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30-09-2010, 17:48
Sky to exclusively screen all four days of The Masters

The only broadcaster to air all four days of The Masters live will be Sky.
Sky has announced it will be the only broadcaster to screen all four days of Masters golf in the UK and Ireland from 2011.

The pay-TV provider revealed it will offer Sky Sports subscribers the opportunity to watch exclusive live coverage of the first two days of the tournament, starting with footage of the par-three competition on April 6th.

Furthermore, the contest at Augusta National Golf Club will be the first of the sport's Majors to be available in 3D, although the October 1st to 3rd 2010 Ryder Cup clash between Europe and the US will also be shown on Sky 3D.

Managing director of Sky Sports Barney Francis said subscribers who watch The Masters in 3D will enjoy a "unique" experience which captures the contours of the famous course.

He added: "Sky Sports has enjoyed a great partnership with golf for nearly two decades ... [and] we are excited that The US Masters is now at the heart of our golf calendar."

30-09-2010, 17:49
Philips 3D LED TVs slip under the technological radar

Despite two full ranges of 3D ready TVs in their 9000 and 8000 series, Philips seems to have managed to create a surprisingly limited amount of interest in their extra dimensional screens.

Even the recent announcement that there will also be a 3D-ready version of their impressive 'cinema proportioned' Philips Cinema 21:9 TV later this year has caused barely a ripple of excitement.

Despite the Dutch manufacturers reputation for innovation and technical excellence, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony have managed to create much more of a buzz around their 3D products.

Packed with high end features, it is difficult to understand why the 9000 has not caught the buying public's imagination. Perhaps Philips have missed a trick buy not offering 3D capability straight out of the box. You have to buy a 3D transmitter and glasses to enjoy the 3D experience.

Along with 3D capability, the 9000 series features 'LED Pro', a more sophisticated implementation of LED backlighting with independently controlled light clusters behind the whole of the screen rather than around its edge.

With over 75% more LED's than previous models, the 9000 incorporates over 1000 diodes within 225 independently operated LED sections which offer more precise on screen picture control.

Elsewhere the 9000 gets 400Hz frame refresh, it will be Wi-Fi capable (optional dongle available) with Philips' own version of internet connectivity, NetTV.

The 200Hz 8000 series also gets 3D, with an Edge based implementation of LED backlighting, losing some of the wi-fi functionality you get with the 9000. Both the 9000 and 8000 series get implementations of Philips' Ambilight system, which projects light from the screen edge.

30-09-2010, 17:50
Rup/ert-über-alles must not be allowed to darken BSky/BThose who say Murd/och in full control of Sky is no big deal need to see the mind-boggling meddling of Fox News in US politics

Aren't people who prefer to give Ru/pert Murd/och the benefit of the doubt adorably trusting? At the precise moment his Fox News appears to have finally abandoned even the quarter-arsed pretence of impartiality, allowing Tea Party-backed candidates to fundraise on air in return for exclusive, uncritical access, there are those on these shores opining that Murd/och winning full control of BSky/B really is no biggie.

Well, quite. What's the worst that can happen?

Even as Sarah Palin appears to be fashioning a run at the presidency without appearing on any media outlet other than the one that pays her (she has her own show on Fox), there are those wittering that Mur/doch basically already runs Sk/y, so gaining full control won't alter the UK's media landscape.

Were things across the Atlantic not looking so mind-boggling, you could almost envy that cosy, antiquated assumption that the "media landscape" is something settled, as opposed to in a state of historic flux. Sarah Palin's tweets may have to be ghostwritten – I know, even Darren Bent can fart out his own – yet, as Time magazine observed this week, a single one of them can dominate a news cycle, while one of her speeches can monopolise three news cycles.

The fact that Palin is the figurehead of a movement most of whose emergent stars would appear to be better suited to prison or lunatic asylums makes it hard to get one's head around quite what is happening to mainstream politics in the US at the moment. But for people who'd ideally like prospective leaders of the free world to be able to point to China on a map – and not to claim that they'd have told the Nazis Anne Frank was hiding in their attic because lying is always wrong in God's eyes – it doesn't feel madly encouraging. When candidates for public office are being promoted by Fox on the apparent understanding that they will appear exclusively on Fox, classing the network a fascist broadcaster seems less and less hysterical.

Indeed, things have come to such a pretty pass that earlier this year even Matthew Freud, Murdoch's son-in-law, felt moved to tell a reporter he was "ashamed and sickened" by Fox News. Poor dear. Yet while Matthew might be a useful valet when Ru/pert wants someone to organise a private jet to spirit David Cameron to his holiday yacht for drinks, his views on this ever-more powerful force in US politics are of as much concern to Murdoch as those of Kerry Katona. Indeed, only a couple of months previously Rupert had gone on the record to defend Glenn Beck's comments that Barack Obama is a racist, declaring: "He was right."

Happily, the real players in the family are able to see the bigger picture, which is why Jam/es Murdo/ch last year described the BBC's activities and ambitions as "chilling" – high praise indeed from a chap whose dad owns 40% of the UK newspaper market and enjoys a satellite monopoly gifted to him by an obsequious Margaret Thatcher.

Happier still, that obsequiousness endures. Within days of the coalition government being formed, it emerged that one of the prime minister's first meetings was with the News Corp overlord himself. According to one account, Murdoch was "ushered up the back stairs of Downing Street" – which sounds like both a statement of fact and a euphemism for what Rupert has been doing to successive governments for decades.

Yet still there are those who regard this abusive relationship as totally normal. Arguably their most baffling cry is that Mur/doch "isn't political" because he has supported both Tory and Labour in the past, a piece of spectacularly muddled thinking summed up this week by one commentator who reckoned the BSkyB deal should go through because "Murdoch has no real politics beyond what's good for Mur/doch".

It is a mark of how deeply some have drunk from the Kool-Aid that Rupert-über-alles doesn't count as a political position – when history, and many a weighty political memoir, shows it has meant the only policies recent UK governments can feel comfortable implementing are those that suit Murd/och's business agenda. From Thatcher through Blair to Cameron, our democratically elected leaders have tugged their forelocks to an unelected foreign tax exile in gibbering fear of losing his papers' support, allowing Mu/rdoch to regard a change of government as the mere shuffling of junior personnel.

Currently serving as his host organism is David Cameron, who clearly has no intention of resisting, which means it's down to Vince Cable. If his speech this week meant anything, the business secretary must block the deal to protect the media plurality essential to democracy.

Writing last Sunday in support of such a block, David Puttnam revived a warning of Lord McNally's from only a few years ago. "In the 1930s," his lordship had reminded parliament, "we were afraid that the fascists would take over the government and then control the press; in the 21st century, there may be a danger that the fascists will take control of the press and then control the government. The dangers are there."

Indeed they are, as an increasingly rampant Fox News foreshadows.

30-09-2010, 17:51
Active shutter 3D glasses will be 'with us for some time' says Samsung

Samsung's director of European business development has told delegates at a cable TV conference that he sees active shutter 3D glasses as being necessary for some years to come - but there is some good news around standardisation.

Amid speculation that passive glasses could be made to work with a wide range of manufacturer's 3D sets, the CTAM EuroSummit in Budapest heard that Samsung hopes to sell two million 3D TV in Europe this year. Samsung’s Vassilis Seferidis said that 3D is part of an 'eco-system' of devices including Blu-ray players and home cinema systems which would drive the market forwards.

But he admitted that expensive active shutter 3D glasses would be required for some time to come, ahead of future developments in 'autostereoscopic' technology. The cost of glasses would usually be part of the purchase price of a TV, said Seferidis, arguing “At IFA we saw autostereoscopic displays, but the technology is at a very early stage. For the business models for the next five or even 10 years autostereoscopic will not play a big role.”

This casts doubts on RealD's claim that manufacturers could make their sets work with cheaper passive glasses, though at the cost or more expensive TVs. Seferidis claimed that the emergence next year of standards for active glasses would enable manufacturers to market device-independent models. 'You could also combine prescription glasses with active glasses technology” he claimed, while arguing that passive glasses are "a transitional technology.”

Samsung has already announced that it intends to make all of its LED, LCD and PDP TV sets 3D-capable, starting with high-end screens this year.

30-09-2010, 17:52
BBC strike looms during George Osborne spending review speechIndustrial action will take place next month unless the management tables improved staff pensions deal

BBC claims the current deal on the table, including the CAB 2011 option, will cost it about £250m a year. Photograph: Graeme Robertson

The prospect of strikes hitting the BBC's coverage of chancellor George Osborne's spending review announcement next month has increased after union members voted unanimously to back industrial action unless the management tables an improved deal over staff pensions by the end of next week.

BBC staff who are members of the National Union of Journalists, Bectu and Unite held a series of meetings across the UK this week with staff unanimously rejecting BBC management's latest proposal and backing two 48-hour strikes next month.

Union meetings have been held at BBC's Broadcasting House, White City – Television Centre and Bush House premises in London, as well as in Bristol and Belfast.

"There has not been a single person who has not said the BBC needs to make another offer," said a source. The meetings have not included Unite, which only represents a small number of BBC staff, but all views are considered to be on behalf of the three unions.

The unions have notified BBC management that they intend to strike to cause maximum disruption on 5 and 6 October, the final two days of the Conservative party conference, and 19 and 20 October, to coincide with Osborne's announcement of the scale of government cuts in the Treasury's public spending review.

Since the unions notified BBC management of the strike dates on 13 September there have been two meetings between the two sides, with more scheduled for next week. The unions have given BBC management given until 1 October to table an improved offer.

Mark Thompson, the BBC director general, has warned the unions that management did not have much scope to negotiate in attempting to overhaul the corporation's pension scheme to try to plug a deficit that could be as much as £2bn.

"Pension reform at the BBC is inevitable," he said. "We have a large current deficit in our scheme and face long-term pressures which, without action now, would undermine the scheme and compromise the broader finances of the BBC."

The main concession offered is a new career-averaged benefits option – "CAB 2011" – for existing BBC pension scheme members. Pension benefits would be based on an employee's average pay from the time they took this option to when they left the BBC.

The current pension scheme costs the BBC about £140m per year. However, the corporation has estimated that this figure will balloon to about £350m per year when it takes into account factors such as dealing with deficit repayments, the scale of which will be properly known in April next year when the pension regulator determines the exact size of the deficit.

The BBC reckons that the current deal on the table, including the CAB 2011 option, will cost it about £250m a year – an overall saving of £100m on the projected £350m a year future cost of the current scheme. The BBC has to pay off the deficit with 10 years.

"We are disappointed that the unions have announced dates for industrial action," said a spokeswoman for the BBC. "We are surprised that they have done so during the 60-day consultation period on a significant addition to our pension proposals. We believe our pension proposals address concerns raised by staff and that they should have the opportunity to fully consider and explore them within the context of an ongoing consultation rather than the threat of a strike."

30-09-2010, 17:53
OnAir Launches In-Flight Service on South East Asian Airline

AirAsia has launched OnAir’s in-flight connectivity services aboard the carrier's Airbus A320 fleet in Asia, OnAir announced Sept. 24.
Passengers flying on South East Asian routes from Kuala Lumpur airport to destinations including Singapore, Hong-Kong, Bangkok or Colombo will be able to access the service using GSM mobile phones or smartphones to make and receive voice calls, send text messages or emails and access the Internet through GPRS.

OnAir is very pleased to be working with AirAsia in entering a high-potential market. The launch marks a very significant milestone for us as it underlines the benefits of OnAir's services to low-cost carriers,” OnAir CEO Ian Dawkins, CEO said in a statement.
OnAir’s in-flight service is powered by Inmarsat SwiftBroadband, which is delivered from the operator’s fourth-generation satellites

30-09-2010, 17:55
Hungarian version Filmbox test in packet UPC Direct

The satellite pay-TV is testing on the UPC Direct satellite system Thor 5/6 to the position of Thor 0.8 degree West Filmbox movie channel in the Hungarian version of the program. Program at the time of publishing the text of the FTA broadcast.

Filmbox Hungary is similar to the Czech version of the film Filmbox television, they know viewers from rival satellite platforms.

Filmbox broadcast films of various genres. All films are dubbed into Hungarian language. Hungary mutation Filmbox broadcast in widescreen 16:9 format image.

Image for article: Hungarian version Filmbox test in packet UPC Direct

Filmbox channel is one of the stations of SPI International. The package Filmbox Subscribers UPC Direct in the Czech Republic and Slovak Republic to the basic package of programs ordered station Filmbox Extra 1 and Filmbox Family.

Technical parameters:
Thor 6 (0.8°W), freq 11.747 GHz, pol. H, SR 28000, FEC 5/6, DVB-S/QPSK

30-09-2010, 17:56
The UPC Direct tests Filmbox Plus

Central to the satellite pay TV UPC Direct launched this morning broadcast channel, other film and film distribution company SPI International. On one of the transponder station appeared Filmbox Plus.

Filmbox Station Plus is designed for the needs of the Hungarian market. The test signal station is distributed under the FTA, so no need for income abonentská card.

The position of 0.8°W is officially broadcast programs Filmbox Family and Filmbox Extra 1, which are offered in the package Filmbox. Yesterday in this position began to test the channel Filmbox Hungary. He is also now freely distributed. The fourth channel logo Filmbox is distributed under the UPC Direct station Filmbox Plus.

Image for article: The UPC Direct tests Filmbox Plus

Technical parameters:
Thor (0.8°W), freq 11.747 GHz, pol. H, SR 28000, FEC 5/6, DVB-S/QPSK, service ID 1012, Video PID 7112, audio PID 7212

Tested channels Filmbox Hungary and Filmbox Plus broadcast in widescreen 16:9 format image

30-09-2010, 17:58
Animax on transponder Canal Digitaal

Transponder on the satellite pay-TV Dutch Canal Digitaal appeared the German version of the channel Animax. The program is not intended for viewers of this platform. Classification program in the multiplex is preparing to join the Luxembourg company M7 Group on the Austrian market.

Group M7 will be in Austria from October 2010 to operate pay-TV AustriaSat. The service will be available for all Austrian households with access card ORF, in addition to programs that ORF1, ORF2, including regional and HD mutation provides access to commercial programs ATV, Austria 9 and Puls 4.

Image for article: Animax on transponder Canal Digitaal

Technical parameters:
Astra (19.2°E) freq 12.344 GHz, pol. H, SR 27500, FEC 3/4, DVB-S/QPSK

At the time of publishing the text of the program Animax distributed under the FTA. Station will soon be encoded.

30-09-2010, 17:59
HSE24 trend started FTA on ASTRA

On 23 September 2010 Launched the new German teleshopping channel HSE24 Trend. It is already the third channel of the same broadcaster with shopping via the television screen.

HSE24 trend is distributed through the European Astra satellite system at 19.2 ° E. The program is technically available since the beginning of the 12 million households with digital TV signals from satellite.

HSE24 trend focuses on products from fashion, jewelry and beauty. Product Portfolio station is aimed at women.

HSE24 channels already operating, channels HSE24 ,HSE24 Extras and recently HSE24 trend.

Technical parameters:
Astra (19.2°E) freq 12.480 GHz, pol. V, SR 27500, FEC 3/4, DVB-S/QPSK, FTA

30-09-2010, 18:00
Skylink will change parameters of DVB-S2 mux on Wednesday 29.09.2010

D-Day at the satellite platform Skylink was set for Wednesday 29.09.2010 2010. At 7:00 pm will be a long time the announced change in the parameters of DVB-S2 multiplex.

The changes concern only the DVB-S2 transponders (freq 12.110 GHz). FEC changes to 3/4, 8PSK modulation on the pilot and the SO. Other parameters remain unchanged.

Multiplex reconfiguration will affect only those viewers who have your HD set top box to set one of the following parameters: FEC, modulation, PILOT. For many newer receivers do not need to specify these parameters and the changes do not affect clients. Scanned frequency will then be just to accept new programs.

existing parameters:
Astra 3B (23.5°E) freq 12.110 GHz, pol H SR 27500, FEC 9/10, DVB-S2/QPSK, PILOT OFF

new parameters of 29 September 2010, 7:00 pm CET:
Astra 3B (23.5°E) freq 12.110 GHz, pol H SR 27500, FEC 3/4, DVB-S2/8PSK, PILOT ON

A new multiplex will appear in the music of CS, CS Cinema and the forthcoming new HD content.

30-09-2010, 18:02
LG's stunning 31in OLED TV breaks cover

Once again giving consumers a tantalizing glimpse of this exciting new technology, LG have become the latest manufacturer to preview a large screen OLED TV.

LG's innovative new 31in screen, with unrivalled vibrancy and brightness, literally places its LCD and Plasma rivals in the shade. Colours look absolutely stunning, with the clearest, sharpest presentation of HD material we have seen. Add an ultra slim profile which makes some LED screens look positively bulbous and LG have managed to create the most desirable TV around.

LG's stunning 31in offering once again demonstrates the superior quality of OLED technology, but is frustrating in that the technology seems to be as far out of reach from us mere mortals as it ever was.

Although LG are currently marketing a 15in OLED TV in the UK, it currently retails for £1700; we dread to think what might be the price of entry for large screen OLED pleasures when LG launch the 31in version.

OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) technology is based on organic materials which emit light naturally after an electrical charge is passed through them. OLED pixels generate their own light which brings a whole host of technological advantages.

If defence of the big manufacturers, the complexity of OLED technology makes it very difficult to produce cheaply. If the likes of LG can reduce production cost to an acceptable level for larger screen OLED TVs, we could be approaching a new era for home entertainment.

30-09-2010, 18:03
Darke, Now The Man On The Mic, For ESPN's Soccer Coverage
British Sportscaster Will Provide Play-By-Play For Programmer's Presentations Of BPL, MLS, World Cup

Ian Darke, one of the lead commentators during ESPN's coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, will become the sports programmer's top soccer voice in the U.S.

Kicking off on Sept. 25 at 7:30 a.m. (ET) with Chelsea visiting Manchester City, Darke will become the lead play-by-play man on ESPN2's presentations of Barclays Premier League matches. He will also call matches involving the U.S. mens' and women's national teams, top Major League Soccer events, the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany, the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Darke, who spent the past 18 years commenting on Premier League and UEFA Champions League games, was the man on the mic for the U.S. team's matches against Slovenia, Algeria and Ghana during the FIFA tourament from South Africa.
"Having Ian Darke as our year-round signature voice for soccer programming reaffirms ESPN's commitment to elevate our overall coverage of the sport in the U.S.," said Jed Drake, senior vice president and executive producer of ESPN Event Production, in announcing the hire. "Ian's experience, authenticity and passion for the sport, which were evident throughout the World Cup, will resonate with our viewers, who have come to expect top-quality soccer commentary from ESPN."

Noted Darke: "I am delighted and excited to be joining such a polished and talented team as ESPN. It was wonderful to be calling the USA's dramatic World Cup campaign for American audiences -- and I am flattered to be asked back on a permanent basis."

30-09-2010, 18:04
Former RCN CEO Aquino Joins TiVo Board
Exec Previously Struck Distribution Deal With DVR Company

TiVo announced that Peter Aquino -- the former RCN president and CEO, who struck a strategic deal to use TiVo boxes as the operator's primary DVR platform -- was named to its board effective Sept 22.

Aquino, 49, headed RCN from December 2004 until August 2010, departing after the company was taken private by private equity firm ABRY Partners. He will receive stock grants worth about $300,000 based on TiVo's current share price, comprising 25,000 stock options that vest over the course of four years and 8,300 shares of restricted stock to vest 25% annually on the grant anniversary over four years.

With his addition, TiVo's board will increase to eight members, including seven independent, outside directors.

"Bringing someone with his level of knowledge and professional acumen to our board will undoubtedly help TiVo as we continue to execute our broader strategic growth plans, expand our global footprint through further deployment of our advanced television solutions and, once again, reinvent how consumers watch television," TiVo president and CEO Tom Rogers said in a statement regarding Aquino's appointment.

Aquino currently serves as a director of Primus Telecom Group and the United Way of America. Prior to RCN, he was senior managing director of consulting firm Communications Technology Advisors LLC and began his career at Bell Atlantic (now part of Verizon) in 1983.

30-09-2010, 18:04
FCC Moves November Meeting Date
Bureaus Need More Time To Work On Items: Sources

The Federal Communications Commission has moved its public meeting date from Nov. 4 to Nov. 30.
An FCC source familar with the decision said it was a "scheduling issue." That would be as opposed to a policy issue like, say, Title II reclassification. The move of the date would move the "white copy" date for informing commissioners about upcoming items until after the Nov. 2 election.

Speaking on background, an FCC official would not comment on whether either Title II or the FCC's proposed codification of network neutrality principles could be on the agenda for that meeting, but said that was a separate issue from the scheduling move. Instead, said the source, the move was to give the bureaus more time to work on unrelated items being teed up for that meeting.

With an Oct. 14 meeting date, the bureaus essentially would have had to circulate the items for the Nov. 4 meeting the same day they were responsible for presenting at the October meeting, as they had to do at this week's Sept. 23 meeting for October. They wanted more time, according to the source.

The commission moved its September meeting back a week due to scheduling conflicts, which created the confluence of meeting and circulation date.

These days, any move is being watched carefully by those looking for the chairman to schedule a vote on reclassifying broadband access service.

30-09-2010, 18:05
'Scant' Evidence Of Over-the-Top Cord-Cutting: Analyst
Sanford Bernstein's Moffett Downplays Devices Rise As Death Of Cable

Wall Street has been hearing a lot from media executives in the past few weeks on the prospect of subscribers cutting the cord on cable in favor of over-the-top video, but Sanford Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett argues that "real-world evidence of cord-cutting remains scant."

Nonetheless, he wrote in a research note that "investors, perhaps inevitably, are coming down on the side of cord-cutting in this debate, and are more than a little skeptical of blaming cyclical factors" like housing and employment.

Moffett noted it is understandable that there appears to be a repeat of 2005, when over-the-top video made headlines and the news that ABC's hit series Desperate Housewives would be put on iTunes was declared the "death of cable."

Drivers for that attention, he said, include TV efforts by Apple and Google and Sezmi's wrapping-up of another round of financing.

Moffett didn't write that cord-cutting is not an issue. Rather to the degree that it is or could become an issue, the driver is not yet the sort of "bleeding-edge" technology adoption that drove those 2005 headlines. Instead, he said, it is "poverty," by which he means more cyclical factors like income stagnation and a weak consumer. "Anemic income growth," he said, "threatens to make pay TV unaffordable."

Moffett suggested that a weak housing market could be one factor in the drop, as well as comparing 2010 figures to 2009, when there was a one-time influx of subs tied to the DTV transition.

But perception could become the new reality anyway: "Of course, whether household formation rates and the digital
TV transition really are to blame for cable's subscriber weakness may not much matter. The cord-cutting boogeyman
is now back."

30-09-2010, 18:06
Tata Sky crosses six million subscriber mark

NEW DELHI: Direct-to-Home major Tata Sky on Thursday said it has crossed the six million subscriber mark.

"We have received tremendous repsonse from the market and have crossed six million subscribers. We are poised for further growth in the coming months, especially on the back of interactive services that we have launched," Tata Sky Chief Marketing Officer Vikram Mehra told reporters here.

Tata Sky is one of the seven operators in the country. Dish TV, Sun Direct, Airtel digital TV, Reliance Big TV, Videocon d2h and DD direct are the other players in the over 20 million subscribers Indian DTH market.

The company on Thursday also launched 'Actve Games' service on its platform in partnership with Hungama Digital Media.

"Gaming on Tata Sky till now was more about quizzes and kids' games. Now with this partnership we will be able to offer games across age categories," he said.

He, however, declined to comment on the expected number of subscribers for the service.

"We are expecting a huge number of people to opt for this service. In the last 15 days, as part of the soft launch itself, we have had 35,000 people subscribing to the service," he said.

Tata Sky will offer about 50 games in a year under the 'Actve Games' service and charge Rs 40 per month. The offering would include arcade, strategy, action, sports and celebrity games.

Mehra added that the company was looking at interactive services such as games, cooking and education as a major contributor to revenues.

According to a FICCI-KPMG study, the Indian gaming industry revenues are expected to grow from Rs 800 crore in 2009 to Rs 3200 crore in 2014, growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 32 per cent.

30-09-2010, 18:07
Al Jazeera inks broadcast deal with Yahoo

* Qatar: 10 hours, 8 minutes ago

Yahoo and Al Jazeera news satellite channel have signed an agreement to publish the Qatar-based TV channel's broadc asts on the search engine's regional portal, The National has reported. Yahoo is also in talks with the BBC and the Abu Dhabi Media Co to reach similar deals, Hosam el Sokkari, the head of audience for Yahoo Middle East, said. The latest follows an agreement with the Saudi media giant Rotana to publish more exclusive content in a bid to boost online traffic and advertising revenue.

30-09-2010, 18:08
Al Aan TV signs up Pirana Advertising

* United Arab Emirates

Al Aan TV has appointed Pirana Advertising as its creative and communications agency for Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The account was previously handled by TBWA\RAAD. Al Aan is a pan-Arab satellite broadcaster based in Dubai Media City, available free-to-air on Arabsat or Nilesat.

30-09-2010, 18:09
Fox International to add new channels in MENA next year

* Middle East

Fox International Channels plans to launch new channels in the MENA region next year, the National has reported. The company, which is part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, currently broadcasts 12 channels in the region, including Fox Movies, Fox Series and Star World. It also plans to convert all of its regional broadcasts to high definition by 2012. The global media conglomerate broadcasts 12 channels in the MENA region, including Fox Movies, Fox Series and Star World. It also produces National Geographic Abu Dhabi in Arabic through a partnership with the Abu Dhabi Media Company, which owns and publishes The National. Fox is evaluating the launch of additional entertainment channels next year, according to Rohit D'Silva, the general manager of Fox International Channels Middle East.

30-09-2010, 18:10
National Audit Office to access the BBC

MUMBAI: The National Audit Office (NAO) will be given full access to UK pubcaster the BBC's accounts for the first time.

Previously the spending watchdog could only undertake value for money studies if invited to do so by the BBC Trust. After weeks of negotiations between the BBC's governing body and the government, Liberal Democrat MP Don Foster formally revealed the terms of the deal at his party's conference in Liverpool this afternoon.

The BBC Trust says that it supports a move to allow the NAO to choose which areas of BBC operations it will review on an annual basis.

"In our view, this does not threaten the BBC's independence from Government or Parliament, provided that the NAO continues to report to the Trust and does not question editorial decision-making. Subject to further discussion between the Trust and the DCMS, we are confident that this change can be made through amendments to the BBC Agreement within the terms of the existing Charter," the BBC Trust said in a statement.

Adding further, it said, "The NAO already scrutinises the BBC's books as part of regular reviews it carries out for the Trust and it is an important ally in our push to deliver transparency and better value for money for license fee payers. Over the past year, we've taken significant steps to open up the NAO's access to BBC information further, in particular by ensuring they have a right of access to confidential contracts, including talent pay. And, following discussions with Government, we can now confirm we have reached agreement with the Government to bolster these arrangements."

While the UK Government said that the BBC had agreed to full access for the NAO, it also indicated that details of individual stars' pay - such as Jonathan Ross's former £6million-a-year deal and Jeremy Paxman's reputed £1million-a-year pay packet - could stay secret.

Margaret Hodge MP, the Labour chairman of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, has said that her committee should be consulted before the NAO agreed to any limits on the information it may report to Parliament.

30-09-2010, 18:11
MGM rejects Sahara’s $2 billion bid

MUMBAI: Sahara India Pariwar’s dream of a takeover of the cash-strapped Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Inc, which some critics say was a publicity stunt, has evaporated with the studio rejecting its $2 billion bid.

The studio’s creditors are now working on alternative plans to bail out the struggling Hollywood studio.

The company's chairman Subrata Roy Sahara had a conference call with the studio’s creditors on Tuesday. He later said that his offer was rejected within hours of his talk with creditors.

MGM’s creditors who need to recover around $4 billion are now negotiating a restructuring plan for the studio that could include a prepackaged bankruptcy, Roy added.

MGM has rights to the James Bond franchise and owns half of the upcoming movies based on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit.

30-09-2010, 18:12
31.5 E: FTA test Live Cinema HD

The Astra 1G satellite at the orbital position of 31.5 ° E emerged Free To Air (FTA) Trailer HD Live Cinema. The program is broadcast through a transponder operating in the western union, which means that income is sufficient for small-sized dish (recommended by 80 cm).

Live Test of HD Cimema appeared on the transponder along with Luxe TV HD and other SD programs. The program includes excerpts from films. This program is distributed in 1920x1080 resolution with video bit rate 7.5 Mbps Sound is not (yet?) Broadcast.

Technical parameters:

* Astra 1G (31.5 ° E) freq 12.012 GHz, pol V, SR 27500, FEC 9 / 10, DVB-S2/QPSK, FTA

30-09-2010, 18:13
Montagne TV - a channel for the mountains at 19.2 E

The satellite ASTRA (19.2 E) appeared in the image check the new French television Montagne TV. Responsible for the communication satellite operator GlobeCast. Montagne is a thematic channel TV theme przybliżającym mountains. The official launch issue will be October 12, 2010 year. Signal stations will not be scrambled. Montagne TV wants to direct his choice for the lovers of mountain air and breathtaking scenery.

There will be topics of climbing, sports, what can be grown in mountainous areas, mountain tourism, prevailing weather conditions or concerns about the animals living in mountainous areas.

By the end of this year. distribution of the new station is to include packages IPTV, cable, Internet and mobile television.

Technical parameters of the tests:

Astra 1M (19.2 E)
tp. 20 (11.509 GHz, pol. V, SR 22000, FEC: 5 / 6; DVB-S/QPSK)

ID: Montagne TV
V PID: 701
PID: 721 (French)
PID PCR: 701
SID: 7001
PMT PID: 751
Encoding: none

Website montagnetv.com

30-09-2010, 18:14
Ziggo to reduce analogue bouquet

Holland’s largest cable operator Ziggo is set to reduce the number of analogue channels by April, 2011. The cabler has sent a letter to all regional programme councils, who advise over the analogue channel line-up, that the total number of channels will go down from 30 to 25 – or perhaps even 15.

The operator will make its final decision this October, but has already sent an advanced warning. The programme councils give a binding advice on the line-up of first 15 channels in analogue. Out of these 15 channels, there are already seven must-carry channels, the three national Dutch public broadcasters, two Dutch language Flemish channels and one or two regional public broadcasters.

Ziggo needs the the analogue frequencies in order to expand their digital channel offer, especially for new HD channels. The operator sells a single basic package at €16.50 a month, which comprises a basic digital offer of 60 channels as well as basic analogue of 30 channels. Viewers can get up to three smart cards for additional TV sets in the home.

At a recent press briefing, Kees Bosman, CTO, UPC Nederland, said the operator has no concrete plans to reduce or switch-off the analogue channels. In order to more economically use space, the operator plans to use 256QAM modulation in more multiplexes after experimenting with one mux. UPC also has no plans to introduce DVB-C2, but is closely following these and other technical developments.

30-09-2010, 18:15
SPL's India TV deal

MATCHES from the Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League are to be shown live on satellite television across India in a deal that ranks the SPL alongside the top leagues in the world, writes Martin Hannan.

Ten Sports, also known as Taj Entertainment Network, which broadcasts to 55 million homes across South Asia, is to beam live transmissions of SPL matches across India on a new channel, Ten Action+.

Owned by Dubai-based Taj Television, Ten Action+ will show live matches from the Champions and Europa Leagues, Spain's La Liga, Italian Serie A, England's Barclays Premier League and Carling Cup, and Dutch Eredivisie as well as the SPL.

No cash value was put on the deal, but the significance for the SPL is that its 12 member clubs will now get regular exposure in one of the largest markets in the world where British football is becoming more popular.

30-09-2010, 18:16
New FM station launches tomorrow in Tunisia


Guidelines and the editorial line of the newly created radio station Shems FM were unveiled on Friday evening at a ceremony held in Tunis. Shems FM, the fourth private radio station in Tunisia, is a general-interest radio station that will start broadcasting tomorrow, 27 September, 18 hours a day including an RDS service. Listeners can tune in the following frequencies: 101.7 in the greater Tunis area , 95.7 in Bizerta, 106.5 in Cap Bon, 93.7 in Sousse, 90.6 in Monastir and 96.2 in Sfax.

30-09-2010, 18:17
PBC Jamaica still without board and CEO

Legislation establishing the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica (PBCJ) is to be amended to make it easier for the Government to appoint a board of directors. The PBCJ has been operating without a board and a CEO for an extended period.

Minister with responsibility for information, Daryl Vaz, said the proposed amendments would be completed soon. He told The Gleaner that a CEO could not be appointed without first having a board of directors in place. Mr

Mr Vaz pointed out that the statute governing the public broadcasting entity stipulates that appointments to the board should be made from 17 different groups or sectors in the society. “We are in the process of amending the legislation in order to be able to appoint a board easily,” he said.

Earlier this year, Leighton Thomas, who was appointed CEO in 2007, was sacked after a PBCJ audit unearthed breaches of government rules and regulations at the corporation. An interim manager was appointed to run the government media organisation for a short period. However, following the Government’s appointment of former commissioner of the Correctional Services, June Spence Jarrett, to fill the vacant CEO post, pressure mounted on the administration to remove her.

Opposition Spokesman on Information Lisa Hanna had said Ms Jarrett’s appointment breached the regulations of the PBCJ Act. According to Ms Hanna, the board of the corporation must appoint the CEO of the PBCJ and not a minister of Government. Ms Jarrett was subsequently removed from the top job at the corporation.

30-09-2010, 18:18
UK radio pirate jailed for sparking terrorist alert

A pirate radio broadcaster in Kent, UK, whose equipment sparked a major terrorist alert has been jailed. James Cooper, 28, from Walderslade, strapped a laptop computer and an aerial to the top of a 50-foot water tower at Blue Bell Hill to pump drum ‘n’ bass to his audience. But the crudely-assembled broadcast gear, placed on private property behind a six-foot chain-link fence in Common Road, was mistaken for a bomb by a suspicious South East Water employee. He called police, who brought in the bomb squad.

A frantic five-hour disposal operation, in which two controlled explosions were carried out, followed. Mr Cooper was sentenced to 150 days in jail after a hearing at Medway Magistrates’ Court last Tuesday.

30-09-2010, 18:19
Univision Interactive Media, NFL Launch New Spanish-Language Web site

Expanding its extant partnership with the National Football League, Univision Interactive Media has launched of w//w.NFL.com/espanol, the new official Spanish-language Web site of the pro football league.
The new site, launched in conjunction with Hispanic Heritage Month, combines the former w//w.NFLatino.com and w//w.nfl.com.mx to provide one destination for Spanish-speaking NFL fans around the world. NFl.com/espanol now provides the most in-depth information on the NFL, and brings Spanish-language video highlights of NFL games to a worldwide audience.

Additionally, the site includes up-to-date stats, exclusive news from around the league, live radio broadcasts, top 10 plays of the week, one-on-one player interviews, an inside look at all 32 NFL teams, and a customized version of Fantasy Football.

