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Thread: News 22.12.2007

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    Default News 22.12.2007

    Sogecable acquires rights to Euro 2008

    Sogecable has acquired the exclusive rights to broadcast the Euro 2008 football tournament in Spain. The pay-TV group will broadcast all 31 matches on its digital DTH platform Digital Plus, with all games featuring the Spanish national team being available on its free-to-air channel Cuatro, with a nation wide coverage.
    The move comes at a time when the fight with Mediapro, shareholder in La Sexta, over TV rights to the Spanish Football League, is intensifying. The latest episode of this battle comes from a Spanish court decision, ordering Mediapro to comply strictly with the deal reached with Sogecable back in 2006, which prevented the company from exploiting TV rights to football teams outside the deal.
    Audiovisual Sport, owned by Sogecable with a 80 per cent stake, had accused Mediapro of breaking that contract, giving rise to the present legal battle. The ruling is the latest in the dispute between the two over the TV rights for Spanish football’s Primera Liga.
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    Orange scores with Setanta deal

    Orange has signed a content agreement with leading international sports broadcaster Setanta, to be the first mobile operator in the UK to broadcast Setanta Sports 1, Setanta Sports 2 and Setanta Golf on its mobile portal, Orange World.
    Orange will be the only UK mobile operator able to stream live coverage of every televised match of the Barclays Premier League, by adding all of Setanta’s televised games. As well as providing access to additional Barclays Premier League games, Orange mobile customers will now also be able to live stream all Clydesdale Bank Premier League and Blue Square Premier televised games, as well as have access to other sporting events available on the select Setanta channels which include the PGA Golf Tour and Magners Rugby League.
    The Setanta package will be available to Orange mobile TV customers with a 3G handset for a subscription fee of £5 (E6.90) per month.
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    Sky expands movie download service

    Sky has signed new deals with Paramount and Warner Brothers to offer movies from both studios on Sky Anytime on PC.
    The service already offers movies from 20th Century Fox, Universal, Sony and Disney; the new deal will make Sky's service the first to offer the latest releases from all six major studios. The terms of the deal will also enable Sky to expand the selection of movies available on Sky Anytime TV, which pushes on demand content to Sky HD and recent Sky+ boxes.
    "Working with leading content providers has been a key factor in the success of Sky Movies and we're delighted to be the first download service to offer titles from all the major studios," said Ian Lewis, director of Sky Movies and Sky Box Office. "The evolution of Sky Movies into a multi-platform, multi-media service is driven by customer demands to watch the best movies how and when they want. Sky Movies offers customers the UK's widest choice of films, high definition services, an on-demand service through TV and PC, mobile TV and the world's most read Movies magazine. Our customers have never had such a rich and compelling movies service."
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Viacom signs £250m Microsoft deal

    MTV owner Viacom has signed a $500m (£250m) advertising and content deal with Microsoft in a move that will see the entertainment company drop Google's DoubleClick.
    The five-year deal, which the companies said has a "projected base value" of $500m, will see Microsoft's Atlas system replace DoubleClick to deliver ads across Viacom's extensive range of US websites.
    Microsoft will also have the right to sell "remanant" - unsold - display ads on Viacom's websites on a revenue share basis, in a deal unveiled in the US yesterday.
    The software giant will license video and audio from Viacom properties including MTV, Comedy Central and Paramount Pictures for use on the likes of MSN and Xbox 360.
    Microsoft and Viacom's wide-ranging deal will also include co-promotion of events, such as the MTV Music Awards.
    Financial details of the deal were not disclosed other than to state that it includes a combination of revenue share, guarantees and content licensing agreements.
    The deal is a coup for Microsoft, which needs to win over big media partners after paying $6.5bn (£3.2bn) to buy aQuantive and the Atlas ad serving system to fight Google's push into online display ads with DoubleClick.
    It comes on the heels of a Microsoft agreement to replace DoubleClick's ad serving duties for CNBC.com, considered to be the most high-profile loss for Google.
    Viacom's relationship with Google is fractious. The company is pursuing a $1bn (£502m) lawsuit over content copyright infingement against the internet search giant's video sharing website subsidiary YouTube.
    Earlier this year Viacom snubbed Google by awarding its sponsored search and contextual ad contract to yah'oo!.
    Google has argued that the Viacom/Microsoft deal proves there is plenty of competition in the online ad market - support for its claim that its DoubleClick takeover should be given the all clear by competition regulators.
    "While some have apparently argued otherwise, today's announcement would seem to suggest that those arguments are flawed," Google said in a statement.
    Microsoft has claimed that the DoubleClick acquisition would mean Google would control around 80% of the internet ad market - covering display and search - if the deal was allowed to go through.
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    BSkyB told to cut ITV holding

