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Thread: News 07.11.2007

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    Default News 07.11.2007

    Baby Steps On Telstar 10

    The Baby First TV Channel will broadcast to Asia over the RRsat Global Network, making the signal available to more than 80 million cable households across 33 countries in Asia, using Loral Skynet's Telstar 10 satellite. The Baby First TV Channel will use the RRsat Global Network for a total end-to-end solution including playout services of several versions across separate time zones and conditional access management. Baby First TV Channel is currently available in Europe and North America, over the RRsat global Network, and, as of October, is available also in Asia
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Arianespace’s Aggressive Launch Finalé For 2007

    The first pan-African telecommunications satellite Rascom 1 landed at Cayenne's Rochambeau International Airport aboard an Antonov An-125 cargo jetliner and has arrived at Europe's Spaceport in preparation for Arianespace's sixth Ariane 5 mission of 2007. At the Spaceport’s clean room facilities, the pre-launch checkout is now underway. The satellite is to be lofted along with the Horizons-2 telecommunications spacecraft on Arianespace's final Ariane 5 mission of 2007.
    This will follow this Friday's flight of another Ariane 5 with the Skynet 5B and Star One C1 payloads. This is the first time Arianespace has performed six Ariane 5 missions in one year. The company hopes to commit a stabilized pace of eight Ariane 5 flights annually by 2009.
    Rascom 1 was built by Thales Alenia Space as part of a turnkey contract with the Regional African Satellite Communication Organization (RascomStar-QAF). The satellite will provide telecommunication services to rural areas of Africa, as well as domestic and international connections, direct TV broadcast services and Internet access across the African continent. The satellite's coverage footprint also includes portions of Europe and the Middle East.
    The spacecraft is based on the Spacebus 4000B3 platform and is designed for an operational lifetime of 15 years. Rascom 1 carries 12 Ku-band transponders and eight C-band transponders, and will weigh about 3,200 kg. at launch. Horizons-2 was developed for the Horizons Satellite LLC joint venture of Intelsat and JSAT and will provide services that range from digital video, high-definition television (HDTV) and IP-based content distribution networks, to broadband Internet and satellite news services for the continental United States, the Caribbean and parts of Canada
    Salut Prieteni!


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    SES-Astra ’satisfied’ with Entavio developments

    SES-Astra is ’satisfied’ with the development of the Entavio pay-TV platform, said CEO Ferdinand Kayser to the German edition of the Financial Times. Talks are under way with more German broadcasters, as well as interested parties in Hungary and the Czech Republic. “In Poland we currently hold concrete talks with the national public broadcaster, and South Africa is also an interesting market,” he added.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    ArenaSat offers more incentives

    The German DTH service ArenaSat has embarked on a new marketing offensive and is now offering three months of free Bundesliga football and a subscription to its tier of 15 pay channels, as well as a new satellite receiver. The offer is good for new customers who subscribe to the service before Christmas.
    A complete bouquet of ArenaSat (Komplett) costs €19.90 a month. Football only (Premiere Bundesliga) meanwhile costs €14.90 and just the 15 channels (ArenaSat Family) €9.90.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    France24 announces new distribution deals

    The French 24-hour newschannel France 24 said it is now available to 80 million households worldwide with the addition of a number of new distribiution contracts. These include:
    - A carriage contract on the DTT service in Mauritius, which cabn be received by 25% of the local population, or about 100,000 households;
    - Ten distribution agreements in Russia, Ukraine and Moldavia with several cable networks and MMDS. The channel was already available in Russia via the Nothern-Eastern Telecom and DMUP networks, and is therefore increasing its presence in this region, particularly in large cities like Ufa in Russia and Kiev in Ukraine;
    - In Austria, an agreement with Telekom Austria for carriage on their IPTV service AON DigitalTV;
    - In Portugal, Cabovisao’s digital cable network and with Portugal Telecom’s meo IPTV service;
    - In Morocco, the Arabic version on Maroc Telecom’s IPTV platform;
    - In Turkey, D-Smart, the newDTH platform from the Dogan media group and
    - In Malta, with Melita Cable’s digital service.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Premiere reports 90,000 HD customers