Moreover, it also features social media extensions, including Tu Pasión, a section where fans can share their passion for the NFL and their favorite team. Now through Nov. 14, users can participate in the NFL Tu Pasión contest by uploading a video or series of photos expressing their passion for the NFL. Users will vote to select the most passionate fan, who will win a trip for two to Super Bowl XLV in North Texas.
Later this season, fans will also be able to access w//w.NFL.com/espanol (http://www.sat-universe.com/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fw%2F%2Fw.NFL.com%2 Fespanol) the WAP site on their mobile phones.
NFLatino.com had been scoring well with fans, registering triple-digit gains in unique visitors and page views, year to year, with the latter soaring to 9.9 million from 2.8 million, according to league officials.

"We are a leading interactive destination for exclusive, comprehensive sports coverage, and providing this new NFL experience to Latino fans worldwide extends Univision's already strong position in the market," said Kevin Conroy, president, Univision Interactive Media, in announcing the site's launch. "We're working very closely with the NFL to deliver a great experience for our users, while also making it possible for leading advertisers to reach our valuable audience with targeted football content and relevant sports brand messaging that connects them with Hispanic sports fans more than ever before."

"We are pleased to expand our partnership with Univision to bring all of our Spanish-speaking fans around the world the best content available," said Brian Rolapp, senior vice president of NFL digital media and media strategy. "With America's most popular sports league and the country's leading Spanish-language online publisher, fans can look forward to an even more in-depth and interactive experience."

30-09-2010, 18:20
Netflix opens NBC Universal vaults

Netflix and NBC Universal have announced an agreement to stream prior season cable and broadcast TV series to Netflix subscribers. The service is available by subscription with pricing starting at $8.99 (€6.66) a month.
The announcement follows a comment by departing NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker, who told Reuters that the company is not likely to offer its programmes for digital rental on Apple’s iTunes TV rentals service, arguing they are priced too low at 99 cents. “We do not think 99 cents is the right price point for our content. … We thought it would devalue our content,” he said.

The deal includes episodes from every season of NBC’s comedy franchise Saturday Night Live, including day-after broadcast of the upcoming 2010, 2011 and 2012 seasons plus hundreds of episodes from the first 35 years of SNL.

Every episode from the last season of 30 Rock, The Office and Law & Order: SVU, as well as earlier seasons of those shows renewed for streaming from Netflix under the current deal. All prior seasons – and eventually next year’s final season – of Friday Night Lights.

From cable networks, all prior seasons of USA Network hits Psych, In Plain Sight and Monk. More than 75 prior season episodes of Syfy’s Battlestar Galactica, as well as prior seasons of the series’ Destination Truth and Eureka.

30-09-2010, 18:20
Mixed fortunes for Romanian operators

Five companies – Orange, Vodafone, Romtelecom, Cosmote and RCS/RDS – accounted for 90% of revenues derived from telecom and TV services in Romania last year.
According to data sourced from the regulator ANCOM, Finance Ministry and Cosmote and published by ZF, Orange and Vodafone between them accounted for almost half of the total.

However, both saw their shares fall compared with those in 2008: that for Orange was down from 28.05% to 26.10%, while Vodafone saw its slump from 26.05% to 23.20%. Third placed Romtelecom performed better (up from 6.80% to 10.60%), as did RCS/RDS (up from 8.50% to 9.80%). Sixth-placed UPC saw its share fall from 3.05% to 2.90%, while Digital Cable Systems, in eighth place, saw its rise from 0.65% to 0.70%.

The total revenues for the top five companies in 2009 amounted to €4,010 million, a 13% reduction on the previous year. Romtelecom’s was down by 6% to €788 million, while RCS/RDS saw its rise by 1% to €391 million.

30-09-2010, 18:21
Changes loom for Czech DTH market

The Czech DTH market could be about to enter a period of huge change, with the merger of the two leading platforms Skylink and CS Link a possibility.
E15 reports that Media Vision, which is headed by Ivan Zach, is looking into the possibility of selling CS Link, which had 419,000 active smart card holders at the end of 2009 (both CS Link and Sky Link are pre-paid services and occupy the same orbital slot on Astra).

Media Vision posted a loss of nearly CZK70 million (€2.83 million) in the first 11 months of last year and has since consolidated its assets.

One of those assets is the third multiplex, which is operated by the Czech Digital Group (CDG) and is believed to be up for sale and to be attracting interest from both TV Nova and Ceske Radiokomunikace (CRa).

The Czech Republic’s DTH market is currently served by Skylink, CS Link, Digi TV and UPC Direct.

30-09-2010, 18:22
O'Farrell to lead TFO

Canada's TFO has tapped Glenn O'Farrell as its new president and CEO, putting him atop the French-language educational channel and counterpart to TVOntario.

O'Farrell is best known in television circles as the long-time head of the now-defunct Canadian Association of Broadcasters. More recently, his company Media de Novo led a failed bid for permission to insert Canuck ads into American specialty channels such as A&E and TLC.

"TFO is an essential institution for francophone communities throughout Ontario," said O'Farrell in a statement. "It is imperative that we meet the challenges and seize the opportunities presented by the digital media to continue its mission."

O'Farrell takes over for Claudette Paquin.

30-09-2010, 18:23
For Channel 4 News,

Where do you start with a website overhaul? For Channel 4 News, which has spent nine months revamping its web presence, the answer was to distil the show into its "unique points of difference", as its exuberant editor, Jim Gray, puts it. It may not be the biggest bulletin in terms of audience or budget, but those differences – big personality presenters with an often irreverent take, and the in-depth special reports – help it punch above its weight.

Besides displaying improved navigation and a decluttered look, today's £500,000 relaunch reflects a recognition of the limitations of bashing out versions of the same news as every other site. "We've ditched doing short-form news stories," says Ed Fraser, senior editor at C4 News Online. "Trying to cover all the news doesn't work for us – we're working on core area stories, really building as much depth around them as we can."

The online team of 15 includes three reporters on FactCheck, led by political correspondent Cathy Newman, two on the exploratory Who Knows Who site and a new infographic designer. Presenters are expected to blog when on assignment ("Of course they mind – they're being asked to do more," says Fraser) and encouraged to film their own video for the site. Special reports are highlighted in a new section.

With David Abraham, C4's new chief executive, apparently amputating any projects not deemed to be core output, how safe are the show's spin-off websites, such as FactCheck? Gray insists C4's mission is "truly multimedia" – and that C4 News is ahead of the game in making that happen: "The heavily shaped programme at 7pm is core, and a fantastic take on the day's events, investigation, surprise, mischief. But throughout the day the site follows how a story is developing, picks a story apart and projects the value and personalities of our talent."

Unsurprisingly, Twitter has a high profile with every show tweeted live. But the site still doesn't allow you to watch live online, and the 7pm time slot has always been a drawback, Gray admits – "Everyone here watches it at 8pm on C4+1."

30-09-2010, 18:23
Audit of BBC risks political interference by stealthA stitch-up in which the BBC is constrained and its commercial rivals given free rein would be an outrage

Did anyone notice Don Foster using the BBC World Service as an example of how giving the National Audit Office full access to BBC accounts should not hurt editorial independence? Yes, that's the same World Service that could face the axe, according to a leak just two days after the Liberal Democrat culture spokesman's comments to the Guardian. Doesn't bode well for the BBC, does it?

There's been little dissent over plans to give the NAO's value-for-money merchants greater power to investigate how the BBC spends licence fee payers' cash. The BBC Trust, whose chairman, Sir Michael Lyons, has just announced he's had enough, certainly agrees with it. BBC management simply shrugged that they are typically subjected to two significant spending reviews by the NAO a year.

In principle, they're right. Greater transparency and accountability is always a good thing, especially for an organisation so much in the firing line over its spending. Yet there are two very real dangers in this move. The first is the threat to editorial independence. Giving a separate body that reports to parliament the right to crawl all over its accounts and staff contracts does not scream independence to me. The trust's view is that the move poses no threat . Even the first part of that sentence is not a done deal and the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee, to which the NAO usually reports, is already complaining about any possible changes to this arrangement.

The second danger is the government's apparent willingness to change the BBC's governance structure by stealth. It's unacceptable to stick one bit of the policy – NAO oversight – in the coalition agreement and make the Lib Dem beard stand up for it. The issue of BBC governance should not be decided in this piecemeal and confused way. Does the NAO move really fit with clause seven of the BBC charter, which states the trust has "general oversight of the work of the executive board", for example? And how about the much-discussed desire for a non-executive chairman? If there is one and they can appoint the next director general (what most non-exec chairmen do, after all), isn't that a contravention of the charter, which vests that power in the trust chairman? See how tangled it is once just a couple of questions are asked.

Given the number of PSB reviews we've recently endured, there's an understandable reluctance to have another. But the BBC deserves more clarity ahead of a communications act expected in 2012. It's not enough to point to forthcoming licence fee negotiations if they start after most of the changes have been made. Especially if they're made while the BBC is without an effective chairman.

A stitch-up in which the BBC is constrained and its commercial rivals given free rein would be an outrage, not least because we could have seen it coming. Witness all the soothing words on how hard it is for ITV, given falling ad revenues, and politicians' lack of interest in whether the UK's largest newspaper group should take full control of its largest subscription-funded broadcaster. Jeremy Hunt, the most obviously ambitious and well-thought-of culture secretary there's been for a while, would win enough brownie points for a big promotion if he were to oversee savage public spending cuts (goodbye hundreds of media and arts organisations) and leave a weakened BBC. Especially if he can do so by stealth and without getting into much of a public spat. The question is, should we let him?

30-09-2010, 18:24
Why children's television has to rely on merchandising dealsAs the BBC celebrates 60 years of television shows for children, the genre faces a funding dilemma

In the Night Garden, currently the BBC's biggest children's brand. Photograph: BBC

Once upon a time, 60 years ago, the BBC children's department was born. From the appointment of Freda Lingstrom in 1950, the department aired the first "children's variety programme", Whirlygig, and continued to flourish with Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men, Crackerjack and the ground-breaking Grange Hill.

Anniversary celebrations take place in a radically different world. Today there are 31 digital children's TV channels and related merchandise is a multi-million pound business. With other broadcasters increasingly avoiding the genre for more ad-friendly fare, one of the leading children's programmes, Milkshake, has just been taken over by the same company that makes adult TV shows such as Wobbling Whoppers 2. There has been a question mark over the award-winning series since Richard Desmond bought Channel 5 this summer and it emerged that its children's TV shows, such as Peppa Pig, would be produced in the same building as his adult channels.

Junk food advertising

A number of events over the last five years have conspired to squeeze children's television, however. Advertising revenue was affected following the regulator Ofcom's decision in 2006 to ban junk food advertising around children's programmes.

ITV1's commercially driven decision to banish such shows to the digital channel CITV over the last two years and replace them with higher-rating repeats of dramas such as Midsomer Murders has hit the sector – it has lost eight hours a week on a mainstream channel.

Richard Hollis, BBC Worldwide's UK licensing boss, is reasonably upbeat and says it has been a difficult year because of the recession, exchange rates and increased labour prices in the Far East. Yet with parents "reluctant to deny their children", the sector can "transcend difficult times", he believes.

While it is easy to reminisce about gentler times, if you wallow in nostalgia via YouTube you will notice that children's programmes today generally have higher production values, not to mention less wobbly sets. Joe Godwin, BBC director of children's TV, warns: "The golden age thing is psychological. Things have changed. In 1950 when the department started there was Watch with Mother, no BBC2, no weekend children's shows."

He adds: "The ethos in creating BBC Children's [as the department is now called] was to recognise children are different to other viewers, and the ambition was to create a miniature TV schedule to represent all genres." Those founding principles remain but Godwin points out: "What's changed is the amount of money we spend on it and the other thing is the quality. Children watch a lot of primetime stuff and family entertainment – you can't get away with cardboard props any more. I think we're still doing the same thing with the same ethos but doing it better."

The BBC has two dedicated digital children's channels, CBeebies (for 0-6 year olds) and CBBC (for older children), which have around 4.5 million and 2.9 million weekly viewers, respectively.

Many of its shows are made by independent producers, rather than in-house, after the "window of creative competition" was introduced four years ago to open up slots to non-BBC companies – which inevitably led to staff cuts in BBC Children's.

Perhaps the biggest change, according to industry experts, is that most companies that focus on making children's shows have to bring in co-production cash or, increasingly, rely on revenue from licensing. Andrew Carley, the head of licensing at Entertainment One, which distributes Peppa Pig and Ben and Holly's Little Kingdom, says the market has changed within the last three to five years because of the advertising downturn and economic climate. "Licensing is a very significant part of television as a whole. When we're looking at new shows, it can be difficult to work out how to finance them if there's not the licensing component because there's so little money from the broadcasters."

While they may be bad news for parents who dread the "pester power" factor, DVDs, books, branded clothes and, above all, toys can ensure a programme's future. Although the figure for children's merchandising is not split out, the global TV brand licensing industry is worth $191bn.

Carley says: "The licensing can almost be the crux of justifying new episodes. It can justify a new series. You could argue that that's slightly worrying. But it's the reality of the market." CBeebies and CBBC cost about £26m and £50m a year. He adds: "In the short term I don't see anything changing. I see the reliance on licensing growing as advertising revenue falls."

Peppa Pig is shown in about 180 countries. It has earned £100m in retail sales in the UK since it was launched by its creators, Neville Astley and Mark Baker, in 2005, and Carley reckons that will rise to £150m. However, he warns that trying to make a show "vanilla-like" so it ticks all the right boxes to make it a brand that can be easily licensed can result in a flop.

Although In the Night Garden is the BBC's biggest current children's brand, its creator, Andrew Davenport, says the show reflects the "Reithian principles of inform, educate and entertain." Made by the independent production company Ragdoll, it has cost £14.5m for 100 half-hour episodes, making it the most expensive children's programme commissioned and co-funded by the BBC. It is now coming to an end.

Davenport says that "as far as it goes in that format that's it for Night Garden", but there may be "some other types of broadcast", such as TV one-offs. Already about 1m Night Garden DVDs have been sold and 4m toys, with a dancing Igglepiggle doll crowned the must-have toy of 2007. Has the show been a victim of its own success?

Davenport is the keynote speaker this week at the licensing conference Brand Licensing Europe 2010, and makes no apologies for the popularity of Night Garden's spin-offs, which now include an acclaimed live show.

Hollis says it was the popularity of the children's drama Doctor Who that led to the creation of a licensing outfit for BBC shows "on the back of the Dalek craze" – the first toys were Daleks. "People think it's new. But we've had successful licensing for years. It was set up in 1964. In fact there have been licensed products since Watch with Mother and Bill and Ben in the 1950s. The secret is to get the essence of a programme into the product."

Increasing investment

At Channel 5, Desmond has hinted at increasing investment in children's programmes and Carley says: "As far as we are concerned they are committed to it and to Peppa and Ben and Holly." Both shows are in the middle of contracts with the broadcaster. Carley will not reveal how long they have to run but 78 episodes of Peppa Pig – three series' worth – have already aired and 209 will have been delivered to Channel 5 by 2012.

Although a window on one of the main channels is usually key to ensuring that buyers continue to snap up brand-related merchandise, the internet has changed the way children consume TV. Witness the success of Club Penguin, Disney's online game and community.

Amid the turbulence in children's television, there is some good news. The BBC's strategic review, unveiled earlier this year, announced that it will increase its budget for UK-produced programming for children by £10m a year from 2013.

Meanwhile the BBC children's department is about to begin a new chapter in Salford at the £600m MediaCity:UK. Godwin, who is moving to Salford, says: "It's hard for some people who aren't able to move, but I think that from the audience's point of view the move to Salford will be a wholly positive experience. It gives us a real opportunity to reinvent our tone of voice and work with new partners."

But, with just 31% of the children's department choosing to move, the knock-on effect of such a loss of experience is yet to be felt.

30-09-2010, 18:25
James Murdoch's Sky scraperWhat does this building say about BSkyB? James Murdoch gives Jonathan Glancey an exclusive view of his first big architectural commission: a colossal TV factory

Sky palace ... BSkyB's new broadcast centre.

'It's not meant to be pretty," says James Murdoch, chairman of BSkyB, of its new broadcasting centre. This might seem an odd thing to say about the first building BSkyB has commissioned, yet this steel and glass colossus – rising from the heart of BSkyB's jumble of buildings at Osterley, on the Heathrow flight path – is no conventional beauty. In fact, Harlequin 1, a colourful and even comic name for a decidedly serious building, has the look of some futuristic power station: a strange way, perhaps, to express BSkyB's corporate values.

As Murdoch, lean, personable and surprisingly ruminative, emerges from the long shadow of his father Rupert, you might expect to find him and his bright young staff (average age: 27) plotting an expanding empire from some racy new structure designed by Rem Koolhaas or Zaha Hadid. But I get the impression that BSkyB has grown so quickly that, until now, there has been no time for the luxury of architecture.

Founded in 1990, the company's turnover has grown from £93m in 1991 to £5.4bn last year. It now employs 16,500 full-time staff up and down the country, and broadcasts 26 Sky channels. As it's grown, its Osterley base has sprawled out into a ragbag of old industrial sheds and rental offices. The company itself doesn't even seem to take these buildings seriously: in the lobby of the head office, larger-than-life Simpsons mannequins sprawl on a sofa.

"It's very dangerous when companies start building," Murdoch says. It's a curious notion, yet one that makes sense for a business that still has the feel of a muscular young streetfighter looking to take on all comers – rather than that of a long-established and self-consciously cultured set-up like the BBC, whose Broadcasting House looks like an art deco ocean liner carved in stone. "We don't want to build monuments," says Murdoch, "but we've tried to ask what would be the building Sky would build?"

And the £130m Harlequin 1 is the answer: a vast glazed steel box, interrupted by towering columns that prove to be chimneys removing hot and stale air from studios and editing suites. Clearly, Harlequin 1 is not meant to be a contemporary version of the BBC's elegant Broadcasting House. No: with its factory-like bulk, its sleek cladding and forest of chimneys, it's a refined brute of a building. As for its green credentials, it boasts the world's first naturally ventilated recording studios and, despite its scale, daylight and fresh air reach virtually every workspace.

"We've lived in a Portakabin world as we've grown," says Jeremy Darroch, BSkyB's chief executive, sitting alongside James Murdoch. "No, we haven't been after a 'great' building, but one that allows us to change and grow and move on. Harlequin 1 is a factory where we can make and record programmes, edit them and broadcast them under a single roof. It's got eight flexible studios, so we can experiment as we move forward. We've come a long way from the BSkyB people once seemed to associate solely with TV in pubs."

"We're young, slightly raw, dynamic," adds Murdoch. "But we also put out a greater coverage of the arts on Sky than the entire BBC."

As I walk into the lobby with architect Declan O'Carroll of Arup Associates, the building begins to make sense, especially in terms of how Murdoch and Darroch pitch BSkyB. Although essentially hard-edged, Harlequin 1 manages to be both dynamic and even tasteful. A striking black steel stair climbs up to a glazed roof, far above. One wall is sheathed in polished plaster: a crafted and, dare I say it, luxurious touch. Another wall, glazed, offers glimpses of the distant West End, and of jets making their final approach to Heathrow. It's like having a ringside seat at an aerial parade.

The lobby stair leads to cafes and "break-out" spaces for informal meetings, all sharing these panoramas. This part of the building, the place where it relaxes and puts its feet up, is housed in a cantilevered steel and glass tower that seems to be breaking away from the main structure. It promises to be a lively, attractive spot when Harlequin 1 goes live next year, ahead of schedule and £5m under budget.

"The building really is a big machine," says O'Carroll, as we take an exhaustive tour. The eight studios are cave-like spaces fronted by huge sliding steel doors. The Sky Sports studio sits at its heart: set behind clear glass screens, it will be on view to the public as they tour Harlequin 1. "We definitely want people to come and see us," says Murdoch. "We're not trying to hide out in the boondocks. We're already involved with local schools and the community. We want Harlequin 1 to be somewhere people feel they are a part of."

It is not hard to see how this mighty machine would be fun to work in. Part ocean freighter, part James Bond set, part Darth Vader battleship, it will suit a young, creative and energetic staff, the kind of people who find slick, corporate headquarters alien. Corridors loop around each floor like giant racetracks making everything easy to find, while floors are raised up on steel props to accommodate 50km of cabling. There is little in the way of plush carpets, exotic veneers and plump armchairs, yet the building is anything but unfriendly. "Wherever possible," says O'Carroll, "people work around the perimeter. Here, they have real control over their environment: opening windows, daylight, views . . ."

This might sound obvious, but all too many people work in buildings where they have little control over how hot or cold, bright or dark, humid or dry it is. "Energy costs should be a third less than a conventional building of this kind," says O'Carroll, on the benefits of those chimneys. "The aim has been to create a carbon-neutral design. No one pretends this is easy, and of course the cooling and ventilation system has a back-up, in case it gets stifling."

If planning permission comes through, Harlequin 1 will be topped with a wind turbine on its west side. Meanwhile, rainwater will flush toilets, and a wood-chip burner will fuel the cooling and heating systems. It all adds up to one very big green machine – or at least as green a machine as something of this size can be. But creating an environmentally friendly building was not Murdoch's only concern: "The question of how you reconcile an increasingly digital world with a real world is so important. In the end, we're producing a stream of ones and zeros beamed out to satellites and back to TVs, laptops and mobiles, but I've wanted to get something of the feeling newspapers once had."

Murdoch enthuses about the days when newspaper buildings were great story-weaving machines: the chipping of typewriters, the calls for copy, the whisky bottles. "And the way," he beams, "complete buildings used to rumble and sway as the presses rolled. I want our staff to share that kind of excitement, but brought up to date."

Murdoch is also busy with the redevelopment of News International's Fortress Wapping (a nickname he bridles at), which is to be transformed by adventurous new architecture, currently under wraps. As the rest of the BSkyB campus at Osterley is transformed, and as BSkyB matures, I hope Murdoch and his team will learn to relax with architecture. Had they done so earlier, they might have encouraged their architects to give Harlequin 1 a little more urban drama. Yes, this new broadcasting centre is an impressive beast, but if only those chimneys had been more forcefully expressed, if only those facades hadn't been so relentlessly smooth.

As I leave, Murdoch asks if the Guardian's conference room at its newish King's Place HQ really does have beanbags for staff to flop on. Sadly, no. But it does have a giant yellow sofa: Homer Simpson would approve. Harlequin 1 might be hard-edged and modern, yet, in its own dynamic, digital way it has a lot in common with the mighty media works of yore. As Murdoch says, it's "not fancy, not slick – it's there to show what it does, and not to show off".

30-09-2010, 18:26
Should Murd/och be granted all of BSkyB?

Media Studies: I can't see a commercial case for blocking this deal, but I can, paradoxically, see a political one

*Rup/ert* Murd*och has become a hate figure for the Left again. In the long years of his loyal support for New Labour, only the real Left bothered about him. Now that his papers have switched their support to the Tories, Mr Murd/och has once more become persona non grata on the soft Left and in most progressive circles.

The issue galvanising his opponents is Murdoch's proposed takeover of BSkyB. This group includes The Guardian, The Observer, The Financial Times, Will Hutton, Lord Puttnam, a media analyst called Claire Enders and just about every right-thinking person from Land's End to John o'Groats. These people drew much encouragement from Vince Cable's assault last week on monopolistic capitalism.
It is Mr Cable who will soon decide whether or not to refer the takeover to Ofcom.

Mr Murd/och's critics have a point, of course. But much of the opposition is driven by atavistic hatreds rather than rational thinking. It is said that ownership of BSkyB would give the media mogul dominant power. There has been colourful, if somewhat wild, talk of a "Berlusconi moment". But no one has properly explained how owning the satellite broadcasting company would give more power to Mr Murd*och than he already enjoys by controlling it.

He has controlled BSkyB since he merged Sky TV with its failing satellite competitor BSB in 1990. The losses of Sky had nearly finished *Rup/ert* Murdoch off, and the new company was a highly risky proposition. He installed a tough Australian called Sam Chisholm as chief executive, and by March 1992 BSkyB was making an operating profit. In May of that year it signed an exclusive pay-TV deal with the Premier League which has transformed English football. BSkyB has been shaped and run by Murd*och and his lieutenants. His son James is its current executive chairman.

Why, then, does Rup*ert want to increase his holding from a controlling 38 per cent to 100 per cent? The obvious answer is that he would make a lot more money. BSkyB is generating fabulous profits which are likely to increase over the coming years. Better to have all of those rather than just over a third.

Mr Murd*och's critics say there is more to it than that. They speak of "bundles" which would force advertisers to buy advertising in the Murdoch-owned Sun and BSkyB at the same time. (Actually, conditional advertising is illegal.) They suggest that BSkyB subscribers might be offered online versions of The Sun and the Murdoch-owned Times which could greatly increase the reach of those papers. (They are nearly 10 million BSkyB subscribers.) Various other tie-ups between the satellite broadcaster and Murdoch's national newspapers are mooted.

Yet no one has explained to my satisfaction why Murd*och could not do these things at the moment if he wanted to. Why should there be any practical distinction between controlling BSkyB and owning it? After all, *Rup/ert* Murd*och does not own News Corp, the media conglomerate referred to as "the Murd*och Empire". He and his family speak for some 30 per cent of News Corps shares, and yet Mr Murdoch controls and runs the company almost as though it were his own. Why should BSkyB be any different?

You will see I am sceptical about the arguments – or perhaps I should say the absence of them – put forward by Rup*ert Murd*och's critics. Of course his media interests are already powerful in this country, almost certainly too much so, but it is not at all clear how acquiring the whole of BSkyB is going to make much, if any, difference. Remember, too, that Mr Murd*och is 80 next March, and not immortal. I should be surprised if his successor, presumably James, who unlike his father is not a proper newspaperman, wanted to retain The Times and The Sunday Times, which in the year to March 2010 lost an amazing £87.8 million.

I can't see a commercial case for blocking this deal. (It will also be considered by EU authorities, who are thought unlikely to oppose it on competition grounds.) But I can, paradoxically, see a political case. There is a widespread, possibly false, suspicion that David Cameron made a Faustian pact with Rup*ert Murd*och dating back to August 2008. Mr Cameron had striven to win the support of James, but Rup*ert, who had a soft spot for Gordon Brown, as he had had for Tony Blair, was for a long time resistant. In the end, of course, the Murdoch Press dumped Mr Brown in September 2009, and embraced the Tories with the same fervour it had once shown for New Labour.

Some people have suggested that Vince Cable – not a natural admirer of *Rup/ert* Murdoch's, and now a declared enemy of monopolistic capitalism – might instinctively wish to refer the takeover to Ofcom, but is being leant on by Mr Cameron. The Prime Minister may feel that the Government has to honour a pact with the media tycoon.

But the best way of showing that there was, in fact, no pact – or, if there was, that it has been disavowed – would be to make a referral. It need not necessarily lead to the takeover being blocked. It would triumphantly establish David Cameron's, and the Coalition's, independence. No referral, and the Prime Minister will be dogged for ever with accusations that a dirty deal was done between him and a foreign-based media tycoon.

30-09-2010, 18:27
Saudi bloggers off the hook

Saudi officials have denied that bloggers and web forums will be forced to register under a new electronic media law, after remarks by ministry of information domestic media supervisor Abdulrahman al-Hazzaa sparked anger among Saudi internet users, prompting hundreds of Twitter and Facebook users to complain about government media controls.

Hazzaa claimed remarks he made on Al-Arabiya television about registering blogs were misunderstood, and that this would only be voluntary. He also confirmed that the new law would require online news sites to be registered.

30-09-2010, 18:28
Free and SFR add new channels

In France, both Freebox TV and Neufbox TV are adding new channels to their IPTV line up, the operators have announced. Bouygues Telecom is adding widgets to its Bbox.
Free is adding a ‘pack Arabia’ with five channels for €5,99 a month comprising of Melody Aflam, Melody Drama, Moga Comedy, Al Hayat TV and Al Aan TV. The operator is also bringiung three new channels to its basic bouquet, , a lifestyle channel for men and two regional broadcasters, Calaisis TV (for the region of Calais) and TéléMiroir (for the region around Nîmes and the Camargue).

Neuf is adding four channels to its entry-level bouquet, Men’s Up TV, 0Five.TV, a multicultural music channel, and the regional channels Calaisis TV and Mirabelle TV (for Lorraine).

In addition, the gay channel X-Man is added as an option, available at €9.00 per month; or in combination with Pink TV for €13.00 monthly.

30-09-2010, 18:28
Moldovan TV comes under spotlight

The arrest of a leading Romanian media mogul earlier this month may have implications on the TV industry in neighbouring Moldova.
According to Financiarul, Sorin Ovidiu Vintu could be forced to sell the Publika TV station, which is based in Chisinau, for €7 milion.

The buyer of the station, which is reported to have cost €4.8 million in set up but is losing money, would be the Moldovan entrepreneur Vladimir Plahotniuc.

Vintu was arrested earlier this month but subsequently released. He has been accused over the flight of another entrepreneur (Nicolae Popa) from Romania but says his arrest was politically motivated.

Vintu’s interests in Romania include the Realitatea Media group.

30-09-2010, 18:29
Triax brings hybrid Videoweb to Austria

The Danish Triax group has announced it will sell the hybrid VideoWeb satellite receiver in Austria under its own brand. The Triax Hybrid 600S receiver incorporates a satellite tuner, a CI slot and access to the VideoWeb portal.

The German, Karlsruhe-based firm VideoWeb has so far sold its hybrid receivers only on the German market. The company also offers a dedicated VideoWeb portal for easy access to various video websites, including VOD from pubic and private broadcasters.

With the entry in the Austrian market, VideoWeb is also introducing a special Austrian window on the portal pointing viewers to the various Austrian sites and services. The number of sites will grow, according to the company.

The VideoWeb 600S model has been modified for the Austrian market, including the dedicated portal as well as a built-in CI slot, which makes it compatible with the Austrian ORF DTH service and possibly the new AustriaSat DTH bouquet, which works with the same Irdeto Cryptoworks smart card.

30-09-2010, 18:30
Panasonic add smaller screen VT20 3D Plasma TVs

Joining the leviathan TX-P65VT20 and TX-P50VT20, Panasonic have added 42in and 46in versions of their acclaimed VT20 3D enabled Plasma TVs.

The new screens get the benefit of Panasonic's high speed 3D drive technology as well as 600Hz sub field drive and Pseudo 2D -3D conversion.

All of Panasonic's 3D enabled range come with built-in Freesat and Freeview HD tuners along with 4 HDMIs an SD card slot and 2 USBs. Interestingly, via one of the USB ports you can copy Standard or High Definition programmes (although not via the analogue tuner) to an HDD between 160GB and 2TB. Unfortunately you can't use a memory stick and recordings can only be played back on the TV you made the recording.

While there has been no confirmation from either party, 'High Contrast Filter Pro' is rumoured to have its origins in a collaborative effort between Panasonic and Pioneer AV engineers. The technology has been designed to enhance contrast in brighter environments. THX certification (a guarantee of colour fidelity) adds to the appeal of the new screens.

Elsewhere, the LAN port gives you access to Panasonic's 'Viera Cast' service with the likes of YouTube and 'Skype' and also enables file streaming from a DLNA-capable PC. An optional USB dongle gives you the opportunity of substituting the hard wired LAN connection for Wi-fi.

While 3D has not been the roaring success manufacturers have hoped for, Panasonic are confident that their new 3D enabled screens will prove attractive simply because of their 2D ability. Early indications suggest that the latest generation NeoPDP screens could make strong claims to be the best TVs around.

30-09-2010, 18:31
Veebeam: Wireless USB set-top media magic

Veebeam have come up with a novel idea to play content from your computer on your television. Instead of streaming individual files over your local area network (like almost every other media set-top box in the world), it simply sends your entire desktop.

That’s right – rather than worrying about codecs and file formats, Veebeam decided to skip the complex bit. Instead, it just take your computer’s video and sound output and send them via Wireless USB to a set top box, plugged into your home media set-up. And it’ll do it in 1080p HD, too.

This means that it’ll be the most compatible set-top box in the world. It’ll play BBC iPlayer, YouTube, and all your illegal movie streaming sites, as well as downloaded video and personal photos. Anything your computer can display will be faithfully reproduced on the TV.

The software features two modes, “Screencasting’”, for sharing websites or photos, and “Play-To” mode, which should allow you to send video to the Veebeam while still being able to use the computer for more sensible, less-media interested purposes.

While this sounds like an extremely promising proposition, the problem is with Wireless USB. The technology, with a maximum bandwidth of 480Mbit/s at three metres, hasn’t really lived up to its billing in consumer appliances.

With that kind of bandwidth, it should be able to send up to 30 HD video streams at the same time. As Engadget has shown, however, previous Wireless USB devices have struggled at pushing 720p across a living room.

We’d wait for a review before purchase, although prices start at an almost-worth-the-gamble £99.

30-09-2010, 18:32
Univisa launched its pre-paid service in Ecuador

The Ecuadorian MMDS operator Univisa launched a three-card pre-paid service that enables users to control expenses without executing any contract. In order to activate the service, clients must buy a USD 79 device that provides access to 38 channels.

The aforementioned initiative is part of the operator's relaunching campaign. The first pre-paid month is free of charge. According to El Comercio newspaper, recharge cards range from USD 5 for seven-day service to USD 10 for fifteen-day service and USD 20 for a month service.

Univisa renders pay-TV services in the cities of Guayaquil, Quito, Milagro, Manta, Portoviejo and Cuenca. According to Ecuador Telecommunications Superintendence, upon the first 2010 semester closing, the company recorded over 26,000 subscribers. Digital TV is offered with Kaon STBs and Irdeto CAS. DirecTV, TV Cable and Telmex compete in the Ecuadorian market.

30-09-2010, 18:32
German and Austrian regulators look into catch-up TV venture

The European Commission has referred the planned online joint venture between German broadcasters ProSiebenSat.1 and RTL to the German and Austrian competition authorities at their request.

The purpose of the joint venture is to create a common catch-up TV internet platform, where viewers can see programmes on demand up to seven days after broadcast on free-to-air TV. After a preliminary investigation, the Commission found that the proposed transaction would affect competition in national online TV and advertising markets in Austria and Germany. These markets will now be examined by the Austrian and German competition authorities under national law.

The Commission’s investigation confirmed that the proposed transaction would affect competition in the national markets for online “catch-up” TV and advertising in Austria and Germany. The Austrian Bundeswettbewerbsbehörde and German Bundeskartellamt will now investigate the effect of the joint venture on their respective national markets.

30-09-2010, 18:33
Vivendi steps back from NBC

Vivendi has begun its withdrawal from NBC Universal, selling an initial tranche of its 20% holding to General Electric for $2 billion. In accordance with its late 2009 agreement Vivendi will sell its remaining 12.34% in NBC to General Electric for $3.8 billion once the sale of the TV group to Comcast has been completed.

