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Thread: News 17.05.2007

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    Default News 17.05.2007

    News Corporation, the global media empire controlled by R. Murdoch, has acquired two Latvian television channels, TV spokespeople said Wednesday.

    News Corp Europe, a subsidiary, bought a 100 percent stake in Latvian Independent Television and a 70 percent stake in TV5 for an undisclosed sum.

    "LNT and TV5 are the beginning of the development of News Corporation's network in our region," Andris Ekis, chairman of LNT, commented to the Russian-language NovoNews agency.

    Ekis added that News Corporation was particularly interested in the Estonian, Lithuanian and Belarusian media markets.

    Murdoch has made a US$5 billion bid for Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal, a deal that triggered emotions after the Dow Jones shareholders said they would block it.

    The 76-year-old Australia-born Murdoch has transformed News Corp. into a major global media conglomerate that owns the Fox broadcast network, Fox News Channel, MySpace, the Twentieth Century Fox studio and satellite broadcasters in Europe and Asia.

    Latvia, which gained independence in 1991, now boasts the fastest growing economy in the 27-member European Union, which it joined in 2004. Last year GDP soared 11.9 percent thanks to a consumption boom.

    Ekis said News Corp.'s arrival in the Latvian market attested to the local media market's investment potential.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    MySpace is preparing to launch a series of branded news and entertainment video channels over the next few months. The videos will be available as a separate section within MySpace Video from news outlets including National Geographic, The New York Times, Reuters, and entertainment/lifestyle producers including The Daily Reel, Expert Village, Flow and Fox’s IGN Entertainment.

    Jeff Berman, GM of video for MySpace, commented: "We’re empowering our partners to customise their own video channels and use them as hubs to create a niche experience for users. (This) announcement is a sign of things to come for MySpace Video."

    These channels will join MySpace Video’s other forthcoming video programs, including reality show, ‘Independent’ and existing features such as the site’s deal with Michael Eisner’s Vuguru to air ‘Prom Queen’, and the launch of a dedicated film trailer community Trailer Park.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Spanish telco Telefónica has delayed the launch of its commercial broadband service in Britain and Germany by a few months because of teething problems. Peter Erskine, the chairman and chief executive of Telefonica O2 Europe's mobile phone unit, said the company would launch a UK broadband business in September, rather than in spring, after re-launching in Germany over the summer.

    "We could have rushed out a converged service in Germany," Erskine said. "We chose to break it up into a simplified tariff and through the year will offer a broader range of services by launching DSL (broadband) as well."
    Salut Prieteni!


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    The Spanish TV producer Mediapro, shareholder in TV network La Sexta, has exclusively acquired TV rights to Formula One in Spain from 2009 to 2013.

    The move is a setback to Mediaset-controlled Telecinco and Regional TV channel TV3 which so far held those rights at a time when Formula One has proved to be a ratings-winner in the country, with more than 6m viewers, a 47 per cent market share, watching the recent Spanish Grand Prix.

    This is the second strategic step taken by Medipro to acquire the most important sport TV rights, following its acquisition last year of TV football rights for both Real Madrid and Barcelona clubs, at a time when TV competition in Spain is intensifying with six nation wide commercial TV networks, more than 20 DTT channels with a national coverage, 13 Regional TV stations and more than 1,000 local TV networks.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    ViaSat Inc. (Nasdaq:VSAT - News), a producer of satellite and other wireless communications and networking systems, saw increases in revenues and profits for its fourth quarter of 2007 ending March and its fiscal year 2007.

    For the fourth quarter, revenues increased 19 percent to $132 million from the comparable $118.1 in 2006. Net income rose sharply to $8.6 million from $5.8 million, an improvement of 48 percent. Fiscal year 2007 revenues of $516.6 million were 19 percent better than the $433.8 million in fiscal 2006. Net income in fiscal 2007 improved 29 percent to $30.2 million from $23.5 million.

    ViaSat booked new orders for the fourth quarter amounting to $125.6 million, down eight percent from the comparable $133.3 million but improved its fiscal 2007 bookings to $525 million from 443.7 million in fiscal 2006. Sales backlog for the fourth quarter 2007 stood at $388.7 million as against $374.9 million year-on-year.

