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  1. #1
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    Default Sat news 19.12.2006

    ITV to 'pursue sale of Men and Motors'

    ITV is reportedly looking to sell digital channel Men and Motors. Broadcastnow.co.uk said ITV had declined to comment on its story that after discussing the channel's future for months and considering a merger with ITV4, ITV chiefs had now concluded that a sale was the preferred option.

    Broadcastnow.co.uk said sale plans were expected to be finalised early in the New Year, and would be overseen by ITV digital channels director Jonathan Lewis.

    Broadcasters that might be interested in acquiring the men's channel include Sky, ITV's original co-partner in the channel before ITV took full control two years ago; Five, which has recently embarked on its multi-channel strategy; and Flextech, ntl's digital channel provider and half owner of the UKTV digital channel portfolio with the BBC.

    ITV4 launched last November, targeting a male audience with live sport and drama.
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  2. #2
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    Sky expands online via 365 purchase

    BSkyB has acquired online sports group 365 Media—formerly known as ukbetting—for £96m. 365 snapped up several online sports and gambling brands in the aftermath of the dot com bubble, and owns Football365.com, Cricket365.com, TEAMtalk.com and Sportinglife.com. In total 365's sites attract more than 9m users each month.

    Sky financial chief Jermy Darroch said the acquisition supported Sky's strategy of becoming a leading provider of online sports and gaming services.

    "Bringing together 365 Media's extensive network of sports and gaming web sites with our own Sky Sports and SkyBet businesses will allow us to reach a broader audience," said Darroch. "This will give us greater presence in online advertising and will position us to take full advantage of growing opportunities in gaming."

    Earlier this month Sky announced a ground-breaking alliance with Google to offer Sky's broadband customers a suite of new search, communications and video services. The pair also agreed to explore joint opportunities in future forms of web, TV and mobile advertising, sharing revenues from click-throughs on sponsored links. This summer Sky took full ow
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  3. #3
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    Default

    Highfield announces BBC Archive online trial
    Ashley Highfield

    BBC future media director Ashley Highfield has announced that 1,000 hours of programmes from the BBC's vast programming archive will be made available for a six-month trial involving 20,000 broadband homes to determine consumer demand for a free service unlocking the entire BBC TV and radio vault, and its 1m hours of programming. "Our goal is to turn the BBC into an open cultural and creative resource for the nation," said Highfield.

    The trial, starting early in the New Year, will feed into proposals for the BBC Archive, an extension of the BBC's proposed seven-day catch-up service, iPlayer, currently the subject of a public value test overseen by the BBC's new regulatory body, the BBC Trust.

    The archive proposal will itself require approval, with a service plan expected to be put before trustees in the second half of 2007, depending on the outcome of the BBC licence fee settlement.

    The BBC Archive trial follows the completion of an 18-month pilot of the BBC's Creative Archive, which allowed web users to share and re-edit rights cleared content for their own non-commercial purposes within the terms of the Creative Archive Licence Scheme launched with organisations including ITN, the British Film Institute, Channel 4 and the Open University.
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  4. #4
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    Deal creates new pan-European broadcaster


    A pan-European broadcaster rivaling RTL Group is set to result from the purchase of a controlling stake in German commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat1 by private equity giants Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and Permira. The pair are paying €3.1bn for a 50.5% stake held by former owner Haim Saban and other US investors. KKR and Permira already have a majority stake in SBS Broadcasting, which operates 12 channels in Scandinavia, Benelux countries and eastern Europe.

    "We're delighted at the strategic prospects that the ProSiebenSat.1 Group could gain through its new principal shareholders: SBS is the leading integrated pan-European broadcasting group. As the hub of a new European TV group, we would be able to expand our successful corporate strategy on an international scale," said ProSiebenSat.1 CEO Guillaume de Posch.

    "KKR and Permira have indicated that they will fully support the strategy currently pursued by the Group: to strengthen our core business Free TV, to diversify our revenue sources and to position the group for the digital world."