Separately, it has been announced that Stephen Burke will takeover from Jeff Zucker as President and CEO of NBC Universal once the acquisition of 51% in NBC has been completed by the US cableco.

Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said, “Steve Burke is an experienced, talented and visionary leader with over 25 years in the media and entertainment industry. Steve is one of the most well-respected executives in the industry, and I am confident that he will lead NBCU forward to a new era of growth.”

52-year-old Burke Comcast in 1998 as president of Comcast Cable. He also has been president of ABC Broadcasting and president and COO of Euro Disney SA.

30-09-2010, 18:34
Advertisers’ trade body joins YouView complainants

UK advertisers’ trade body ISBA has joined the list of companies that have asked Ofcom to investigate YouView, the BBC-led connected TV initiative previously known as Project Canvas.

The ISBA has raised concerns about the role of the BBC Trust in overseeing the project, and said that Ofcom should consider examining YouView because the Trust’s examination of a project that would include advertising on it was not sufficient.
Unlike other companies that have lodged complaints, including Virgin Media, the ISBA has not said whether or not it regards YouView as having a positive or negative impact.

The ISBA had previously responded to the public consultation on Canvas by arguing for an open-source, open-access commercial counterbalance to the BBC’s popular iPlayer on-demand catch-up service. ISBA director of media and advertising Bob Wootton also made a statement in May arguing that oversight should include Ofcom and not be left to the BBC Trust alone. “It has become clear to us that the BBC Trust is not the appropriate body to oversee Project Canvas which as well as delivering public service broadcasting will provide much commercial content and opportunity too,” he said.

While Ofcom originally said it would respond to Virgin Media’s complaint within eight weeks, the subsequent submissions have delayed this, with a ruling now expected in October.

30-09-2010, 18:35
Vivendi sells part of NBC Universal stake

French media conglomerate Vivendi has sold 7.66% of its stake in US broadcast group NBC Universal to General Electric for US$2bn (€1.5bn).

This initial sale of part of its 20% stake in the US company, which operates the US network NBC and production and distribution companies, comes as part of an agreement that the companies set out in 2009. It will sell the remaining 12% for US$3.8bn after the completion of GE's deal with Comcast, which is in the process of taking over the company. Vivendi is expected to use the cash to acquire the remaining shares in local telco SFR that it currently does not own.

30-09-2010, 18:36
New HD sports channel for Russia

Russian broadcaster RTR has launched a new HD version of its sports channel, Sport1 HD, and has struck carriage deals with service providers Akado and VimpelCom.

The channel, for which RTR hopes to have an audience of 10 million people by the end of the year, will offer, amongst other things, English Premier League football for the next three seasons and coverage of the English FA Cup.

VimpelCom will carry the channel as part of its Beeline TV service in trial mode, available to all until the end of the month, while Akado is offering the standard-definition version of the channel free-to-air until the end of the year, after which it will be included in the Moscow operator’s sport package, and the HD version free to HD subscribers for the next two weeks, after which it will be offered à la carte.

30-09-2010, 18:37
VimpelCom strikes deal for Warner on-demand content

Russian telco VimpelCom, which operates under the Beeline brand, has struck a deal with Warner Bros Digital Distribution to distribute Warner’s on-demand content.

The deal will enable Beeline VOD users to view new movies including Clash of the Titans and Valentine’s Day for RUB75 (€1.80) each, and older films including The Matrix, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for RUB50.

30-09-2010, 18:37
Telemach begins offering Pink channels

Slovenian cable operator Telemach, owned by Mid-Europa Partners, has begun offering a package of channels from Serbian broadcaster Pink on its network.

Telemach is offering four channels from Pink: Pink Plus, Pink Extra, Pink Film and Pink Folk.

30-09-2010, 18:38
Comstar shareholders approve Svyazinvest stake sale conditions

Russian service provider Comstar-UTS’s shareholders have approved additional conditions to its agreement to sell a 25% plus one share stake in Svyazinvest to Rostelecom.

An EGM of Comstar shareholders approved a supplementary agreement to the sale and a series of related transactions reflecting the interdependence of the sale of shares in Svyazinvest and the closing of a share-swap agreement of Moscow city network provider MGTS and internet service provider SkyLink, entered into between Svyazinvest and Comstar’s owner Sistema’s Sistem-Inventure arm.

In May, Comstar, MGTS and Rostelecom agreed the sale of Comstar’s stake in Svyazinvest for RUB26bn (€630m). The closing of that transaction is not subject to conditions including the swap of Svyazinvest’s stake in MGTS for Sistema-Inventure’s stake in SkyLink.

30-09-2010, 18:39
Lattelecom adds new channels

Latvian telco Lattelecom has added 10 new channels to its digital-terrestrial TV platform, taking the total channels available to 43.

The new channels include Sony Entertainment Television (currently exclusive to Lattelecom TV), Nickelodeon, Playhouse Disney/Boomerang, JimJam, Travel Channel, Discovery Science, Discovery Travel and Living, Discovery World, TV21 and VH1 Europe.

Lattelecom is now offering a free package of four national channels, a basic pack of 18 channels, a kids and young people package of six channels, and adventure and science pack of nine channels and a movies and entertainment pack of nine channels. Discovery HD Showcase is also available in the Riga region.

30-09-2010, 18:40
Local TV panel 'to question Hunt's plans'

The advisory panel investigating local television in the UK for culture secretary Jeremy Hunt is reportedly ready to question the feasibility of his plans for the sector.

In June, Lazards head of UK investment banking Nicholas Shott was appointed to head the panel tasked with looking at ways to invigorate Britain's local TV services.

According to The Guardian, Shott's interim report will warn Hunt that advertising revenue alone will not be enough to support the minister's planned network of up to 80 local TV stations.

The report will also warn that nationwide coverage for local TV will only be truly viable after the rollout of cost effective IPTV networks.

Despite the warnings, Hunt is expected to forge ahead with his local TV plans when he responds to the report's findings tomorrow morning at a Royal Television Society conference. It is thought that he will announce a green paper to move the project forward.

Hunt is hoping that the government will be able to start licensing the next generation of local TV operators by summer 2011 towards the aim of having up to 20 stations running by the next general election in 2015.

However, many industry experts echo Shott's interim conclusions that the approach may not be financially viable under the currently turbulent advertising market.

Earlier in September, media consultant and Shott panel members Claire Enders claimed that there are "long intractable issues" with Hunt's local TV plans.

She said that a major issue facing local TV is that the UK's conurbations "are not appropriate for local television, they are not big enough".

Campaign group United For Local Television has previously argued that local TV services should be delivered under a unified Channel 6 branding and given spectrum on digital terrestrial television.

30-09-2010, 18:42
ITV takes down famous Granada TV sign

ITV has removed the famous Granada TV sign from the roof of its Quay Street studios due to safety concerns, but the move has been met with outrage among supporters.

The red-lettered, illuminated sign was taken down on Saturday afternoon after more than 50 years as a fixture on the Manchester skyline.

The change was announced on the Granada Reports Facebook page after the sign had already been removed from the building.

An ITV spokesman was quoted as saying: "During routine maintenance of the Quay Street building the roof signage and its fixtures were found to be extensively corroded. As a result, the signs have been taken down for health and safety reasons."

The broadcaster has also released a timelapse video featuring the sign being taken down letter-by-letter from the building.

However, the removal, which went ahead with no advance public warning, was met with anger on the Granada Reports Facebook page.

Forum member Louis Barfe said: "Vandalism, pure and simple. The main office block's a fairly ugly old pile, and that sign and the recently-removed lattice tower were the only things that made it memorable.

"Coming into Manchester on the train on a winter's evening, and seeing that expanse of illuminated red, never failed to give me a warm glow."

Fellow member Cam Corder added: "People of Granadaland should protest to ITV and demand that the Granada Logo is replaced. It is now part of our northern identity and separate from the Southern Elite.

"And Granada should keep its logo after all the programmes it makes instead of the awful ITV Studios Logo. It was bad enough when they removed the aerial..."

30-09-2010, 18:43
Channel 4 News launches new look website

Channel 4 News has today relaunched its website, featuring live blogs and video content for mobile devices.

Over the past eight months, Brighton-based web design agency Clearleft has been working with Channel 4 News to ensure the new site "exudes the core values of the programme".

The redesigned site sees the online news team focus on more extensively covering its core area stories rather than attempting to cover every single short-form news story of the day.

Building on the success of live-blogging events such as Channel 4's Ask the Chancellors and the general election debates, the 7pm daily bulletin will now be live-blogged every evening.

The new site will also bring together Twitter feeds from presenters Jon Snow and Krishnan Guru Murthy, as well as specialist editors including Lindsey Hilsum, Faisal Islam and Gary Gibbon.

The site launches with a new blog from Guru Murthy, titled GuruBlog, which will cover the news issues of the day, along with music, technology and other areas.

To mark the launch, Channel 4 News is searching for the UK's 'Best Young Blogger' in a contest judged by Jon Snow, broadcaster Richard Bacon, political commentator Iain Dale and Guardian journalist Josh Halliday. The winner's work will be posted on the Channel 4 News site alongside the more famous bloggers.

Another new feature on the site is Special Reports, featuring in-depth reporting and analysis from across the Channel 4 News team.

The site has further undergone technical enhancements, including a "far greater focus" on information graphics, starting with a map scaling the sexual abuse convictions within the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

Using the BrightCove5 video playback system, the site will bring video content to iPad, iPhone and Android 2.2. However, users are still unable to access a live stream of the 7pm bulletin.

"We know that our viewers strongly identify with some of the core values of our programme - they see Channel 4 News as challenging, distinctive and, at times, a little bit mischievous. What we wanted to do was ensure that these defining characteristics also shape our online output," said Vicky Taylor, Channel 4's commissioning editor for new media, news and current affairs.

"The new site celebrates our wealth of in-depth coverage in specialist areas ranging from Iran to G20 - and offers the same real-time commentary that people are currently accessing through our social media activity."

Channel 4 News Online senior editor Ed Fraser added: "We want to create a real time conversation and buzz around the Channel 4 News programme.

"We saw quite clearly that people enjoyed the community feel of commenting on and discussing news events as they unfolded during the general election - and that, for these, people live-blogging was enhancing the viewing experience. It was so successful that now we will be providing the forum for live discussion every night."

Alongside the new sections, many of the site's most popular features remain available, including political correspondent Cathy Newman's FactCheck blog, the WhoKnowsWho map of links between people in the public eye and Jon Snow's early evening Snowmail.

30-09-2010, 18:44
Saban gives Power Rangers a Samurai twist ahead of relaunch

More details are emerging of the new Power Rangers series, the first to be produced since Haim Saban's Saban Brands re-acquired the property earlier this year.

Two new twenty episode series are in production for Nickelodeon in the US. The first will have a Samurai theme and follow three young Rangers who, with the help of their Samurai mentor, take on the Samurai Power Rangers' mortal enemy Master Xandred.

Having been acquired by Disney as part of the Fox Family deal, the show has remained in production but has had nowhere near the profile it had in the 1990s when Saban originally launched it. Original producer and director Jonathan Tzachor has been brought back as Saban tries to reinvigorate the brand.

"We have a different strategy this time, we found the brand has huge awareness and people have a relationship with it - there was a barrier to entry then that does not exist now," Elie Dekel, president, Saban Brands tells TBIvision. "It's more a question of how do we reconnect and make it part of the conversation again. Core to that was it getting a good time slot on TV and making it visible."

Marvista will launch the new show internationally at MIPJunior early next month. "We have high expectations of how the market will react," Marvista boss Fernando Szew told TBIvision. "I believe the time is right for a live-action kids show with a comedic spirit - there's nothing in the market like that at the moment."

30-09-2010, 18:45
ITV drives Coach Trip format to France

UK broadcaster ITV has sold its entertainment format Coach Trip to one of France's leading commercial broadcasters.

M6 will air a local version of the show, which will be known as Le Bus. It will adapt the UK-originated format with ITV's France-based production division, ITV Studios France.

The reality show has proved popular on ITV in the UK where a seventh season is in production for Channel 4. It follows a group of tourists as they travel around Europe and Asia by bus. In each instalment the least popular couple are voted off the coach and replaced by a new contestant.

ITV's sales arm has shopped the show into 100 territories, but this is the first time a local version will be made.

"A key priority is to exploit our rich portfolio of brand new and established properties locally, and this deal marks the first international commission for Coach Trip," says François Florentiny, managing director of ITV Studios France.

30-09-2010, 18:46
du TV subs to gain MBC content on-demand

UAE telco du has signed an agreement with Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC), a pan-Arab free-to-air broadcaster, under which a selection of the latter's content will be added to the on-demand library of the telco's IPTV services 'du TV' and 'du TV+'.

The agreement was facilitated by On Demand Group (part of SeaChange International), which was contracted by du at the beginning of this year to fully manage its VOD offering, and will enable the telco's IPTV subscribers to watch popular MBC shows such as Bab Al Hara, Finjan Addam and Hadaeq Al Shaitan, with hundreds of hours of content covered by the agreement.

“This deal provides du with hundreds of hours each year of top quality local Arabic content to add to the already existing top Western and Hindi language programming available on the service,” said Farid Faraidooni, COO of du. “We expect the deal with MBC to attract large numbers of viewers and underpin the future appeal of our already successful and fast growing video-on-demand TV service.”

30-09-2010, 18:47
Canal Digitaal Satelliet attacked again

After temporarily curbed the effects of piracy by the end of last June, the Dutch platform becomes a victim of access of encoded signal Irdeto

The Irdeto conditional access system 2 is used in much of the Canal Digitaal Satelliet channels distributed in the orbital position 19.2 degrees East Astra.

Shortly before the World Cup in South Africa, the platform Root settled the problem of piracy but this is back again to punish this system.

In fact there are other European satellite platforms today have seen their encryption has been compromised, this is the case of the Bulgarian satellite Bulsatcom in Hellas (39 ° East).

30-09-2010, 18:47
EC comes out against Spanish telco tax

The European Commission will this week formally give the Spanish government two months to amend its controversial law on the financing of the public broadcaster RTVE. The Commission believes the so-called ‘Telco tax’, introduced to compensate the PSB for a loss in advertising revenues, to be illegal.A tax of 3% would be imposed on free-to-air commercial broadcasters and 1.5% on pay-TV broadcasters to help compensate RTVE for a loss of revenues from the withdrawal of advertising. In addition a 0.9% tax would be placed on electronic communications operators. RTVE would also be granted an 80% share in the existing radio spectrum levy, up to a maximum of €330 million.

In March, the telecommunications commissioner, Neelie Kroes, launched proceedings against Spain on the ground that such fees were not compatible with European legislation and that “appear to unduly affect telecom operators, and to limit their investments and penalised in final customers.” Subsequently, RTVE has been engaged in heavy lobbying of the Commission, and in June it appeared they had succeeded.

According to the European Commission, Spain is in violation of European telecommunications rules in trying to collect fees from operators not linked with the financing of administrative and regulatory costs but in order to compensate for the lack of advertising revenues.

If Spain does not amend its legislation within two months, the EU executive would take the case to the Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

30-09-2010, 18:49
Pace appoints new President to drive convergence growth

Pace plc, the world's leading provider of digital set-top box technologies, has has announced the appointment of Dr Mark Loughran, currently Managing Director of Nokia UK & Ireland, as the President of a new business division, Pace Enterprise.

Mark will join Pace's Executive Leadership Team, reporting to CEO Neil Gaydon, on 1 October to spearhead the development of Pace's international IP, gateway and Networks businesses as part of the Group's strategy to enable converged digital services for operators.

Neil Gaydon, Chief Executive Officer of Pace plc, comments: "Mark has a strong entrepreneurial flair with a track record in creating and growing new businesses. With our industry evolving towards digital convergence into and around the home, the new Pace Enterprise division will accelerate our work with many of the world's most successful payTV operators as well as open up new markets and technology growth opportunities for the Group. I'm delighted that Mark is joining Pace at this time to lead this initiative as part of my Executive Team."

Dr Mark Loughran added: "I'm very excited to be joining Pace with the opportunities for growth that lie ahead for the Group. I have been impressed by the dynamism of the people, their customer focus, the success of the business and the strength of ambition to win in the digital convergence market. I look forward to becoming part of Pace and leading the new Enterprise division to make this a reality".

As Managing Director of Nokia UK and Ireland Limited and member of the European Leadership, Team Mark's responsibilities have covered sales, marketing, finance, logistics and customer care. He has overseen the successful launch of many new devices, ensuring Nokia regained and remained number one in the UK&I market and the successful launch and rapid growth of Nokia's Ovi internet services and Apps. Mark joined Nokia in June 2007 as their first Sales Director before taking on a wider remit as Sales and Channel Director and then as Managing Director in November 2009. Prior to joining Nokia, Mark spent 14 years with GlaxoSmithKline, most notably as Vice

President Sales and Marketing and member of the GSK European Executive team, responsible for many of the organisations major brands. Mark also spent six years abroad as a Managing Director of both single and multi countries.

30-09-2010, 18:50
The Future of Broadcast: new market analysis from Futuresource Consulting

At the end of last year, over 600 million homes across the globe were connected to cable, satellite or IPTV subscription TV networks, with nearly 200 million set top boxes shipped last year alone, of which over 60% were pay-TV boxes, according to Futuresource Consulting.

Although worldwide set top box shipments and the subscriber base will continue to grow during the period under review, revenue growth will decelerate due to market saturation, price competition and the continued impact of the economic climate on consumer spending.

As margins shrink, businesses operating at all points along the capture and delivery pipeline will need to focus on greater efficiencies and improved workflow. Now more than ever, investments made within the broadcast industry will need to show a rapid - if not immediate - return on investment.

Capturing the action

In the first half of 2010, non-tape camcorders accounted for 48% of the EMEA pro camcorder market, driven primarily by the efficiencies afforded by non-tape workflows.

"For many, the painstaking task of digitizing footage from tape is a distant memory," says Adam Cox, Senior Market Analyst at Futuresource. "However, instead of digitizing, time-consuming transcoding can be required before post production, thus diluting one of the key benefits of non-tape. That said, the situation is improving, though the NLE vendors have been slow to catch up."

For non-tape to reach its full potential, camcorder manufacturers must work closely with NLE vendors to ensure that new acquisition codecs are adequately supported through post production.

Despite the importance of non-tape capture, tape-based products remain extremely popular, not simply because the format is familiar to users, but due to its ability to shoot in HD (HDV) as well as SD.

"Format flexibility is a key purchase trigger, as many broadcast professionals and videographers work on a freelance basis, moving from project to project, with varying demands placed upon them and their kit," says Cox. "Purchasing an HD and SD capable camcorder gives the end user the flexibility they need in this period of transition."

Investment in encoding

"Broadcasters and pay-TV operators are keen to reduce costs through increasingly sophisticated compression techniques, but highly compressed content remains a secondary concern, with the fidelity of the video produced being of primary importance," says Cox. "Any investment in new technology must therefore translate into 'on air' quality."

H.264 (MPEG-4 AVC) is a major driver for future encoder demand, but the factors behind uptake vary between distribution and contribution applications. In particular, there remains a huge global installed base of legacy MPEG-2 set top boxes for both HD and SD, meaning that many pay-TV operators will require significant investment to migrate to H.264.

Reaching out to the consumer

"Established pay-TV majors are focusing on the bigger picture, providing a bundle of benefits to attract various subscriber segments," says Carl Hibbert, Head of Broadcast Research at Futuresource.

"Depth of content, added value in the guise of HD, DVR, Free VoD and multi-room, and multi-platform distribution, including online & mobile are some of the strategies being rolled out. Cable and IPTV operators are focusing on broadband pipes, Triple or Quad Play, On-Demand and HD content. We're also seeing increasing Telco investment in sports and movie VoD rights."

The recent emergence of IP connected devices has opened the doors for traditional PC-based content to be delivered directly to the TV screen, creating another avenue of competition for pay-TV services and taking a portion of consumers' viewing time. In order to remain competitive against this threat, operators are reviewing IP connectivity within set top boxes and seeking to deploy hybrid broadcast/broadband solutions to support the roll-out of additional content and services.

"Pay-TV providers see IP as a way to enhance and complement their existing subscriber proposition, as well as reaching into markets with ad-funded and paid-for content on both PCs and Connected CE devices," says Hibbert, "and broadcasters are evaluating IP delivery as a way to tap into the growth of online advertising with catch-up TV and additional programming, as well as selective development of Pay-TV opportunities."

By the end of 2010, the European installed base of connected TVs will swell to 16m devices, representing nearly 10% of the total number of flat panel TVs in use. The next step for manufacturers will be to add more compelling video services, including paid for movie streaming that will create revenue sharing opportunities with content owners, aggregators and application developers.

30-09-2010, 18:51
Netflix and NBC Universal announce agreement to stream prior season cable and broadcast TV series to Netflix members

Netflix and NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution have announced an expanded license agreement through which Netflix members can instantly watch a selection of broadcast series from the NBC television network and – for the first time on Netflix – content from some of NBC Universal's popular cable channels.

The agreement adds significantly to the growing selection of movies and TV episodes that can be streamed instantly from Netflix with memberships starting at $8.99 a month. Among the highlights, Netflix members will be able to instantly watch:

• Episodes from every season of NBC's signature comedy franchise "Saturday Night Live," including day-after broadcast of the upcoming 2010, 2011 and 2012 seasons plus hundreds of episodes from the first 35 years of "SNL."

• Every episode from the last season of the multiple Emmy® Award-winning series "30 Rock," "The Office" and "Law & Order: SVU," as well as earlier seasons of those shows renewed for streaming from Netflix under the current deal.

• All prior seasons – and eventually next year's final season – of "Friday Night Lights," the small-town drama surrounding high-school football in Dillon, Tex.

• All prior seasons of USA Network hits "Psych," the comedy featuring James Roday as a fake psychic who solves crimes with his best friend, Dule Hill; the drama "In Plain Sight," starring Mary McCormack as a U.S. Marshal in New Mexico; as well as all seasons of "Monk," starring Emmy® Award and Golden Globe® Award winner Tony Shalhoub in the title role. Prior seasons of all three shows are available to watch instantly at Netflix for the first time.

• More than 75 prior season episodes of Syfy's mainstay "Battlestar Galactica," as well as prior seasons of the network's popular series' "Destination Truth" and "Eureka" – all streaming from Netflix for the first time.

"We are very pleased to continue our successful relationship with Netflix," said Frances Manfredi, executive vice president and general sales manager of cable and non-theatrical sales for NBC Universal Domestic TV Distribution, who forged the deal. "We applaud Netflix for recognizing the value of content like 'SNL,' 'Friday Night Lights,' 'Monk,' and 'Battlestar Galactica' to their subscribers."

"This agreement adds meaningfully to the wide variety of content that can be streamed from Netflix and breaks new ground in our relationship with NBC Universal," said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix.

30-09-2010, 18:52
Peruvian Frecuencia Latina starts broadcasting HD

The Peruvian free-to-air TV channel Frecuencia Latina presented its HD channel in such country. It is the third channel broadcasting this technology after the state-owned TV Peru and the private chain ATV. The channel will start its broadcastings with the Women's Volleyball World Championship, to be held in Japan from October 29th to November 14th.

Peruvian President Alan García attended the presentation event. García pointed out the quality of the HD channel as compared with the analog one. Frecuencia Latina Board President, Baruch Ivcher was also present at the event. Therefore, the channel joins the way started by TV Peru which has already announced its intentions to extend its HD programming hour band and to reach new areas in the country, since such technology is broadcasted only in the capital city of Lima. According to El Comercio newspaper, to such ends, before year end, HD switchers, four studio cameras, 10 outdoor cameras, 20 edition aisles and a fly away device will be purchased to broadcast live HD.

Last April, the Peruvian Ministry of Transport and Communications assigned Frecuencia Latina channel 20 in UHF to start digital TV broadcastings under ISDB-T standard. The channel has been in the Peruvian market for 27 years and part of its programming is broadcasted through Internet. According its web site, the channel expands over the whole country through Intelsat 805 satellite thus reaching 22 million households.

30-09-2010, 18:52
Megacable invests to strengthen its operations

The main Mexican cable operator, Megacable, will invest USD 55 millions in the 25 states where the company operates. According to what Enrique Yamuni Robles, Megacable General Director, told La Reforma newspaper, among other objectives, the company is trying to move forward in the "digitalization of subscribers", and expects to close the year with an 11% growth rate in cable TV. The company's strategy results from the strong DTH growth in such country, especially Dish - which after Megacable is the third Pay-TV operator - and the need to become stronger as an integrated operator.

"We will invest in 3,000 kilometers of infrastructure for new lines, in the digitalization of subscribers and voice and data terminal devices", Yamuni stated. Moreover, the operator does not discard the possibility to acquire additional local companies, as it happened with the operator Omnicable by mid 2010. Likewise, Megacable will invest USD 63 million in the dark fiber network operation that has been licensed by the Federal Electricity Commission and will operate jointly with Televisa and Telefónica. Yamuni forecasted an "18% growth in Internet and a 20% in telephony".

Last August, Megacable closed an agreement with Telefónica so as to start rendering mobile telephony services, moving forward with cuadruple play. The telecommunications company Iusacell, which has already announced its triple play offer through its GPON network in 2011, will join the competition posed by Dish and Sky, main Mexican Pay-TV operator. Additionally, Televisa is commercializing an integrated service package -telephony, Internet and Pay-TV- while Telmex is waiting for its license tittle to be modified so as to render TV services soon.

According to data released by the company, in the first 2010 semester, Megacable recorded 1,7 million susbcribers in such country. As of 2Q10, the acquisition of the cable operator Omnicable in June, enabled the addition of the 62,000 Tv subscribers and 3,000 cable modem ones, operating in the states of Sonora and Baja California, in the northeast of the country.

30-09-2010, 18:53
New TV channel set to improve image of N Caucasus

This week, a regional division of the Ministry for Regional Development and Vnesheconombank’s development corporation will open in the North Caucasus Federal District. A TV channel providing an insight into regional developments may start broadcasting in the federal district and elsewhere.

Alexander Khloponin, Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy in the North Caucasus Federal District, is primarily concerned about the Caucasus’ image. The establishment of a media channel for broadcasting outside the Caucasus is currently being negotiated. The All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting Corporation (VGTRK) is implementing the project. Mr Khloponin said VGTRK had the largest audience.

The channel is to air its own professional information and analytical programmes on literature, history and religion that would be of interest to people in the Caucasus and elsewhere, Mr Khloponin said.

Although analysts discussed the establishment of a new TV channel in the Caucasus long ago, the project has never been implemented, said Professor Rostilav Turovsky from Moscow State University’s political-science department. The project is important for the regional population and for Mr Khloponin who is trying to improve the region’s image and investment climate, Professor Turovsky said.

30-09-2010, 18:54
US company installs mediumwave triplexer in Taiwan

LBA Technology has designed, built and delivered to Taiwan an advanced technology AM Triplexer system for Broadcasting Corporation of China (BCC). This is the second successful multiplexer project undertaken by the North Carolina company for the BCC.

The project is especially notable because the tower site posed an engineering challenge. The AM triplexer had to be incorporated into an electrically short tower in the middle of a lake, with the tower base and triplexing equipment fitted snugly on a small platform area 30 feet above the water.

As its name implies, an AM triplexer allows the simultaneous use of three medium wave AM transmitters on a single antenna. AM triplexers combine an antenna tuning unit and a rejection filter section for each frequency, which effectively sort out and pass through desired frequencies and reject undesired frequencies. The AM triplexer system for BCC was designed for 531kHz, 648kHz and 963kHz, and 10,000 watts power at 125 percent modulation for each frequency.

The AM triplexer system was delivered through Broadcast Electronics in Quincy , Ill., an international transmitter manufacturer.

LBA Technology routinely custom-engineers multiplexers so broadcasters can feed multiple transmitters to common antenna systems. It is a cost-effective way to minimize the physical plant requirements of AM broadcast stations.

30-09-2010, 18:55
New news programme launched by TWR-UK

TWR-UK has launched a new look TWR Today programme, broadcasting news and views live from its Manchester studios. The new look current affairs programme will feature a clear Christian voice speaking into an increasingly secularised world. TWR Today broadcasts live at noon on weekdays with all the latest regional, national and international events. Cutting-edge news is presented with comment from Christian leaders, giving a Christian viewpoint on the issues which are shaping the world.

Russell Farnworth, CEO of Trans World Radio says: “TWR continues to explore every possible way of communicating the Christian message and TWR Today will bring a distinctly Christian approach to the news and events going on around us.

TWR Today broadcasts live at noon on weekdays on satellite channel 0138, Freesat 790, online at www.twr.org.uk (http://www.sat-universe.com/redirector.php?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.twr.org.uk) and on DAB digital radio throughout the North West of England.

30-09-2010, 18:56
Egyptian lawyers sue Nilesat over Shia TV channel

Two Egyptian lawyers had filed a lawsuit against the government aimed at halting broadcast of a Shia channel currently carried by Egypt’s Nilesat satellite station on the pretext that the channel attacks sacred Sunni symbols, judicial sources said on Sunday.

The sources said the two Islamist lawyers, Tarek Abu Bakr and Nizar Ghorab, had filed their suit against the Minister of Information and the chairman of Nilesat calling for the Fadak channel, which regularly broadcasts a programme presented by Kuwaiti Shia preacher Yasser Habib, to be blocked. In the lawsuit, the lawyers accuse Habib of insulting Prophet Mohammed’s wife, Lady Aisha, and the Islamic Caliphs, according to the source.

Earlier this month, Kuwait officially revoked Habib’s citizenship after accusing the 31-year-old of having “offended Sunni Muslims.” In 2004, Habib was sentenced to ten years in prison by a Kuwaiti court for having made “offensive comments” about the first and second Islamic Caliphs, Abu Bakr al-Siddiq and Omar ibn al-Khattab.

Tensions have mounted recently between some Gulf State governments and their Shia minority populations, particularly in Kuwait and Bahrain, which some observers have attributed to apprehensions regarding Iran’s nuclear energy program.

The Egyptian Ministry of Information was not available for comment on the issue

30-09-2010, 18:57
Sony, Warner, Disney plan cinema window service

Sony Pictures, Warner Bros and Walt Disneyare in talks with the largest cable TV systems to offer films for as much as $30 per showing straight after they run in cinemas.

The studios are talking with In Demand, a partnership of Cox Communications, Comcast and Time Warner Cable, Bob Benya, chief executive officer of In Demand, confirmed. Disney is also discussing streaming new films on devices such as Microsoft’s Xbox console and Sony’s PlayStation 3.

A so- called “premium” service would let consumers see movies on TV much earlier than the 90-120 day window currently reserved for DVDs.

30-09-2010, 18:58
Endemol's Römer steps down

Endemol's long-serving chief creative officer Paul Römer is stepping down, as part of the Big Brother producer's latest boardroom reshuffle.

Endemol's president Marco Bassetti, Endemol UK's CEO Tim Hincks and David Goldberg, chairman of Endemol North America, will now sit on a new 'Creative Board' overseeing all global creative development at the superindie.

Additionally, executive director of creative support Iris Boelhouwer has been promoted to MD of creative operations worldwide.

Endemol CEO Ynon Kreiz said the new board would offer support to its local production hubs and seek to sychronise activities.

Römer, best known for developing the Big Brother format with John de Mol and exec producing the orginial Dutch version, leaves the company after 15 years to "pursue other opportunities," according to Endemol.

He held roles including MD of Endemol Netherlands and became global head of programming in January 2009, becoming CCO later in the year.

Kreiz said: "Paul is one of the company’s longest-serving executives. He has had an outstanding track record at Endemol and has made an invaluable creative and commercial contribution to the business in a range of key senior roles. We are extremely grateful for all he has done and wish him all the very best for the future."

Römer added: "During my time here there has been a complete transformation of the TV and digital media landscape, and Endemol has played a central role in that. Now, after 15 incredible years, the time feels right for me to move on to new challenges."

His departure follows a major shake-up of Endemol's French operations earlier this month after MD Yves Bigot quit. The company also appointed a new MD for the Middle East after Ziad Kebbi stepped down.

Earlier in the year, head of digital media and new business Adam Valkin left along with UK digital chief Peter Cowley. Global head of marketing and former Reed Midem director of TV Paul Johnson exited in December after less than a year in the job.

30-09-2010, 18:59
Skellig flies off down under

Australian pubcaster ABC has picked up five programmes from UK distributor DRG, including an adaptation of children's novel Skellig.

The high-definition family drama, based on David Almond's book, was commission for Sky1 and stars Tim Roth (Lie to Me) and John Simm (Doctor Who).

The show, about a boy who discovers a tramp who may or may not be an angel, was produced in association with the Wales Creative IP Fund and Limelight.

The broadcaster also confirmed it has taken season five of ITV1's long-running drama Doc Martin, starring Martin Clunes, which is currently distributed in 200 territories.

Two BBC productions were also part of the deal. ABC now has the rights to BBC Production's crime series Five Days 2, starring Suranne Jones (Unforgiven) and David Morrissey (Sense & Sensibility).

Also from BBC Productions comes the six-part factual series Museum of Life, which looks at exhibits from London's Natural History Museum.

ABC has additionally secured Channel 4's longest-running factual series, Time Team, for its 17th season of archeological excavations.

At Mipcom, DRG will premiere new ITV1 drama Injustice, a five-part psychological thriller from writer Anthony Horowitz, who penned ITV's Collision. Injustice stars James Purefoy as a defence barrister.

30-09-2010, 18:59
NGTI, France 5 enter Obama White House

National Geographic Television International has signed a number of deals with French broadcasters, including selling The Obama White House: Through the Lens (1x52') to France 5.

C21 first revealed details of the documentary, which features exclusive access to the Obama administration and is told through the eyes of a White House photographer, at Mipcom last year.

France 5 has also picked up seven hours of World’s Toughest Fixes, which looks at some of the biggest mechanical problems on the planet; and a number of natural history titles, including The Changing Ape (1x52'), Swamp Troop (1x52'), Animal Impact (2x52'), Savuti: Predator Battleground (1x52'), Return to the Wild Prairie (1x52') and Gorongosa: Africa's Lost Eden (1x52').

Other acquisitions include history title Nasca Lines Decoded (1x52') and science programmes Megastructure Breakdown: Navy Tanker (1x52'), Journey to Europa (1x52') and 24 Hours After: Asteroid Impact (1x52'). France 5 has also signed on as a coproduction partner on history title Lost Mummies of Papua New Guinea (1x52').

Elsewhere, French net Canal Plus has picked up four natural history titles: Journey to Shark Eden, Big Sur: California's Wild Coast, Secrets of the Mangroves and Mystery Gorilla.

A further 34 hours have been acquired through packages with other broadcasters in the country.

Arte has licensed seven hours, including Inside LSD (1x52') and Secrets of the Tang Treasure Ship (1x52'); AB has taken 13 hours, including Australia: Land of the Parrots and Eye for Architecture; Planete has taken eight hours, including science title Reconstructing T-Rex and society show Gun Nation; and Ushuaia has taken a six hours including environmental film The Burning Season (1x52') and wildlife title Chameleon Beach (1x52').

