Satellite news 08.08.05


New legal TV channel to launch in October

A new channel offering help with legal matters is due to debut this October on Sky Digital. Legal TV will provide information on various law issues and entertainment to include dramas, documentaries and comedies. The channel will also be fully interactive. It launches on Sky on October 24

Sky Gnome device to provide roving audio

Sky has announced details of a new hardware device that provides a portable radio service for Sky Digital subscribers. Sky Gnome will be available in October and will allow Sky subscribers to remotely control their Digibox and listen to any channels subscribed to. It will also provides stereo sound, eight hours of battery time, and will be available in blue or orange colours. It will be available for no additional subscription although there is a one-off upfront charge.

Manchester TV news channel coming to Sky

The Guardian Media Group is to launch its Manchester-based Channel M TV on Sky Digital next year as part of a major programme of expansion. The station, which has long-standing ties with the Manchester Evening News, is expected to have live shows including a breakfast programme and sport and entertainment programmes created for Manchester viewers.

New luxury shopping TV channel to launch

A new shopping TV channel specialising in premium and luxury products intends to launch in September. Star Bazaar aims to be different as it will sell goods such as yachts, cars and country mansions using lifestyle and celebrity-led programmes. The channel will launch on Sky Digital on September 5.

Rapture TV set to make another comeback

Youth and culture channel Rapture is set to make a comeback on Sky Digital in October. The channel, which has been on and off air since launching in 1997 as it owners have changed, wants to return with a similar schedule to before however it intends to focus more on entertainment genres such as music and movies.

Sky profits rise sharply as subs numbers grow

Sky has reported a sharp increase in profits, up 32% to 425 million. Operating profits also rose 34 per cent to 805 million in the 12 months to the end of June, while net subscriber growth of 83,000 took the overall subscriber numbers to almost 7.8 million. Chief executive officer James Murdoch, whose continued role has been questioned following the shock resignation of elder brother Lachlan as Deputy COO at News Corp, told reporters that while he only had a one-year rolling contract, he intended to remain "for the long term." He added: "I'm fully committed to the job in hand."

Setanta launches PPV soccer on TopUpTV

Following a deal with Top Up TV, the subscription service on Freeview, Setanta is to launch a pay-per-view (PPV) channel offering live Scottish Premier League football matches. Games will cost 6 each and will be available in Scotland before a national rollout in the autumn.

New UK muslim entertainment TV channel

A new channel which claims to be "Sky One from a Muslim perspective" is to launch in the UK before the end of 2005. According to press reports, it will be called Bridges TV and will be based on a US station of the same name.

Poker Channel goes interactive from August 15

Poker fans will soon be able to play their favourite games on TV following a deal between interactive media group YooMedia and The Poker Channel. From August 15, YooMedia will provide a red-button link from The Poker Channel to a Poker Channel-branded, interactive fixed-odds gaming portal that will offer games such as Poker, Roulette, Virtual Trackside and Spin to Win. Viewers will be able to play games for fun or for real.

CNBC takes control of its international channels

CNBC is to assume control of the CNBC International channels. CNBC will acquire sole ownership of CNBC Europe and its domestic digital service, CNBC World, on December 31, 2005, subject to regulatory approvals. The transfer of ownership in CNBC Asia Pacific is likewise subject to regulatory and legal approvals. CNBC and Dow Jones have operated CNBC Europe and CNBC Asia Pacific as equal partners and Dow Jones currently has a 25 per cent interest in CNBC World. Mark Hoffman, CNBC president, said that acquiring sole ownership gave it the opportunity to further develop and grow the CNBC product and brand globally.

Details of new Astra 1M satellite revealed

Satellite manufacturer EADS Astrium has been awarded a contract to design and build Astras upcoming Astra 1M satellite. Astra 1M will provide eventual replacement capacity at 19.2 East and will support and protect Astras growth at 28.2 East. This growth is secured through Astra 1M protecting the timely relocation of Astra 2C to 28.2 East from its current position at 19.2 East, such relocation being nominally planned after the successful launches of Astra 1KR and Astra 1L.

RTL takes control of Channel Five

Germany's RTL Group has moved to secure control of Channel Five by agreeing with United Business Media to acquire the outstanding 35.4 per cent shareholding in the channel for 247.6 million. The deal is subject to regulatory approval.

Digital switchover is 'progressing too slowly'

Despite digital TV penetration looking set to double in western Europe by 2010 reaching 99.4 million households or 65% of the total the switchover is taking longer than expected according to a gloomy study by Informa Telecoms & Media. It says switchover in the UK is not likely to be completed until 2015, France, Germany and Spain's 2010 target will slip by nine, six and 10 years respectively, while Italy could miss its 2006 deadline by 14 years.

Setanta and Telewest to bid for soccer rights?

Sky looks likely set to face competition from broadcaster and sports rights holder Setanta for the lucrative English Premier League broadcasting rights when its existing deal expires in 2008. Setanta is reported to have teamed up with Telewest to organise a bid for the Premiership rights.

NBC Europe relaunches entertainment channel

Germany's NBC Europe/Giga channel is to be relaunched as a full entertainment channel by the end of September. The channel is hoping to attract a one per cent audience share over its first year. Once it breaks even, the channel is supposed also to contain originally produced programmes.

Digital TV news in brief...

Sky is readying the launch of two new channels - Sky Two and Sky Three to complement its Sky One service... Sony Entertainment Television Asia's new channel SET Max has launched on Sky channel 826... Ahead of its HDTV launch in 2006, Sky's CEO James Murdoch has said he is "encouraged" by research that indicates up to 10 million flat panel TV sets will be bought by the end of the decade to replace cathode ray tube sets... BT Media and Broadcast and RaceTech, supplier of technical services to the horse racing industry, have signed a new contract that will see BT deliver all of RaceTech's broadcast requirements until 2010... France's DTT service, French Television Numerique pour Tous, has announced that it has sold 500,000 adapters... The Danish Triax group has taken over the multimedia companies in the Hirschmann Group.. Former presidential candidate Al Gore has launched his own channel, Current TV, in the US on cable TV. The channel is aimed at young people between the ages of 18 and 34... Spain's pay-TV giant Sogecable will launch its commercial TV channel, Cuatro, in the Autumn following the Government's approval to the change of the pay-TV Canal Plus into a free-to-air network... Pace has signed deals with DirecTV in the US to supply next generation set-top box products during 2006... Telewest is to put its TV content business Flextech up for sale for at least 800 million according to press reports... Cartoon Network is to launch in Germany in September. It will be available in German on national free to air television on Kabel Eins.

New fight channel to launch on Sky Digital

A new combative sports channel hopes to launch on Sky at the end of January 2006. The channel, called Fight+, says it will air "live fights, documentaries, lifestyle programming and films based around boxing, wrestling, karate, tae kwon do, kung-fu, sumo wresting, jujitsu, kickboxing and other fight-related sports." It will be available for a subscription charge of 3 or 4 per month.

Regards Satdude.