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Thread: News 24.10.2007

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    Default News 24.10.2007

    Al Jazeera eyes CNN HOT spot

    Israeli cablenet HOT is close to signing a distribution agreement with Al Jazeera English. It follows the failure to extend the current contract with CNN that expires at the end of the month.
    Al Jazeera’s Arabic network is already carried by HOT and its satellite rival Yes, which last year also added the English version of the news channel. Al Jazeera was unable to comment on the story.
    Although the decision to drop CNN and add Al Jazeera English stems from the cost cutting campaign launched last year by HOT CEO David Kamenitz, it can also be seen as a reflection of the end of Israel’s love affair with CNN, since the international rollout of Fox News. Turner channels Cartoon Network and TCM are also missing from the HOT line-up.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Globalstar’s Four More

    Four satellites were successfully launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan aboard a Soyuz launch vehicle, and Globalstar Inc. is delighted to be able to augment the earlier four satellites launched in May of this year. The secondgen satellites from Globalstar are scheduled for their initial launches in 2009. The Baikonur Cosmodrome launch occurred on Sunday, October 21st, at 2:12 a.m., local time, using the Soyuz-Fregat version of the Soyuz launch vehicle. This is the 1,726th successful launch of this particular rocket. Launch services provider Starsem confirmed the upper stage accurately injected the four-satellite dispenser into the targeted low earth orbit of approximately 920 km.
    All four satellites have been successfully acquired following the separation of the upper stage and release from the satellite dispenser. The performance of the four spacecraft is nominal at this time, according to Globalstar. Back in December of 2006, Globalstar signed a 662 million Euro contract with Thales Alenia Space for the design, manufacture and delivery of 48 new satellites for the secondgen Globalstar satellite constellation, with the expectancy they will provide service until at least 2025. The secondgen satellites will have Arianespace handling launch services from their Guiana Space Center complex in French Guiana.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Babe channels face PIN code protection

    Ofcom has told broadcasters of the so-called Babe channels that it is considering a change in its codes that would require the channels to introduce mandatory PIN codes across the Adult section of the Sky EPG. It follows last year’s warning on the appropriateness of adult content broadcast before the 21.00 watershed and the use of premium rate phone numbers. Any change to Ofcom’s codes would require a public consultation.
    The October Broadcast Bulletin reports breaches of the code by another four broadcasters – Get Lucky TV, Star Bazaar, LivexxxBabes and Turn On TV – and the regulator says the channels narrowly escaped reference to the Content Sanctions Committee – a move that could result in a statutory sanction.
    The broadcasters failed to justify the promotion of premium phone lines and Ofcom reminded them that programmes should not primarily vehicles for their promotion.
    Another common thread has been the quality of recordings that the broadcasters have kept for compliance purposes, which Ofcom said should be equal to that seen and heard by the viewer.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Eutelsat enjoys continued revenue growth

    Eutelsat Communications has reported a first quarter revenue increase of 6.2%, as the Paris based satellite operator benefited from the sustained development of video applications, up by 10.7% following the opening of new orbital positions at seven degrees West and nine degrees East. The company recorded total revenues of €211.9m from the first quarter ending September 30, 2007 from €199.5m in Q1 2006.
    Eutelsat said it was on course to produce revenues between €840 and €850 million in the current financial year. Giuliano Berretta, chairman and chief executive officer, Eutelsat Communications said the company was continuing to innovate with five new satellites launching in the current financial year and a Ka-band satellite due to go into service in 2010-11. “The deployment of this new Ka-band infrastructure at our 13 degrees East position will enable us to address new business opportunities, notably broadband access for homes situated beyond range of terrestrial networks, and delivering local channels and Triple Play services.”
    The company said the reduction of revenues from data services, to €29.1m, resulted from the conversion of short term contracts into long-term contracts.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    The News Corp.-backed Polish station TV Puls

    The News Corp.-backed Polish station TV Puls will be re-launched on October 28. Furthermore, according to Dariusz Dabski, a board member and minority shareholder, it aims to overtake the country’s leading regional station TV4 within a year and ultimately challenge the dominance of the national broadcasters Polsat and TVN. Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. is reported to have already invested at least $50 million (€35 million) in TV Puls, which still commands an audience share of only just over 0.5%.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Step forward for Lithuanian VOD