30-09-2010, 19:01
C5's Taberer joins Academia

Former Channel 5 entertainment head Donna Taberer has been appointed head of public service partnerships at the BBC Academy training institute.

In her new role, Taberer will oversee the academy's relationships with training bodies and stakeholders to identify skill gaps within the market, and create an external training plan that meets the needs of the wider industry.

She left C5 earlier this month along with a string of other senior execs, following RTL Group's sale of the broadcaster to Northern & Shell.

01-10-2010, 09:08
New Series from Bavaria Media Television

Bavaria Media Television will head to Cannes to present a lineup of new international programs, featuring two high-profile series from Italy and Germany.

ADVERTISEMENT Crazy About Love (Tutti pazzi per amore) has two seasons of 26 hour-long episodes. The modern comedy is produced by Italian production company Publispei in co-production with RAI Fiction. The series follows urban love stories of everyday people.

Bavaria is also highlighting A Houseful of Animals (Tiere bis unters Dach). The series, produced by Polyphon Südwest for public broadcaster ARD, tells of a Hamburg-based veterinarian who stars a new life in Southern Germany's Black Forest region with his wife and children. A first season of 13 half-hour episodes has already aired in Germany, and shooting on a second season has wrapped.

“We are very happy to add two new series of high-quality family entertainment for all ages to our series portfolio,” said Philipp Kreuzer, the VP of international and co-productions at Bavaria Media. “We have successfully sold such programming and together with our other new fiction titles in drama and romance genres we are certain to meet our buyers demands at MIPCOM.”

Additional highlights include the political thriller Blinded by Faith (Takiye – Spur des Terrors), a 90-minute TV centered on a young Muslim living in Cologne.

01-10-2010, 09:09
Beyond Lines Up Diverse Slate

Beyond Distribution is offering up programming from a variety of genres for MIPCOM buyers, with fresh episodes of returning series along with new shows and documentaries, including The Will: Family Secrets Revealed.

ADVERTISEMENT New launches include The Will: Family Secrets Revealed, which looks at the drama of death. For the young ones there's Iconicles and Toybox. Deadly Women: Face to Face features one-on-one interviews with female killers. Apocalypse 2012 explores how people are preparing for what they believe could be the end of life as we know it. Damage Control, narrated by Russell Crowe, follows the real-life struggle from career-threatening injury to peak performance. Further new titles include Vivienne Westwood's London, following as Dame Vivienne Westwood shows off the city; and Riverdance Live from Beijing, celebrating the 15th anniversary of the dance troupe.

Returning titles in Beyond's catalogue include Deadly Women 4, The T.O Show 2, Chuck’s Day Off 2, Property Shop 3, Hot Property 10, Neighbours at War 5, MovieStar 2, Highway Patrol 2 and Motorway Patrol 11.

Fiona Crago, the general manager of Beyond Distribution, said, “We have recently welcomed some great new producers on board whom we are very excited to be working with. It is fantastic to add their top quality programming into our catalogue, as well as new additions from many of our ongoing producer relationships. We have several strongly branded children’s properties that we are expecting particular success from, as well as a very unique series called The Will: Family Secrets Revealed that makes for captivating viewing into human nature at its most stressed.”

01-10-2010, 09:09
CCI & Galaxy Pop Present Get Ace

CCI Entertainment has signed on to co-produce the animated series Get Ace with Australian production outfit Galaxy Pop.

Get Ace will make its debut at MIPCOM. The series follows the comedic adventures of a 12-year-old nerd who winds up with high-tech spy braces. The series is aimed at kids 6 to 10.

“We are really excited to bring this series to MIPCOM,” said Arnie Zipursky, co-chairman and CEO of CCI Entertainment. “The premise behind Get Ace is quite unique and the stories and characters, while sometimes off the wall, are very relatable and at the same time delivered in an extremely comedic way. We know it is going to be a success with kids!”

Galaxy Pop co-founder and executive producer Gian Christian added, “We’re thrilled to have CCI partner with us on Get Ace. CCI match our passion and commitment to delivering engaging character driven stories. With its mix of comedy, action and adventure, Get Ace is bold, witty and unique, with the sort of irreverent humor that kids love.”

01-10-2010, 09:10
SevenOne Presents Fiction, Docs and More

The MIPCOM lineup of SevenOne International includes TV events, movies, soaps, series, documentaries and magazine shows, including Galileo X.perience.

In the events genre, Blackout is a thriller about a giant power failure that throws Berlin into a deadly turmoil. The Whore is based on the international bestseller by Iny Lorentz. The Sleeper's Wife combines drama and action, while 247 Days is based on a true story.

More than 20 new movies are on offer from SevenOne, covering genres such as catastrophes, romantic comedies, dramas, family entertainment and detective and crime stories. Highlights include High Society Murder VII, starring Fritz and Sophie Wepper; the thriller The Stranger; 08:28 a.m., about a woman who leaves her husband and sets out on her own to China.

In the way of series there's Zone City, a long-running detective show. SevenOne also presents a third season of the dramedy S1NGLE. Soaps also lead the slate, with Heartbeat, all about music and dance and high-school life.

The sciencetainment magazine Galileo X.perience tells of near-death experiences. The weekly news magazine Understanding Tomorrow covers the latest developments in science and technology. Galileo: Knights, Saints & Witches looks at the truth within medieval legends. 2 Men and a Rowing Boat watches as two men without any rowing experience cross the Atlantic Ocean. The two-part special Ferrari World Abu Dhabi looks at the largest amusement park ever built, from its start to finish, in the middle of the desert.

Upcoming events on the SevenOne slate include Isenhart, set in the Middle Ages; Without a Trace, a thriller about a teen who disappears after a town festival; and The Man with the Basson, based on a true story. Fateful Love: The Hunt for U 864 features a love story between a woman who is active in the resistance movement against the Nazis and a German naval officer. Two dogs act as love agents for widowed Peter in the family entertainment movie What Animals Want. Rounding out the offerings is the catastrophe movie Death Zone, about a nuclear disaster that is set to strike Northern Germany.

Jens Richter, the managing director of SevenOne International, commented: "We have a fantastic lineup, full of movies, series and magazines. I'm excited to present our new soap Heartbeat—the first daily soap completely shot on location. With Zone City, we finally have a long-running action series in our bags. And of course, big-budgeted events like Blackout, Death Zone, The Sleeper's Wife and The Whore are the icing on the cake."

01-10-2010, 09:11
The number of U.S. pay-TV homes fell by 167,000 subscribers in the second quarter, according to In-Stat, largely as a result of the difficult economy and high unemployment rate.

“While growing availability of over-the-top Internet video is spurring talk of mass ‘cord-cutting,’ this decline is not about canceling pay-TV in favor of Internet video," reports Mike Paxton, principal analyst at In-Stat. "The main driver of this subscriber decline is the struggling U.S. economy and high unemployment.”

According to a recent SNL Kagan report, the U.S. multichannel industry lost 216,000 customers in Q2, as compared with the year-ago gain of 378,000.

01-10-2010, 09:12
YouView 'threatens UK IPTV investment'

FreeviewFreesatArqivaDigital TVInvestment in the UK's IPTV sector is under threat from YouView, the BBC-led joint venture formerly known as Project Canvas, a new report has claimed.

According to research conducted by corporate finance firm Avista Partners, investment in British IPTV businesses has declined by more than 90% since the launch of Canvas in September 2008.

Avista believes that Canvas, which counts the BBC, BT, TalkTalk, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Arqiva as its members, poses a "significant threat" to the development of the sector.

Earlier in the month, Canvas officially rebranded as YouView, with an aim to upgrade the Freeview and Freesat platforms to support video on-demand and internet services when it launches in the first half of 2011.

However, data compiled by Avista reveals that investment in the UK IPTV sector fell by 94% in the first 12 months after the Canvas launch in 2008 and 99% in the second 12 months.

In the year prior to the project's unveiling by the BBC, IPTV deals with a value of almost $35m (£22m) were being made in the UK sector. However, that figure has declined to just $2.5m in the two years since the launch

The period does cover a massive downturn in the global economy, but there has not been the same level of private investment decline seen in the US IPTV market.

Individual deals of more than $229m were being made in the US pre-September 2008 and the figure increased to more than $530m over the following two years.

"The UK has witnessed a dramatic fall in private investment for IPTV-based businesses since Project Canvas was first announced," said Paul Heydon, managing director of Avista Partners.

"It's difficult to lay the blame on the economic crisis for this, especially when directly comparing the extreme buoyancy of US investments in this sector for the same period."

Heydon added: "The UK has often led the world in exciting technological TV advances and there's certainly no lack of innovation or invention in this new market.

"Yet it's clear the collective power of the companies behind Project Canvas is a major cause for concern for investors looking at private IPTV businesses in the UK."

Last week, advertising trade body the ISBA joined a growing list of parties asking Ofcom to investigate YouView's impact on the UK market.

01-10-2010, 09:12
CSA warns Eutelsat over adult content

The French telecommunications and broadcasting regulator has issued a warning to Paris-based satellite operator Eutelsat over ‘adult’ programming that it is carrying.

The Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel (CSA) has already warned Eutelsat twice over ‘slideshow’ unencrypted erotic material. Letters went to Eutelsat on February 3rd and again on March 4 warning that the transmissions must cease in their existing form.

The Council has again asked Eutelsat to say within two months how it envisaged measures to respect and comply with these warnings.

01-10-2010, 09:13
Sony unveils Internet TV STB

Sony has unveiled a set-top box that will bring Bravia Internet TV and DLNA media sharing features built into its TVs and Blu-ray players on other makers TVs.

The SMP-N100′s content feeds are accessed through Sony’s XMB user interface, which allows users to access the likes of Lovefilm, BBC iPlayer, Demand Five, YouTube, FIFA football highlights and EuroSport.

The STB connects to TVs through its HDMI, composite- and component-video ports. It features Ethernet and Wi-Fi for network connectivity, pulling down Internet-sourced material as well as file shares on computers and Nas boxes.

The SMP-N100 goes on sale next month in the UK for around £150 (E176).

01-10-2010, 09:13
Apple claims ‘Pod’

Apple is laying global claim to just about anything that uses the word ‘pod’. Apple’s busy lawyers have drawn up a 873-page legal claim over the word ‘pod’, and has already used its claims to hit a small start-up outfit, Video Labs, which has a projector device which it called a Video Pod, and to which Apple has objected. Apple has filed a legal claim document to a US court outlining its wish for exclusive use of the word ‘pod’.

Apple says users will be confused over the use of the word which they use for their music products. There’s no word yet on whether Apple is planning the same sort of action for the word ‘pad’.

There’s also no word from the farming community as to whether Apple is objecting to how they grow peas (in a pod), or whether the Santa Pod raceway in Northamptonshire, UK, has been contacted, or the cocoa industry, which draws its product from the cocoa pod and possibly must change its name, or whether the Pod Hotel in New York must abandon its name, or if suite will be filed against the Dolphin community.

01-10-2010, 09:14
Fourthwall TV PayPal button

FourthWall Media the media company driving a creative revolution in interactive TV, has announced a solution to bring safe and easy payments to TV. In an agreement with PayPal, a leader in online payments, FourthWall’s solution will make it possible for cable operators to deploy applications on their EBIF platforms to allow for consumers to access their digital wallet for T-commerce payment.

FourthWall says its TV Buy Button combines a wealth of interactive TV (ITV) experiences, ranging from in-depth set-top box platform technology to numerous programming and advertising widgets, in broad deployment. FourthWall Media’s TV Buy Button is powered by PayPal X, which provides developers the tools needed to change the future of payments. The marriage of television viewers and online payments through FourthWall Media and PayPal means access to the $30 trillion global payments market and significant revenue growth opportunities for all those in the TV delivery value chain.

“FourthWall’s TV Buy Button is a great example of what the future of payments looks like,” said Osama Bedier, PayPal’s VP of platform, mobile and new ventures. “With PayPal X, FourthWall had the tools it needed to bring frictionless payment to television. Shopping directly from TVs with just the click of a button will revolutionise the entertainment industry and experience, and PayPal is pleased to be part of that.

01-10-2010, 09:14
Concurrent acquires TellyTopia technology

Concurrent, a specialist in video and media data and advertising solutions, is accelerating its multi-screen video delivery and monetisation strategy through the acquisition of key technology assets from TellyTopia. TellyTopia’s patent-pending, cloud-based, online video platform becomes part of Concurrent’s multi-screen portfolio and further extends the company’s leadership in multi-screen video delivery, advertising and media data management.

01-10-2010, 09:15
Telegent roadmap for mobile TV

Telegent Systems has outlined its roadmap for driving new industry standards for best-in-class picture quality, system cost and power consumption in the analogue TV receiver market. Telegent’s roadmap builds on its market leadership position, with the company having shipped more than 90 million free-to-air mobile TV chips into handsets sold globally since pioneering the technology in mid-2007.

Key elements underlying Telegent’s 12-month roadmap include:
- Continuous development of advanced algorithms that improve picture and audio quality
- Continuous improvements to system design that reduce the number and cost of required external components
- Continuous migration to smaller process geometries that reduce system size and power consumption
Expansion of supported TV standards
- Ongoing investment in new architecture that leapfrogs existing cost and picture quality standards
- Addition of features and software that improve the overall consumer experience and ease of use

01-10-2010, 09:16
Singapore Project recommends DVB for IPTV

DVB has confirmed that Singapore’s Project NIMS has recommended DVB’s IPTV standards for the country’s future services.

Project NIMS (Next Generation Interactive Multimedia, Applications and Services), a joint initiative by the country’s Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) and Media Development Authority (MDA), concluded that DVB’s IPTV standards could be used for the fulfilment of its Common Featured STB functional requirements. Both the IDA and MDA have accepted the NIMS Panel recommendation.

DVB achieved this recommendation because its IPTV standards support automatic connection to and configuration of a STB connected to an IP network for necessary Service Discovery and Selection, as well as providing Secure Content Protection and a middleware environment for the provision of a rich interactive service.

01-10-2010, 09:16
Iranian minister admits to growing popularity of opposition TV

The Iranian regime’s Minister of Intelligence has lashed out at the main opposition satellite channel for producing popular clips that ridicule the regime, according to the state-run Mehr news agency on Friday. “These satellite channels seek to hollow out the establishment from its beliefs by producing and broadcasting satires and short stories,” Heydar Moslehi said.

Some video clips produced by Simay-e Azadi Iran National TV, which poke fun at the clerical regime, have received a large following among Iranians and especially youths.

Speaking at the Propaganda Office of the Qom seminary, Mr Moslehi expressed worry about the fact that youths are increasingly turning towards satellite programming, saying, “Satellites that destroy sanctities through jokes and short stories” and create “a pessimistic outlook towards the principles of the establishment” are “part of the enemy’s attacks.”

01-10-2010, 09:17
CEE region's pay-TV sector "well-positioned to flourish"

The pay-TV sector in Central and Eastern Europe has weathered the global economic situation "surprisingly well", according to a new report from Informa Telecoms & Media .

The report adds that with so many new services having launched in the region in recent years, the financial downturn could well have prompted numerous closures of nascent services still trying to gain a secure foothold in highly competitive markets - but that hasn't happened to any great extent in the CEE region, and the pay-TV sector is "well-positioned to flourish" as a result.

Informa Telecoms & Media predicts that pay-TV revenues in the region will increase by 50% between 2009 and 2015, with Russia and Poland to strengthen their respective positions as the region's revenue giants, together accounting for 43% of pay-TV revenues in 2009, and expected to account for 51% of pay-TV revenues in 2015.

Average revenue per user (ARPU) is also expected to continue to rise in the forecast period, as the number of services on offer - and the subsequent tiering of channels and the introduction of PPV/VOD packages - rises. However, ARPU rates of increase are expected to start to slow towards the end of the forecast period and in some sectors go into decline, as the impact of double- and triple-play bundles, plus new competition from over-the-top (OTT) services, pushes down prices.

Satellite TV is described as having taken off "pretty spectacularly" in the region, and is expected to overtake cable as the leading pay-TV platform in 2012. Satellite TV is believed to benefit from its perception as a premium TV service - giving it an advantage over an "often fragmented" cable sector, which is struggling to shake off its historic connotation as a low-cost utility service, according to the report.

Despite a high level of activity in the region being driven by a desire to gain "first-mover" advantage and gain a decisive early foothold in a country, the majority of developed markets have shown that the long-term economic reality is that each market will be left with a single dominant player for each platform, according to Informa Telecoms & Media. Some operators (including TVP in Poland and Poverkhnost Plus in the Ukraine) have already experienced difficulties, and several operator closures and mergers are expected over the next few years.

Digital TV is predicted to grow fairly rapidly in Central and Eastern Europe over the next five years, increasing nearly three-fold from 44mn at the end of 2009 to 125mn by the end of 2015. Digital penetration is forecast to reach 73% of the region's TV households by 2015, up from 28% in 2009. Of the 14 countries covered by the report, 13 are expected to have digital TV penetration in excess of 65% by 2015, including six countries at 90% or more - only the Ukraine is expected to be below 65% penetration.

Digital cable is described as starting to make some progress in some territories - notably Russia, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland - with operators being increasingly forced to find compelling reasons to encourage their subscribers to upgrade, or lose them to rival services - leading to the increasing availability of value-added services such as VOD and HDTV.

DTH, IPTV and DTT are predicted to be most popular over the next five years in countries that have low cable penetration, although DTT roll-out is believed to have been slow or delayed in several countries in the CEE region, and governments' stated analogue switch-off dates are therefore believed to often appear optimistic. However, DTT is expected to be the primary TV service in 27% of households by 2015.

The situation for IPTV is described as varying greatly from country to country - in markets such as Slovenia and Croatia the platform is already making "very good progress" and is starting to emerge as a strong alternative platform; the circumstances for IPTV are most positive where broadband capacity has ben upgraded to provide sufficiently-robust networks. Where this is coupled with attractive content rights, IPTV is believed to have a "realistic chance" of attracting subscribers away from cable and satellite.

01-10-2010, 09:18
ISBA adds voice to YouView critics

The ISBA, a trade body which represents UK advertisers, has joined a growing number of organisations requesting that communications regulator Ofcom investigates upcoming television platform YouView (formerly Project Canvas).

Bob Wootton, Director of Media and Advertising at the ISBA, reportedly told Marketing magazine: "The BBC Trust is a regulator for a publicly-funded, tax-backed business. Why has that been the sole point of regulation for something that is both hybrid and commercial? ISBA campaigns for openness and transparency. It was founded on that tenet. Internet-connected TV has new impacts for advertisers and we are not going to be bounced into anything that sets up a protective wall or quasi-monopoly."

The ISBA's submission joins a growing number of voices clamouring for an Ofcom investigation into the nascent YouView service, including the Open Source Consortium, local TV groups United for Local Television and Six TV, as well as potential competitors IP Vision and Virgin Media. The watchdog is currently reviewing all complaints regarding YouView, and is expected to announce its decision next month on whether to investigate the service.

A new report from corporate finance firm Avista Partners has also claimed that investment in the UK's IPTV sector is under threat from YouView, having declined by more than 90% since the initiative was announced.

"The UK has witnessed a dramatic fall in private investment for IPTV-based businesses since Project Canvas was first announced," stated Paul Heydon, Managing Director of Avista Partners. "It's difficult to lay the blame on the economic crisis for this, especially when directly comparing the extreme buoyancy of US investments in this sector for the same period […] it's clear the collective power of the companies behind Project Canvas is a major cause for concern for investors looking at private IPTV businesses in the UK."

The partners behind the YouView initiative - the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, BT, TalkTalk and Arqiva - officially formed the company YouView TV Ltd. last week, confirming that they plan to launch the service in the first half of 2011, which will offer new free-to-air Internet-connected TV services to UK homes via compatible CE devices.

01-10-2010, 09:18
3 new satellites for RSCC

The Russian Satellite Communications Company (RSCC) has signed contracts with Information Satellite Systems and Thales Alenia Space for the development of three new satellites.

ISS, named after the Russian academic MF Reshetnev, will be responsible for the development and manufacture of the craft while the French Thales will ensure the delivery of the payloads for all three satellites.

Two of the satellites, Express-AT1 and Express-AT2, will be used for direct-to-home broadcasts. A third, Express-AM8, will be used for telecommunications purposes.

Express-AT1 satellite will replace Bonum 1 at 52 degrees East and will carry 32 Ku-band transponders. Express-AT2 satellite will be situated at 36 degrees East and carry 16 transponders.

The footprints of the new satellites are designed to cover the European part of Russia, the Urals and Eastern Siberia. Express-AT1 and Express-AT2 are scheduled for launch in late 2012.

The telecommunications satellite Express-AM8 will be equipped with 42 C-, Ku- and L-band transponders and located in the RSCC’ most western orbital position – 14 West. It will be used for broadcast networks in Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean Basin countries. Express-AM8 is scheduled to be launched into orbit in 2013.

“The Express-AT1 and Express-AT2 satellites open new outlooks for developing direct-to-home broadcasting systems in the Russian Federation including provision of HD and 3D television services,” said Yuri Prokhorov, Director General of RSCC. “The Express-AM8 satellite on the western orbital slot of GEO will be used for deploying networks between Europe and the Americas and in the Atlantic region.”

It is anticipated that much of the capacity will be given over to HD broadcasts.

01-10-2010, 09:19
New Negative Metric: Costs Per Subscriber

While programming costs have risen at a predictable rate for the country’s two largest cable operators over the past two years, a steady decline in video customers translates to a quicker rise in costs per subscriber.

Time Warner Cable chairman and CEO Glenn Britt mentioned that disparity at last week’s Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference.

While TWC’s overall programming costs rose 6.5% in 2009, programming costs per subscriber increased by 8.3% that year. In 2010, it is estimated that programming costs per subscriber will rise 9.7% while overall programming costs rise at a steady 6.5%.

The culprit is continued video customer losses, Britt said. TWC lost about 104,000 basic video customers in 2008, 210,000 in 2009 and so far this year has shed about 157,000 basic-video subscribers. Analysts expect the second-largest cable operator to lose about 377,000 basic video subscribers in 2010.

At top cable company Comcast, programming costs rose about 8.8% in 2009, while per-subscriber costs increased 11.6%. For 2010, it is estimated that programming costs per subscriber will rise about 12.3% if overall programming increases remain steady at 8.8%.

Pointing to per-subscriber levels allows cable companies to highlight that programming costs play a large role in overall rate increases, which can have a public-relations benefit.

But the subscriber losses themselves were more on the minds of TWC investors last week. Since chief fi nancial officer Rob Marcus said on Sept. 15 that primary service-unit growth (a combination of basic video, voice and data customers) could turn negative in the third quarter, mainly due to declines in new home growth, the MSO’s stock price has fallen 6% ($3.28), to $51.65 on Sept. 23 from $54.93. Britt’s remarks at Communacopia added to the decline.

At right, a closer look at subscriber trends at the top two operators.

01-10-2010, 09:20
HBO, Showtime Re-Up Hits; Starz Mulls ‘Spartacus’ Fate

Home Box Office and Showtime sought to shore up their 2011 programming lineups last week by renewing several highly-rated series, while premium peer Starz was deciding whether to go ahead with its most popular series, Spartacus, after the series’ star left due to an illness.

HBO didn’t wait to renew its freshman series Boardwalk Empire, saying two days after the Sept. 19 premiere it will bring back the series about gangsters and corruption in Prohibitionera Atlantic City.

HBO said the Martin Scorsese- directed pilot averaged 4.8 million viewers, the secondmost watched start for an HBO series behind Deadwood. That Western-themed drama drew 5.8 million viewers when it premiered in March 2004, according to network officials.

With additional plays at 10:15 p.m. and 11:30 p.m., Boardwalk Empire was watched by a combined 7.1 million viewers on premiere night.

Bruce Miller, TV critic for the Sioux City Journal, said he wasn’t surprised by the early renewal, which locks in the cast as well as the show’s producers, Terence Winter (The Sopranos) and Scorsese. “When you have those type of people involved in the show, as well as the investment in the set, it was a prudent thing for HBO to do because it’s going to have an audience no matter what,” he said.

Showtime’s Monday-night comedy lineup of veteran series Weeds and freshman dramedy The Big C both will be back next year.

Weeds, starring Mary-Louise Parker as a widowed housewife involved in the marijuana-trafficking business, will return for a seventh season in 2011, Showtime said. Its sixth-season debut culled 6 million viewers per episode across a number of platforms.

The Big C, with Laura Linney as a woman who decides to shake up her status-quo existence after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, had the most-watched series premiere ever for Showtime, averaging more than 6.5 million viewers. Showtime said it ordered 13 new episodes of Sony Pictures Television- produced The Big C and at least that many for Lionsgate’s Weeds.

Starz is determining the next course of action for drama series Spartacus: Blood and Sand, after lead actor Andy Whitfield bowed out of the show’s second season after a recurrence of cancer.

Whitfield was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in March while preparing for the show’s second season, which was slated to launch in September 2011.

A network official would not comment on the status of a sophomore campaign for Spartacus, which averaged more than 6 million viewers across all platforms during its run that began last January.

Miller, of the Sioux City Journal, said, “it’s the proverbial elephant in the room — how do you continue the series without the main character there? They either have to recast or put the show on hiatus indefinitely.”

Starz had earlier disclosed plans for a six-episode prequel, which it still plans to air in January 2011.

01-10-2010, 09:21
Skechers Show a Hot Topic for FCC

Washington — If the Federal Communications Commission decided that TV shows based on toys constitute illegal program-length commercials, the implications could be bigger than a life-sized Barbie.

It could also become a toy story with a particularly unhappy ending for cable and broadcast programmers.

The agency’s Media Bureau has scheduled a comment cycle for a petition by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood for a declaratory ruling that Nicktoons ser ies Zevo-3 — scheduled to debut next month — is a programlength commercial, in violation of FCC rules.

The CCFC said the show amounts to a program-length commercial because it features characters originally developed by shoe manufacturer Skechers USA to promote the sale of its shoes to kids. The show is produced by Skechers Entertainment.

In a statement, Nicktoons responded, “[W]e do not believe that the show is a program-length commercial, nor do we agree that its transmission would violate the Children’s Television Act or any of the Commission’s rules or policies.”

A Nicktoons spokesperson confirmed that the network would not be airing any Skechers ads in the show, pointing out that that would be a violation of the Childrens’ Television Act.

The FCC has given interested parties until Oct. 22 to file comments and Nov. 8 to file replies.

Historically, the FCC has applied the program-length commercial definition to kids’ shows that feature ads for a product within a show that depicts a character associated with it, not to shows based on a toy or whose characters become popular toys after the fact.

For example, the FCC ruled that an ad featuring a brief glimpse of a Pokémon character that aired during an episode of Pokémon turned the cartoon show into a commercial.

A declaratory ruling that shows based on toys were in themselves program-length commercials would bring such shows as G.I. Joe or My Little Pony into play, and raise questions about the TV airings of movies like Transformers or perhaps even Toy Story. Discovery Communications, in conjunction with toymaker and producer Hasbro, is converting the Discovery Kids channel into The Hub on Oct. 10, with plans for a show based on Transformers and adaptations of G.I. Joe and My Little Pony.

Another issue: Whether the full-length commercial tag should be applied to shows that became toy marketing engines after the fact, due to the popularity of their characters.

“Just because there is a character in a program that initially originated as a toy, does not transform the program into a program-length commercial or a commercial at all,” Association of National Advertisers executive vice president Dan Jaffe said. “To ban or severely restrict these programs if they don’t have an explicit selling message would be censorship of noncommercial speech that has the highest level of First Amendment protection.”

01-10-2010, 09:21
TV Ad Market Picks Up

Building on strong gains in the second quarter, two top cable-programming executives said last week that the domestic advertising market continues to show signs of life and that momentum should continue for the rest of the year.

At Viacom, which has lagged the rest of the cable industry in domestic ad sales growth over the past several quarters, the third quarter is expected to be even better than the previous threemonth period, according to CEO Philippe Dauman. Building on robust ratings from reality hits like MTV’s Jersey Shore and comedy programming like Comedy Central’s The Daily Show With Jon Stewart — and with a crop of new advertisers coming into the mix — Dauman said at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference last week that third-quarter domestic ad sales will rise by more than 4% (the second-quarter mark) and the fourth-quarter growth will be even higher.

First-quarter U.S. ad sales rose about 1% at Viacom, which includes MTV: Music Television, Comedy Central, BET, TV Land, and Nickelodeon and second-quarter growth was 4%. In contrast, Discovery Communications saw domestic ad revenue rise 9% in the first quarter and 13% in the second quarter.

But Dauman was encouraged by ratings growth — he said that MTV’s overall ratings are up 28% this year. And he added that the top 10 shows in the 12-to-34 year old demographic are all MTV programming, and the No. 11 show in the age bracket is Nickelodeon’s iCarly, a show targeted at tweens. “It’s not just the Jersey Shore,” Dauman said of MTV’s hits.

At Time Warner, which includes cable powerhouses CNN, TBS and TNT, chief financial officer John Martin said that the ad market continues to be “really strong,” adding that scatter pricing is up 20% in some cases over the upfront.

The two men differed slightly in their approaches to online video distribution, with Martin predictably embracing the TV Everywhere concept pioneered by Time Warner and Comcast and Dauman taking a more wait and see attitude.

“I can’t remember a time when our content had more demand around it. There are more and more players that want to help us try to monetize our content,” Martin said at Communacopia. “We have a very strong view that digital is going to be good for our business.”

Dauman pointed to Viacom’s own Epix partnership and its recent streaming deal with Netflix as an example of how online distribution can work. It has been reported that the five year deal is worth about $1 billion. But he said other online venues — notably Apple TV — are not quite as appealing.

Nevertheless, Dauman said Viacom is following developments at Hulu and is in tests with several distributors (cable, satellite and telco) with TV Everywhere. With TV Everywhere, Dauman said that questions remain regarding the user interface and whether the service will be measured by a ratings company like Nielsen to allow the networks to monetize the content.

“We’re working with the players there. Once all those things get figured out, it can be a valuable service for consumers and should be good for us,” Dauman said.

On the subject of over-the-top video, Martin said that Time Warner would not undermine its own economics by endangering its relationships with traditional distributors. And though Martin said that at the moment over-the-top video does not offer a compelling customer experience, his company is poised to take advantage of any shifts in the landscape.

01-10-2010, 09:22
Xbox Kinect to support Sky player

Microsoft has revealed that the Sky Player app on its Xbox 360 games console will support the upcoming Kinect motion sensing gaming peripheral.

The company said that when using Kinect, UK users will be able to browse Sky Player menus, pause TV programmes, rewind and fast-forward using only hand gestures.

The new motion sensing gaming technology from Microsoft will launch on November 10th in the UK.

01-10-2010, 09:22
If you’re a Sky viewer with an Xbox, then some interesting news has emerged regarding Microsoft’s Kinect motion control system.

The Kinect will feature built-in support for the Sky Player on the console, so you’ll be able to use hand gestures and voice control to interact with the player.

In other words, you’ll be able to flick through channels literally using your hand, and fast forward or pause a film by speaking out loud.

Although what will happen if the TV is turned up loud and the Kinect can’t hear your voice – or an actor says “pause” in the script of the film – isn’t clear.

Kinect integration should be present from the launch date of the motion control system, which hits the shelves on November 10th.

01-10-2010, 09:23
Sony unveils Internet TV STB

Sony has unveiled a set-top box that will bring Bravia Internet TV and DLNA media sharing features built into its TVs and Blu-ray players on other makers TVs.

The SMP-N100′s content feeds are accessed through Sony’s XMB user interface, which allows users to access the likes of Lovefilm, BBC iPlayer, Demand Five, YouTube, FIFA football highlights and EuroSport.

The STB connects to TVs through its HDMI, composite- and component-video ports. It features Ethernet and Wi-Fi for network connectivity, pulling down Internet-sourced material as well as file shares on computers and Nas boxes.

The SMP-N100 goes on sale next month in the UK for around £150 (E176).

01-10-2010, 09:24
Sky to launch Sikh TV in early October

The launch of Sikh TV is set to go ahead from early October, it has been reported.
A digital TV channel dedicated to religion and Punjabi culture will launch on Sky at the start of next month.

Sikh TV has been ready to make its debut transmission since August 2010, but has been prevented from doing so by technical issues, reports the BizAsia website.

However, these glitches have seemingly now been resolved, as the news provider has revealed that Sikh TV will permanently take over channel 848 from October 4th.

According to the report, the channel has received official confirmation from the broadband, digital TV and home phone provider that this launch can now go ahead.

When it hits the air for the first time, Sikh TV will sit alongside a number of other religion-themed channels that are currently available on Sky.

These include the Sikh Channel and Sangat TV, while an array of Christian options - including Open Heavens TV, Gospel Channel Europe, The Word Network and GOD Channel - are also shown by the broadcaster.

01-10-2010, 09:25
Virgin Media Business exec calls for multichannel healthcare approach

Innovations such as webcams and interactive TV services can help healthcare providers, it has been claimed.
A Virgin Media Business executive has argued public sector bodies could improve their services by adopting a multichannel approach.

Managing director of the business broadband provider Mark Heraghty stated that a recent poll conducted by the company revealed almost a third of Brits want to be able to consult with their GP via webcam by 2020.

The survey also found that 11 per cent of adults are expecting to be able to get in touch with a doctor by pressing the red button on their digital TV.

According to Mr Heraghty, there is little surprise that people would favour the ability to get in touch with their doctor - as well as other public sector organisations - in a variety of different ways.

"Many people are so strapped for time that they find it hard to attend a doctor's appointment, let alone book it," he wrote on the Virgin Media Business blog.

Consequently, the expert claimed a multichannel system could be beneficial to the public and to the organisations themselves, as it would cut down on the volume of calls they need to answer.

01-10-2010, 09:26
Funding awarded to Shetland fibre optic broadband project

Residents and businesses in Shetland should get access to faster broadband when work to connect the islands to a fibre optic cable is complete.
European funding has been awarded to a project which seeks to connect Shetland to fibre optic broadband.

The initiative, which has been granted £367,500 from the European Regional Development Fund, will see Shetland hooked up to a fibre optic cable running from the Scottish mainland to the Faroe Islands.

Finance secretary John Finney announced the news on a visit to Shetland, describing it as being "particularly good" for businesses and residents of the islands, who will enjoy "greatly enhanced" broadband connections.

"This award builds on the Scottish government's efforts to improve broadband services across Scotland and to realise its undoubted social and economic benefits," Mr Finney added.

He went on to express his delight at the fact that European funding is benefitting projects in the Highlands and Islands.

Earlier this month, the Scotsman reported that 3 Mobile is planning to invest £38.2 million to double the number of mobile broadband masts it has north of the border.

01-10-2010, 09:26
BBC to test 3D on Super Hi-Vision

The BBC is to carry out 3D stereo experiments as part of the test transmissions for Super Hi-Vision it is conducting with NHK this week, writes Adrian Pennington.