    KKR and Permira are reportedly preparing to buy the remainder of ProSiebenSat.1's shares in a deal valuing the broadcaster at €5.7bn. Last year German newspaper publisher Axel Springer sought to acquire ProSiebenSat.1, but German regulators blocked the deal on competition grounds.
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  5. #5
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    Default

    Sky Italia and Vodafone unveil mobile TV offering

    Sky Italia, the Italian arm of pay-television broadcaster BSkyB, has linked up with its local division of Vodafone to deliver programmes to mobile owners via a new digital TV service.

    Vodafone Italia said its customers will be able to access "the very best from Sky's channels", which include news and entertainment, as well as exclusive sports content that previously was only available to Sky satellite subscribers. Shows will include high-profile US series such as Futurama and 24, along with Italian-made programmes like Reparto Maternità.

    All content from Sky will be offered to Vodafone users free of charge until 31 March next year.

    The channel line-up will comprise Fox One, an amalgamation of three Fox channels, the male orientated FX Mobile, Disney Channel Mobile, DeeJay TV, movie channel Cine Shots, Sky Calcio offering Italian soccer, Sky Sport 24 and Sky TG 24, a news provider.

    The new service will make use of Vodafone Italia's transmission network in conjunction with Digital Video Broadcasting-Handheld (DVB-H) technology and capacity provided by leading Italian broadcaster Mediaset SpA.

    It will compete against 3 Italia's WalkTV, Europe's first commercially available DVB-H mobile television service, which launched earlier this year.
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  6. #6
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    Movies are 'least-watched online content'

    Movie downloads—both legal and illegal—remain the least-watched genre of online video—and only 5% of North Americans who watch video via the internet have rented or purchased a digital movie download, according to findings from ABI Research.

    The new data shows that the number of web users paying for films is lower overall than those who claim to have downloaded a movie for free from a peer-to-peer sharing site.

    The new study, Broadband Video and Web Television End-User Perceptions, goes on to reveal that the vast majority of online viewers—nearly 70%—are selecting short-form content such as sport and news clips.

    Consumers who were asked why they choose not to watch films downloaded or streamed from the internet mainly cited their satisfaction with existing cable and satellite services, as well as DVDs. Nearly half—48%—claimed they would never purchase a movie download because they are happy with their current providers and the rental market.

    Research director Michael Wolf said: "Despite the growing interest in the pay market for internet-delivered video, perhaps the biggest remaining hurdle to widespread adoption is that the status quo usually gives consumers a vastly superior, and often less expensive, experience than internet-delivered content".

    He added: "The industry needs to develop reasons and business models that increase overall consumer interest in internet-delivered video, including allowing for easy transfer and better viewing on the large screen".
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    Pan Asian consortium to trial mobile TV

    Leading communications and technology groups have announced the formation of the Pan Asian Mobile TV consortium, to enable digital multimedia broadcasting for mobile operators in the region. Mobile provider SK Telecom, digital multimedia broadcasting pioneer Toshiba, content aggregator Glocal Media and International Mobile Broadcasting, the holder of Asian mobile television licences and spectrum, are set to begin trials in early 2007 with leading mobile operators in Asia.

    Project leader Tom Navasero said: "The Pan Asian Mobile TV consortium is the region's first enabler for a regional mobile TV service. The initiative will contribute to the public by providing mobile learning and disaster prevention media. Pan Asian Mobile TV will be able to contribute to the mutual understanding and the unification of this region through content reciprocity".

    Masashi Suenaga of Toshiba claimed the pilot scheme will lead to "a new era of broadcasting in the Asia region… by adopting a S-DMB system that has been commercially proven in Japan and Korea".

    The vice president of SK Telecom, JH Kah, added that the "multilateral, cross-cultural" Pan Asian Mobile TV initiative "will exemplify the vision of a united Asia".

    Finally, Dennis Young, CEO of Glocal Media, said his company strongly believes that mobile TV is "the next big thing—and Asia is the place to do it".

    He continued: "It offers us content owners a new distribution path to reach our customers and at the same time an opportunity to develop brand new forms of content that will be specific to mobile TV. In short, mobile TV is a brand new distribution window".
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  8. #8
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    Channel 4 simulcasts schedule on BT Movio

    Most of Channel 4's schedule is now available on BT Movio, the wholesale broadcast mobile television service operated by BT using DAB digital radio spectrum leased from GCap's national DAB multiplex, Digital One. At launch in October, Channel 4 contributed a made-for-mobile channel of programme highlights to BT Movio's mobile TV and digital radio service. That has now been replaced by a simulcast broadcast of Channel 4, minus some film, sport and US-produced content.