    The Competition Commission has recommended that BSkyB, the owner of Sky, reduce its stake in rival broadcaster ITV by ten per cent.
    The regulator was asked to look into BSkyB's purchase of ITV shares in November 2006, after fears were expressed that the move was an anti-competitive measure.
    The watchdog's report has recommended a reduction in the broadcaster's holding in ITV from the existing 17.9 per cent to 7.5 per cent.
    Sky's share could enable it to influence its competitor's investment decisions thereby reducing ITV's "strategic options", according to the watchdog's report.
    Business secretary John Hutton has been sent the commission's findings and has until January 29th to announce a decision into the matter.
    In statements responding to the report, a spokesperson for ITV said it "welcomed" the findings while BSkyB stated it was looking into the investigation.
    BSkyB said: "We note the publication of the report and we are considering its contents carefully. The next phase of this process lies with the secretary of state. We will be making representations to him in due course."
    The Competition Commission began investigating BSkyB's £940 million investment in ITV over concerns that the transaction had blocked NTL - now known as Virgin Media - from taking over the television network.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Nokia Siemens tests 4G mobile broadband

    The fourth generation of mobile broadband has moved closer to reality, following fresh trials by Nokia Siemens Networks.
    Nokia Siemens Network's (NSN's) tests, announced on Wednesday, involved long-term evolution (LTE), the successor to 3G. Offering theoretical data rates of up to 173Mbps, LTE is in something of a race to market with mobile WiMax, which only promises around 70Mbps but has a significant headstart. The fastest currently available mobile broadband, HSDPA, offers around 7.2Mbps.
    Both LTE and mobile WiMax use the OFDM modulation scheme and multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) technology, which is based on the use of multiple antennae. Mobile WiMax's recent inclusion to the 3GPP family of standards has raised the possibility of both technologies becoming part of what will be known as 4G.
    In its Wednesday announcement, NSN said it had completed the world's first multi-user field trial of LTE in an urban environment. The trial, which was in Berlin, utilised 20MHz of bandwidth in the 2.6GHz spec'trum, which is set for a hotly contested auction in the UK next year.

    "[The trial confirmed] that LTE performance requirements can be met using 3GPP standardised technologies and it realised data rates of more than 100Mbps over distances of several hundred metres, while maintaining excellent throughput at the edge of typical urban mobile radio cells," NSN's statement read.

    Calling the trial an "important initial proof of concept for LTE", NSN's chief technology officer Stephan Scholz said that LTE would further the company's goal of connecting five billion users by 2015, due to LTE's efficient use of spec'trum.

    "We can demonstrate that LTE meets the high expectations set for this new technology," said Matthias Reiss, head of LTE at NSN. "Most importantly, we now have evidence that future LTE networks can run on existing base station sites and mobile operators can build LTE networks without requiring new antenna sites."

    UK telecoms regulator Ofcom announced the keenly anticipated auction of the 2010-2025MHz and 2500-2690MHz bands on Wednesday. The auctions will take place in mid 2008, and the deadline for applications by mobile operators is 16 January. It is expected that the use of these bands will pave the way for a multitude of new mobile broadband services.
    Although it is theoretically slower than LTE, mobile WiMax has the advantage of currently being in existence, albeit in just a few products. Fixed WiMax, which is in some cases upgradeable to mobile WiMax, is available as a commercial service in some parts of the UK today.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Golden Telecom expands further

    The Russian alternative telco Golden Telecom has acquired two smaller providers – ZAO BryanskTel and OOO BryanskIntel – which together constitute Group BryanskTel, for around $5.5 million (€3.83 million). Group BryanskTel is based in the region of Bryansk and has over 20,000 cable TV and broadband subscribers, along with around 12,000 receiving its telephony service. Earlier this month it was reported that Golden Telecom is in discussions about a possible take-over by VimpelCom. Golden Telecom’s interests include Corbina Telecom, which launched an IPTV service earlier this year.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Bulgarian bTV prepares for move

    The Bulgarian national commercial station bTV is reported to have begun work on a new HQ. Based in the capital, Sofia, it will cost €23 million and should be completed in mid-2009. The facilities at the new HQ will allow bTV to switch all its output to the HD format. The station, which is backed by News Corp, competes with Nova TV, which is owned by Greece’s Antenna Group, and the public broadcaster BNT. Last month it was announced that TV2, another service with effectively national coverage, had made its debut.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Cyfrowy Polsat hits 2 million mark