BBC R&D is using the opportunity of the live tests transmissions to carry out research as part its i3DLive project.

On Wednesday September 29th the BBC and NHK aim to transmit a set by The Charlatans live from BBC TV Centre direct to Japan in Super Hi-Vision (SHV) and will follow that on September 30th with a similar transmission of a Team GB taekwondo bout also taking place in TV Centre.

BBC R&D will aim to generate 3D and special effects such as crane shots and steadycam shots without moving the SHV camera. A second test will seek to add stereo to the SHV images using one SHV camera and an array of ten HD cameras in the studio. The 3D footage will be for capture only and not part of the transmission trials.

The results will feed into i3DLive which aims to develop tools for multi-camera capture of live action and allow a virtual camera to synthesise views from any angle – otherwise known as free-viewpoint video.

i3DLive builds on the work of the ORIGAMI and iView projects which set out to develop new tools for the creation of high-quality scenes incorporating both real and virtual objects.

There are currently no available systems offering true free-viewpoint functionality. I3DLive is an attempt to offer a new studio system targeted at TV production in realtime (or near).

SHV is a work in progress format under development at Japanese broadcaster NHK and promising 16 times the resolution of current HD. Recent developments include cameras with three image sensors each of 33 million pixels. Two years ago these weighed in at 40kg. Now the weight is halved to make mobility much more manageable.

01-10-2010, 09:27
Sea TV IPO opens with a bang; subscribed 1.38 times

MUMBAI: Investors are having an appetite for even smaller cable TV networks as they believe the distribution business will go through a major scale-up and consolidation. An Agra-based multi-system operator (MSO) has successfully raised money through an initial public offering (IPO) on the very first day of opening.

Sea TV Network's IPO was subscribed 1.38 times on Monday, according to data available on NSE site.

The Rs 50.2 million IPO in the price band of Rs 90 to Rs 100 per equity share (of Rs 10 each) closes on 29 September.

"The initial response seems to be encouraging. We are waiting to see at what levels the subscriptions are taking place," says a market analyst who tracks the sector.

Sea TV is one of the three existing MSOs in Agra city and it also has its own local channels, programmes of which are produced by its own production team. These local channels mainly focus on Agra city/U.P State news/events and information, which is more relevant to the city viewers. These channels are broadcast free of charge to the TV subscribers of Sea TV.

01-10-2010, 09:28
Nilesat 201 scans the position of 7W

New Egyptian satellite Nilesat 201 telecommunications test on their target orbital position of 7 ° W. The test is currently in a transponder, whose signal does not sufficiently cover the region of Central Europe.

Nilesat 201 at 7 ° W position will gradually replace the satellite Nilesat 101, which is expected to end his life. Whether the potential revenue from the new satellite will show up in our next few days, which will begin official operation of the new satellite will be known and the official cover of the new space system.

Technical parameters:

* Nilesat 201 (7 ° W), freq 11.727 GHz, pol H SR 27500, FEC 3 / 4, DVB-S/QPSK, FTA

01-10-2010, 09:28
Sky Italia acquires tp. after RRSat

Italian Sky Italia satellite platform used for the recently acquired by the company RRSat transponder on the satellite Hot Bird 8 (13E). A few days earlier there are several broadcast television and radio stations, including Vietnamese channel VTV-4. At this transponder are also available including Arirang TV (Korea), Daring! TV (erotic hardcore) and MKTV Sat (Macedonia). Most of them are now on 10.815 GHz, pol. H, SR 27500, FEC 5 / 6, DVB-S/QPSK.

At 12.207 GHz, pol. H, SR 27500, FEC: 3 / 4; DVB-S/QPSK, a new transponder for Sky Italia, are assigned 2 test HD channels (except that the search for two more, but with the PID-s like the first). The transponder is the case in the DVB-S, but it probably will be switched to DVB-S2 for HDTV.


Hot Bird 8 (13E)
tp. 75 (12.207 GHz, pol. H, SR 27500, FEC: 3 / 4; DVB-S/QPSK)

* TEST75_1 (161/400/161/12227)
* TEST75_2 (162/404/162/12229)
* TEST75_3 (161/400/161/12231)
* TEST75_4 (161/400/161/12233)

01-10-2010, 09:29
Endemol has announced several changes to its creative team, with Paul Römer exiting after 15 years with the company and the creation of a Creative Board.

The Creative Board will include Marco Bassetti, president of the Endemol Group; Tim Hincks, CEO of Endemol UK; and David Goldberg, chairman of Endemol North America. It is charged with overseeing, directing and further synchronizing the development of global hits. “Marco, Tim and David are among the most experienced and skilled creative leaders in the business," said Ynon Kreiz, chairman and CEO. "This new structure leverages our top creative talent in the Group and will add further focus and strength to the support we give our local creative teams around the world. David and Tim’s teams in the U.S. and the U.K. are behind some of our most recent global hits including 101 Ways To Leave a Gameshow, The Money Drop and Wipeout and are well positioned to take on a broader role."

In addition, Iris Boelhouwer has been promoted to managing director of creative operations, with oversight for the creative consultancy and format distribution teams. She will also coordinate Global Creative Team meetings, comprising the group’s creative leaders in key markets. "The promotion of Iris recognizes the great contribution she has made to the company and the value she brings to our creative activities,” Kreiz said.

Römer, chief creative officer, is stepping down. Kreiz said of Römer's exit: “Paul is one of the company’s longest serving executives. He has had an outstanding track record at Endemol and has made an invaluable creative and commercial contribution to the business in a range of key senior roles. This has included co-developing and launching Big Brother, the most groundbreaking format of the last decade, which continues to be a colossal hit in the major markets. We are extremely grateful for all he has done and wish him all the very best for the future.”

Römer said, "During my time here there has been a complete transformation of the TV and digital media landscape and Endemol has played a central role in that. In my view this is the most dynamic and creative company in the business and I can think of nowhere else I would rather have spent this period of exciting change in the industry. Now after 15 incredible years the time feels right for me to move on to new challenges. I will miss everyone here enormously but I am leaving behind a brilliantly talented team who I know will go from strength to strength. It has been a privilege to work with them.”

01-10-2010, 09:30
Property Profile: Puppy in My Pocket

ORIGIN: Based on the pocket-size collectable pets by MEG.
DISTRIBUTOR: Mondo TV holds worldwide TV and DVD rights to the series.
CREATOR: Joe Morrison
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: MEG in co-production with Giochi Preziosi and
Mondo TV.
MAIN BROADCASTER: The series premieres in Italy on Mediaset’s Italia 1 this fall. Mondo has lined up a deal with a broadcaster to launch the series across Europe in 2011.

The series consists of 52 13-minute episodes. The first 13 episodes will be ready in fall 2010. Puppy in My Pocket is produced in full HD 2D animation with CGI effects.

DESCRIPTION: The stories are based on the power of friendship between children and their magically acquired new pets. The adventures take place both in the fantastical world, Pocketville, where the pets live before they’re assigned to a child in need of a friend; and in the “real world” where children in need of friends are matched with pets.

In Pocketville there’s a beautiful kitty princess named Ava who matches new friends, children and pets. One day, by the doing of her envious twin sister, Eva, she is accidentally sent to the “real world” while our protagonist, Kate, is sent to Pocketville in her place. In Princess Ava’s absence, Kate, together with her recently matched pet friend Magic, will make sure that Ava’s duties of matching children and pets continue to be conducted while Eva will try everything she can to stop them so that she can become the new princess!

TV SALES: At MIPCOM 2010, Mondo TV intends to finalize deals with more than 50 broadcasters worldwide who were pitched the property at MIPTV 2010.

MAJOR LICENSEES: The master toy licensee in Europe (excluding the U.K.) is Giochi Preziosi, which distributes the In My Pocket toy brand in the region. (The U.K. toy distributor is Corinthian Marketing.) Giochi Preziosi is also the European agent for licensing and merchandising. Key markets are Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal.

STRATEGY FOR ROLLOUT: Mondo TV reports that a major company is interested in acquiring the home-video rights for several territories, with a deal expected to be confirmed at MIPCOM. In addition, many deals have been signed in Italy across categories such as textiles, publishing, apparel, back-to-school, and others.

Micheline Azoury, head of international sales and brand manager at Mondo TV, will be showcasing Puppy in My Pocket at Brand Licensing Europe and she’s expecting strong interest. The In My Pocket toy franchise on which it’s based, originally launched in the early 1990s, “is very well-known and successful on a worldwide basis,” she says. In My Pocket has toy distribution partners in more than 50 countries, Azoury says, adding,“Cuccioli Cerca Amici [as it’s known in Italy] has become one of the most important toy brands in Italy in the last few years

01-10-2010, 09:31
In Depth: The A to Z of 3D TV sport:

What looks great and what falls flatSport is expected to be a major driver of 3D take-up, why else would Sky have invested so much in to its 3D football matches at numerous UK pubs?

Sport events create exactly the kind of buzz that 3D will thrive on. You get to witness all the excitement and tension of an event without having to endure poor weather, extortionate prices and a nightmare journey home.

It's not exactly the same as being there – we'll have to wait a few years till holographic 3D arrives for that level of experience – but watching sport in 3D is pretty amazing.

However, the technology is young and TV sport producers are still honing their 3D skills. It's also already clear that while 3D really works for some sports, others have not fulfilled their potential and fall a little flat - literally and emotionally.

So which sports do we think are made for 3D and which aren't?

American Football

This is expected to be one of the main attractions stateside beginning with regular weekly college football on ESPN 3D. Sports Illustrated has given 3D football the thumbs up, saying "Watching in 3-D, I saw what the players on the field and the fans sitting directly behind the goalpost had seen that night. The game-winning kick hooked in by mere inches, and just in time.

Had it waited another millisecond to turn, it would have hit off the upright." With the cameras in the right place we can feel the pain of the quarterback being jumped on by a linebacker.

3D rating: 4/5


Hardly the most exciting of events it's nonetheless bound to feature in the 2012 Olympics on the red button. If any cameraman were brave enough to lineup behind the target things might get quite spicy but those arrows are too thin and move too fast to serve up anything meaningful other than a headache.

3D rating: 1/5


The UK will have whipped itself up in to a running frenzy by the time August 2012 arrives along with a rather important 'meet' in east London. The BBC has said it will film a lot of the Olympics in 3D. Those wonderful 110m hurdles side-tracking shots won't come off as 3D doesn't look so good side-on but we reckon there should be some corking moments such as Usain Bolt's knees thrusting into your sitting room or Phillips Idowu spring-boarding through the screen to end up in your lap. You might find yourself reaching down to pick up the baton that's landed at your toes after a disastrous relay hand-over.

3D rating: 3/5


Another sport that's a sure-fire winner for American networks. Plenty of scope for the diamond to cut its way into your living room and you'll wince as the camera shows the catcher's POV as the bat swings back or the ball hurtles towards you.

Bound to offer some great crowd shots too when a home run fires in to the bleachers.

3D rating: 4/5


Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples says that 3-D makes it feel as if you're stood on the court during a game. He recalls "When Globetrotter Kevin Daley jabbed his index finger as he addressed the crowd, I jumped out of the way to avoid getting poked." Players tussling might not add much but the big ball is ideal for 3D and should guarantee some wonderful aerial shots.

3D rating: 4/5


Imagine sparring with Floyd Mayweather in your own living room without suffering any resultant bruises from the inevitable pounding. 3D boxing can't quite deliver that but as early Sky experiments have shown you get to really enjoy a virtual ringside experience as every punch, duck and swerve swoop through the screen. You may even need a brolly as a blood and sweat shield.

3D rating: 5/5


Britain's most sedate sport is strangely compelling in 2D and a natural for 3D given that the cameras are naturally positioned at either end of the green. Side-on shots of the bowlers on bended knee won't offer much though.

3D rating: 3/5


Sky will be showing its first live cricket match soon on its 3D channel. It'll be an interesting experiment as the sport is well suited to 3D with its natural viewpoint over the bowler's arm. Some of the wider shots might fall a bit flat but a lot of the pleasure in watching cricket comes from the slow-motion close-ups of great batting, bowling and fielding and these should all deliver the 3D goods with ease.

3D rating 4/5


Following pedaling maniacs across the Alps could produce all sorts of weird effects - quick moving cameras are bad news for 3D but velodrome action could work well. The sight of Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins and co sweeping round the bends, coming out of the screen and then deep in to it will be as effective as the side-view of the finishing line will look dead flat.

3D rating: 3/5


For atmosphere you'd be hard pressed to beat the experience of sitting in the crowd at the Lakeside. As you'd discover, it's not about the view, it's the frenzy. A 3D view behind Phil 'the Power' Taylor's elbow on the oché would be fun, and the dartboard close-up would be just like being in the pub.

3D rating: 3/5


The overhead shot at the beginning aside, we just can't see diving benefitting much from 3D. It all happens too quickly in a flatish plane with nothing coming towards or away

3D rating: 1/5


Ever wanted to stand behind Tiger Woods teeing off at St Andrew's or whisper in Lee Westwood's ear as he putts the winning shot at the Ryder Cup? We reckon the 3D experience would be highly effective, probably not any better at seeing a driven ball when the camera tilts and pans but it would transport you to some of the most beautiful sporting scenery on the planet.

3D rating: 4/5


If ever there was a sport that screamed 3D it has to be gymnastics. The various disciplines - floor, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars and high bar - all require graceful, co-ordinated movement in three dimensions. Somersaulting, twisting and leaping on the floor could look especially amazing but the cameras would have to be careful not to move quickly. And no zooming - that is a headache waiting to happen.

3D rating: 5/5


Despite being the fans' favourite in boozers across the land, football is not the perfect 3D fit you might have been led to believe it is. The natural side-on view doesn't add much extra depth. Matters improve when the camera is placed behind the goal in terms of seeing the players but strangely the most compelling shots seem to be of the crowd.

As with all sports where the onscreen logo and score banner are placed has a strong influence on the depth of the image and these can be highly distracting when they stick out too much. Sky is working on it.

3D rating: 3/5


It seems certain that Formula 1 will be seen in 3D fairly soon, possibly in cinemas only though. Daniel Webber, MD of SuperVision Media who nabbed the rights to show the World Cup in 3D recently told 3D Radar: "We think there's tremendous opportunities with sport and 3D on the big screen. It lends itself so well. We're now actively looking for other sports to trial, including F1." The scope for excitement is endless with cameras placed trackside, in the pits and on the cars. Overtaking manoeuvres could look sensational as you get to witness the thrills and fear of being an F1 driver for yourself from the safety of your sofa.

3D rating: 5/5

Horse racing

The drama of the Grand National magnified ten-fold. That would be the result of a 3D day at Aintree with some clever camera placement and a herd (yes, that is the right collective noun) of horses hurdling the famous fences at a hundred miles an hour. An angled tracking shot in the home straight with the animals in full pelt and the jockey going bananas to get your 80-1 sweepstake across the line would be pretty stunning too.

3D rating: 4/5

Hockey and Ice Hockey

We could even include polo with this pair - essentially two teams using sticks to hit a ball or puck. Similar rules apply as with watching football and rugby where too much side-on action wouldn't do a lot to excite the old 3D specs. There's also the problem of a rapidly moving small object that would be very hard to follow in 3D as the brain needs more time to process what's happening.

3D rating: 2/5


In some respects this could be the most exciting 3D experience of the lot. Imagine the sled smashing through the screen, scattering ice all over the living room carpet as you cower behind the sofa. Trouble is the damn things move so quickly that your eyes wouldn't be able to handle the dimensional journey - however if it was processed so that the sled travelled away from the screen into the TV or came from within, moving towards the plane of the screen the visual experience would be a lot easier to handle.

3D rating: 4/5


The problem with rowing is that you really need to be alongside the boats to appreciate the relative positions of each crew and this view wouldn't do a lot for the 3D experience.

3D rating: 1/5


Sky's already taken up the 3D mantle with live broadcasts to pubs and cinemas and plans to feature rugby on its 3D channel in the autumn. Like football, the best scenes work when the camera isn't side-on but placed at the ends with players coming towards your point of view. You also get some tasty scrum action that almost leaves you feeling winded whilst line-outs are great fun too.

3D rating: 4/5


The big problem with sailing is that if you take away the commentators' voices it just looks like a few boats pootling around on the sea. Adding a third dimension won't do a lot to change that, especially with the broad overview shots that will still look flat but shooting plenty of close-up action with on-board cameras would transform the experience.

3D rating: 2/5

Skiing and ski jumping

Downhill skiing would be tremendously exciting in 3D but there may be problems if cameras are zoomed in too close to the skiers. Ski jumping offers great 3D potential as the jumpers move at a relatively slow speed and you could be offered a bird-eye view of the jumper's trajectory.

3D rating: 4/5


The largely static nature and naturally deep viewpoint of snooker lends itself perfectly to 3D. Seeing the table stretch away in to the screen with the the potter's shoulder or elbow coming out of the screen would make a nice composition. It would be fun to see the balls heading towards your coffee table. There would be some good opportunities for crowd views too, recreating the atmosphere of the crucible in your home.

3D rating: 5/5


The ball is small and moves fast in squash, which makes it unsuited to 3D. However the placement of cameras in front and behind the players and their relatively fixed positions would create the on-court experience nicely.

3D rating: 2/5


Swimming, like rowing, is best appreciated from the side of the pool, which isn't the best angle for 3D. The underwater shots of tumble turns and those that track the swimmers would be interesting if possibly a bit weird. Crowd shots would on the other hand be good as you really get to notice the individuals.

3D rating: 1/5

Table tennis

One of the best fits for 3D. The size of the table and the natural viewpoint behind the player's arm make an ideal basis for 3D. The producers could experiment with placing the net at the screen's plane so that half the table projected in to the TV and half out. Good crowd shot potential and great fun to be had with slow-mo close-ups of serves and returns.

3D rating: 5/5


The French Open this year was shown in 3D by Eurosport. The strange thing about watching tennis in 3D when everything projects in to the screen is that although it's quite compelling you feel like you're Gulliver watching miniature people.

The ball and players move too quickly for the cameras to show outward-projecting action without giving you an unbelievable headache.

3D rating: 2/5


Pro wrestling, be it the WWE or TNA, has enormous potential for 3D broadcasting. The cameras could really convey the ring-side experience. A careening Hulk Hogan would threaten to leave an ugly orange smudge on your carpet and you'd virtually feel the bone-crunching effects of a John Cena 'attitude adjustment'. Ouch.

3D rating: 4/5

01-10-2010, 09:32
The truth about 3D Blu-rayDirector James Cameron was bang on the money when he declared his revolutionary sci-fi epic Avatar would be a game-changer.

Moviegoers queued round the block to get a glimpse of Pandora in glorious 3D, propelling the movie to a record-pulverising box-office take of almost $3 billion.

The reason, Cameron reckons, was quite simple: "Where they had a choice the audience was selecting the best possible way to see the movie, and they saw 3D as the premium viewing experience."

Producer Jon Landau claimed that the movie had "restored belief that cinema can be a magical experience," and other studios were falling over themselves to capture some three-dimensional lightning in a bottle.

CLOUDY: The world's first stand-alone 3D Blu-ray, which is also bundled with Sony kit

Warner Bros. trotted out a conversion job on Louis Letterier's Clash Of The Titans remake, while Disney can thank Alice In Wonderland for it's second $1 billion box-office haul.

3D on the big screen has been an enormous hit, but will we get the benefits of that third dimension in our front rooms? This year has seen the arrival of a raft of 3D home entertainment gear from the likes of Panasonic, Sony and Samsung and a recent survey commissioned by the British Video Association (BVA) 63 per cent of 3D cinema goers would be interested in recreating the experience at home. The problem is, the 3D Blu-ray shelf is a little bare.

Increasing choice

Right now, if you want to watch a 3D Blu-ray movie at home your choice is Dreamworks' Monsters vs Aliens, which is only available as part of Samsung's 3D starter kit, or Sony Pictures' Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, which arrived earlier this month and comes bundled with Sony's new range of 3D TVs and Blu-ray players.

Dreamworks is, however, hoping to release the Shrek films later this year, which will also be part of Samsung's year-long exclusive deal with the studio. Although this essentially means that only Samsung customers can get their hands on Dreamworks titles, CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg is positive about the format's progress.

"It is an incredibly exciting time for the industry at large," he said at a recent 3D launch event in New York. "Thanks to Samsung's innovation leading the charge," Katzenberg declared, there was now "the capability to deliver a truly premium 3D experience for consumers in their homes."

Lexine Wong, Senior Executive Vice President, Worldwide Marketing for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, is equally effusive about 3D Blu-ray's future. "Beginning this year Sony Pictures Home Entertainment plans to release all of our studio's 3D theatrical films to Blu-ray 3D" she revealed, announcing some big titles in the pipeline.

"Our initial slate will draw from our catalogue of 'native' 3D content – Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Open Season, Monster House – as well as upcoming 3D theatrical releases like Resident Evil: Afterlife, Green Hornet and Men In Black III."

So it seems that a stunning 3D Blu-ray collection isn't too far off, after all. Crucially, though, animation is emerging as the key element to the 3D Blu-ray release schedules. For one particular studio this comes as no surprise.

Disney in the lead

"Disney has produced and released more 3D content than any other major studio to date," says Bob Chapek, President of Distribution for The Walt Disney Studios. According to Chapek Disney plans to "offer consumers an incredible line-up of true three-dimensional films and footage that will revolutionise the in-home entertainment experience."

So far that line-up consists of Robert Zemekis' A Christmas Carol, which has been confirmed for the end of 2010, and a 3D showcase disc featuring classic 1953 short Working For Peanuts. It will also show off trailers for Alice In Wonderland and Toy Story 3, suggesting they are not too far from getting an official release date of their own.

While it makes financial sense for studios to concentrate on existing 3D material, which is principally animation, Yves Caillaud, Chairman of the Board of Directors for The Digital Entertainment Group Europe believes we'll be seeing a lot more than just digital characters.

"Our view is titles which have a spectacular visual element will be the most greatly enhanced by 3D – so yes animation, but also movies that feature action packed sequences such as Clash Of The Titans, and stunning natural surroundings such as nature documentaries. There are many film genres which would be great viewed in the 3D format."

GAME CHANGER: Avatar, the film that kick started the 3D revolution, could change the fortunes of Blu-ray 3D

For this revolutionary visual spectacle, home entertainment fans will be expected to pay more. However, according to Sony this shouldn't come as a big shock, as we are already are paying more.

"At theatres, consumers are now used to the idea of paying a modest up-charge to see a movie in 3D, and we do feel that that expectation will carry over to Blu-ray 3D" Says Lexine Wong, while Simon Heller from the BVA agrees that all entertainment innovations carry a premium.

"As with all new technologies, the first players and discs will be higher priced on launch to off-set the investment. However, as 3D becomes more mass market, then we will see prices fall as we have seen with BD and DVD."

Sony has also confirmed 2D and 3D DVD/BD combi-packs, and they are currently exploring options for 3D special features and bonus content in a bid to add value to the package.

How big will Blu-ray 3D be?

Simon Heller also believes it will be a bit of a slow start for 3D BD. "If the launch of DVD is replicated, there will be only tens of titles released initially as replication costs are high to start with," although he does predict growth within the sector. More importantly, though, how big is the sector?

Blu-ray only accounted for 8 million disc sales in 2009 in the UK (compared to DVD's 235 million), and although it is growing at a faster rate than DVD did at launch one could easily deride 3D as a niche within a niche.

There's also the fact that industry forecasts for 3D TV sales over the next few years are conservative at best. "All markets have to start somewhere," Heller concludes.

And what of the movie that started it all? Arguably Avatar could have the 'Matrix' effect on 3D Blu-ray, but according to 20th Century Fox it remains in the "conceptual" stage. They're also being pretty tight-lipped about their 3D plans, with only Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs confirmed on the slate, arriving as part of a Panasonic bundle.

As for Cameron, well, he's certain that great releases are vital to the success of 3D. "If you play all the 3D movies in existence on your fancy new 3D TV, it will keep you entertained for about three days," he says.

"This content gap is the biggest hurdle for the rapid adoption of 3D TV." We are not playing an entirely different game just yet, then.

01-10-2010, 09:32
Panasonic pledges wider range of 3D TVs following 3D camcorder

Speaking at the launch of the revolutionary new HDC-SDT750 3D camcorder, European CEO Laurent Abadie said that the roll-out of 3D was exceeding Panasonic’s expectations.
He says Panasonic’s mission is ‘to think bigger – and do bigger!’

‘Demand for the VT20 50 inch plasma is far, far, far above our highest expectation,’ he says. ‘We introduced it in April this year, but demand has been three times higher than availability. Which was a pity, because in many stores the product was sold out. Our mission now is to revise our plan. I really believe that 3D is a strong augment for consumers today. After the shock of James Cameron’s Avatar, last December, 3D became a trigger for everything: for gaming, for movies, for broadcast stations. 3D is everywhere in the world, not just Europe, it’s a global revolution.’

More 3D coming

While Abadie concedes that Panasonic’s 3D range has been small, that will all change at the 2010 IFA Tech Expo. ‘You will see a lot of new products. Following the launch of our 65inch 3D plasma model, we will have a 46inch and 42inch models…a full range. We will also show at IFA a 153inch 4K2K 3D model.’ Abadie says that the giant screen is already commercially available, and offers me the chance to place an order. ‘The price is £400,000,’ he teases ‘and we already have orders. It’s incredible.’

All of the brand’s 2010 3D TVs look likely to remain Plasmas. While the company has made a significant investment in LCD, with a new facility at Himeje (‘it’s one of the biggest in the world.’), it maintains that plasma presents the best technical solution for Home 3D.

‘From the engineering side, we really believe that plasma is much better (than LCD). The way the images are managed and the lack of crosstalk. This is a big discussion internally, but our key people really feel that plasma for sure is the best technology. This is so visible with the 50inch. With 3D you have to be careful. If images have crosstalk you feel that there is something…wrong with the image, it can be tiring to watch even if it is not that visible.’

While Panasonic’s plasma panels have been universally lauded for their image quality, the same cannot be said for the first generation 3D spectacles. Eyeware is an area all of the manufacturer’s seem to be wrestling with – and they remain the most quoted consumer objection to 3D.

According to Abadie, it’s an area that Panasonic is keen to revisit.
‘We will introduce many new glasses in two or three months,’ he says. ‘A full range, with better quality, that are more comfortable – especially for people who already wear prescription glasses. They will be lighter, and come in different sizes. It depends on the size of your face…This is a big issue and we will bring a big response.’

01-10-2010, 09:33
ViaSat Wins $5.5 Million MIDS LVT Add-on Order from SPAWAR

ViaSat won an additional $5.5 million Multifunctional Information Distribution System-Low Volume Terminals (MIDS-LVT) and spares order from the U.S. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR), ViaSat announced Sept. 27.
The order augments SPAWAR’s Lot 11 delivery orders with ViaSat as part of its annual MIDS lot procurements. This new Lot 11 add-on is for LVT-1, -2, -4, and -11 terminals to support U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force programs as well as a foreign military sale requirement for Australia.
Terminal deliveries are scheduled to begin in March.
ViaSat is one of two U.S. government-qualified manufacturers of Link 16 MIDS terminals. MIDS-LVT is part of a tactical radio system, which aims to collects data from many sources and display an electronic overview of the battlefield using secure, high capacity, jam resistant, digital data and voice.

01-10-2010, 09:34
Globecomm to Supply U.S. Government With Network Management Services

Globecomm Systems has been awarded $4 million in contracts from unnamed U.S. government agencies to supply its network management software product, AxxSys Orion, and associated engineering support services, Globecomm announced Sept. 28.
The service will support global operations of several large entry Earth stations as well as numerous smaller fixed and portable satellite systems. AxxSys Orion’s distributed architecture aims to allow government personnel to manage each terminal asset from their desktop and reducing ongoing maintenance and support costs.
“Globecomm continues to invest [research and development] resources into the AxxSys Orion product in order to expand the boundaries of network management with regards to features and performance. These new orders demonstrate our commitment to provide our core customer base with a true global enterprise solution that is easy to use, robust, highly scalable and extremely reliable,” Globecomm Vice President of IT Scott Herschander said in a statement.

01-10-2010, 09:34
Arab Advisors: News Channels Most Profitable in Middle East

News and current affairs channels have the highest average advertising rates amongst FTA satellite channels in the Arab world, according to a Sept. 27 research report by Arab Advisors, a Middle East based satellite and media research company.
The Arab Advisors report, “Satellite TV Advertising Rates in the Arab World 2010,” studied advertising rates across 38 FTA satellite TV channels and found that news and current affairs, general channels, movies and series channels have the highest average advertising rates amongst the FTA satellite channels in the Arab world.
The average advertising rates of FTA satellite news and current affairs channels in the Arab world is $5,219 for a 30-second advertisement during peak time. General FTA channels rates followed, while music channels had the lowest rates. Arab Advisors said ad rates in the Middle East remain quite low by global standards.

01-10-2010, 09:35
Mesco Named MTN Reseller in Korea

MTN Satellite Communications (MTN) appointed Korean marine electronics company Mesco to be MTN’s authorized reseller in Korea, MTN announced Sept. 27.
Mesco will provide sales, service, and technical support for MTN’s products and services for customers in the commercial maritime industry. Mesco holds certifications from several classification societies to perform shipboard radio inspections and maintenance.
“The appointment of Mesco in Korea will provide a major boost for MTN’s expanding business in the important Korean maritime market. Mesco has a well-deserved reputation as one of the top companies in technical service and support for marine satellite communication systems, and the company will be an important addition to our growing sales and service network in the Asia-Pacific region,” MTN Director of Channel Sales Ian Maxson-Davies said in a statement.

01-10-2010, 09:36
American Television Alliance Takes Aim At Retrans In Ads

The American Television Alliance, which is another name for "cable operators and others for retrans reform," has taken its campaign to the pages of print publicationd targetting Washington decisionmakers and a national audience.

The ads are all scheduled to run this week in 10 publications, including Roll Call and Communications Daily.

A source said the that the six-figure ad buy was in part meant to provide a parting reminder to legislators about the issue as they head out the door at the end of the week to try to get re-elected.

The alliance was formed by a "strange bedfellows" mix of companies and organizations including Cablevision, Verizon, Dish Network, AT&T U-verse, the American Cable Association, Public Knowledge, the Parents Television Council and Starz, as well as about two dozen others.

Theirs is a two-front effort to try and get Congress to legislate change, or the FCC to act on a petition--filed by many of the alliance members--to institute "reforms" including standstill agreements and outside arbitration.

Independent producers (ATVA members and others) including representatives of Outdoor Channel, Retirement Living TV and Gospel Music Channel, flew into D.C. last week to pitch the FCC and Hill on retrans reform.

01-10-2010, 09:36
Finch Flies To HGTV, Singer Moves Up At DIY

Kathleen Finch has been named general manager at HGTV and Andy Singer is taking her place at DIY Network, both Scripps Networks Interactive properties.

Finch's new position also includes the title senior vice president. She had been DIY's SVP and general manger. At HGTV she will lead all aspects of HGTV's program development and production, working closely with HGTV president Jim Samples to determine and execute strategic direction, Scripps said.

"Kathleen has led DIY Network to spectacular success in ratings, revenue and recognition," Samples said. "Her track record for developing compelling and entertaining programming is strong, and her addition will solidify HGTV's position as America's leader in home and lifestyle programming."

Singer has been SVP of programming at DIY Network the last two years, working closely with Finch to develop shows such as Yard Crashers, Rescue Renovation and This New House. The network also forged partnerships with the Today show, Major League Baseball and the National Football League.

"Beyond his expertise in programming, Andy has proven to be an exceptional leader," Burton Jablin, executive vice president and president of Scripps Networks' home category, said in a release. "His level-headed approach to management and his objective understanding of our category approach to business will serve DIY Network well."

Finch joined DIY from Scripps Networks outlet Food Network, where she was SVP of primetime programming and developed such shows as Unwrapped and Food Network Challenge. Before joining Scripps Networks, she spent 12 years as a producer for CBS News.

Singer joined DIY from HGTV, where he was VP of original programming and supervised hit series and specials including My First Place and House Hunters. He joined Scripps Networks in 2005, after being a producer for VH1.

01-10-2010, 09:37
Rocketing YouTube usage has contributed to an overall 68% leap in global mobile data bandwidth usage over the first half of 2010

YouTube’s 123% growth over the six months is indicative of the march of video identified in the report by the supplier of service optimisation and revenue generation solutions for fixed and mobile broadband service providers worldwide, which show just how video streaming applications continue to dominate the global mobile bandwidth scene.

They remain the largest consumer of bandwidth with a 35% share with YouTube remaining one of the single most popular destinations, accounting for 13% of mobile data bandwidth.
In addition, video streaming is the single largest growing application type with a 92% increase, again due in part to the rising popularity of YouTube.

“The results of our latest MobileTrends Report reinforces that mobile broadband operators continue to face growing challenges as subscribers demand real-time content through an array of smartphones and Internet devices,” said Rami Hadar, President and CEO of Allot Communications.

The findings also clearly demonstrate the close ties between mobile broadband and social networking. Whether it’s YouTube, Twitter or Facebook, social networking via mobile devices is becoming a ‘must have’ for subscribers and we expect that this is just the beginning.

01-10-2010, 09:38
Telegent has revealed a roadmap that will now include digital technology.

Having successfully carved out a niche as arguably the world’s leading provider of analogue mobile TV technologies, Telegent has revealed a roadmap that will now include digital technology.

The company claims that since 2007 it has shipped more than 90 million free-to-air mobile TV chips into handsets sold globally.

Key elements underlying the roadmap include development of algorithms that improve picture and audio quality, improvements to system design that reduce the number and cost of required external components, migration to smaller process geometries that reduce system size and power consumption and expansion of supported TV standards.

Work will also go into improving picture quality standards and the overall consumer experience and ease of use.
It company insists that its strategic product roadmap for mobile TV will simultaneously drive new industry standards for best-in-class picture quality, system cost and power consumption in the analogue TV receiver market whilst enable its mobile handset customers to sell into markets currently in transition from analogue to digital TV standards.

We are continuously and aggressively pursuing industry-leading positions on the technical dimensions that matter most to our customers – picture quality, size, power consumption and system cost, said Ford Tamer, president and CEO of Telegent

01-10-2010, 09:39
Boost for Russian VOD

Russia’s VimpelCom has inked an agreement with Warner Brothers Digital Distribution under which subscribers to its Beeline IPTV service will have access to the latter’s content on an on demand basis.
Quoting the company’s chief marketing officer Anatoli Smorgonsky, AKTR and Comnews say that VimpelCom believes there is sufficient demand for such a service despite the high levels of piracy in Russia, It is also hoping to reach a similar deal with Disney.

VimpelCom subscribers will be able to watch new Warner titles for R75 (€1.82) each and older ones for R50 for 24 hours after making a booking.

