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Thread: News 05.10.2007

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    Default News 05.10.2007

    ShowSport4 join Showtime Arabia

    Spectacular sports entertainment shows are a global phenomenon, with the success of WWE being the best evidence of this,” said Andy Warkman Head of Sports. “Fight sports and in particular UFC brings the best of the best athletes, many of whom are World or Olympic champions together in an adrenalin packed format that will be unique to this region and SHOWTIME. Our ability to provide another sports channel extends an already exhaustive offering to include boxing, motor sports, additional WWE (Heat, Bottom Line and ECW) and even more LIVE coverage again, reaffirming SHOWTIME as a true destination for sports in the region’ said Warkman.
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    Al Jazeera Sports Refuses to Renew Agreement with SHOWTIME

    SHOWTIME, the leading Pay TV provider in the Middle East and North Africa, announced today that Al Jazeera Sports has refused to renew an agreement for broadcast of their channels on SHOWTIME’s satellite platform. The current agreement will end on 30 September 2007 and SHOWTIME customers who want to continue to view the two channels can do so through the purchase of an Al Jazeera Sports smart card.
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    HDTV customers satisfied by quality but not content

    High definition (HD) television owners are much more satisfied with the picture quality of HD television than they are with the amount or selection of HD programming, The Nielsen Company reported. According to Nielsen Media Research’s 2007 High Definition Survey, 85 per cent of HD owners gave a 4 or 5 rating for picture quality but only 39 per cent provided the same rating for programming selection.
    "Nielsen’s High Definition Survey shows that HD technology is outpacing content, although networks do score high in consumer satisfaction," said Steve McGowan, Nielsen Senior President Client Research Initiatives.
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    Hybrid STBs 25% of market by 2012

    The hybrid set-top box market is forecast by IMS Research to account for over 25 per cent of worldwide STB unit shipments in 2012, translating into nearly $2.9 billion in manufacturer revenues. Based on leading satellite TV operators‚ strategies to strongly position themselves against competitors, satellite hybrid STBs are forecast to account for 76 per cent share of all hybrid STB units shipped worldwide in 2012.
    Based on the study, Hybrid Set-top Box Developments and the Impact of Other Hybrid Equipment, IMS Research identifies that many major operators worldwide, particularly on satellite and IPTV platforms, are quickly transitioning to hybrid STBs as rivalry in triple-play intensifies. Furthermore, competition from non-traditional content providers and service aggregators is also affecting traditional pay-TV providers.
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    Telefonica bids for Spanish pay-TV market


    Spain's dominant telco Telefonica is making a full-frontal assault on the pay-TV market in the last quarter of the year. The company is launching an enhanced version of its IPTV service Imagenio, with the addition of new channels -planning to reach 200 by year end-, including a HDTV service, new added-value services and a higher Internet broadband access speed.
    Amongst the new interactive services is Past TV that allows viewers to view programmes screened up to seven days ago on La Primera, La 2, Tele 5 and Cuatro. Telefonica is also launching ADSL of up to 10 Mbps to residential clients, so far limited to businesses. The offer, within its double (Internet and telephony) or triple play packages, will be available from November, covering 54 per cent of the population, at a price of E 44.9 for the double package and E48.9 per month for the triple play package. The company plans to extend its coverage to 85 per cent of Spaniards in 2010.
    The operator is also extending its fibre-optic networks at speeds of more than 30 Mbps. To this end, Telefonica is carrying out pilots in 1,000 homes in Madrid and Barcelona. Currently, Telefonica's IPTV service Imagenio has more than 450,000 subscribers.
    In July, Telefonica and Sogecable reached an agreement to jointly launch a triple play offer from November, called Trio Plus, and to jointly negotiate contracts with TV content providers.
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    Italy bans analogue TVs from 2009, postpones switch

    In order to boost the transition to digital terrestrial, Italy’s Communications Ministry passed a new decree linked to the 2008 Budget. It establishes that the last analogue TV set in Italy will be sold in June 2009, although manufacturers will have to stop supplying analogue TV sets to distributers by the end of 2008. Also, by the end of April 2008, all analogue TVs sold in Italy will have to carry a label warning consumers that they cannot receive digital TV.
    Most importantly, the date for the definite switchover has been pushed back until the end of 2012, as only 4.9 million of Italy's 21 million TV sets were digital-ready as of this July, according to the latest available figures.
    Also, Communications Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, has announced that the fund for the switchover from analogue to digital terrestrial will be increased by 50 per cent, from E40 million to E60 million.
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    NBC: Get tough on piracy

    Echoing comments from News Corp and Viacom, the chief executive of NBC Universal said piracy of copyright movies, music and other goods is "getting worse, not better" and urged the Justice Department to step up enforcement.
    "We need ... to move intellectual property enforcement up the agenda of the federal government," Jeff Zucker said in remarks to the US Chamber of Commerce, which held its annual summit on counterfeiting and piracy this week.
    The Chamber of Commerce is already pushing for tougher copyright enforcement legislation on Capitol Hill, and along with the National Association of Manufacturers has formed the Coalition Against Counterfeiting and Piracy to lobby members of Congress. Rick Cotton, NBC Universal's general counsel and chairman of the coalition, said the group's proposed legislation would create an intellectual property enforcement coordinator in the White House and IP-specific enforcement bureaus in the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security.
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    Premiere Star subs court investors