    Premiere reports it has reached 90,000 HD customers by September 30. During the last month about 5,000 people signed up for the high def service, which consists of two premium channels, Premiere HD and Discovery HD. At the moment there are about 400,000 HD receivers in the German market place and around 3 million HD ready TV sets.
    The totakl number of Premiere susbscirbers now stands at 4,173,395, which is a record for the operator. This includes 642,229 subs via the Arena platform on Unitymedia and Kabel BW. The number of people subscribing directly to Premiere, via boitgh cable and DTH, is 3,531,166.
    Premiere reported 105,000 customers for its Premiere Star, which launched last September on the Entavio platform and at the moment offers 14 channels. The company expects to win about 200,000 new subscribers per year.
    Although Premiere is not pleased with the fact that Leo Kirch will now package and produce the Bundesliga games, the company will take part in the bidding process for the rights, which will take place in April, 2008. Premiere also announced it will offer Formula 1 racing on a pay-per-view basis via the web.

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    SkyTV upgrades to high definition


    Sky TV is in the midst of upgrading its operations to a fully digital and tape-less broadcast facility, providing over 100 channels of high-definition, standard-definition and mobile content.
    New MySky set-top boxes with support for HD will be launched in mid-2008, says Sky’s IT director, .
    The new generation boxes will have a 320GB hard drive onboard, compared to the 160GB hard drive in today’s boxes, he says.
    The new boxes will also have an ethernet port, which will enable users to pull content across the internet, says Wayne Tibby, strategic project specialist at Sky. However, this will not be part of the initial release in the middle of next year. Ingley and Tibby declined to give a timeframe for when the ethernet capability will be released, other than saying it will be part of the phase two delivery.
    Sky plans to support what Ingley calls “progressive playback”, where users can start watching content while it is still being downloaded, but how well this works will depend on the user’s broadband connection, he says. Users can either compile a list of items that they pre-book, or watch it at the time.
    There will be a catalogue of content that users will be able to choose from and download via broadband, says Tibby.
    The new HD boxes are being developed in conjunction with subscription television provider Foxtel in Australia. UK-based Pace manufactures the boxes.
    Some testing is done in Sydney, but most of it is done in the test lab in Auckland, where staff monitor the broadcast satellite and make sure all subscribers can connect to the service. Tibby and his team have a daily conference call with Sydney, but a lot of testing has to be done in-country, says Tibby.
    The test lab staff also does extensive software testing and debugging before upgrades, which are usually pushed out twice a year over the air, says Ingley.
    The main challenge of the HD-project is that it is a whole new concept, says Tibby. Sky is more leading edge with this project than with previous upgrades of the service, he says.
    The HD boxes have a new operating system, new software drivers, and a huge amount of new software, he says. In addition, existing software has to be enhanced to be able to support the new functionalities, he says.
    Sky was a hot topic on blogs and forums in July this year when about 200 subscribers had their MySky hard drives wiped, allegedly caused by a software update.
    The company is still investigating what caused the problems, says Ingley.
    “It was a software glitch and it only affected a very small number of subscribers,” he says. It affected less than 1% of MySky subscribers, he adds.
    As part of the new Broadcast Centre, Sky has also built a new datacentre, referred to as a Central Apparatus Room (CAR) in the broadcast industry. The datacentre is equipped with over 120 racks for both IT and broadcast equipment. Each rack holds up to nine TV channels, says Ingley. The digital video archive has over 500TB of tape storage and 23TB of near-line disk store, he adds.
    Sky has over 700,000 subscribers, of which 26,000 are MySky subscribers. There are nine different versions of boxes being used today.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Tata Sky plans to raise up to $200 mn