01-10-2010, 09:39
Kabelkiosk to deliver HD to 140 cable operators

The 140 German cable networks, who take part in the Deutschen Netzmarketing have now access to the HD chnanels from the country’s two main private broadcasters ProSiebenSat.1 TV Deutschland GmbH and RTL Deutschland, thanks to a new agreement with Eutelsat Kabelkiosk.
The KabelKiosk distributes the HD channels RTL HD, VOX HD, Pro Sieben HD, SAT.1 HD and as wel as39 private channels in SD quality in a basic package to cable operators. With the overall agreement, the cablenets belonging to the Deutschen Netzmarketing now have immediate access to these channels to carry them on their networks.

Ingo Schuchert, managing director of the Deutschen Netzmarketing, said in a statement: “Digitisation is not an end in it self, tit must offer customers real added value in terms of quality, comfort and variety. Exactly this can be done with the offer of BasisHD from Eutelsat.”

Martina Rutenbeck, CEO of Eutelsat Communications said in Cologne: “We are delighted to have signed the distribution agreement, which promotes the digitisation of the cable. With a combination of crowd-pulling HD content, strong marketing partners, and attractive services Eutelsat KabelKiosk remains an important guarantee for the successful migration of the cable to digital TV. “

The Deutsche Netzmarketing is a joint partnership between around 140 cable operators in the German speaking parts of Europe with the aim to jointly sign distribution contracts with broadcasters. It brings together small and medium sized private operators as well as larger nets such as Tele Columbus and Primacom and so-called ‘city carriers’ including NetCologne and wilhelm.tel. Also, many housing associations take part in the venture, that brings together some 6 million cable homes

01-10-2010, 09:49
More channels sought for Polish mux

The Polish National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT) has launched a consultation into the allocation of spare capacity on the country’s DTT multiplex.
According to Satkurier, quoting the regulator, the filling of this capacity with new TV channels is key to the creation of open and pluralistic digital terrestrial TV in Poland.

At present, the only channels on the first multiplex are TVP1, TVP2 and TVP Info, with the public broadcaster’s other services having been reserved capacity on what will be the third multiplex.

There is additional capacity for four more SD channels on the first multiplex.

01-10-2010, 09:50
BR starts DVB-T2 tests in Munich

The German regional public broadcaster Bayerische Rundfunk has launched DVB-T test transmissions in the city of Munich from the Freimann transmitter location.
Programming from the channels Das Erste HD, Das Erste and Bayerische Fernsehen include both SD and HD content. The channels are for test purposes only and do not constitute regular broadcast. The transmissions are, however, free-to-air adn take place on UHF channel 50. The tests from BR follow earlier pilot transmissions from the IRT in Munich.

During 2011, the test will also include a single frequency simulcast with three different transmitters.

01-10-2010, 09:51
Sony Gulf launches 3D-ready LED TVs in Mid East

The new TVs will incorporate a multitude of modern broadcasting amenities.

Sony Gulf has announced the debut of its new 3D-enabled LED BRAVIA television series in the Middle East. The new sets, comprising the HX800, NX815/710 and LX900 models, will roll out in 40 inch, 46 inch, 55 inch and 60 inch sizes, and will include HD 3D and WiFi connectability.

The new BRAVIA 3D LED TVs offer a window into Sony’s immersive 3D-world ambience," says Sony Gulf FZE MD Osama Miura. "They hold the key to the most exciting home entertainment experience we have ever created. Given that Sony is a pioneer in the technology that is used to generate original 3D content worldwide, our BRAVIA 3D LED TV is a must-have innovation for every consumer to take home.

01-10-2010, 09:52
All change for Saudi TV

“In the future, it will be ready to adapt to 1080p. It’s a matter of when 1080p becomes the de facto standard in terms of not having so much difference in price. There is still a difference in price compared to 720p, which is the standard that we have adopted,” Dr Najm explains.

Stereoscopic 3D is unlikely to be a driver of future 1080p and 3G adoption. Even when it comes to sport, one of the prime candidates for stereoscopic 3D, Dr Najm says Saudi TV’s immediate priority is to convert its sports channel to HD.

On the business side of its operations, Saudi TV is trying to take steps towards what it terms ‘corporatisation’. This does not mean a selloff, third party investment, downsizing or the imposition of strict profit and loss targets, but a change in the way things are done at the organisation.

“What we are involved in now is trying to change, or transform, a government body, which is radio and television as part of a ministry, to become a corporation,” explains Dr Najm.

“[It is] still owned by the ministry, but [is] driven and operated on a corporatised basis, meaning it has its own separate organisational structure and its own bylaws – whether for HR or for administration & finance – separate from other government bodies. Then, it becomes more competitive and able to operate in a way that is more productive.

“Part of the idea is that you have the flexibility on hiring and firing based on merit. Of course, it will remain a big organisation and we will have to respect general rules on hiring and firing.”

The migration to HD and the planned corporatisation of Saudi TV both support the Ministry’s effort to roll out digital terrestrial TV in the Kingdom. If the Ministry’s plans come to fruition, digital terrestrial TV could, at some point in the next few years, constitute a viable, free-to-air alternative to satellite in KSA.

Dr Najm agrees that comparisons to the UK’s Freeview are not wide of the mark. Freeview is a digital terrestrial service that offers around 50 channels from a combination of public service broadcasters, free-to-air commercial operators and satellite operators such as Sky. Viewers need to buy a set-top box for around US $50 to get up and running, but then receive the 50 channels for free.

Right now, KSA’s digital terrestrial service carries Saudi TV’s nine radio and TV channels, plus one interactive data service. More content needs be added, which will require the passing of legislation specifying terms and conditions of carriage.

“What will be available are some selected, socially acceptable channels from the region and maybe some foreign programmes,” Dr Najm explains. “In order to do this, we will need to have [in place] what we call the Broadcast Act, which is now under evaluation by the government, which will outline how we will allow private channels to be broadcast locally and terrestrially.”

Could the digital terrestrial initiative be seen as a move against satellite operators, whose content has sometimes offended regional audiences? Dr Najm replies: “The majority of people want programmes that are socially acceptable, that are good for the family and provide reasonable entertainment. Then, you don’t need to go to satellite, you just go to digital terrestrial.”

The infrastructure to offer digital terrestrial TV is pretty much in place, with most of the country now being covered. Now, the content just needs to be added, with Dr Najm saying around 30 channels would be the ideal figure.

Alongside its infrastructure upgrades, corporatisation and the terrestrial TV rollout, Saudi TV has made significant progress on a massive archiving and content restoration project. Dr Najm believes the project is probably one of the largest of its type ever undertaken, with around 270,000 TV tapes in different formats and 500,000 audio tapes involved. Most of the TV work has now been done and around 65% of the radio content.

A decision has been made to transport acquisition and ingest equipment to the remaining content in Jeddah, rather than transport tapes physically to Riyadh and risk damaging them.

Two copies of each piece of material are being made, with metadata and low resolution browser versions being attached to each one. One quirky fact is that some of the material had to be baked in an oven in order for the restoration artists to be able to play it back.

Within the next two years, Saudi TV plans to create a private network, linking all its production centres with the content archive. A future possibility is putting some of the archive material online for public access “It’s one of the projects that we are very proud of and hopefully when it is finished, it will be a good model for others to follow,” says Dr Najm.

Through a combination of technical upgrades and organisational reform, the Ministry of Culture & Information is spearheading wholesale change in the Kingdom’s television landscape. Don’t be surprised if it one day emerges as a competitor to satellite TV in the country.

01-10-2010, 09:52
Studios consider ‘premium VOD’

Hollywood studios Sony Pictures, Warner Bros. and Walt Disney Co. are in talks with the largest cable TV systems to offer films for as much as $30 (EUR 22.50) per showing soon after they run in theaters, reports Bloomberg.
The studios are talking with In Demand, a partnership of Cox Communications Inc., Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable Inc., Bob Benya, chief executive officer of In Demand, said in an interview. Disney is also discussing streaming films on Web-linked devices such as the Microsoft Xbox console and the Sony PlayStation 3, the report said.

Such a ‘premium VOD service’ would be Hollywood’s answer to a declining DVD market, a very slow starting Blu-ray market and an increasing demand from customers for early access to block buster titles. At the moment, the earliest access cable customers get to new Hollywood titles are those that are made available on a Day & Date basis on the VOD service – at the same time as the DVD and Blu-ray release.

At the moment, the demand for early releases is mainly filled by pirate website, who make new movies available as soon as they hit the theatres – and sometimes even before the theatrical release. Until now, the movie industry has set high hopes on Blu-ray discs becoming the next standard for premium products and pricing, but even at the launch of the product, it was doubtful if the format would be successful.It is telling that Microsoft now has said it will not put a Blu-ray player in its XBox 360 consoles.

01-10-2010, 09:53
ITV sells Screenvision stakeBroadcaster reduces debt by offloading 50% of cinema advertising business to US private equity fund for $80m

Adam Crozier said the Screenvision sell-off was 'another important step for ITV'. Photograph: Graeme Robertson

ITV has sold its 50% stake in cinema advertising business Screenvision to US private equity fund Shamrock Capital for $80m.

The sale of the business, which was originally earmarked for sale as far back as 2004 by the then ITV chief executive Charles Allen, will be used to pay down the broadcaster's debt.

Screeenvision has been sold to US-based Shamrock Capital Growth Fund II, which focuses on the media, entertainment and communications sectors, with the deal subject to anti-trust clearance.

"This is another important step for ITV as we progress our transformation plan to focus the business on its core objectives of UK multiplatform broadcasting and global content," said the ITV chief executive, Adam Crozier. "The proceeds of this sale will positively impact our net debt which decreased by £175m in the six months to 30 June 2010."

Former chief executive Michael Grade put Screenvision up for sale last year at the same time as Friends Reunited, which it sold for £25m to DC Thomson subsidiary Brightsolid, and Freeview multiplex business SDN. ITV subsequently decided to retain SDN and link it to its pension deficit in an "asset backing" initiative.

01-10-2010, 09:54
Kids on top

Al Jazeera Children’s Channel (JCC)'s back to school programme kicks off this week, featuring numerous in-house productions as well as international co-productions and acquisitions.

New programs include the hotly anticipated Saladin (a new 3D-animated series), which premiered on September 17th and looks set to capture the hearts and minds of children across the Arab world. Over the past 3 years, JCC and Malaysia's Multimedia Development Company (MDEC) have successfully worked together to bring to life this animated series inspired from the long history of heroism in the Arab region. The series is available in both English and Arabic and has generated considerable interest from the international market and content buyers from Russia, Turkey, Indonesia, China, America and several European countries.

JCC has also dedicated a slot to encourage healthy eating habits. Over the past two years, JCC has been collaborating with Fresh One, a British production company made famous by Jamie Oliver, to produce a cooking show that promotes the importance of a healthy diet. JCC's Al Tabaq Al Taer (Flying Saucer) is an entertaining easy to digest 26-minute series offering fresh and simple recipes and nutrition tips for children.

The new season also sees the launch of PhysiaKawn (Discover Science), a major co-production between JCC and Japan's Broadcasting Corporation NHK/NED. Beginning February 2011, PhysiaKawn will make physics visually fun through easy to understand, but often spectacular, experiments. JCC's other in-house productions include Anta Batal (Be a Champion), a weekly sports magazine; Khair Al Kalam, a weekly debate show with teams debating the hottest topics affecting teens nowadays, and Al Alam Soual a quiz show in which contestants answer general knowledge questions about different countries of the world.

JCC's Executive General Manager, Mahmoud Bouneb, stated, "Today, we proudly celebrate JCC's 5th anniversary and the launch of our new grid showcasing some remarkable content. Over the past years, JCC has not only matured but also learnt how to innovate on many levels; this growth has allowed us to take a leading role in the field of children's media and in making a major impact internationally."

01-10-2010, 09:55
DTH ops want govt to take measures for cheaper STBs

NEW DELHI: Even as most DTH operators differ that a common Open Architecture based set-top box could ensure technical interoperability among different operators, they are unanimous that the government should take steps to reduce the cost of the STBs.

Meanwhile, most operators have lauded the government's efforts towards digitisation and expressed their willingness to support these measures.

The comments came in response to a Consultation Paper issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India on the possibility of technical interoperability and technical compatibility among different DTH operators who have adopted the same or different standards.

The consultation paper was issued as the Information and Broadcasting Ministry had on 11 May requested Trai to review its recommendations "Interoperability and Other Issues relating to DTH" of 30 January 2008. In 2006, the Ministry sought recommendations of Trai on various issues related to a DTH licence. One of the issues included technical interoperability in case of set top boxes with recording facility, personal video recorder (PVR) or Digital video recorder (DVR). The Authority made some recommendations to the Ministry on 25 August 2006.

In its response, Tata Sky said both inter (in between) and Intra (within) operator interoperability is not possible amongst different DTH operators since they have been permitted over the last three years to adopt different standards. The Ministry has stated that if the DTH STB standard is to be revised, it should be such that ensures both Inter (in between) and Intra (within) operator interoperability.

It said the rationale behind technical interoperability - that customers should be able to switch from one DTH operator to another without having to purchase a new operator's Customer Premises Equipments (CPE) - was understandable but not possible when there are as many as six private DTH operators apart from the free-to-air Doordarshan Direct Plus.

In any case, the cost of the CPE is no more prohibitive and all DTH operators have deployed substantial subsidies directly to all their subscribers. The fact that some DTH operators are providing STBs free of cost cannot be lost sight of in the present highly competitive context. Any new stipulation in the DTH license agreement that will push the cost of the CPE up is likely to lead to the withdrawal of free STB schemes, currently on offer. Thus, it is the customer who will be the ultimate loser.

Bharti Telemedia (Airtel Digital TV) has said that although the open architecture STB is technically feasible, it would lead to many issues and has cost implications as well. Any open architecture system to support all DTH operators would need additional features in the form of hardware and software support/modification to be added to the box and this would in turn escalate costs.

It has suggested that to support open architecture, there is a need to make an industry consortium which can work towards the common hardware and software solution/specifications for Interoperable STBs. Possibility of common smart cards can be explored so as to forfeit the need for CAMs and to bring down the cost of STBs.

It added that it is important that all future network and STBs manufactured/imported be consistent with the highest technical standard.

Any regulatory intervention should not stop the march of technology. In order to ensure that only the latest technology networks and STBs are deployed by the service providers, the regulator should specify the minimum standards with backward compatibility. This would avoid the deployment of obsolete technologies.

Bharti also said one of the most effective ways for the Government to safeguard the subscribers' interests is to move towards a cost reduction for STBs.

According to its estimate, the average churn rate of DTH operators is close to 0.4 per cent and having the CI slot and CAMs in the STB only to provide the technical inter-operability and flexibility to this small percentage of DTH subscribers' results in rise in the cost of the STB for all the DTH subscribers.

Thus, it is suggested that the STBs be manufactured with bare minimum features and without the Common Interface (CI) slot and other expensive functions so as to reduce the cost of STB. There should be withdrawal of customs duty, excise duty and other taxes currently levied on the import and manufacturing of STBs. This would bring down the overall cost of the STB and would make it more economical for DTH subscribers to buy a new STB instead of CAM module to switch between DTH operators. The government should support the cost reduction of STBs through allocation of funds and other rebates like tax holidays.

Videocon D2h has, on the other hand, said that the operator can move towards giving maximum flexibility to the subscriber only by moving towards true technical interoperability. But while commercial interoperability is justified for purchased STBs, it is not appropriate for rented boxes.

D2h also says it is possible to have an open Architecture based STB and claims it has already achieved this level of technical capability.

Dish TV says that no less that four operators are clustered around the 93.5E location on which Sun and DD-Direct operate. These operators also have common visibility of other satellites. This implies that using a common antenna, a customer without making any change in the rooftop antennas, can potentially receive services from more than one satellite provided that the set top box is interoperable. Even customers at other locations such as 88.5E or 83E can view one or more satellites with dual LNBs which are available inexpensively in the market.

However while customers have access to 3-4 satellites or more with the same dish or dual LNBs, they can view the channels on other DTH systems if they have an interoperable set top box with a CI slot and CAMs for other system. This is desirable as not all channels are available on all DTH systems. As an example certain cricket matches were available on only one DTH system and further not all DTH systems carry the same set of channels in SD or HD format.

It also says it is possible to have an open architecture based STB that could ensure technical interoperability and technical compatibility and effective interoperability among different DTH operators who have adopted same standard. Interoperability.

Reliance Big TV does not think there could be standardized interoperable STBs as each box is configured to receive a small number of network requirements to keep its cost low. Interoperability may also help the hackers to break into the networks.

In fact, it says implementation of technical interoperability could be detrimental to the interest of the customer since the cost of the STB with CI and CAM mandated by the BSI would be high.

01-10-2010, 09:56
Hungary committed to ASO date

HCA/HCTA CONFERENCE – TIHANY. Hungary has no plans to put back its analogue switch off date from the current December 31, 2011. However, it will continue to monitor the situation internationally.

The news was given by Dr Évá Menyhárt Vasváriné, deputy under secretary, ministry of national development, and Gabor Matrai, the VP of the new National Media and Telecoms Authority (NMHH), in the opening session of the annual HCA/HCTA cable conference in Tihany, Hungary.

When asked about the upcoming (and controversial) new media law, they denied that the cable industry is not being listened to: although the two associations were not contacted in the consultation on the first reading of the law, which was passed in August, they have been on the second stage, due to be passed next month.

Several other key points emerged on the digital switchover process during the session. Firstly, ASO will be undertaken in Hungary on a stage-by-stage basis, with the government having already formulated a strategy for its implementation.

Secondly, the government does not envisage Antenna Hungária having to face any competition in the DTT sector in the future, and thirdly, the more needy members of society will have to apply for subsidies for digital reception equipment.

01-10-2010, 09:56
New revenue required for local TV

Additional revenues will need to be sought to ensure the viability of the government’s local television project, according to the man heading the DCMS Steering Group.

In a letter to Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt, Nicoholas Shott says the structural decline in national and regional adversing attributed to the number of national chains populating Britain’s High Streets and the influence of the internet, means funding from advertising will be challenging.

Shott suggests collective sponsorship from a large national organization wanting to be seen as a part of the local community might be an option, pointing to the recently launch of the London bike scheme, which has been sponsored by Barclays Bank.

Although news is seen as the mainstay of local broadcasting, Shott says it would be difficult to sustain audiences for long periods. He says it is better to think of local TV channels rather than local TV services.

A report on the technical options for local TV was last week published by Ofcom.

Despite the failure of previous attempts to establish local TV services, Hunt seems deterimined to ‘decentralise’ local media. In a speech to the Royal Television Society in London, Hunt outlined plans for an affiliate model of channels that would broadcast for as little as one hour a day, taking advantage of technlogies such as those brought by YouView (Project Canvas), and, curiously, mobile TV.

01-10-2010, 09:57
Fox gains CSI

Fox International Channels (FIC) has secured the exclusive rights to premier the latest season of American crime drama TV series, Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) in the Mena region. The agreement includes the entire CSI franchise such as the latest CSI: New York and CSI: Miami series, which will be given exclusive first runs on the Fox Series free-to-air satellite channel in the region.

01-10-2010, 09:58
Sony launches web TV box to rival Apple TV

Sony has officially announced details of its stand alone web TV box, called the SMP-N100 Network Media Player, which will now launch on the European market. The box has been some time available in the US giving users access to online services such as Netflix, YouTube, Amazon and Pandora.

The box will bring the same internet connectivity we have seen with Sony Bravia TV sets, PSP3 consoles and Blu-ray players and has DNLA. It is clearly pitched against the newly introduced Apple TV.

The Media Player has both Ethernet connections as well as wireless 802.11n, also HDMI and USB slots are available. The box has Content Noise Reduction and full support for 1080p video.

Sony’s Network Media Player is capable of playing broad range of video formats including DivX, Xvid and H256 video in MKV containers. There will be free Android and iPhone apps available to control the machine.

For the UK version, set to hit the shops in October, the box will give access to BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Lovefilm, Demand Five and FIFA football highlights and more content via Sony’s Qirocity, their Video on Demand portal. No details have been issued about the content in other European counytries.

Retail price in the US is S129.00; for the UK a price of around 129 – 149 pounds is envisaged.

01-10-2010, 09:59
EMS shows brand awareness equals audiences

International television channels are reaching 78% of Europe’s upscale consumers and businessmen every month, according to the summer EMS survey.

The phone-based study is seen as Europe’s only reliable guide to audiences to major channel brands including BBC World News, Discovery Channel, Eurosport and CNN.

The EMS 2010 survey puts the weekly reach to international channels at 60.8%, rising to 67.2% among the top 3% known as EMS Select and 80.7% in the Central and East Europe territories badged as CEMS.

Among the news and business channels, weekly reach in EMS is 44.9%, EMS Select shows 58% and CEMS 45.4%.

CNN, BBC World News, Discovery Channel, Eurosport, National Geographic and Sky News all poll well in terms of awareness. Spin-off brands including Eurosport 2 and Nat Geo Wild fair less well, though this could equally be attributed to distribution, as may also be the case for Russia TV, Luxe TV, Fashion TV, E! Entertainment and Deutsche Welle. Such comparisons may be a little unfair given that lesser channels do not appear in the survey in the first place.

Awareness invariably translates into audiences, BBC World News scored a pan-European weekly reach of 19.5% with Arte on 31.1%, Bloomberg on 8.8%, CNBC 9.7%, CNN 22.4%, Discovery Channel 24.4%, Euronews 20.3%, Eurosport 32.0%, MTV 27.9%, National Geographic 19.9% and Sky News also on 19.9% .

01-10-2010, 09:59
Regulators set to probe German online video project

The online video platform being designed by German broadcasters RTL and ProSiebenSat.1 is set to be investigated by regulators in Germany and Austria.

The news comes after the European Commission agreed to give local regulators the first chance to investigate the proposed venture and see if it would restrict competition. The two broadcasters are looking to launch an ad-supported online video site that would allow consumers to watch content from their bouquet of channels as well as other broadcasters including public broadcasters. The two broadcasters submitted their plans to the European Commission earlier this summer.

01-10-2010, 10:00
Norwegian launch for Viasat Hockey

Viasat Hockey is launching in Norway in October. The sports channel operated by the Modern Times Group-owned broadcaster is launching the channel, which will air a raft of live hockey games and magazine formats, across several cable and IPTV platforms in the country on October 8.

This follows successful launches in Sweden and Finland in 2009 and in Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia in January 2010. The channel will air live games from the National Hockey League (NHL), the KHL international hockey league, the Swedish HockeyAllsvenskan and the IIHF World Championship.

01-10-2010, 10:01
BBC pulls Lord Ashcroft exposé

The BBC last night pulled an edition of Panorama on the financial affairs of Conservative Party deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft just hours before it was due to be broadcast.

The programme, which was scheduled to air on Monday night on BBC One, was put on hold after an objection from the billionaire Tory benefactor, who has been at the centre of a political row about his former status as a tax exile.

According to the corporation, more information about a share interest transfer emerged before the programme was due to be broadcast, which led to it being pulled.

After the BBC recently posed a number of questions to Lord Ashcroft, one of the responses came back yesterday that "shed new light" on his financial affairs. The BBC therefore decided to put the programme on hold to further review its contents.

Monday night's Panorama was replaced with another edition of the programme about military justice in the UK.

A BBC spokesman said: "We put a number of questions to Lord Ashcroft two weeks ago, including one relating to a share interest transfer.

"We asked for a response by September 24. In a response received (on Monday) afternoon we have been given information that sheds new light on that issue and we will therefore review the programme."

01-10-2010, 10:01
Hunt in call for PSB commitment to local TV

UK culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has used his speech at today’s Royal Television Society conference in London to tell commercial public service broadcasters to deliver local TV and online services as part of their public service broadcast obligations.

Hunt also asked regulator Ofcom to create a definition of public service broadcasting that encourages local content to be delivered by commercial broadcasters. Currently, only ITV is required to produce regionally focused content. The licences held by ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 are due for renewal in 2014.

01-10-2010, 10:02
Hunt wants PSBs to provide local content

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has confirmed plans to ask commercial public service broadcasters such as ITV and Channel 4 to support a new network of local TV services.

In a speech today to the Royal Television Society conference in London, Hunt will outline plans to make it a condition of their licences that PSBs must provide local content in the UK.

He will warn commercial PSBs that they will only be able to retain their lucrative positions on the digital terrestrial television (DTT) electronic programme guides (EPGs) if they guarantee to deliver a certain quota of local programming.

Hunt wants to create a network of as many as 80 local TV stations in the UK to replicate the type of vibrant local services already operated in the US, France and other countries.

Lazards investment banker Nicholas Shott, who was recently commissioned by Hunt to investigate the local TV proposals, has however urged caution on the minister's plans.

Shott's interim report suggests that advertising alone would not sustain the local TV sector and multi-million pound corporate sponsorship deal may be required, similarly to Barclays' backing of the London bicycle scheme.

In a letter to Hunt, Shott said that local TV stations were more likely to succeed in urban areas, but even there "the economics of a TV business funded mainly by advertising will still be challenging" and "additional revenue sources" would have to be found.

However, Hunt is intent on forging ahead with his plans and will ask media regulator Ofcom to make local content a requisite of holding a PSB licence.

"I will begin the process of redefining public service broadcasting for the digital age by asking Ofcom to look at how we can ensure that enough emphasis is given to the delivery of local content," Hunt will say in his speech.

"Of course not all PSBs will want, or be able, to be local broadcasters, but I'm determined that we should recognise the public value in those that do."

He added: "Second, I intend to bring forward new legislation to clarify which PSB channels should get guaranteed positioning on page one of the EPG and its future online equivalents.

"As we move into a multichannel, multi-platform era, this is likely to become the principle intervention through which we repay broadcasters who invest in content with a social or cultural benefit. I want to make sure we have absolute clarity on how that will work."

ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5's PSB licences are up for renewal in 2014, but the broadcasters have long complained about the heavy cost of providing local news content.

ITV even previously threatened to drop its regional news services entirely, but has since softened its position on the matter.

Interestingly, Shott's interim report indicated that a "channel number" in a prominent position on the EPG would be "highly desirable" for local TV.

The approach, which has long been called for by campaigners, would possibly involve a local TV channel being allocated on Freeview or the Red-button interactive service being used to deliver the local content.

Shott's report said that IPTV could offer more opportunities for delivering local programming compared to the high cost of carriage on the DTT platform. However, it also noted that IPTV is probably "some years away from reaching worthwhile market penetration".

01-10-2010, 10:03
Discovery to launch int'l TLC content unit

Discovery is launching an international content unit to produce local programming for its female skewing network TLC International.

The factual operator announced plans to roll out TLC internationally in March with initial launches in Norway and is aiming to be in 100 million homes by the start of 2011.

It is looking to develop and produce local lifestyle formats to target women 25-49.

It has hired former Pulse Films exec Sarah Thornton to head up development and production across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Thornton previously worked at the UK indie, working on its hit reality series Pineapple Studios.

The company has also appointed Jon Sechrist to focus on production and development. Sechrist will move to Discovery Networks International (DNI) from the US cable network, where he produced its breakout hit Cake Boss.

The unit will be overseen by Luis Silberwasser, senior VP and international head of content, DNI, and Darcy Tomlin, VP, programming, DNI will run day-to-day operations for TLC International.

"While we will leverage the pipeline of rich content across TLC and Discovery's portfolio of networks, we will focus our efforts on creating distinct programming designed specifically for TLC on an international level," said Silberwasser.

01-10-2010, 10:04
Egyptian minister calls on TV officials to avoid sectarian incitement

Egyptian Information Minister Anas al-Fiqi has called on officials from Egyptian and Arab satellite channels to steer clear of issues that could be seen as inciting sectarian strife. He said that “no good can come from such incitement,” which would “only lead to the disruption of national unity.”

Mr Al-Fiqi also said that television was “no place for discussions that revolve around doctrinal beliefs,” asserting that such discussions should be confined to “religious research centres, faculties of theology, and research and study rooms.”

The minister went on to express optimism that the media would react responsibly regarding issues that could potentially lead to sectarian strife and adversely impact national unity, calling on the media to instead focus on issues that benefited the public. He also stressed that Egyptian television channels and the Nilesat satellite station would refrain from broadcasting material that could incite hatred. Mr Al-Fiqi noted that he had issued an order to ensure that all Nilesat channels were abiding by an agreement with the Media Free Zone Authority and the Nilesat administration not to broadcast material of a religious nature.

01-10-2010, 10:04
Espial MediaBase Becomes First VOD Platform To Support Bandwidth Reservation

Espial, a leader in on-demand TV software and solutions, has announced the availability of Espial MediaBase 9.1. The newest version of Espial's flagship video-on-demand (VOD) delivery platform, Espial MediaBase 9.1 helps provide improved video quality, extends cable MSO support and dramatically increases storage capacity with COTS technology.


• Espial MediaBase is the first VOD platform to implement bandwidth reservation using Resource Reservation Protocol (RSVP). RSVP support allows a VOD session to reserve end-to-end network resources and bandwidth. This provides a guaranteed Quality of Service (QoS) to viewers which reduces operational costs due to service calls and increases brand perception with improved customer satisfaction.

• The RSVP solution has been well integrated and validated with Cisco's RSVP implementation in the network on their flagship access and aggregation platforms and has been proven to enrich the quality of experience for video flows.

• Combined with its existing packet loss recovery capabilities, Espial MediaBase is now the leading platform in guaranteeing video quality for operators and subscribers.

• Espial MediaBase dramatically extends its storage capacity per server to 320TB and streaming capacity to 40 Gbps using the next generation of COTS hard drives from HP and other commercial-off-the-shelf COTS vendors.

• Espial MediaBase is integrated with Ericsson OpenStream Digital Services Platform version 5.0. This integration includes support for the RTI (Real Time Ingest) feature. This allows cable operators to offer Time Shift TV and TV on-Demand services within seconds of a broadcast program going to air. This enables cable operators to offer TVoD service for subscriber retention and additional revenue streams.

• Espial MediaBase extends its leading content delivery networking capabilities with support for the ISA-based, multi-tier architecture in Ericsson OpenStream Digital Services Platform. This optimizes the service efficiency and network bandwidth and content storage utilization for targeted content delivery

"We're pleased to have first-mover advantage on RSVP" noted Sanjay Mehta, VP Engineering, Espial. "Our customers demand we provide a VOD video quality of service for their video subscribers. Combined with our existing packet loss recovery capability we are leading the market in bringing this to reality. We've also taken significant steps to improve our cable backoffice support with real-time ingest and improved content delivery networking."

"The ability to guarantee video quality is becoming an increasingly important solution requirement and service differentiator, as it enables service providers to meet growing consumer appetites to access video content on demand, across multiple networks, and with various devices. RSVP provides an additional network-level guarantee of resources to assure video QoS across evolving scenarios with varied network and bandwidth resources," noted Yoav Schreiber, Senior Analyst, Digital Media Infrastructure, Current Analysis.

"With rapidly growing demand for video content on any device, anywhere and on any network, guaranteeing video quality of service is going to be a key solution differentiator for service providers," said Amit Phadnis, vice president, Engineering, Network Software and Systems, Cisco. "RSVP provides network-level video quality assurance over networks with varied bandwidth resources. Cisco's RSVP implementation on Cisco aggregation and access solutions greatly enhances a service provider's ability to offer differentiated video services and end-user experiences to its customers."

01-10-2010, 10:05
Auditude Will Manage Channel Five’s Online Video Ads

A A Print (PDF) Email Share Palo Alto-based web video advertising analytics firm Auditude says it has been given the contract to manage ads in to in-flux Channel Five’s online videos.

That includes Five’s Demand Five branded catch-up VOD service.

After early flirtation with charging for shows through the service, Five is now fixed firmly on an ad-supported proposition. Demand Five shows are also syndicated through YouTube and SeeSaw, as well as five.tv, so it’s not just an in-house deal.

Auditude was already doing similar work for Dailymotion, Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) and MLB, but this is its first UK contract.

It has an international sales VP - Damian Scragg.

Five has been downsizing and rebranding under new owner Northern & Shell.

01-10-2010, 10:05
Celador awarded further $50m

Disney has been ordered to pay Who Wants to be a Millionaire? creator Celador US$50m in prejudgment interest, on top of the US$270m it was awarded earlier this year.

The Mouse agreed to settle on the US$50m amount with UK-based Celador, rather than allow California district judge Virginia A Phillips to decide the amount. The decision means a total judgement against Disney of some US$320m, with the possibility that additional litigation costs may yet be awarded.

Celador originally sued Disney in 2004, contesting that the company - along with its divisions ABC, Buena Vista Television and Valleycrest Productions - had breached a contract to share profits from Millionaire. In July, a nine-member jury unanimously ruled in favour of Celador, stating that Disney had breached implied covenants of good faith and fair dealing.

In a statement, lawyers for Celador said: "We are pleased that Disney recognised the wisdom of reaching this agreement rather than incurring the cost of litigating the prejudgment interest issue in the trial and appellate courts."

Though Disney has agreed to pay this US$50m, it plans to appeal the main verdict. In a July statement, the company said: "We believe this verdict is fundamentally wrong and will aggressively seek to have it reversed."

01-10-2010, 10:06
Discovery forms TLC production unit

Discovery Networks International (DNI) has set up a production and development unit charged with creating content for the international roll-out of entertainment and lifestyle network TLC.

Discovery has hired Jon Sechrist, exec producer of TLC's series Cake Boss, and Pulse Films executive and formats specialist Sarah Thornton to work at the new unit, which will target women aged 25-49 and be overseen by DNI's senior VP and international head of content Luis Silberwasser.

"The international launch of TLC is a key priority for Discovery, and one of the drivers for success will be creating compelling local content," said Silberwasser. "We will focus our efforts on creating distinct programming designed specifically for TLC on an international and local level."

DNI's VP of programming Darcy Tomlin will run the day-to-day operations for TLC International from Discovery's Silver Spring headquarters.

Sechrist, based in New York, will focus on the production and development of lifestyle programming across all international markets. Thornton has been named head of development and production for TLC across EMEA and is based in London.

Discovery is planning to launch TLC internationally in more than 75 countries in 2011, having begun the roll-out with a launch in Norway this March. Discovery aims to eventually reach more than 100 million households.

01-10-2010, 10:07
Nat Geo, Discovery turn to TeleGraff

National Geographic and Discovery Channel Asia have picked up new factual fare from Washington-based TeleGraff Media, including a standalone documentary about a Taiwanese national hero.

National Geographic has acquired Koxinga - Sailing Through History (1x60'), which chronicles the life of Cheng Chenggong, who expelled Dutch Colonialists from Taiwan in the 17th century. The show, produced by Marc Pingry HD Productions, will air on National Geographic Channel feeds next year.

Discovery, meanwhile, has taken Innovation Nation (6x30'), a series from Canada's Partners in Motion, for its Asian network. The programme looks at how major scientific discoveries shape the planet.