    The Lithuanian telco UAB Alpha komunikacijos has chosen Concurrent’s MediaHawk on-demand platform for its new VOD service. Launched last month, the latter is expected to eventually reach up to 40,000 IPTV subscribers in most major Lithuanian cities including the capital, Vilnius.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Russia considers digital transition

    A body known as Rossvyazokhrankuktura has produced a plan for the transition to digital broadcasting in Russia, according to local reports. Likely to be submitted to the government commission on digital TV, it envisages costs of R235.4 billion (€6.63 billion), of which €57.2 billion would be provided by the state. Two other parties – the Ministry of IT and Communications and Russian television and Radio Broadcasting Network (RTRS) – have already submitted proposals for the transition, both of which include the provision of free set-top boxes. Rossvyazokhrankuktura’s goes one stage further by also including plans for both cable TV services and FM broadcasting.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    TVP ups its DTT offer

    According to local reports, the Polish public broadcaster TVP has increased the number of channels it is carrying in its DTT trial services in Warsaw and Poznan. Aside from TVP1, TVP2 and TVP Info (formerly known as TVP3), they now include TVP Historia, TVP Kultura and TVP Sport. Although the Polsat/TVN consortium POT is also undertaking DTT trials, a Polish DTT platform still appears some way off.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Viasat confirms Canal Digital-TV3 talks

    Viasat broadcasting has confirmed it is in talks with Canal Digital over the carriage of TV3 and the new Viasat 4 channel on its DTH rival in Norway. It follows the announcement earlier this month of a non-exclusivity agreement between the two companies over the carriage of Norway’s TV2. The talks also allow for SBS ProSiebenSat1 channel TVN to be included in the Viasat package.
    Third quarter results from parent company Modern Times Group reveal Viasat Broadcasting’s combined operations in the Nordic and Central & East European markets increased their net sales by 16% year on year to SEK2,022 million. Operating profits significantly increased, though margins were reduced by the launch of the TV2 Sport joint venture in Denmark and new investments in TV3 Slovenia and Balkan Media Group.
    10,000 new premium subscribers were added to the Nordic pay-TV business, bringing the total to 756,000. The Viasat+ personal video recorder is now in 63,000 homes, up from 46,000 at the end of the second quarter, and there are also 118,000 Multiroom subscriptions.
    Pay-TV subscriptions in central and east Europe grew by 13,000 on the quarter to 133,000, while basic subs climbed slightly to 25,551,000, boosted by the inclusion of Latvia’s TV7.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Globecast beams the Beeb

    Globecast has announced that it will be responsible for the satellite delivery of BBC Worldwide’s new portfolio of entertainment channels into Poland, Hong Kong, Singapore and India.
    The France Telecom- satellite division has been appointed as distribution partners for the channels, BBC Knowledge, BBC Entertainment, BBC Lifestyle and CBeebies, already available to IPTV, DTH and Cable Operators in India, Hong Kong, and Singapore and from December to DTH platform Cyfrowy Polsat. Carriage into Asia is over Telstar 10, while Eutelsat’s Hotbird satellite will be used into Europe.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    SES-Astra to develop 23.5 degrees East


    SES-Astra announced today that it has moved its satellite Astra 1E from the orbital position 19.2 degrees East to 23.5 degrees East to replace Astra 1D which is approaching the end of its design life. At its new position, Astra 1E joins 3A and will become operational by the end of this month. To further enhance the 23.5 degrees East position, another new satellite, Astra 3B, is scheduled to be launched by the end of 2009, adding 19 transponders to the 37 transponders available at this orbital position today.
    SES is building 23.5 degrees East into a new prime orbital slot for DTH reception, focusing specifically on the Benelux and Central and Eastern European markets. Today, more than 330 TV and radio channels are available from 23.5 degrees East, including the satellite platform operators Sky Link from Slovakia and CS Link from the Czech Republic. CS Link now disposes of 250,000 activated smart cards in the market; the Czech broadcaster Nova TV launches its new first Czech HD pilot channel on CS Link, as reported in Broadband TV News.
    23.5 degrees East also transmits the Dutch regional broadcasters and The Netherlands’ DTH platform Canal Digitaal will launch a thematic bouquet later this year and HD bouquet early next year, as reported in Broadband TV News. The German cable operator KDG uses the position for the distribution of its digital bouquets to its head ends, but will replace this by fibre links, thus freeing up more capacity at the orbital slot.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Sirius 4 Satellite arrived in Baikonur

