Satellite news 13.06.05


Auction World TV bosses summoned to court

Three of the bosses at the collapsed Auction World TV channel have been summoned to appear at a magistrates court to face charges of misleading buyers over prices, according to press reports. Hertfordshire Trading Standards have been investigating the broadcaster, which went bust last year with debts it could not pay of Ł20million. The channel's managing director, operations director, and company lawyer must each account for 52 occasions when it is alleged the channel broke the Consumer Protection Act. The first hearing will be at East Hertfordshire Magistrates on July 29.

Sky holds onto TV rights to Football League

The Football League has announced new broadcasting deals with Sky Sports and ITV. Sky Sports has been awarded the exclusive live rights to The League's competitions until the summer of 2009. The three year agreement for seasons 2006/07, 2007/08 and 2008/09 provides increased revenue for clubs and more live matches on Sky Sports for fans. This new agreement will see Sky Sports broadcast around 100 live matches per season from The Football League's competitions. Meanwhile, a three-year extension to the highlights deal with ITV Sport was also renewed until the summer of 2009.

ITV regional channels come to Sky

After a lengthy wait, several of the remaining sub-regions for ITV are to launch on Sky. The two Central East and Central South sub-regions that have been absent from Sky since ITV first launched on the platform are expected to become available this week on channel 103. Viewers in those regions have been getting Central West, which includes the news for Birmingham. Also, next week, it is expected that the Anglia East and Scottish TV East regions will be added to the Sky Digital line-up.

New religious TV channel starts on Sky Digital

Christian channel Eternal World Television Network (EWTN) has launched on Sky Digital channel 680. The channel, which has been broadcasting for more than 20 years in the US, is available on a free to air basis 24 hours a day.

Setanta Sports 'could buy Sky's soccer rights'

Sky's long-term hold on Premier League football TV rights could be in doubt as Irish TV group Setanta Sports attempts to lure a key Sky Sports executive, Trevor East, to join its operation. According to a report in the Financial Times, East's contract is up for renewal soon, but the deputy managing director of Sky Sports has been approached to lead the acquisition of sports rights for Setanta. The Irish company already owns rights to Scottish Premier League matches as well as other sports rights.

New Sky Mobile service is unveiled

Sky is launching a service that allows mobile phone users to keep up to date with the latest sports, news and weather. Sky Mobile claims to be 'the only service where users can access the entire range of Sky's mobile content in a single, integrated application'. The launch of Sky Mobile represents the latest development of Sky's services for mobile users. Its current activities include deals with Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile and '3' to deliver news and sports content via SMS, WAP, MMS and 3G video. Sky Mobile is a downloadable Symbian application requiring General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) or 3G network support. Mobile networks that currently support connections to the application include Vodafone, T-Mobile, O2, Orange and Virgin Mobile.

Smooth FM launches on Freeview

Smooth FM has launched on Freeview, replacing Jazz FM on channel 88 which ceased broadcasting live programing last month. A new screen has appeared on channel 88 stating "102.2 smoothfm - go with the flow".

Frank Warren may move his boxers to ITV

Boxing's foremost promoter Frank Warren may soon return to ITV from Sky Sports, according to press reports. His contract with the satellite channel runs out at the end of June. It comes as ITV announced it has signed a deal to broadcast Junior Witter's European light welterweight defence on 9 July, which will be shown live on ITV1. It follows ITV's coverage of Amir Khan's final amateur fight against Olympic rival Mario Kindelan in May after the channel's 10-year break from boxing.

'More regional TV channels needed' - Ofcom

Ofcom has called for dedicated digital channels to be set up for Wales, Scotland and Ireland in order to safeguard indigenous languages in the nations.

Viacom could make bid for Flextech channels

US media giant Viacom is reportedly considering a bid for UK broadcaster Flextech. The American company is in the early stages of discussing a merger with Telewest (which owns Flextech), and both parties are keen for the new operation to concentrate on cable operations, rather than content. Viacom has been linked with major UK acquisitions in the past, and would likely face competition from other media groups such as RTL and private equity group Apax Partners, which has former BBC director-general Greg Dyke as an adviser.

Freeview passes the five million household mark

Freeview has passed the 5million household mark according to latest figures from Ofcom showing the free-to-air platform has helped digital penetration reach almost 62% of UK homes. The regulator's latest report shows 643,517 households began taking digital TV in the first quarter of 2005, bringing the overall total of digital TV households to 15.42million. Accelerating the growth is strong take-up for Freeview, with 5.06million homes now receiving the service on at least one TV set. A further 445,000 homes receive free-to-air satellite television, taking the total number of homes with free digital TV to over 5.5m.

New global Russian news TV channel to launch

The Kremlin is to launch its own international satellite TV news channel in the autumn, according to Russian media reports. Called Russia Today TV, it will be on air from September under the supervision of former Russian press minister and now advisor to president Vladimir Putin, Mikhail Lesin.

Sky News poaches two BBC presenters

Sky News has announced that it two of the BBC's presenters will be joining its channel this autumn. Ginny Buckley currently presents Holiday 2005 and was formerly the motoring editor at the News of the World. Anna Jones, who anchors News 24's 9am-1pm bulletins and has been at the BBC since 1992, will also join Sky. Nick Pollard, the Head of Sky News, said: "We are delighted that Ginny and Anna will be joining Sky News. They are both first class journalists with wide-ranging experience."

Telewest to launch TV-on-demand service

Telewest has secured agreements with BBC Worldwide, Discovery Networks Europe and National Geographic Channel Europe to supply programming for its forthcoming TV-on-demand (TVOD) service. Following the initial launch of movies-on-demand in Bristol, Telewest will make the TVOD service available region by region throughout the second half of this year, starting with 26,000 customers in Cheltenham in early July.

Sky to introduce personalised Sky+ adverts

Sky is reported to be working on new technology that lets advertisers target digital TV viewers with personalised advertisements. It is exploring the potential of technology that will allow companies to use its Sky+ personal video recorder to reach viewers via highly targeted ads downloaded to the set-top-box. Currently, there are 770,000 Sky+ subscribers.

Digital TV news in brief...

On Sky Digital Vectone Music has moved to channel 840, while Vectone Tamil has been restored on channel 832. Vectone World has been removed from channel 537... EWTN has moved to Sky Digital channel 680... BARB has started a major consultation process looking at how it should tackle the onslaught of digital channels and the resulting changes to viewing habits... Unions claim to have won a partial victory in the latest talks with the BBC after the corporation said it was open to discuss how job cuts will work across each department... ITV has backed BBC plans for a free digital satellite service that would compete with Sky, as all three parties await the outcome of an Ofcom investigation that could determine whether 'FreeSat' goes ahead... A problem at Sky has resulted in prospective credit card customers being deluged with up to 17 information packs... The BBC has changed the "press red" prompt on BBC News 24 to now include the BBCi "i" button logo, and the "loading..." prompt has also changed to include this.

Regards Satdude.