TeleGraff, which brokered the deals, is a television consultancy that helps producers and distributors develop their programmes. Formed last year, it is led by Bill Graff, a former Animal Planet US and Discovery International executive.

01-10-2010, 10:07
Nelvana introduces Franklin and Friends

Canada's Nelvana Enterprises has partnered with Singapore's Infinite Frameworks on a coproduction based on its children's franchise Franklin.

CGI show Franklin and Friends (26x30'/2x11') is aimed at children aged 4-7 and is based on the cartoon turtle character Franklin.

Corus Entertainment-owned Nelvana will take the series to Mipcom next week, along with multi-camera sitcom Mr Young (26x30'/2x11'), from writer Dan Signer (The Suite Life of Zack and Cody).

Mr Young is produced by Thunderbird Films in association with Corus's YTV and is set to debut on YTV in Canada in spring 2011, aimed at kids 8-12.

Nelvana will also present Scaredy Squirrel (26x30'/2x11'), a 2D animated series for 6-11s based on the books by Mélanie Watt. Other shows include Life With Boys, Mike the Knight, Sidekick, Detentionaire and Babar and the Adventures of Badou.

01-10-2010, 10:08
Chorion lines up Mr Men apps

UK family entertainment firm Chorion is launching new apps for its Mr Men and Little Miss brand, in its first deal with games development studio Digital Goldfish.

The apps will launch globally from the end of October, debuting in the UK and US. Chorion partnered with US-based app developer Scrollmotion for launch a range of Mr Men and Little Miss apps stateside in January.

Chorion is also launching a new character in the franchise, Little Miss Princess, to mark the 40th anniversary of the brand in 2011. There are no TV deals as yet.

01-10-2010, 10:08
Ratings research group Attentional has revamped its website Overnights.tv, which provides information about UK television viewing figures.

As well as being redesigned with new information pages, the site will offer more data on Barb-reported channels. "It is early days but we are striving to make the site an essential part of every television executives' tool kit," said Attentional business development manager Ben Philpott

01-10-2010, 10:09
Brazilian Pay-TV has already reached 2009 growth rates

According to data released by the Brazilian National Telecommunications Agency, Pay-TV in such country added 248,879 new subscribers in August and reached 8,84 million households, thus accounting for a 2.9% growth as compared with the previous month, and an 18.4% in 2010. Upon 2009 closing, total 18.24% increase was recorded.

DTH has already gained 42.8% market share. Cable TV holds the 53.5% though at the beginning of the year it held the 57.9%. Cable TV has recorded 4,73 million subscribers, DTH holds 3,78 million clients and MMDS records 332,000 users. In August, DTH grew a 4.3% as compared with the 3.8% recorded in July. On the other hand, cable TV subscriber number recorded a 2.1%, thus accounting for certain evolution in relation to the 0.9% recorded the previous month. MMDS operators keep on falling, thus losing a 1.4% of its subscriber base.

In January this year, DTH services accounted recorded a 37.4%, which is proof enough of its growth in the last months. Sky is the DTH with greater number of subscribers in such country. According to a report released by the company, upon first semester closing 2,1 million clients were recorded. A low cost package targeted to low income homes has been recently launched. Such strategy has enabled Sky Mexico to add a great number of subscribers this year. In Brazil, Sky competes with the DTHs Vía Embratel, Telefónica and Oi, among others. According to its 2Q 2010 report, Net is the main cable operator of the country and Latin America with 3,88 million subscribers.

01-10-2010, 10:09
Sky reveals broad 3D plans

Ryder Cup golf, Premier League football, Rugby internationals and the heavyweight title fight between David Haye and Audley Harrison all have a place in the schedules during the first few weeks of Sky 3D. The satcaster’s plans also include contributions from National Geographic and History.The channel will make its consumer launch on Friday October 1 having launched in pubs on Easter Saturday.

Movies will also be screened, including Ice Age; Dawn of the Dinosaurs, which will premier during the launch weekend, Monsters vs Aliens, Alice in Wonderland, Bolt, Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs and My Bloody Valentine.

Echoing an earlier announcement by Virgin Media, a number of movie titles will also be available on pay-per-view. These include StreetDance UK, Garfield’s Pet Force, Step Up 3 and A Christmas Carol.

There will also be original production, often commissioned by Sky, and including The Prince’s Trust Rock Gala, featuring performances from Sir Tom Jones, Eric Clapton and Brian May. Sky Arts will help showcase five dance styles over the launch weekend from Bollywood to Ballet.

Third party channels are also involved, National Geographic Channel’s 3D Meerkats will see the popular creatures well away from the car insurance business and in their naturual habitat. The History Channel has produced the 7 Wonders of the Universe, a one-hour show debuting in October.

John Cassy, Sky’s 3D channel director said the launch would change the way entertainment was viewed. “We see 3D as event TV, an opportunity for people to share an incredible visual experience in their home.”

Sky 3D is available to Sky’s top tier subscribers – those receiving all six entertainment packs, Sky Sports and Sky Movies as well as the HD pack.

The channel is compatible with all of the 3DTVs currently being introduced by LG, Sony, Samsung and Panasonic, working with both active and passive formats. Reception is possible on the installed base of three million Sky+ HD set-top boxes.

01-10-2010, 10:10
RTL sparks major Hungarian cable row

HCA/HCTA CONFERENCE – TIHANY. The decision by the leading broadcaster RTL Klub to charge a fee for its carriage has caused consternation in Hungary’s cable industry.

Announced late last week, it has been the subject of intense debate at this year’s HCA/HCTA conference in Tihany.

RTL Klub is preparing to introduce a fee, given by one industry source to Broadband TV News as HUF490 (€1.77) plus 25% VAT a month per subscriber, for carriage of RTL Klub. However, this figure is believed to be arbitrary and might be reduced, with special financial incentives offered to operators who agree carry the 10 or so channels in RTL’s portfolio in Hungary.

TV2, also a leading Hungarian commercial broadcaster, apparently tried a similar move four years ago and failed.

A similar situation also existed in neighbouring Romania, where Antena 1 tried to charge cable operators a fee. However, according to Radu Petric, the president of the Romanian Cable Communications Association (ACC), operators dropped the channel and it was forced to withdraw the fee.

Commenting on the RTL Klub situation, Anita Kovacs, a spokesperson for the Hungarian Competition Authority, said that it would be interested in starting an investigation once more details become available.

Some industry sources have expressed concerns that RTL could be used as a ‘testing ground’ for carriage fees ahead of introducing them in other markets, including Germany.

01-10-2010, 10:11
Canal Digital moves some channels on THOR 6

Nordic satellite pay-TV Canal Digital moves some of its programming services via satellite to the satellite Thor 5 Thor 6 (0.8 ° W). Changing the frequency and polarization. Other basic parameters remain unchanged.

The new frequency is shifted URHOtv station, JIM, Liv, Nelonen, YLE TV1, YLE TV2, YLE FST, YLE Teema (All Conax) and FTA mere YLE radio services, and Klassinen YLE YLE Mondo.

On the new frequency was started posting today. Parallel distribution of old and new frequencies will be 2 months. Then broadcast on the satellite Thor 5 finishes. Changes take place in accordance with the optimization of transponder capacity in the position of 0.8 ° W.

old parameters valid until 30 October 2010:

* Thor 5 (0.8 ° W), freq 11.434 GHz, pol V, SR 24500, FEC 7 / 8, DVB-S/QPSK

new parameters valid from September 28, 2010:

* Thor 6 (0.8 ° W), freq 10.788 GHz, pol H SR 24500, FEC 7 / 8, DVB-S/QPSK

01-10-2010, 10:11
Colombia will invest USD 129 millions in DTT

The Colombian National TV Commission (NTVC) announced that DTT deployment in such country will require a USD 129 million investment. Resources will be utilized to set up high power broadcasting stations that will cover about the 42% of the territory. A USD 30 million budget will be assigned to the DTH the Government is planning to open for bid in October with the purpose of complementing digital TV coverage in such country.

According to the NTVC Director, Eduardo Osorio Lozano, one of the agency's priorities is to "bring the whole digitalization of the public network forward and to join efforts with private channels so as to achieve national coverage according to already set terms". In Colombia a DTT station has already been set up in Calatrava, from where the first broadcasting in such technology was carried out in the country. According to the NTVC, the aforementioned investment calculation stemmed from several socio-economic studies carried out before the standard definition.

On the other hand, the Colombian Government is planning to launch a free DTH thus completing DTT coverage in areas where terrestrial broadcasting is not possible. This model was also adopted by Argentina, though under ISDB-T. At the beginning of 2010, the NTVC had announced the bid opening in search of a provider for its DTH. However, the process was postponed several times and has been announced for October again. At the beginning of the year, DirecTV, Telefónica, Telmex and the Mexican integrator Comtelsat had presented their offers.

Osorio Lozano pointed out that the satellite service will enable "the 80% of Colombians who at present do not receive the channel effectively due to topographic difficulties, to enjoy a good TV reception permanently". The initial USD 30 million budget for this initiative will be executed within a 10-year term.

01-10-2010, 10:12
ITV2 HD To Arrive On Sky+ HD On 7 October

Following last month’s news that ITV is going to launch its remaining 3 channels of ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4 in crisp high-definition on the Sky satellite TV subscription platform, the date of the first HD broadcast has now been confirmed: Sky+ HD subscribers will be able to tune in to the ITV2 HD channel from the 7th of October. Although the launch dates for ITV3 HD and ITV4 HD remain unknown at this moment, ITV hinted that they will definitely be up and running by year-end.

Here’s the preliminary run of programmes on the ITV2 HD channel for the first couple of days following launch:

Thursday, 7 October 2010

* 8pm The Vampire Diaries
* 8.45pm Coronation Street
* 11.20pm [MOVIE] Van Helsing (2004)

Friday, 8 October 2010

* 6am Coronation Street
* 12pm Coronation Street
* 5.50pm The X Factor (rerun of last week’s episode)
* 7.45pm The X Factor
* 9pm [MOVIE] The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)
* 11.10pm [MOVIE] Out of Sight (1998)

Signing an agreement with British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) to put ITV2 HD, ITV3 HD and ITV4 HD on the Sky subscription service marks ITV’s reentry into the Pay TV arena, having previously failed with its ONdigital/ ITV Digital venture. ITV chief executive Adam Crozier deemed this move as crucial to the company’s future, as it seeks to adapt its business model to leverage off internet-enabled TVs and subscription-based TV services which have seen healthy growth in recent times. He said that this deal with Sky fitted perfectly with a 5-year strategic plan that he had outlined to develop new revenue streams, and cut down reliance on income from traditional TV commercials.

While ITV is approaching other TV network providers like the cable-based Virgin Media to broadcast its ITV2 HD, ITV3 HD and ITV4 HD channels, its arrangement with Sky is exclusive among satellite TV providers. This means that these channels will not be available on the Freesat free-to-air satellite TV platform which, ironically enough, was launched and funded in part by ITV itself.

01-10-2010, 10:13
YouView: ‘killing off rivals’

YouView, the VOD service born from a partnership between the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, TalkTalk, BT, Channel 5 and Arqiva, is strangling investment in rival Internet TV services, according to a report by the corporate finance firm Avista Partners. And Electra Entertainment, a company that provides online TV services to clients including Tesco, has told Ofcom that investors cited YouView (formerly Project Canvas) as the reason for turning down backing.

Avista argues that YouView, which is scheduled to launch in the first half of next year, is “putting existing and future investment in the UK IPTV industry at risk”. It said its research showed that investment in the UK online TV sector has plummeted since 2008, when Project Canvas was first announced, with the decline not accounted for solely by the general downturn in the economy.

Avista estimates that in the 12 months before plans for YouView were first unveiled, IPTV investment in the UK was about $35 million, some 15.4 per cent of global investment in the sector. However, investment has plummeted since, with just $400,000 ploughed into the UK sector, outside of the YouView partners, in the past 12 months.

“The UK has witnessed a dramatic fall in private investment for IPTV-based businesses since Project Canvas was first announced,” said the Avista Partners managing director, Paul Heydon. “It is difficult to lay the blame on the economic crisis for this, especially when comparing the extreme buoyancy of US investments in this sector for the same period. It is clear the collective power of the companies behind Project Canvas is a major cause for concern for investors looking at private IPTV businesses in the UK.”

Serial TV entrepreneur and Electra chairman Jasper Smith, said “there is no clarity around what YouView is, so it’s very difficult to be eloquent about where it sits in the value chain versus Electra. They have clouded the market as a whole because of the lack of clarity about what it is … [which] has meant the public markets feel it is a pretty difficult sector to go into.”

01-10-2010, 10:13
Ziggo prepares to reduce analogue tier

Dutch cable operator Ziggo is reducing the number of channels in its analogue package next year.
The cabler has made a preliminary decision to reduce the number of channels in the package to between 15 and 25 and has alerted the board of its intentions. The company will make a final decision in October.

01-10-2010, 10:14
Discovery Real Time launches on TivùSat

Factual channel Discovery Real Time has launched on Italian free-to-air digital satellite platform TivùSat. The channel is already available on Italy’s digital-terrestrial platform.
The lifestyle oriented channel joins over 50 channels on the Rai and Mediaset-backed platform, available via the Eutelsat Hot Bird satellite position at 13° East.

01-10-2010, 10:15
Publishing BBC stars' pay still on the agenda
Culture secretary says issue of forcing BBC to reveal presenters' salaries will be discussed as part of next licence fee talks

The culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, today said that the issue of forcing the BBC to reveal what it paid top stars such as Graham Norton and Jeremy Clarkson will be discussed as part of the next licence fee settlement.

Hunt added that although the BBC Trust has agreed to allow the National Audit Office to scrutinise the corporation's finances, including talent salaries, the idea of revealing what the corporation pays its top presenters will be discussed separately.

The BBC Trust deal with the NAO will include the corporation providing the parliamentary audit body with details of talent pay, although the agreement is for individual salaries not to be published.

When asked about the issue of star salaries following his Royal Television Society speech today, he said: "It's probably something we'll talk about with the BBC as part of the licence fee discussions."

Hunt added that "how far we go" on the issue "is part of the licence fee discussions", which are due to begin next year.

He said the "primary focus" of the NAO's task is "value for money". But it "might look at a general issue of how much is being paid to stars", though it does "not mean individual salaries will be published".

Hunt added that he has "not specifically" looked at "how that part of the transparency will work" but added that "what they've [the BBC] agreed to do on the NAO is a significant step forward".

He said he wanted to ensure the NAO will "not compromise the editorial independence" of the BBC.

Speaking about the process of finding a replacement for the BBC Trust chairman, Sir Michael Lyons, who is to step down next year, Hunt said it was "not my job to invite people to apply for the role" although he can make recommendations at "a late stage".

"It is very, very important that this is a politically impartial role ... the one thing that's clear is this person will have to have credibility when it comes to the issue of impartiality," he added.

Hunt and the Conservatives have been pressuring the BBC over financial transparency, particularly talent pay, since last year, when the party was in opposition.

The BBC has resisted these calls, insisting that the pay contracts of individual stars are confidential and that publishing them could damage the corporation's ability to attract the best talent.

However, the BBC has sought to allay criticism of its talent costs by publishing salary bands for the pay of top stars.

The most recent concession came in June, when Lyons said he had instructed BBC executives to publish the total amount spent on all on-screen talent in separate payment bands, ranging from under £250,000 to more than £5m, along with the number of people in each band.

01-10-2010, 10:15
Nielsen’s new online measure

The Nielsen Company is hoping that its new product will help advertisers and media companies measure their investments more accurately. At the opening of Advertising Week in New York, Nielsen announced its Online Campaign Ratings service, which is intended to provide online advertising data comparable to Nielsen’s television ratings.

The product will measure online advertising campaigns, including video and display ads, and will expand Nielsen’s reach beyond its current opt-in measurement panels for television and online media.

The service will allow the company to combine data from its panels with data from third-party contributors, like Facebook, to more accurately measure how many people are viewing advertisements online.

For example, if a user logs on to Facebook (a Nielsen media partner) and then visits another Web site where an ad that Nielsen is tracking is shown, Nielsen will put a pixel in the ad that will prompt Facebook to send Nielsen the age and gender of the people who viewed the ad. Nielsen insists that the data will be viewed in the aggregate and not on an individual basis. According to Nielsen, third parties will not know what site the user came from or the identity of the advertiser.

Nielsen can then match the I.P. address of the pixel to see if the person is also on a Nielsen panel. If so, the information from the third-party partner can be combined with the panel demographics. “It gives a very accurate read of who’s looking at a campaign,” Steve Hasker, president of media products for Nielsen, said. “Marketers, agencies and media companies will be able to look at the value of a spot on television and online.”

Ari Paparo, executive vice president of product at Nielsen, said the service did not allow for retargeting ads to users, did not use HTML 5 or any other form of local storage and could be managed by allowing users to opt-out by going to Nielsen’s Web site or by setting one’s browser to disallow third-party cookies.

“In any product that we develop, privacy is paramount,” Hasker said. The product will begin testing in the United States in the fourth quarter and will be available for commercial use in 2011. Nielsen has partnered with Procter & Gamble, Verizon Wireless and the media companies Starcom MediaVest and Facebook for the testing phase.

01-10-2010, 10:16
Time Warner to focus on emerging markets

Time Warner is unlikely to pursue television acquisitions in western Europe, its chief executive has revealed, as the group behind HBO, CNN and Warner Bros concentrates its capital on faster-growing international markets such as Latin America and eastern Europe.

“Going into a more static free to air business in a non-leadership position in a mature economy doesn’t really fit,” Time Warner’s strategy, Jeff Bewkes, chairman and chief executive, told the FT.

Time Warner would instead concentrate on opportunities to expand its branded cable and satellite channels and look at free-to-air broadcasters only in countries where such branded channels have yet to develop.

01-10-2010, 10:16
Advanced WebTV solution

A consortium of five technology partners – BeeSmart, Edgeware, NetView, Zenterio and Verimatrix has announced the immediate availability of an advanced WebTV solution; an over the top content delivery mechanism, ideal for TV service providers with an ambition to offer rich TV and on-demand services over unmanaged broadband networks.

01-10-2010, 10:17
Virgin to launch 3D movies on demand

Virgin Media is today launching a slate of 3D movies on its FilmFlex on demand service. The announcement comes as Sky prepares for the consumer launch of Sky 3D, a channel that will be unavailable to customers of the cableco.

Although Virgin Media has made a number of 3D demonstrations, both on its fibre optic network, and in its chain of stores around the UK, this is the first time that content has been available directly to subscribers. An HD receiver is required to view the side-by-side telecast.

The cableco is promising to expand its 3D portfolio in the next few months as more content becomes available. Last week at the CTAM EuroSummit in Budapest, operators said they found it difficult to find 3D content without entering into original production, the combination of a lengthening in the windows for 3D titles, and the premium placed upon it by the content providers.

Today’s launch of 3D Movies On Demand, powered by FilmFlex, will provide a taste of things to come for Virgin Media customers as the company looks to complement its on-demand service with more movies and shows. Virgin Media will look to build its 3D portfolio over the coming months, with a diverse range of new content as more people begin to purchase 3D TVs and programme-makers look to increase the production of 3D content.

Virgin’s 3D service will launch with BBC Films’ StreetDance 3D, available for £5.99 on a 24-hour rental. Additional titles including Garfield’s Pet Force 3D (October), Disney’s A Christmas Carol 3D (November), Step Up 3D (December) and Despicable Me 3D (early 2011) will also be carried.

The operator has also announced a tie-up with Samsung, which will be the exclusive supplier of 3DTV sets to its stores.

Sky 3D makes its consumer launch this Friday, October 1, with the start of the Ryder Cup golf from Celtic Manor.

01-10-2010, 10:18
Editorial independence and more funding for public broadcasters, say MEPs

Public service TV and radio channels in some EU Member States stand in need of proper financial backing as well as safeguards for their independence, says the European Parliament’s Culture Committee in a draft resolution adopted today. These broadcasters also need to boost their presence on the internet to reach out to young people, say MEPs.

“Public broadcasters in some Member States are confronted with major problems jeopardising their political independence, their viability and even their financial basis”, maintains the Culture Committee. The draft resolution “calls on the Member States to end political interference regarding the content of services offered by public broadcasters”, saying that “some Member States still fail to respect European standards on freedom of expression, media pluralism, and the independence, remit and funding of public service media”. It also “notes that the transparency of ownership of private broadcasters has to be guaranteed in all Member States, and calls on the Commission to monitor and support progress to this end”.

Member States are urged “to provide appropriate, proportionate and stable funding for public service media to enable them to fulfil their remit, guarantee their political and economic independence and contribute to an inclusive information and knowledge society”. The committee “insists that Member States should be held accountable for failing to fulfil these commitments”.

Public broadcasters are called upon “to offer attractive, quality online content in order to reach young people who access the media almost exclusively via the Internet” and “preserve a vibrant media landscape in the online environment”. Meanwhile Member States should adopt laws on public service broadcasting on the internet, and address the digital divide, for example between urban and rural areas, so that “all individuals in all regions have equal access to public service broadcasting”.

Lastly, the Commission is asked “to adapt copyright to the new digital era”, to “facilitate the re-use of archive content and to put in place extended collective licence-systems and easy one-stop-shop systems for the clearance of rights”. Content aggregators should be made to respect existing laws, and the Commission should “consider ways in which search engines and internet service providers could contribute to the financing of content creation”.

The draft report was adopted by the committee by 19 votes to 5, with 1 abstention.

01-10-2010, 10:19
Virgin pips Sky 3D

Virgin Media has snuck in to try and steal Sky’s thunder by unveiling ‘the first commercially available 3D TV service for UK viewers.’ The cable TV company has launched 3D Movies on Demand, which will give customers access to 3D versions of films.

Virgin Media customers with 3D-enabled set-top boxes (reported to be around 1.2 million) will be able to use the movies on demand service, which is provided by FilmFlex. The first film, StreetDance 3D, will be available for £5.99 (E7.2) for a 24-hour rental with other titles set to roll out in the run-up to Christmas.

Meanwhile Sky has announced “Friday 1st October will see the next step in television history delivered to living rooms across the UK as Sky launches Sky 3D – Europe’s first in-home 3D channel. Sky 3D brings ‘Event TV’ in to the home, with big sporting events, big movies, big performances and big documentaries, enabling people to enjoy a new immersive viewing experience.”

Available at no extra charge to all Sky+HD customers with a 3D TV and Sky’s top TV package, Sky 3D will bring viewers sports, movies and a broad selection of arts, entertainment and documentary programmes, including an average of three live sports events each week.

3D coverage in home starts with the Ryder Cup live from Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd October and is followed by live coverage of football, rugby union and boxing, with an average of three live sports events each week.

Sky 3D also brings viewers some of the biggest box office 3D films, and a selection of some of the most exciting collaborations in programming across arts, documentaries and entertainment, including Flying Monsters 3D: a pioneering feature about the prehistoric world –– written and presented by Sir David Attenborough will have its 3DTV premiere on the Sky 3D channel in December 2010.

01-10-2010, 10:20
Internet media group rebukes censor-seeking Turkish journalist

A proposal made over the weekend by a Turkish journalist, suggesting the establishment of a watchdog institution to oversee the activities of print and online media, has drawn a sharp rebuke from a media organization. The Internet Media Association released a statement today saying the group is “ashamed” of Yigit Bulut, a columnist for daily Habertürk and a TV executive and host for the channel of the same name.

Mr Bulut made his request to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a breakfast gathering with journalists on Saturday, calling for a body similar to the Supreme Board of Radio and Television, or RTÜK, to be set up to provide more government control over print and Internet media. The prime minister said such a thing would be out of the question.

Fatih Altayli, chief editor for Habertürk and a friend of Bulut who also attended the breakfast, wrote the following day that the request “”roze the blood in his veins.” Despite the criticism, Mr Bulut reiterated his call in his column yesterday, saying such an institution is essential. Ironically, Mr Bulut’s televised political-debate show is titled “Sansürsüz” (Without Censor).

In its public statement, the Internet Media Association said the group found it unfortunate that a “freedom-limiting censor board” was suggested to the prime minister at a time when the country’s journalists are trying to expand freedoms in Turkey. The group also said the prime minister’s dismissal of Mr Bulut’s suggestion raised hopes about the public right to be informed and about democracy itself.

“We are also ashamed that this repressive opinion that turns a blind eye to [Internet] sites that employ hundreds of journalists, pay taxes and are visited by millions of people every day was voiced by an executive of Habertürk, which originated on the Internet,” the statement said.

The statement is open for news sites to sign; 25 have already done so.

01-10-2010, 10:21
Digital landmark for Polish cable

HCA/HCTA CONFERENCE – TIHANY. Digital TV services are now received in over 1 million Polish cable homes, according to Jerzy Straszewski, the president of the country’s Chamber of Electronic Communication (PIKE).

Speaking in an international session at the HCA/HCTA Hungarian cable conference in Tihany, he added that there are 9.09 million Polish pay-TV homes and 4.7 million receiving FTA services. This is also the first year in which cable, satellite and terrestrial TV effectively have an equal market share in Poland.

The number of cable subscribers stands at 4.6 million, while 690,000 access fixed telephony and 1,700,000 fixed internet via cable respectively, the latter being the fastest growing of cable services.

Straszewski added that Poland aims to have a 75% take-up of digital among cable subscribers in the next five years, exactly the same target as that announced for Europe as a whole by Manuel Kohnstamm, the president of Cable Europe, earlier this year at Cable Congress.

He also said that Aster, Poland’s fourth largest cable operator, is likely to be sold this year.

There has been talk about the sale of Aster, which is currently owned by Mid Europa Partners (MEP) for some time. Earlier this week an unconfirmed agency report in Warsaw said that two potential buyers had been approached by MEP.

01-10-2010, 10:21
Ziggo and SBS launch 3D TV channel

The Dutch cable operator Ziggo has started to distribute its 3D TV channel in cooperation with SBS Broadcasting today (September 28). Programming will consist of upscaled programming, as well as native 3D content.

For the moment, SBS will contribute all programming, mostly a simulcast of the Net 5 channel. But Ziggo said it will add 3D programming from other sources in the future.

The 3D channel is available to all Ziggo subscribers who take the basic digital. Using the side-by-side transmission mode, the programmes can of course only be seen by viewers who have a proper 3D TV set equipped with glasses.

The launch of a 3D channel by SBS was announced earlier this year. For its native 3D broadcast, the broadcaster will use the 3D VidiGo live production suite.

Andre Kreuzen, business director, SBS Broadcasting, said in a statement: “With these 3D programmes, we, along with a number of partners including Ziggo, will learn bringing 3D technology on television. Much is still unknown. We would like to map the technical and organisational implications.”

01-10-2010, 10:31
Orange Selects Gilat SkyEdge 2 for Enterprise Services

France Telecom awarded a contract to Gilat to provide satellite communications equipment to Orange Business Services, France Telecom’s enterprise communications subsidiary, Gilat announced Sept. 28.
The equipment order covers a range of solutions such as IP/VPN, broadband access and cellular backhaul. The sourcing contract also qualifies Gilat SkyEdge 2 broadband satellite communications equipment for Orange-brand entities.
Orange has installed a Gilat SkyEdge 2 hub at their Bercenay-en-Othe teleport in France. The hub aims to facilitate the operation of a new cellular backhaul network in Niger. The network will be deployed in multi-star topology to allow the expansion of the GSM network coverage to remote locations.
“One of the advantages of this multi-star topology is that Orange Business Services can manage the network from their Bercenay teleport in France while maintaining direct, single-hop connectivity between the SkyEdge 2 terminals installed within the GSM network in Niger,” the company said in a statement.
Financial details of the contract were not disclosed.

01-10-2010, 10:32
As part of a bid to realign the nation’s TV industry

As part of a bid to realign the nation’s TV industry, UK Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt has criticised the UK’s broadcasting industry for being too centralised and has promised to promote more localised TV concept even though he accepts there are some challenges in making such a concept commercially viable.

Seen as many as the first shot in a war against the BBC in particular, Hunt argued that UK broadcasting was deeply, desperately centralised, going as far as to say that such centralisation was ‘shameless’. He said: “[Observers would be] astonished to find that three out of five programmes made by our public service broadcasters are produced in London. They will note that there is nothing but national news on most of the main channels, beamed shamelessly from the centre.”

Hunt scotched the idea that somehow the UK couldn’t sustain local TV. Pointing to not only the US but also to France, Sweden and Canada, Hunt said that it was probably no surprise that compared to those countries with advanced local news, in the UK communities were weaker, local identity less pronounced, and our local democracy less developed.

But creating such a culture would be a huge challenge, and for a variety of reasons: “We have established structures in this country that make it virtually impossible for local TV to thrive. But nowhere in the US, Canada, or anywhere else have I been able to find a broadcaster able to make 24-hour local content commercially viable – so we should be realistic: it is not likely to happen here either. And when it comes to advertising revenue, we are not helped by the fact that – unlike in France – we have not developed a reliable audience measurement system; one which allows local TV channels to make a full pitch to advertisers based on the number of households they reach and their audience demographic.”

Even though Hunt was blunt on what potential business models wouldn’t work—he said that the UK can’t rely on the cable penetration that is a major factor in bringing down costs in North America and Germany, nor pointedly, public subsidies as seen in France and Spain—he was less clear on what would.

Hunt warned the TV industry not to be to over reliant on advertising in their business model, advocating Internet-based solutions in order to achieve efficiencies. “The truth is that the whole of the sector must now face up to the impact of the internet, and make sure that their business models are not over-reliant on advertising revenues. We must grasp the opportunities provided by technology to develop new and innovative models that can really work.”

In painting some vision picture, , Hunt saw a landscape of local TV services broadcasting for as little as one hour a day, free to affiliate to one another – formally or informally – in a way that brings down costs, free to offer nationwide deals to national advertisers. He believes that they should be able to piggyback existing national networks – attracting new audiences and benefitting from inherited ones at the same time, and able to exploit new platform technologies such as the controversial YouView and mobile TV which has yet to take off in the UK.

As a first step, Hunt revealed that the Government would remove most of the local cross-media ownership regulations – paving the way for local newspaper and commercial radio groups to develop new business models that allow them to move freely from platform to platform.

01-10-2010, 10:32
Report Charts Challenges, Opportunities for Indian Media Sector

As the TV.NXT conference on Indian television kicked off in Mumbai today, Media Partners Asia issued a new report on the market, pointing to tremendous revenue potential but highlighting the pressures on profit margins as a result of intense competition, fragmentation and regulation.

The populous nation's 20-year-old commercial TV sector is set to outperform most key global emerging markets in revenue growth over the next five years, MPA reports. However, operating margins for the sector has fallen from 25 percent to 13 percent in the past four years as a result of growing competition in TV broadcasting and aggressive subscriber acquisition in pay TV. In other fast-growing markets, like Brazil, China, Indonesia and Russia, operating margins are about 30 percent. MPA's forecast for India sets EBITDA margins at under 20 percent by 2014, as compared with 35 percent to 40 percent in Brazil and China.

MPA says the issue in India is under capitalization and fragmentation, particularly in pay TV. There are also challenges in the ad market—while revenues are growing, spurred by a competitive landscape and TV usage growth in regional markets and smaller towns, advertising intensity remains low, at just 0.4 percent of nominal GDP. In addition, annual TV sector revenues per capita reached only $5 in 2009, as compared with $10 in China, $30 in Russia and more than $200 in Brazil.

The report also takes issue with the country's regulators who, MPA says, "appear to be unaware of the enormous capital costs required to build the foundations of the country’s future TV industry ecosystem." A key policy recommendation from MPA is the digitization of the analogue cable infrastructure, which equates to 80 million homes in India, at a cost of $3 billion. "Full digital TV conversion would realistically require a decade to complete, combined with credible incentive structures, improved revenue sharing mechanisms, and coherent planning as opposed to the unrealistic time frames and shaky structures currently set out by policy makers."

MPA also suggests the removal of price controls on the distribution of TV content and limiting the multi-layered micro-regulation of retail and wholesale fees, the increase of the foreign direct investment (FDI) caps and the implementation of more beneficial tax structures for TV content and distribution. "Such deregulation will provide an engine for national economic output, generate TV industry synergies, and help build larger pools of profit, enabling domestic TV brands to expand aggressively at home and abroad."

01-10-2010, 10:33
Additional Damages Awarded to Celador

A California District Court has awarded Celador International $50 million in prejudgment interest, in addition to the previously awarded $269.4 million in damages in its case against The Walt Disney Company.

Judge Virginia A. Phillips of the United States District Court for the Central District of California awarded the additional interest yesterday. Disney also agreed not to challenge Celador's right to prejudgment interest and will not appeal the $50 million award. This brings the total judgment against Disney to $319.4 million.

A federal jury awarded the damages to Celador in July after unanimously finding that ABC Television, Buena Vista Television and Valleycrest Productions had breached their contract to share profits from Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?. The suit was first filed in 2004. Celador maintained it was to receive a fifty-fifty share in expected profits from the show. But, accountings generated by Disney reported that the successful series never make a profit—rather, Disney said, it generated over $70 million in "losses" for Disney. The jury found otherwise after a four-week trial.

01-10-2010, 10:34
Nonce Paolini, CEO of the TF1 Group, and John Smith, chief executive of BBC Worldwide, will share the stage at a MIPCOM session next week, outlining their perspectives on the state of the global television business and what lies ahead for the industry.

Following their respective presentations, the executives will be interviewed by Marcel Fenez. the global leader of the entertainment & media practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers. The session takes place October 4 in the Grand Auditorium.

"The impact and pace of digital transformation and the unrelenting consumer appetite for faster, newer and more exciting user experiences is causing real challenges for the industry,” said Fenez. “How do they keep pace with these fast, frantic but potentially fantastic developments within the industry, while continuing to meet the needs of their customers and deliver services or content at a price which is affordable. In conversation with TF1 and BBC Worldwide we'll hear how these two companies are handling the challenges and harnessing the potential of this digital revolution."

01-10-2010, 10:34
Steve Mosko, president of Sony Pictures Television, and José Bastón, president of television and content at Grupo Televisa, met in Mexico City this week to discuss opportunities for their companies to work together.

The executives met at Televisa's San Angel facilities. The companies will reveal details of the planned collaborations in due course. A Televisa statement said that the companies aim to "continue to create vanguard content and [pioneer] the use of new technologies."

Both companies have been stepping up their international production capabilities.

01-10-2010, 10:35
TV5MONDE Bags More Sports Rights

The French-language network TV5MONDE has extended its deals with the French Football Federation (FFF) and Ligue1 Championship, along with securing key rugby tournaments.

The global deal, excluding France, with the FFF includes all home matches by the French national team for the next two seasons, until June 2012. This includes friendlies and qualifiers to UEFA's Euro 2012, as well as behind-the-scenes and practice footage. TV5MONDE also adds live broadcast of the French Cup Final for the next two seasons on all its channels outside of France, in addition to the currently weekly live match of French Ligue1 Championship and its weekly highlights magazine.