    BT Movio managing director Emma Lloyd said rights agreements were now in place with BBC One, ITV1, Channel 4, E4 and ITN News to deliver 87% of their broadcast TV content, amounting to more than 730 hours of programming each week, to Virgin Mobile, the first UK mobile operator to retail the BT Movio service.

    Lloyd said the BT Movio pilot, conducted last year with 1,000 Virgin Mobile subscribers in the London area, had demonstrated that consumers wanted "the full, live TV channels they are familiar with at home on their mobile, rather than watered down highlights". Channel 4 telephony business development chief Riccardo Donato said it was a "key part" of Channel 4's public service remit to make its content available across multiple platforms.
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  9. #9
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    National Geographic to launch new channel

    National Geographic is to start a new channel dedicated to the best in wildlife programming, which will replace its existing service Adventure One. The new channel will be called 'National Geographic Wild' and it will be on air 18 hours a day when it launches on March 1st, 2007.
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    Sky's music channels go free-to-air

    Sky's three TV music channels Flaunt, Scuzz and Bliss have become free-to-air stations in an effort to boost their audience figures. The channels have been available as part of the Sky 'Music Mix' package since launching in 2003 but have not dented the viewing figures of established rivals such as MTV. In 2004, Sky handed over the running of its the channels to Chart Show TV, which has since been in charge of their editorial content.
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  11. #11
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    Sky buys up sports Website company

    Sky has made a £96m offer to buy the online sports information and gaming firm 365 Media Group. 365 Media runs gambling and sports websites such as Football365, Cricket365, Sportinglife and Planet Rugby. The acquisition of 365 Media enhances Sky's existing online strategy, adding to its portfolio of online assets and increasing its exposure to high growth revenue streams.
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    Walt Disney buys NASN

    The Walt Disney Company has agreed to buy North American Sports Network (NASN) according to the online portal Wall Street Journal. The move will help Disney televise more American sports in Europe and expand ESPN's presence in Europe. NASN says it has 6 million subscribers in 25 countries across Europe, the Journal said.
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    New look and schedule for Wrestling Channel

    The Wrestling Channel has been relaunched as 'TWC Fight!'. The channel will continue to air free of charge across the UK and Ireland on Sky channel 427. The new look and name comes after changes to its programming, with An expansion of the channel’s mixed martial arts (MMA) programming, which will now include Cage Warriors, Gladiator Challenge, King of the Cage and a dedicated UK MMA show.
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  14. #14
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    Foreign channels deny UK pub rights

    The Premier League has published letters from four domestic pay-TV operators in a bid to put a stop to the screening of foreign channels by UK pubs trying to avoid paying subscription fees to Sky. The Premier League said it was hoping that the letters from Arabic channel ART, Greece’s SuperSport, Canal+ Nordic and Albanian DigitAlb would help dispel some of the myths that have begun to surround broadcasts from elsewhere in the European Union. The near identical letters make it clear that the broadcasters only hold the rights for their own local territories and not the UK. Pubs and clubs pay a wholesale fee for the right to screen BSkyB’s channels. The fees, based on the rateable value of the premises, are regularly the centre of heated exchanges between Sky and the licensed trade.
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    Regulators to run Anglo-Irish spectrum auction

    UK broadcast and telecommunications regulator Ofcom and its Irish counterpart ComReg are to stage a co-ordinated spectrum auction for capacity between 1785MHz and 1805MHz. The 20MHz spectrum block will be released on a technology and service neutral basis allowing organisations to choose as to how they will make use of the spectrum, subject to co-ordination with users of adjacent spectrum. The spectrum is largely unused and the two regulators have identified potential applications as wireless broadband access; wireless broadband access; mobile broadcast, such as wireless cameras for outside broadcasts; video or closed-circuit television links; and extra capacity for the delivery of mobile services. The auctions will be conducted as sealed bids and are expected to take place in the spring.
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