    Germany’s mini-pay platform Premiere Star has secured 80,000 subscribers during its first month on air and is on target for 130,000 subscribers by the end of the year. In a report in the news daily Handelsblatt, chief executive Wolfram Winter says the promising subscriber numbers have unlocked talks with potential investors.
    Premiere is willing to sell up to 49% in Premiere Star. Investment has already come from Hypo-Vereinsbank (10%) and EM Sport Media (5%).
    Premiere Star launched in September and offers subscribers a package of 13 channels for a monthly €13.99.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    New look for UPC Romania

    UPC Romania is reported to have launched new packages for its triple play service, which is now available in options costing RON50 (€15), RON75 and RON100 a month. Its digital cable TV service is meanwhile being offered for monthly subscription fees of RON35 (60 channels), RON45 (101 channels) and RON65 (107 channels), while Internet download speeds have been raised to 20Mbps. Local reports also say UPC Romania has allocated €30 million this year for upgrading its infrastructure.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Polish digital doubts surface

    Polish broadcasters are said in the local press to be privately critical of the absence of a strategy once the country completes its transition to digital broadcasting. In particular, they want to know how many of the eight multiplexes they will be allocated, what the selection procedure will be and when HDTV DTT channels will be introduced. At present it is only known that Poland’s first multiplex will contain seven channels – TVP1, TVP2, TVP3, TVN. Polsat, TV4 and TV Puls – though not who will operate it. At the heart of the problem is publicly owned TVP’s long-running refusal to work with POT, the Polsat/TVN consortium, in launching a DTT platform.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    ESPN Star in US

    ESPN Star Sports is launching a version of SportsCenter in South East Asia, as well as Hong Kong and China. SportsCenter is consistently one of the highest rated programs on American television. It has been broadcast more than any other show in American television history, with over 30,000 unique episodes aired so far. Covering American sports such as the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, National Football League, NASCAR racing, NCAA college sports and much more, the US edition of SportsCenter will bring news, highlights andanalysis for American sports fans every weekday.
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    Sky halts new channel launches


    BSkyB is putting the brakes on new channel launches on its platform, affecting 100’s of channels.
    Citing “set top box memory capacity”, BSkyB said October 3 they will “cease to take further applications for places in the EPG launch queue” and any services already in the launch queue – and thus nominally approved for launch – will be proceeded with but with “extreme caution”.
    Sky is understood to have more than 100 TV and radio channels in the queue, in addition to a large number of channels already been given launch dates. Sky warns would-be broadcasters that there is a considerable risk that it will not be able to launch all of the services currently in the launch queue, as the increased volume “could pose an unacceptable risk to some set-top boxes”.
    Sky added that it will not now accept applications to add any further TV or radio stations to the launch queue. Moreover, any broadcaster who does not now launch a new service onto the EPG when offered the opportunity to do so will be “permanently removed” from the launch queue.

    BSkyB says that it is looking to add new channels onto the EPG at a rate of two services a week during 2008, but stresses it might not be able to maintain this rate.
    To help alleviate what it recognises as a significant problem, Sky says it will relax its previous rules about the trading in EPG numbers, permitting a would be broadcaster to enter into an arrangement with an existing EPG holder – and in effect ‘buy’ that EPG slot. Sky says this is the fairest and most efficient way to enable new broadcasters to gain access to an EPG number. These relaxations come into effect on Jan 1.
    These rules and restrictions will affect dozens of would-be broadcasters seeking access to the UK’s growing digital audience on ‘Open Access’ terms. It is also unclear just yet as to how the new terms will affect would be broadcasters seeking access to an EPG listing on the BBC and ITV-backed ‘Freesat’ proposition, due to come to air in early 2008.
    Clearly, one of Sky’s problems is legacy set-top boxes perhaps with inadequate memory or processing ability. However, it is also likely that some will question Sky’s obligations under its ‘fair and equitable’ access to its platform. This problem’s timing, when added to the basket of other regulatory issues on its plate, is not ideal.
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    Eurochannel makes European debut

    Eurochannel, the channel dedicated to broadcasting a choice of European programs in subtitled original version, has announced it will be available for the first time in Europe. Itl will be carried by Portuguese IPTV provider MEO, a new service from Portugal Telecom launched last June.
    MEO offers more than 80 television channels. Eurochannel reaches over six millions subscribers in Latin America, Canada and the Caribbean. Eurochannel is a television channel exclusively dedicated to European programmes, 24 hours a day, shown in their original version with subtitles. Although the emphasis is on European Cinema, documentaries, series, programmes about tourism and music for young people are also broadcast.
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    MTV Hungary debuts

    MTV Networks International’s (MTVNI) Emerging Markets group has confirmed the launch of a localised MTV channel for the Hungarian market. A 24-hour service, it will be available to around 1.5 million cable and DTH homes in the country. MTV launched its first fully localised service in CEE in Russia in 1998 and has since introduced them to several other markets, the most recent being in Ukraine in September.
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    Czech digital launch dates worry

    Jiri Balvin, the head of the Asociace Digitalnich Televizi (ADT), has told the Czech press that he has no idea when the association’s six members will launch digital TV channels. The six – Ocko, Febio TV, RTA, Z1, TV Pohoda and TV Barrandov – found out earlier this week that the digital TV licences they were awarded last year will be restored. All will officially have a year to launch their services once an amendment to the existing media legislation comes into effect on January 1, 2008. In Balvin’s view, Z1, which is backed by J&T Finance Group, also behind Slovakia’s TA3, is likely to have the fewest problems in launching a service.
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