    DTH major Tata Sky is now considering a second round of funding of $150-200 million and is in conversation with various private equity players such as Providence, Carlyle, Blackstone, Goldman Sachs and Apax Partners.
    Tata Sky is looking at diluting about 10% stake. The current holding structure of Tata Sky looks like this: 20% with Star (FDI), 10% with Temasek (FII) and 70% with the Tata’s.
    By law, a DTH operator in India has to be have a minimum holding of 51% by an Indian entity. Singapore-based PE player Temasek had bought about 10% for about $56 million. The valuation of the company in three months has risen more than two-fold. “We have been approached by several private equity players. If and when we decide to go in for a second round of funding, we will let you know,” said Tata Sky CEO Vikram Kaushik.
    Tata Sky’s fund-raising is timed to coincide with the proposed launch of Reliance Communications and Bharti’s DTH operations. In order to face the threat from Reliance and Bharti, Tata Sky needs to ramp up in terms of infrastructure and technology.
    Sources also said that the Tata group would look at retaining close to 10% of equity with itself beyond the minimum 51% stipulated amount as it would look at taking the company public in the future. Incorporated in 2004, Tata Sky is a 80:20 JV between the Tata group and television network Star. The DTH service was launched last year.
    The JV partners had earlier stated that the project cost for the venture would be around Rs 3,000 crore. Other than conditional access system notified areas, the DTH product of Tata Sky is available in 4,200 towns across the country and the company plans to cover another 1,500 towns by the year-end.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    New family pay-TV channel in Germany

    Your Family Entertainment (YFE), a German TV production company and rights dealer specialising in children’s, youth and family programmes, has launched a pay-TV channel. Programming on the new service, yourfamily, range from educational content for pre-school children to cartoon series for older children and entertainment programmes for the whole family.
    The channel is distributed via HanseNet and Arcor’s IPTV packages on ADSL broadband networks as well as on Eutelsat’s direct to cable platform KabelKiosk. Negotiations with further well-known platform operators in Germany, Austria and Switzerland are currently underway, according to the Munich-based company.
    With this move the former subsidiary of board game producer Ravensburger has created its own platform for TV content from its rights catalogue, which comprises around 3,700 half-hour episodes of television series. Film and series channel Das Vierte closed its children’s window comprising YFE series in mid May.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Football League returns to terrestrial

    Live second-tier soccer is returning to UK terrestrial TV screens for the first time since the collapse of ITV Digital.
    ITV Digital collapsed in April 2002, partly under the weight of the £315 million deal which its operators, Carlton and Granada, had signed with the Football League.
    But in a three-year deal worth £264 million, the BBC and BSkyB will share rights to the three Football League divisions. However, the BBC will show just 10 league matches per year, plus the final of the Carling Cup knock-out tournament as well as some of the play-off semi-finals from the League. A weekly highlights show will also air. The Corporation has also agreed broadband rights which it will promote across its regional website network.
    Sky will show 65 matches per year, plus all the League play-offs, and the first five rounds of the Carling Cup.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    More TV being watched in Spain


    Although new modes of entertainment are hitting TV hard, new TV technologies such as IPTV or DTT are enabling TV to fight back.
    Or at least that's what's happening little by little in Spain. The arrival of the new DTT platform and the new national channels Cuatro and laSexta have enticed Spanish viewers to sit in front of the TV for six minutes more a day over the past nine months, raising daily TV watching to 219 minutes per day.
    According to consultancy GECA, last season closed with the second highest level of watching TV with 3.44 hours per day.
    As for 2007, GECA forecasts an increase in advertising investment of eight per cent totaling EUR3,800 million - in spite of 7 million Spanish internet users accessing broadband and a large number downloading audiovisual content.
    DTT channels have doubled their audiences in the last year. In September these got 8.1% of total share when in the same month last year they had a mere 3% share. The same has happened to thematic channels. In total they accumulate a share of 11.4%.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Casbaa convention: TV still hot