    "Fiscal year 2007 was another outstanding year for us," said Mark Dankberg, ViaSat chairman and CEO. "We exceeded our goals for revenues, earnings and cash flows and continued to strengthen our competitive position in key markets. Fiscal year 2008 should be an exciting year for us too, as we aim to increase sales of recently completed systems and products, while embarking on a series of new and expanded development projects that can set the stage f or sustained growth in the next several years."

    ViaSat said government segment quarterly revenues of $68.8 million and record annual revenues of $270.0 million represent a 26.4 percent increase over the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2006 and a 28.5 percent increase over the prior fiscal year. The increase in revenues was primarily from information assurance products and development programs.

    For the commercial segment, revenues were $63.2 million for the fourth quarter and a record $245.8 million for the fiscal year. These figures represent a 2.4 percent decrease over the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2006 and an increase of 7.1 percent over the prior fiscal year. The decrease in fourth quarter revenues year over year was primarily due to lower sales in ViaSat’s antenna systems business offset mainly by increased sales in its consumer broadband business. The increase in fiscal year revenues year over year is mostly from increased sales in consumer broadband area offset by reductions in the antenna systems business.

    During fiscal 2007, ViaSat entered into a new agreement with WildBlue Communications in May 2007 to supply at least their next 500,000 Ka-band satellite terminals for the WildBlue satellite broadband service. Under the agreement, ViaSat will also provide WildBlue with network infrastructure upgrades and software support services.

    ViaSat also said it received record orders for its Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) terminals and for MIDS Joint Tactical Radio System (MIDS JTRS) engineering development of $140 million, including increasing foreign military sales led by orders from the Turkish Air Force and the Taiwan Ministry of National Defense.

    ViaSat won a multi-year development project to implement Version 3 of the High Assurance Internet Protocol Encrypt or Interoperability Specification (HAIPE IS) on ViaSat AltaSec inline network encryptor. The award adds software features designed to enable military communicators to establish highly secure encrypted links accessible by future HAIPE devices as the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) transitions to Internet Protocol version 6 (IP v6).

    The company introduced the AN/PSC-14, the first ruggedized Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) satellite terminal for secure military voice and broadband IP data communications. The terminal also integrates a ViaSat AltaSec High Assurance Internet Protocol Encrypt or (HAIPE) Type 1 security device.

    ViaSat received further support for its on-the-move access to the Global Information Grid (GIG) with interoperability certification by the DoD Joint Interoperability Test Command (JITC) of a Command and Control On-the-Move (C2OTM) satellite communication system that features ViaSat’s ArcLight satellite networking and AltaSec KG-250 information assurance products.

    Also during the year, ViaSat Initiated a strategic partnership with Eutelsat Communications to jointly offer affordable, high-quality satellite consumer broadband in unserved markets in Europe. Scheduled to begin operation this June, the service will use Ka-band capacity on the Eutelsat Hot Bird 6 satellite and the ViaSat SurfBeam Docsis two-way broadband satellite ground system to provide both mobile and fixed broadband access services.

    ViaSat received additional orders from Arinc for SKYLink Airborne Integrated Satellite Communication Terminals for in-flight broadband, as Arinc announced the sale of the 50th set of avionics to its SKYLink launch customer Gulfstream Aerospace. It also increased VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminals) market penetration in Latin America and Asia Pacific with key sales in Ecuador, Chile, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Australia, China and India, including a follow-on order for another LinkStar hub and 1,200 VSATs for the Phase 4 expansion of the e-Mexico national network for broadband access to the general population of Mexico via Digital Community Centers and schools.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Welsh channel S4C is launching a public consultation into proposals to introduce a new Welsh language television channel for children.

    The ten-week consultation will seek the views of the public and other interested parties about the proposed new service, aimed at children up to 16.

    John Walter Jones, chair of the S4C Authority, said: "Children’s viewing is migrating from mainstream channels to dedicated children’s channels. As television enters a wholly digital age, we must ensure that the children and young people of Wales are not left behind. It is vital that an equivalent Welsh language children’s channel is provided."

    S4C would fund the new service from its current budget. Additional S4C commercially-generated revenues will help fund start-up and technical costs. S4C is one of the largest purchasers of original children’s programming in the UK with a budget of £10.9 million to commission from the independent sector in 2007.

    The proposed service would be available in Wales on satellite, cable and digital terrestrial television and elsewhere in the UK on satellite and on broadband.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Universal Pictures has reached a deal to launch its subscription-video-on-demand service PictureBox on ITI Neovision’s “n” platform in Poland this September.