    International Launch Services (ILS) has scheduled its next Proton Breeze M commercial mission for November 18 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, with the launch of the SIRIUS 4 satellite for SES SIRIUS of Sweden.
    The SIRIUS 4 satellite arrived in Baikonur Friday (October 19). The satellite, a Lockheed Martin A2100AX model, will weigh approximately 4600 kg at liftoff, making it the largest in the SIRIUS fleet. SIRIUS 4 is a multi-mission Ku-and Ka-band satellite offering a wide range of communications services across Europe and Northern Africa.
    A Russian State Commission concluded that during the September 6 JCSAT-11 mission on Proton, a damaged cable prevented activation of the pyro bolts that were to have separated the first and second stages of the rocket. Proton flights resume this Thursday (October 25) with a Russian federal mission to orbit three Glonass satellites.
    ILS' independent Failure Review Oversight Board (FROB) reviewed the conclusions and corrective actions in early October and concurred with the commission's findings. ILS has begun a series of briefings for insurers and customers.
    "As we have started the launch campaign for SIRIUS 4, we are focused on performance," said ILS President Frank McKenna. "We acknowledge the diligent effort from the people who enabled such a timely return to flight - the Russian State Commission; our partner, Khrunichev; our customer; the satellite manufacturer; the FROB members; and the U.S. Defense Technology Security Administration.
    "With the launch teams now in Baikonur and the arrival of the satellite, we are proceeding steadily with diligence and determination toward a launch on 18 November," McKenna said.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Media giant principals to combat piracy

    A group of digital media heavyweights have issued a set of guidelines on copyright protection. The group--including Viacom, Walt Disney, Microsoft, Fox, MySpace and NBC Universal--agreed to use technology to purge pirated content circulating online, and to stop such material before it becomes widely available. "These principles offer a road map for unlocking the enormous potential of online video and user-generated content," Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement.
    Jeff Zucker, president and CEO of NBC Universal, commented. "This announcement marks a significant step in transforming the Internet to a popular medium that respects the rule of law."
    The guidelines include the "implementation of state of the art filtering technology with the goal to eliminate infringing content," "upgrading technology when commercially reasonable," and "cooperation in developing procedures for promptly addressing claims that content was blocked in error."
    Salut Prieteni!


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    France 3 launches channel for Corsica

    French public broadcaster France 3 has launched a special channel for the island of Corsica called France 3-Corse Via Stella. The new channel transmits both in French and in the Corsican language. At the moment, the new channel broadcasts five hours a day from 18.00 until 23.00, but this will be extended to 15 hours a day. France 3-Corse Via Stella is available on regional DTT and also on the free-to-view DTH service TNTSat.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Virgin Media shifts focus back to broadband

    Virgin Media is looking to push improved broadband speeds rather than premium TV services. In an interview with The Guardian acting chief executive Neil Berkett says he wants to shift the focus towards mass market households who do not need premium sports and movies, but who want more than the basic line-up offered by DTT. New Zealander Berkett is increasingly tipped to retain the chief executive roll on a permanent basis.
    Virgin has been testing broadband speeds of 50 Mbps and earlier this month announced it would carry Voom’s HD service direct to high-speed broadband customers. The inference from the Guardian interview is that Virgin is looking for similar deals.
    Berkett says broadband offers from Sky and Carphone Warehouse have commoditised the service and “there is a rebalancing to be done”.
    As DTH operators offered customers personal video recorders, cable stuck to the marketing of broadband services, which they found more lucrative. Recent months have seen cable operators in continental Europe focus more on the entertainment aspects of their services.
    Salut Prieteni!


 

 

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