    Some interesting stats emerged at last week’s Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association Convention of Asia (Casbaa) convention.
    Themed “It’s All About Content”, the emerging mobile TV market in the region received some attention. According to Jason Rubenstein, Senior Director Entertainment Mobile Devices Business of Motorola, research shows that China is attracting huge interest with 90% of the consumers surveyed expressing their desire for mobile television content.
    Subscriptions to digital cable, satellite, broadband and mobile TV are increasing at a rate of about 12% a year across the whole Asia region.
    Even technologically advanced countries such as Korea are still experiencing high rates of growth. Speaking of the prospects for pay-TV and online media services in Korea, Joong Soo Nam of KT Corporation said: “Media represents the fastest-growing industry in Korea, expanding at the rate of 10% each year. . . . We are seeing content globalisation, which is happening in Asia, where a common culture is overcoming language barriers.”
    Offers such as Korea Telecom’s recently-announced flat-panel TV offer, under which Samsung will offer 42-inch plasmas and 40-inch LCD TVs at discount prices to new subscribers to KT’s Mega TV VOD service are sure to help growth.
    New technologies are boosting growth rates, but both consumers and programmers are still learning to adapt to the demands of these new distribution forms. Jason Krikorian, Co-Founder of Sling Media, said: "Consumers still like old media and we allow them to bring it to new platforms and extend the content value system. Distributors are thrilled. They are good at going to the living room but not to new media platforms.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Reliance: IPTV over DTH?

    The fuss with which Reliance Communications announced its forthcoming IPTV Indian service would seem to be a sign that it may favour its fixed-line service over a planned DTH platform.
    On the other hand, the company has linked with Microsoft, which seemed to put great store by the deal – sending CEO Steve Ballmer to Mumbai to help make the announcement.
    The US$500 million strategic partnership will see Reliance’s IPTV service exclusively use the Microsoft Mediaroom IPTV software platform in India. The service will offer both high and standard-definition TV, personal media sharing, VOD and PVR capabilities. It will launch by the end of March 2008. Infrastructure costs are likely to amount to another US$500 million.
    Reliance is also backing the Bluemagic DTH platform which was scheduled to launch by the end of 2007, but has slipped to first quarter 2008. But much less noise has been made about that service. It will use the Measat-3 satellite to beam MPEG4-compressed programming into the sub-Continent.
    Reliance Communications holds 20% of Bluemagic at the moment, with the rest held by subsidiaries, but is moving towards making the DTH service a 100% subsidiary. However, Reliance is coming to the DTH party late, with TataSky, DishTV and Sun Direct already operating pay-DTH services. Reports are that Bluemagic will attempt to gain market share by undercutting its competitors.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Spain’s networks suffer ad loss

    There's now little doubt that the growth of multichannel TV is affecting the income of Spain’s main channels.
    Last year the channels that suffered the most were those of Televisión Española, and Spain’s regional channels. This year the situation could be worsened with national private networks Telecinco and Antena 3 also losing out. Some analysts consider Q4 this year could be decisive for a drop off in the advertising incomes of both channels.
    Latest Infoadex numbers (a private company measuring the importance of advertising in the Spanish media) say over the last five years Spanish television has grown 4.4 points in the total advertising market, almost the same as that lost by print media in the same period.
    But the problem is that five years ago there were just three national TV networks, and some regional stations to share the cake. This year Spain already has two new national networks (Sogecable's Cuatro and Mediapro's laSexta), and a doubling of regional channels, as well as some analogue local channels that are most reluctant to abandon their attractive frequencies and don't want to disappear, even though there should be an analogue switch over starting in January. And if this wasn’t enough the new DTT channels are also gaining ground.
    This expansion of the TV market might be good for viewers, but the advertising cake isn’t expanding at anything like the same rate.
    The latest Infoadex report (for 2006) says Spain's national networks took 44% of the €7.15bn total advertising spend with annual growth of 7.8%. The problem is that from this total the regional channels saw their ad-revenues decline some 3.1% (to €370m). Something similar has happened to public broadcaster Television Española which saw a 1.7% fall from €692.5m in 2005. Telecinco more than held its market share with an increase in its ad income of 5.8% (to €953m), and Antena 3 was flat at just 0.2% growth to €837m.
    It is likely that Telecinco's end of year (2007) numbers will be healthy since the channel has seen a net increase up 14.6% (€262,82m) between January and September this year. It also leads Spanish national networks in terms of audience (above 20% share). As for Antena 3 Group, the media conglomerate increased its net income by 7.3% over the same period (€915.6m). Antena 3’s TV channel saw revenues rise 6.8%.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    TV moves to digital age