    Poland is the second country to launch PictureBox, following the U.K.’s worldwide premiere of the service in December 2006 on TOP UP TV’s Anytime service. Subscribers to the PictureBox service in Poland will pay a monthly fee to view feature films that will be delivered and stored in the PVR built into the “n” decoder. At launch, the service will initially offer 16 feature films, many of which will be available prior to airing on free-TV channels in Poland. Highlights of films that will be featured on PictureBox include The Bourne Supremacy; Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason; The Interpreter; Ray; Along Came Polly; King Kong and Van Helsing, among others. Films will be refreshed often with new titles being uploaded weekly.

    “We are proud to be the second country in the world to launch PictureBox,” said Maciej Sojka, the chairman of the “n” television platform. “It will grant easy access to a huge number of films spanning all genres for Polish viewers, always making new titles available at any given time. The service will also help our clients embrace the advanced technology of the “n” decoder, allowing viewers to watch the best movies from Hollywood without ever leaving the comfort of their own home.”

    “This deal underscores the tremendous growth occurring in the Eastern European television market, and we’re excited to be launching PictureBox on the ‘n’ service for Polish viewers,” said Belinda Menendez, the president of NBC Universal International Television Distribution.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    MTV has commissioned a show to help glamour model Jodie Marsh find a husband.

    Produced by Zig Zag productions, Totally Jodie Marsh: Who’ll Take Her Up The Aisle? will see Marsh audition potential 'suitors' in London, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Brimingham Cardiff and Bournemouth from this weekend.
    The 9-part series, part of MTV's Totally strand, begins in the summer and will culminate with Jodie marrying her 'Mr Right' on TV in September.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    A'OL will introduce a new version of its popular e-mail service this summer that will include its AIM instant messa'ging platform, among other features, the chief executive of the online division of Time Wa'rner Inc. said on Wednesday.

    A'OL is testing the new version of its e-mail service and expects to launch it widely on its Internet portal page around the end of July, Chief Executive Randy Falco told the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit in New York.

    "One great feature is you're going to be able to have AIM and your e-mail on the same page," Falco said.

    A'OL also plans to refresh its Web portal and launch new portals in 14 countries in the next 18 months, he said.

    Falco said A'OL sought to maintain a steady stream of new products to keep users on its sites. In an era of new media outlets, failing to refresh technology poses a major business risk, he said.

    "It may not hit you that year, but it ultimately will hit you," Falco said. "You'll suffer from bad development and not having products in the pipeline."

    E-mail is a key component of A'OL's strategy to capitalize on a surge of Internet advertising, as such accounts direct about 52 percent of users' page views on its sites.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    YouTube considers TV channel launch

    YouTube is considering creating its own linear TV channel, according to Kevin Donahue, the site's vice president.
    In a speech at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Donahue said the company was thinking about creating its own TV shows and possibly its own channel, but had not made any firm decisions.
    He said: "We've had a lot of conversations with networks that want us to do shows and companies that want us to do linear YouTube channels. At the moment we're looking at the options, but we're in more of a strategy mode right now."
    Launched in February 2005, YouTube was bought by Google in October last year for £883 million.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    History Channel expands into Europe

    The History Channel has received a new Television Broadcast Licence from the UK regulator Ofcom for a new European service. It comes as the A&E-owned network develops new services in continental Europe and beyond. Local channels have recently been put in place with local partners in Africa, Greece and Malta. The channel is currently working on the development of its service in the Nordic market. Also receiving licences from Ofcom in December are Discovery Channel for the new Discovery 2 and Baltic Media Alliance for The First Baltic Channel and The First Baltic Music Channel. AXN Northern Europe is planning a new service known as Animax.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Swedish launch 6th DTT multiplex

    A sixth DTT multiplex will shortly go live in the Swedish capital Stockholm and the areas surrounding Uppsala and Västeräs. The multiplex was initiated to carry the international service of the Finnish public broadcaster YLE and is scheduled to go on air in mid- March. Under a 40-year old agreement YLE is distributed in Sweden and in return SVT is available terrestrially in Finland. However, when Sweden began its digital transition in August it was found there was no room for the Finnish broadcasts. About 25% of the Swedish population will be served by the new channel amid a debate within government between the culture and commerce ministries as to what to do with the remainder of the multiplex. With the ministry of culture favouring high definition or mobile TV and the commerce ministry looking towards fixed mobile networks such as Wimax.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Norway’s Comvie to launch IPTV triple play

