.