    Americans can watch television shows on anything from a computer to an iPod these days, but media companies and advertisers have yet to figure out how best to take advantage of all the new ways to reach audiences.

    So suggested a panel of experts from Google (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research), Dow Jones & Co (DJ.N: Quote, Profile, Research), NBC Universal and TNS Media Research at a conference in New York on Tuesday, which coincided with the first work stoppage by TV and movie screenwriters in 20 years.

    At the heart of the work stoppage is the question of how screenwriters should be compensated in an era of burgeoning digital technologies, such as Internet and hand-held wireless devices, that are changing the face of entertainment.

    Those changes were the central topic of conversation during the hour-long panel session -- part of the adtech conference in New York -- although nobody mentioned the strike itself.

    "When you take a show like "Heroes" or "The Office," that show ran once 30 years ago," said Ron Lamprecht, senior vice president, digital distribution, at NBC Universal, which is majority owned by General Electric (GE.N: Quote, Profile, Research).

    "Just in the past couple of years, so many new choices for consumption have developed on so many platforms," he said, pointing to Hulu, an online video service formed by NBC Universal and News Corp (NWSa.N: Quote, Profile, Research), which is buying Dow Jones.

    The long-awaited free, advertising-supported service made its debut last week, with many seeing it as a key competitor to Google's YouTube. NBC has pulled its channel off of YouTube.

    Lamprecht said NBC Universal and Google are engaged in various discussions, but that Hulu is the company's priority.

    "Hulu is a big bet for NBCU and News Corp," he said. "Our play for video outside of NBC.com is Hulu and the launch partners in Hulu," including Sony Pictures Television and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

    But Lamprecht and other panelists said traditional TV -- broadcast through a TV set -- isn't about to disappear.

    "Broadcast television is still very powerful, it's still the only way to do certain things," he said. "I think there is always going to be a place for consuming a TV show or movie in a certain environment," like a movie theater or a living room.

    For all the interest in new ways of broadcasting, he noted, most content is still viewed through the television set.

    "We're very focused on mobile," he said. "But when you look at it, less than 5 percent of people have viewed video on the phone."

    Another difficulty has been selling advertising across new digital platforms, he said. "When you talk about mulitplatform sell, it's not really happening," Lamprecht said. "People talk about it, but, practically, it's not going on."

    Perhaps the main reason is that it is still difficult to measure audiences across all the different types of media, panelists said.

    "The whole measurement space is under transition. For the foreseeable future, there won't be one currency," said George Shababb, chief operating officer of TNS Media Research.

    "We need to address some of the measurement issues that exist today," he added, saying that the sample size is too small for television audience, few agree to standards for online audience measurement and mobile measurement still hasn't been defined.

    "Eventually, we'll get to a point when we can bring these different measurement systems together into one," Shababb said.

    Michael Steib, director of TV advertising at Google, said one benefit of new broadcast methods is that the technology will allow advertisers to better understand who is watching their commercial, when, and where.

    "The more granular your information gets, the better you know how the audience reacts to those ads," he said.
    Salut Prieteni!


 

 

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