    Oslo-based Comvie is to launch a triple play package over its IPTV network. The company has selected Latens’ FCAS conditional access system as well as the Belfast company’s VOD encryption engine to secure its live TV and video on demand services. FCAS is being promoted as a scalable system that can be progressively upgraded as the business develops. Comvie will run the CA on the Motorola-Kreatel 1820 set-top boxes, initially using an MPEG-2 transport stream, before moving to MPEG-4. The Comvie contract is the latest in a series of wins for Latens in Norway. The others include Lyse, Salten Bredband and iVisjon. Comvie is offering a triple play package comprising TV, broadband and fixed-line telephony for NKr399. The brand identity was created by This Way Design and Supernordic.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    SanDisk introduces USBTV

    SanDisk has unveiled USBTV, a new, initiative that enables consumers to move digital content from their PCs to their televisions. The announcement was made during a press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). USBTV is a new platform that will enable consumers to transport downloaded digital content from a personal computer, by using a small flash memory-enabled media player, and play it on virtually any TV. On the computer side USBTV uses a USB port, on the other side a special TV cradle connects the device to a TV set. SanDisk said a number of companies back the initiative including LG Electronic, Mitsubishi Digital Electronic, Pioneer Electronics, Akimbo Systems and Guba. USBTV is just one of the many ways the PC can be connected to a TV set. At first sight this looks like a cumbersome way to transport video content because it involves recording it on a USB device first and taking that to the TV set. A solution such as Apple TV connects directly to a television, either wired or wireless. USBTV also does not offer a solution for moving streaming web TV to the television.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Hotbird 2 redeployed & renamed Eurobird 9 permalink



    Eutelsat Communications has announced that its Hot Bird™ 2 satellite has been redeployed to 9 degrees East. Rebranded Eurobird™ 9, the satellite’s entry into service marks the opening of a new video neighbourhood, which is adjacent to Eutelsat’s premium Hot Bird™ position. Reception of channels from both locations is possible with off-the-shelf dual-feed domestic dishes.

    The repositioning of Eurobird™ 9 follows the successful launches in 2006 of Eutelsat’s Hot Bird™ 7A and 8 satellites. Together with Hot Bird™ 6, these large satellites today broadcast more than 1,000 channels, of which over 50 per cent are free-to-air from the Group’s 13 degrees East position. Their entry into service has enabled Eutelsat to pursue the development of its in-orbit resources by redeploying high-performance Hot Bird™ satellites to other locations with strong growth potential: 7 degrees West for Atlantic Bird™ 4 (formerly Hot Bird ™ 4); 4 degrees East for Eurobird™ 4 (formerly Hot Bird™ 3).

    Optimised for DTH (Direct-to-Home) broadcasting, Eurobird™ 9 delivers 20 fully operational Ku-band transponders supplying coverage across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. In order to support the market for multi-satellite reception, which is afforded by the proximity of its orbital positions, Eutelsat is developing new low-cost consumer solutions to enable existing Hot Bird™ installations to be easily upgraded to receive channels from 9 degrees East via a second LNB fitted beside the LNB directed to the Hot Bird™ neighbourhood.

    Eutelsat has already concluded a first contract for capacity on Eurobird™ 9 with the Portuguese cable operator TVTEL, which has announced it will shortly launch a new pay-TV platform for the Portuguese market. Using two transponders on the satellite to address principally almost two million television homes in Portugal only receiving analogue terrestrial channels, TVTEL’s platform will begin with 20 digital channels. Encrypted with Conax, they will include Portugal’s four national channels and a package of 16 thematic channels broadcasting content ranging from movies, documentaries, music, serials, news and sports. TVTEL will also market dual-feed antennas in Portugal so that homes can have access to the broad range of international channels available free-to-air from the Hot Bird™ neighbourhood.

    Commenting on the entry into service of Eurobird™ 9, Giuliano Berretta, CEO of Eutelsat Communications said: “The deployment of Eurobird™ 9 at 9 degrees East, underpins our objective to optimise our video neighbourhoods in order to meet continued demand for capacity for Standard Digital and HDTV channels. It is our conviction that with the availability of low-cost dual-feed antennas for enriching channel reception from more than one orbital location, Europe is poised to move into an era of multi-satellite reception which is already commonplace in strong satellite markets around the world, notably North America.”
    Salut Prieteni!


 

 

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