    The Polish DTG platform Cyfrowy Polsat has announced that it now has 2 million subscribers. Launched in 2000, the service currently offers 62 Polish-language TV channels, several hundred FTA foreign services and nine radio stations. It operates in a market also served by Cyfra+ (1 million subscribers as of last month) and n (200,000 subscribers in October), with a platform operated by the public broadcaster TVP also expected to enter the mix in the near future.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    HBO widens Polish DTH distribution

    HBO will become available on the Polish DTH platforms Cyfrowy Polsat and n at the beginning of next year, according to a local report. Up until now the service has been carried solely on Cyfra+, the country’s third DTH platform, on an exclusive basis. The reasons for this are largely historical, as in the late 1990s Canal+ and HBO were involved in a high-profile dispute in Poland and aligned to the two DTH platforms – the former Cyfra+ and Wizja TV – serving the country at that time. The dispute was eventually resolved and the two platforms subsequently merged to form the current Cyfra+. As of January 1, HBO, HBO2 and HBO Comedy will become available to all Cyfrowy Polsat subscribers in a premium package known as Super Film. All n subscribers will also be offered HBO channels in a special premium package.
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    TVP interactive service under spotlight

    The Polish National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT) is reported to be investigating iTVP, the interactive TV service operated by the national public broadcaster TVP. Launched in January 2005, the service is not technologically neutral, being only available to Windows and not Apple Mac users, with those employing Linux also not guaranteed full access even after installing a special programme. The service also charges viewers for some programmes (e.g. Champions League games and popular series like M jak Milosc) that are available free of charge on the public broadcaster’s main channels. It appears the KRRiT would like iTVP to operate along the same lines as BBC iPlayer, which has recently moved to a more technologically neutral regime.
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    All change for SPI services

    The SPI International-owned channel Nonstop Kino will change its name in the Czech Republic to Filmbox Extra at the beginning of next year, according to local reports. It will also start using the new name in Hungary and Slo'vakia on the same date, followed by Poland on March 1. Nonstop Kino is also available in HD, and this will change its name to Filmbox HD in the four markets it is available in on March 1 next year.
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    Studios ink Sky on-demand movie deal

    BSkyB has signed deals with Warner Bros and Paramount to give users of its Sky Anytime on-demand service access to films such as Superman Returns, Top Gun and Mission Impossible 3.

    The deal, for the PC on-demand version of Sky Anytime, is the latest move by BSkyB to boost on-demand content and make the service more attractive.

    Paramount titles including Mission Impossible 3, The Weather Man, Saving Private Ryan and Top Gun will be made available on demand via Sky Anytime to Sky Movies customers as part of their subscription package.

    In addition, from early next year, all Sky customers will be able to use the Sky Anytime on PC service to access movies including Shrek the Third and Transformers on a pay-per-view basis as part of the Sky Box Office offering.

    The Warner Bros deal will see movies including Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Superman Returns and Poseidon made available via the Sky Anytime on PC service.

    BSkyB's latest deals will mean that it now offers movies from all the major Hollywood studios, having already signed deals with 20th Century Fox, Universal, Sony and Disney.

    Ian Lewis, the director of Sky Movies and Sky Box Office, said: "The evolution of Sky Movies into a multiplatform, multimedia service is driven by customer demands."

    BSkyB has been pushing to expand the functionality, access and content of the Sky Anytime service.

    The company recently announced new innovations including opening up some content on the Sky Anytime PC service to non-Sky customers and offering third-party content, from suppliers such as National Geographic and the History Channel, for the first time.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Deutsche Telekom claims 100,000 IPTV customers

    The German incumbent telecom operator Deutsche Telekom has announced it has reached 100,000 customers for its IPTV service T-Home Entertain. Today, in a Deutsche Telekom T-Point shop in Frankfurt, the 100,000th customer will officially be welcomed.
    The T-Home Entertain service was officially relaunched last September during the IFA consumer electronics show. Other IPTV providers in the German market include Hansenet from Telecom Italia’s Alice and Arcor IPTV.
    Salut Prieteni!


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    Europe 2 switches to Virgin brand

    On January 1, the French commercial broadcaster free-to-air Europe 2 TV will switch its name to Virgin 17. The number 17 denotes the position of the channel on the DTT line-up. At the same time, Europe 2 radio will also switch its name to Virgin Radio.
    The name change is a result of a licence agreement between Lagardère Active, the media division of the Lagardère Group, and Richard Branson. With the name name and brand, the broadcaster hopes to better meet the competition in the French marketplace.
    Salut Prieteni!


 

 

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