For its Asian service, TV5MONDE secured live matches by the French team at the next RBS Six Nations rugby tournament and France's international fall test matches against Fiji, Argentina and Australia this November.

01-10-2010, 10:35
Brit Comedies Headed to DIRECTV

BBC Worldwide has inked a deal to bring three comedies—No Heroics, How Not to Live Your Life and Mutual Friends—to DIRECTV’s The 101 Network.

Mutual Friends will premiere on The 101 Network November 3 at 10 p.m., followed by No Heroics and How Not to Live Your Life on November 4 at 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., respectively. “We are extremely excited for the opportunity to bring these brilliant shows, in their original form, across the pond,” said Chris Long, senior VP of entertainment and production for DIRECTV. “Comedy is universal and we believe our viewers will be thrilled with these series that come from the same country that brought us The Office, Absolutely Fabulous and Extras.”

Matt Forde, executive VP of sales and co-productions, sales and distribution, at BBC Worldwide, added, “DIRECTV’s The 101 Network is a terrific platform for these shows to make their U.S. premiere.”

01-10-2010, 10:36
TvFilmBiz Commemorates Ronald Reagan's 100th Birthday

TvFilmBiz International has secured the international rights to the upcoming documentary Ronald Reagan: An American Journey, which will air on network PBS in February 2011, to mark the 100th birthday celebration of Ronald Reagan, the 40th U.S. president.

The doc traces the journey of Reagan from Hollywood screen actor to citizen politician to governor of California to U.S. president. The film was produced by award-winning executive producer Robert Kline and his company Enduring Freedom Productions.

Scott Hanock, the president and CEO of TvFilmBiz, commented: “I am honored and excited to have the sales representation rights to this documentary on Ronald Reagan, as I recognize along with the world how important he was and what he accomplished to secure a better world for all of us during his terms in office.

“It is a pleasure to add this title to our library of other well known documentaries produced by Mr. Kline such as The Afghanistan War and the search for Osama Bin Laden, The Kennedy’s: Americas Emerald Kings, Terrorism: A World In Shadows and On the Wings of Penguins," added Hanock.

01-10-2010, 10:37
Technology firms using the media centre hubs as Trojan horses

Technology firms using the media centre hubs as Trojan horses to gain a foothold within the living room and become the gateway of the connected home are doomed to failure, according to a new report by Informa Telecoms & Media.

In a new report, the analyst points the way forward for the connected TV home and says that in a industry that is based on a huge variety of devices and services, what will not work will be to launch devices that did not support third-party services but rather promoted their own, device-specific, video stores or services.

In the report, Informa Research analyst Andrew Ladbrook argues that the connected home has evolved, being no longer just about connecting several PCs scattered around the house to the Internet, but about connecting any number of devices to the network so that users can access their content wherever they are in the home.

This approach, suggests the analyst, has by and large failed to impress users and usage has been limited. In particular, the analyst points to Apple TV, one of the first such mainstream devices as being based around this model, describing it as “the most high-profile failure in the field.” It added: “Its failure highlights a crucial trend – that no single device or manufacturer will dominate the connected home.”

Even though he believed that consoles will make the early running, Ladbrook predicts that they will be usurped by connected TVs. The researcher makes the contrast between what the games companies are doing, opening up previously closed platforms, and how Apple TV worked.

It says that Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console is a classic example, extending the IT giant’s influence from the PC to the TV, and complementing other verticals such as Mediaroom and Silverlight, IPTV platform and online video standards, respectively. It highlights the introduction of the Netflix video service on the Xbox and the BBC iPlayer on the PlayStation 3 as what will increasingly happen.

The report concludes by saying that what is clear is that users are more interested in getting the services that they have become accustomed to on the Internet and their PC on the TV as well. It suggests that the connected home will not made up exclusively of connected TVs and consoles.

Other devices will carve out niches for themselves for those users who want greater freedom in what online content they can view on the TV.

01-10-2010, 10:37
Sky Sports to show Australia tour of India cricket?

Sky Sports is most likely to telecast the Australia tour of India cricket but negotiations with other UK TV outlets are still ongoing, according to host broadcaster, Nimbus.

In an update to our earlier article, Nimbus said that whilst Sky Sports looked like the winning broadcaster, the deal had still not been signed.

The UK rights for the tour have been up for grabs since Sky Sports' four-year deal with the Indian cricket board (BCCI) and Nimbus had ended earlier this year.

A Sky Sports spokesperson did say that they are likely to release more information on this today.

Anxious cricket fans have been left wondering whether the tournament is going to be shown at all in the UK territory. It is believed a deal with a UK broadcaster will be confirmed by this evening. Deals with TV partners in other countries have been sealed for several weeks ago.

The tournament, which starts on Friday (1st October) will be shown on Nimbus' Neo Cricket channel in India.

01-10-2010, 10:38
With all eyes on India on 3 October for the opening of the Commonwealth Games

With all eyes on India on 3 October for the opening of the Commonwealth Games, national broadcaster Doordarshan (DD) is all set for a high definition (HD) production – a TV first in the history of the games.
It will provide a unique experience and set new standards for the Games to come, Aruna Sharma, director general of Doordarshan told the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS). The International Broadcast Centre is ready. Fine tuning and light correction is being executed.

A reported US$81 million is being spent on covering, producing and televising the Games. However, DD will receive 30% of the revenue acquired by international broadcast rights, with the remainder going to the organising committee.
The IBC is located in Pragati Maidan, and will host not only DD, but also the international TV networks which hold broadcast rights for the games. The latter will be able to customise the basic feed provided to them by Prasar Bharti, the host broadcaster, and either uplink their signal via satellite or via international fibre optic cable, reports IANS.

Doordarshan will televise the games in both HD, on its new DD HD channel, and standard definition on the 24 hour DD Sports channel. Daily half-hour highlight shows, focussing on the performance of Indian athletes, will also be produced and broadcast on these channels, along with footage for DD National, DD Urdu, DD Bharti, DD News and regional channels.

DD is working in partnership with the UK’s SIS Live for its coverage and production of the Delhi games. Over 350 cameras are being deployed for the event – trackside, underwater, and airborne with respect to its opening and closing ceremonies. 25 mobile camera units will also provide interviews and footage of cultural events for broadcasters to use alongside the live athletic action

01-10-2010, 10:39
Hybrid Web-to-TV set top boxes (STB)

In its new report, Web-to-TV Hybrid Set Top Boxes in Six Regions, the telecoms and IT analyst says that with an IP link coming in to nearly every possible consumer electronics device with a screen, the advertising-supported television industry and pay-TV service providers are now scrambling to understand the impact on their business.

Hybrid Web-to-TV set top boxes (STB) will be vital components as broadcasters and operators struggle to compete with their own Internet applications and over-the-top (OTT) video offerings, according to a new report from In-Stat.

Western Europe will likely become the world’s hotbed for development of hybrid applications and services with over 70 companies joining the Hybrid Broadcast Broadband initiative. In-Stat predicts that DTT Hybrid STBs will more than quadruple in volume from 2010 to 2014 and that over 2.7 million Hybrid STBs will be in use in Eastern Europe by 2014.

When Apple began supporting 'apps' on their Apple iPhone, a whole new industry was created with about half a million 'apps' now available worldwide,” commented Gerry Kaufhold, Principal Analyst.
Now, with a plethora of connected TV devices moving into the market, Internet Video is becoming the new 'must have' service.
TV programs will eventually become 'apps' themselves to provide a direct-to-consumer engagement with titles, brands and advertisers

01-10-2010, 10:39
EventIS delivers VOD for Amis

SeaChange International-owned video-on-demand metadata specialist EventIS has completed the implementation of a VOD system for Slovenian IPTV operator Amis.

Following a four-month rollout period, Amis is now offering services including VOD and SVOD, network DVR, time-shifting of 30 of the most popular TV channels, pause live TV, restart TV and a 48-hour catch-up-enabled EPG to viewers in Slovenia and Croatia.

Amis has about 60,000 subscribers via ADSL, cable and FTTH.

01-10-2010, 10:40
New exec joins Volia

Mark Burden has been appointed the CFO of Volia, the leading cable operator in Ukraine.

He was most recently at MTS Ukraine, where he served as CFO and deputy president since 2002, prior to which he held various executive roles in Utel in Ukraine and GTS and Golden Telecom in Russia.

Earlier in his career, Burden also advised the Ministry of Communications in Ukraine on regulatory issues.

01-10-2010, 10:41
Key Polish DTT agreements signed

The launch of a full DTT service has moved closer in Poland, with the transmission company Emitel signing agreements with the commercial broadcasters TVN and TV Puls.

According to Parkiet, the two remaining broadcasters – Polsat and TV4 – which have also had capacity allocated on the second multiplex are likely to reach similar agreements with Emitel shortly, in the case of Polsat either today (September 29) or tomorrow.

This all points to the launch of the second multiplex, which has hitherto been operating on a test basis in five locations including the capital, Warsaw, this October.

The agreements with the four broadcasters, each of which will distribute two channels on the second multiplex, is likely to prove quite lucrative financially for Emitel.

It is likely to earn around PLN500 million (€125.9 million) from them over a 10-year period.

01-10-2010, 10:41
Mediaset and Sky ready for 3D head-to-head

Italy’s two principal pay-TV providers will this weekend both commence a series of transmissions in the 3D format. For Sky Italia the starting point is the Ryder Cup golf, already the centre of BSkyB’s consumer 3D launch, while Mediaset has a package of films ready to roll.

In common with other 3D launches, both Sky and Mediaset are relying on an installed base of HD decoders in order to reach their audience.

Rather than offer a linear channel, Mediaset will be distributing 3D as part of its Premium On Demand service, featuring around 50 movies and TV series at any one time. The first 3D movie will be The Legend of Beowulf, available from October 3, and followed by a version of Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth.

Sky Italia viewers will be able to watch the culmination of the Ryder Cup on October 3. The 3D version will be available at no extra cost to Sky Sport subscribers.

01-10-2010, 10:42
The channels are here on the African Beam.11262V, 11345V, 11387V and 11428V- DVB-S2
Some of them are:
SIC Mulher
Canal Cocina
RTR Planeta
Baby First TV
RTP África
SIC Notícias
TVE 24h
Real Madrid TV
Sol Música
Band Internacional

01-10-2010, 10:43
Russian Channel One prepares tender

Russia’s leading broadcaster Channel One will hold a contest within 30 days to determine which company will sell its commercial airtime next year.

Kommersant reports that Video International (VI), the leading ad sales house and currently undertaking sales for Channel One, is likely to participate in what will be a closed tender.

VI currently accounts for around 70% of the TV ad sales market in Russia but will be hit by an amendment to advertising legislation that limits the market share companies can hold in the sector to 35%.

It has sold commercial airtime on VI since 2000 and signed a three-year agreement last autumn, only just before the amendments to the legislation were passed.

01-10-2010, 10:44
Wood elected WBU-TC chair

The technical committee of the World Broadcasting Unions (WBU) has elected the EBU’s David Wood as the new chair of its technical committee.

Wood, who is currently the deputy director, EBU Technical, has enjoyed a long career in broadcasting through both the BBC and IBA. In recent years he has specialised in new media and new technologies. He chairs ITU-R WP6C, responsible for programme production and exchange formats and picture and sound quality evaluation and is also chairman of the European High Definition Forum. Conference attendees will be familiar with his entertaining and insightful views on the development of 3D.

“There are many challenges for the WBU, as it becomes more and more difficult to achieve consensus on common technical standards throughout the world,” explained Wood. “We are moving to a world where, in any event, many elements which need to be common are software interfaces rather than hardware, plugs and sockets”.

The WBU is the umbrella body of the eight broadcasting unions.

01-10-2010, 10:45
Travel Channel HD to launch in November

Travel Channel has announced the launch of Travel Channel HD. The high definition edition will be available to European platforms on Astra’s 23.5 degrees East satellite from November 15.

The Czech Republic’s DTH platform Skylink will be the first to offer Travel Channel HD as part of their HD Plus package.

Travel Channel’s chief executive, Richard Wolfe, said in a statement: “HD is the ultimate quality, and the future of broadcast. Travel Channel offers the world through a lens and is a perfect fit for HD”.

Programming of the HD channel will follow Travel Channel’s genre mix of destination guides, documentaries, adventure, food & drink and special interests, in the vivid detail that high definition offers.

Travel Channel’s senior vice president, affiliate sales & marketing & COO, Geoff Ellis, added “HD adds awe-inspiring panorama and perspective on top of Travel Channel’s great editorial content.”

01-10-2010, 10:45
Hulu reiterates international plans; ITV reiterates it won’t work with aggregators

US catch-up service Hulu has reiterated plans to launch in international territories.

CEO Jason Kilar relayed a video message to delegates at the RTS conference in London yesterday in which he said Hulu “should be a global service”. He added: “Where and when are things that we keep close the vest.”

The company, a joint venture between NBC, Fox and ABC, was expected to launch in the UK last year. However, Adam Crozier, the recently-installed CEO of ITV, said that the UK commercial broadcaster will not be teaming up with Hulu. When it was put to him that ITV almost became an equity partner in Hulu in return for providing its content he replied: “We almost became a lot of things.” He added: “I am not interested in working with aggregators…we need to keep control of our own content.”

Also speaking at the RTS event, Time Warner president and CEO Jeff Bewkes questioned the Hulu business model. “It’s a way for broadcasters to take content and put it online and on-demand. The question is what is the model? Currently it’s the same as for TV – advertising – but generating a fifth of the amount. The question long term is how will that model finance programme creation.”

01-10-2010, 10:46
Sky Deutschland struggles with private placement

German pay-TV operator Sky Deutschland has had limited success with it latest attempt to increase its capital, managing to place only 61% of a private share placement of 269 million shares priced at €1.05.

The private share placement reportedly raised about €172m for the operator, about half of what it wants to raise via a range of measures including a recent capital increase, a shareholder loan and convertible bond.

Sky Deutschland was yesterday in the process of offering the 105 million shares remaining to institutional investors. The company’s largest shareholder, News Corp has guaranteed that he capital measures it was taking would raise at least €340m. News Corp, which raised its stake from 45.42% to 49.9% as a result of the recent capital increase, does not want, however, to take a majority stake in Sky Deutschland, leaving open the possibility of convertible bond or a shareholder loan from News.

01-10-2010, 10:48
Canal Plus to raise contribution to cinema production

France’s economy and finance minister is to raise the maximum contribution to which Canal Plus is liable to support domestic audiovisual production from 4.5% to 6.7% of its revenues, according to local reports.

The move follows the government’s decision to row back on a plan to raise the level of VAT on pay-TV subscriptions from 5.5% to 19.6%. Canal Plus contributes to the COSIP, a fund designed to support French cinema production.

The contributions made by ISPs to COSIP remain unchanged for now, despite a decision to subject their triple-play subscriptions to a uniform VAT rate of 19.6%, according to the reports.

01-10-2010, 10:48
Ono adds La10 to line-up

Spanish cable operator Ono has begun carrying Vocento Group-owned general entertainment channel La10.

The channel, which offers a mix of family-oriented series and movies, culture, sport and political debate, will be included in Ono’s TV Esencial package, taken by all digital subscribers.

01-10-2010, 10:49
Five team up for web TV technology system

Five IPTV technology firms have teamed up to offer a joint system for web TV.

Slovenia-based middleware provider BeeSmart, Sweden-based video-on-demand technology provider Edgeware and set-top software stack provider Zenterio, content security specialist Verimatrix and media streaming client provider Netview will jointly provide the web TV solution, which encompasses BeeSmart middleware, Edgeware HTTP adaptive streaming and content management, the Netview Downloader client integrated with Zenterio’s software stack and Verimatrix VCAS for Internet TV conditional access.

01-10-2010, 10:50
Egypt prepares triple-play licences

The Egyptian authorities will announce the winners of two triple-licenses for the country later today.

Communications minister Tarek Kamel told local press that the pair of licenses should generate US$1bn (€740m) of investment into the TV, telephony and broadband sector.

01-10-2010, 10:50
Cambodian minister backs media for the Khmer Krom

Cambodian Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith said yesterday that he would support local Khmer Krom activists in establishing media outlets to publicise their community’s interests, so long as these efforts did not damage the Kingdom’s relationship with Vietnam. Khieu Kanharith met yesterday with Thach Sang, president of the Cambodia-based Khmer Kampuchea Krom Friendship Association.

The minister said he would support funding to allow the group to publish a magazine and receive one hour of free airtime per day on state radio stations in Takeo and Svay Rieng provinces. He added, however, that the government opposed activities that “draw objections from the Vietnamese government or argue for the liberation of Khmer Krom land from Vietnam”.

At a meeting in Phnom Penh last month, Vietnamese Vice Minister of Public Security Tran Dai Quang praised the cooperation of Cambodian authorities in halting anti-Vietnamese “plots”. This cooperation, Mr Tran said, had prevented Khmer Krom activists from “hiring state and private radio broadcasting with the aim of propagandising against the traditional relationship and the alliance of the two countries”.

01-10-2010, 10:51
Sky rapped over M&S voucher promotion

Sky has been rapped over a promotion that offered Marks & Spencer vouchers to new subscribers after more than 40 customers complained that they did not arrive as promised.

The satellite broadcaster ran a series of promotions offering new customers £50 worth of Marks & Spencer's vouchers when they signed up online.

However, 42 people complained to the Advertising Standards Authority about the fairness and efficiency of the promotion, because their vouchers had not arrived "within the designated timeframe".

In response, Sky argued that a "huge number" of customers had received their vouchers without incident, while the complainants were in a "considerable minority".

After an investigation, the company found that heavy demand over the Christmas period had meant that certain customers did not receive their vouchers within the initial 30-day deadline.

Other vouchers were not delivered due to "human error" at the call centre level or being lost in the post.

Sky said that changes made over the last couple of months to its internal procedures had meant vouchers were now being sent to customers "well within" the new 45-day limit.

However, the ASA criticised Sky's "failure to cope" with the high demand over the Christmas period, as well as the instances of human error that led to some customers not receiving their vouchers in time.

"Despite the improvements Sky had incorporated in the administration of the voucher promotion, we were concerned that the terms of the offer stated that vouchers would be sent within thirty days of activating viewing, which, unfortunately, Sky had not been able to meet for a number of customers," said the ASA.

"We concluded therefore that the offer had not been administered satisfactorily and had caused unnecessary disappointment to those consumers."

The ASA said that the promotion must not continue in its current form "unless Sky is able to demonstrate that the offer will be fulfilled within the terms specified".

01-10-2010, 10:52
Universal Networks launches new websites

Universal Networks International (UNI) has today launched a suite of global multimedia websites for its major channel brands, backed up by new web-only content.

UNI recently remodelled its international channel portfolio around five core brands: Syfy Universal, Diva Universal, Studio Universal, 13th Street Universal and the Universal Channel (previously The Hallmark Channel).

The company has now launched new websites for each of its channel brands, which will feature localised content in 14 languages in 16 countries across Europe, Latin America, South Africa and Asia Pacific.

The interactive sites will be powered by a central video delivery platform offering high-quality streamed video content, including episodes of programmes featured on the channels.

The sites will also carry behind-the-scenes footage, exclusively-produced web series and a variety of social gaming options.

To mark the launch, UNI has invested in an exclusive web-only series of FCU: Fact Checker's Unit for streaming on the Syfy Universal sites. The firm has also developed original games inspired by Syfy's key shows, such as Eureka and Warehouse 13.

"UNI's rollout of our global websites evolves our ongoing strategy - and priority - to deliver top entertainment brands to audiences around the world, in a way that truly complements their worlds," said UNI president Roma Khanna.

UNI vice president Jason Keane added: "The compelling content of these new websites delivers an extended brand experience for our viewers around the world, enabling UNI to evolve its strategy of delivering a 360 degree brand experience and giving fans the opportunity to engage with their favourite shows and entertainment brands online."

01-10-2010, 10:52
ITV considers charging for online content

ITV chief executive Adam Crozier has said that the broadcaster could start charging for its online content, including previews or alternate endings for Coronation Street.

Speaking yesterday at the Royal Television Society international conference in London, Crozier said that ITV had "not invested nearly enough" in ITV.com over the years, and this would have to change very quickly.

Over the next year, Crozier confirmed that ITV will review a variety of "payment mechanisms" for viewers accessing its content on the internet.

However, he stressed that the broadcaster would "not go down the News International route" of putting all of its online services behind a paywall.

Crozier said that ITV is now considering what sort of content people would be "prepared to pay for" online, including options for the broadcaster's biggest soap opera.

"I don't see us going down the News International route of putting everything behind a paywall, but we can start to look at what kind of things can we put online that we can charge for," he said.

"Whether that is a richer, deeper experience for Coronation Street, for instance, with alternative endings or the backstories behind certain things, we will see.

"It might be previewing certain things. We need to test what people will pay for and I think the truth is that people don't really know the answer to those questions."

01-10-2010, 10:55
Ofcom appoints new C4 non-exec directors

Ofcom has appointed four new non-executive directors to Channel 4's board and extended the terms of Lord Puttnam and Martha Lane Fox.

Joining the broadcaster's board is Mark Price, managing director of supermarket chain Waitrose and Alicja Lesniak, non-executive director of property company DTZ.

Channel 4 also welcomes Richard Rivers, previously head of corporate development at Unilever and currently a non-executive director of Mothercare, along with Monica Burch, chairman of the board at Addleshaw Goddard.

All the non-executive directors have been given initial three-year terms, starting on October 1. They will work at Channel 4 for one day per month and receive an annual payment of around £23,000.

The new non-executive directors follow the departures of Karen Brady, Andy Mollett and Sue Ashiany, who had reached the end of their terms.

In addition to the new appointments, Lord Puttnam's term as Channel 4 deputy chairman has had been extended until January 31, 2012.

Non-executive director Martha Lane Fox, who is currently the UK's digital champion, has seen her term extended for the same period, while Stephen Hill's term has been increased to December 31, 2011.

"The combination of the new appointments and the extensions is intended to bring some new high quality commercial and professional skills onto the Channel 4 board whilst also providing stability by retaining some very strong individuals for the forthcoming year," said Ofcom chairman Colette Bowe.

Channel 4 chairman Lord Burns added: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank Karen Brady, Andy Mollett and Sue Ashtiany for their contribution as members of the board of Channel 4. I would also like to welcome the four new non-executive directors.

"They join us as we enter a moment of change and creative renewal, led by [Channel 4 chief executive] David Abraham and his newly formed management team, and I look forward to working closely with them during the exciting challenges ahead."

01-10-2010, 10:56
Endemol acquires stake in Ensemble

Endemol has acquired a stake in Ensemble Entertainment. The US production company is run by The Pacific producer Tony To.

This further expands Endemol's reach in the United States and moves the company into TV event and mini-series programming for the first time.

This also follows Endemol's acquisition of reality producer Authentic Entertainment, the company behind Ace of Cakes and Toddlers and Tiaras, in August.

Endemol has bought a minority stake in Ensemble, which was founded by Tony To, who has produced The Pacific, Band of Brothers and From The Earth To The Moon, Patrick Murray and Jin Ishimoto.

Tom Toumazis, chief commercial officer of Endemol comments: "This partnership represents another significant step in our ongoing strategy for growth in scripted programming. Tony and his team have demonstrated an extraordinary talent for delivering event television of the highest quality and we believe Ensemble's productions will be in great demand around the world. We are extremely excited about the opportunities our partnership will create."

01-10-2010, 10:56
Former Granada boss Nohr joins Shine Int'l

Former Granada International boss Nadine Nohr has joined Shine International.

Nohr is working as a consultant for Lis Murdoch's company and will attend next week's MIPCOM market in Cannes as a representative of the international distributor.

This comes as part of Shine International's recent growth, which includes the hire of former 3DD exec Lisette Schlippe as senior sales executive. Shine International president Chris Grant told TBIvision recently that it was looking to staff up in the UK.

Nohr left the international production and distribution arm of UK broadcaster ITV in 2008 after 18 years and has since been consulting for international TV companies.

A Shine spokesman told TBIvision: "Nadine has been working as a consultant to Shine International since the beginning of this year, one of a handful of broadcast industry clients she now maintains. The brief from Shine Group is to bring her experience and expertise to advise how Shine International's growth is not only best maintained but built upon, with a particular focus on the best strategies for group, third party programming and recruitment within Europe."

01-10-2010, 10:57
EC probes Spain’s DSO

The European Commission has launched an investigation into the Spanish DTT migration plan over a possible violation of the technology neutrality principle by “favouring certain technologies to the detriment of others”.

State subsidies to finance DTT migration are at the centre of the controversy. The EC will investigate the DTT migration plan to determine whether the DTT networks have been given a preferential treatment over other distribution platforms breaking the European legislation on the distribution of public funds.

The EC will specifically investigate the DTT migration process in the Spanish Region of Castilla-La Mancha, in the centre of Spain, over charges of discrimination concerning Regional and Local operators.

“We have to make sure that any public initiative respects the European legislation concerning state aids and does not discriminate any (distribution) platform”, said the EC anti-trust Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia.

The DTT migration plan was implemented in April when Spain switched-off analogue transmissions. After a preliminary investigation, Brussels believes that the plan could break the principle of technology neutrality which requires the same treatment for all distribution platforms, regardless of the technology used.

Brussels argues that the Spanish DTT migration plan only includes public funds to finance and extend the existent terrestrial network but it does not contain any financial aid for satellite platforms, also available and used to cover the whole territory.

In Castilla-La Mancha, the EC argues that the state subsidies are only limited to platform operators that distribute nationwide TV channels. This may be a discrimination against local platforms that distribute Local and Regional TV stations.

01-10-2010, 10:58
Kabel Deutschland uprated again

Investment bank Morgan Stanley has given a further impressive uplift to its target share price for German Kabel Deutschland. In a note to clients Morgan Stanley increases its price target from E31 to a hefty E36. Yesterday’s actual price was E28, but over the past year it has been as low as E19.89. There’s more to come, suggests the bank, especially if the price takes on board the recent growth in Telenet and Virgin Media, both of which have grown by about 30% over the past year.

Morgan Stanley suggests that following Kabel Deutschland’s IPO there is a longer-term Base Case target of E41, and a “Bull Case” of E60, and argues “Cable better than copper: we believe it is a better technology to DSL to provide broadband and TV services, with a cheap upgrade path to 100MBps speeds.”

The bank’s report talks about “a gradual increase in ARPU for KD, high cash conversion driven by a largely fixed cost base with significant operating leverage.” It also talks about 65-70 per cent EBITDA margins and further cooperation with Sky Deutschland.

01-10-2010, 10:58
Research: Mobile video taking off in Europe

comScore, a specialist in measuring the digital world, has released data from its comScore MobiLens service showing that the number of people viewing video on mobile devices has increased 66 per cent in the past year to 12.1 million mobile consumers across the EU5 countries (UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy).

The UK and Italy each boast 2.7 million mobile video consumers, up 75 per cent from July 2009 in the UK market and up 55 per cent in the Italian market. Spain is demonstrating the fastest growth, with mobile video consumption up 90 per cent in the past year to 1.7 million subscribers.

On-demand video/TV programming in particular experienced substantial growth in the past year, up 99 per cent since July 2009, with 5.2 million mobile owners across Europe viewing such content. Viewing broadcast TV programming is also on the rise, up 70 per cent to 3.5 million subscribers.

“The era of ‘video-on-the-go’ has finally arrived,” says comScore European VP Mobile, Jeremy Copp. “We’ve seen major developments throughout the mobile space – in networks, in devices and in software and applications – and now we’re seeing the result: a rapidly growing audience of consumers accessing video on their mobiles, be it broadcast, on-demand or sideloaded.”

Across the EU5 countries, two out of every three people who viewed mobile TV/video were smartphone owners. In the UK 80.2 per cent were smartphone owners to lead all EU5 countries, followed by Spain (71.7 per cent) and France (67.7 per cent).

“Smartphone owners are clearly driving the mobile video trend, an indication that more growth is on the horizon as an increasing number of smartphones hit the market,” Copp continued. “We’ve also seen that recent releases such as Apple’s iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab are designed to offer an incredible video experience, and when coupled with services such as the BBC iPlayer for mobile, make this an extremely interesting sector to watch.”

01-10-2010, 10:59
TiVo, Roku offer Hulu Plus

TiVo and streaming player Roku have both announced content partnerships with Hulu Plus, the new subscription model online TV service. Both will make a Hulu Plus channel available to subscribers in the coming months for a $9.99 subscription fee.

“We’re thrilled to be able to provide Hulu Plus subscribers with the most inexpensive device to stream Hulu content to their TVs,” said Anthony Wood, founder and CEO of Roku, Inc. “Hulu continues to be an amazing innovator in online entertainment, and Roku is an ideal platform to bring their content back to the living room and high definition televisions where it is best viewed.”

“Adding Hulu Plus to TiVo’s content offering was really the key missing piece to the programming portfolio that TiVo needed in order to deliver a truly comprehensive advanced television offering on the market today – bar none,” said Tara Maitra, VP and general manager, content services and ad sales at TiVo Inc.

01-10-2010, 10:59
Ooyala moves into living room with Roku

Ooyala, the end-to-end online video platform provider, has made a partnership with Roku, maker of streaming players. The deal gives Ooyala publishers the ability to create custom-branded video channels for Roku boxes. With this integration, Ooyala publishers can now reach Roku’s customer base of more than a half million. The out-of-the-box integration requires no added development work and makes creating a customer channel quick and easy.

01-10-2010, 11:00
BBC: YouView likely to drive broadband prices up

The BBC’s director-general Mark Thompson has admitted that widespread uptake of internet TV will probably result in a hike in broadband prices in the UK.

He told the RTS that when services such as YouView and Apple TV arrive on the scene, it won’t be long before there is considerable consumer demand for Internet TV. Thompson suggests that while it might give ISPs ‘the excuse they’ve been looking for’ to shift broadband prices away from the ‘all you can eat’ model, it will potentially also necessitate the investment in next-generation broadband services which the country needs.

While Thompson clearly thinks ISPs will use the massive expansion of internet TV to unjustifiably raise prices, strangely he then suggests there is a silver lining in that their increased profit means they will invest in more broadband infrastructure.

01-10-2010, 11:01
Disney, CBS, Fox sue Ivi

Walt Disney’s ABC, CBS and other broadcasters have sued Ivi, an online subscription service, for streaming television programmes over the Web without authorisation. The companies, also including Fox, NBC and the Public Broadcasting Service, have accused Ivi and its founder Todd Weaver of copyright infringement in a federal court complaint in New York.

Ivi, based in Seattle, began streaming TV stations there and in New York 24 hours a day to Web subscribers worldwide on September 13th, according to the lawsuit. Viewers would pay $4.99 a month after a 30-day free trial, the complaint said. Broadcasters have deals with companies including Hulu, Netflix and Apple to stream TV shows. Hulu’s owners include NBC, Fox and ABC.

On September 20th, Ivi and Weaver filed suit in federal court in Seattle seeking a ruling that Ivi isn’t infringing copyrights. “Big media is choosing to fight Internet delivery the same way they fought against cable delivery and satellite delivery, when in reality it is legal to retransmit,” Weaver said. “Broadcasters charge more in advertising due to the increase in viewers. It is too bad big media must fight innovation that is legal, pays them and increases their revenue.”

01-10-2010, 11:02
Research: ‘Event TV’ drives social nets

With the rise of ‘event TV’ such as X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing and sporting events, more and more Brits are using social networks and instant messaging to chat to friends as the events unfold. Research from Intel has found that almost half of (45 per cent) Brits have admitted to using sites such as Twitter, Facebook and MSN messenger to discuss a TV programme whilst it’s on air.

Females are leading this social change with more than half (51 per cent) of them using the online chat offerings whilst watching TV when compared to only 38 per cent of men. With the ease of staying in touch online, a fifth (21 per cent) of Brits would actually cancel a social engagement if it meant missing their favourite programme. Fuelling this technological revolution is the increasing amount of hardware people have access to. Other devices used while watching TV include a laptop (57 per cent), a desktop computer (23 per cent) and an internet enabled smart phone (19 per cent).

In fact, two thirds (63 per cent) would like for their TV to access the Internet so that they can find more information on the shows they’re watching, shop online and use social networking sites.

The year’s biggest TV events have seen conversation go online worldwide. While X Factor attracted over 11 Tweets per second, last year’s Strictly Come Dancing drove almost 7 Tweets per second and even the more serious UK election debates drove over 29 tweets per second .

Commenting on the research, David McKeown, Sales & Marketing at Intel UK & Ireland, said: “It seems we are becoming a nation of armchair pundits, sitting watching TV with laptops at the ready so we can share our own commentary and opinions with friends and family whilst watching popular TV through social networks like Twitter and Facebook. The rise of event TV is really fuelling this trend, especially for women who are talking about shows like X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing. This clearly demonstrates an appetite from consumers to have Internet connectivity whilst watching TV. Smart TV – a technological revolution will change the way we view TV forever. It will not only become more interactive and responsive, but it will make TV an even more social experience.”

01-10-2010, 17:16
German ‘third channels’ to go HD in 2013/14

All so-called ‘third channels’ from German public broadcaster ARD are going to be available in HD on the Astra satellite, according to a report in Medien Bulletin. The broadcasters are currently negotiating satellite capacity with SES-Astra, said Herbert Tillmann, technical director at Bayerischen Fernsehen.

Apart from the first national public channel Das Erste, the ARD also has regional channels in all German states. Some of them have a large programme library. All are available nationwide on cable and satellite; some of them also have terrestrial distribution.

The four biggest of the regional broadcaster, Bayerischen Rundfunk, WDR, NDR and MDr are expected to launch their HD versions first. Tillman expects a time frame of 2013 – 2014. It is not likely that the thematic channels Eins Plus and Eins Extra will go HD anytime soon.

With regards to the fact that ARD still broadcasts its HD signal in 720p, Tillman said the decision has been made to produce all native HD content in 1080i and that a switch might be possible in the bear future.

01-10-2010, 17:17
TechnoTrend launches mini-HD+ receiver

The German manufacturer TechnoTrend Görler has announced the first ‘invisible’ HD+ satellite receiver. Known as mini Mini-HD-Receiver TT-micro S815 HD+, it measures only 15 x 14.6 x 4.6 cm and is capable of receiving SD, HD and HD+ signals.
The receiver will fit on the back of any modern Full HD and HD ready flatscreen and will connect with HDMI. Using the USB port, an external storage device can be added (“PVR ready”) and the remote control makes it possible to time shift, record with 1 click, access the EPG and show JPEG pictures on the TV screen.

The new receiver comes with an HD+ smart card, which is prepaid for a 12 month period. The price will be around €219.00.

01-10-2010, 17:18
According to a report

According to a report, FTTH outreach into rural areas would help to improve available broadband flows and extend the development of high speed internet.

French telecom regulatory body Arcep wants to favour the development of FTTH in the countryside.

This report that studies the various model businesses that could be set up to reach this goal, and it also recognises the opening of the rural market to new operators.

The report ha snow been sent to French government

01-10-2010, 17:19
Sony Pictures, Warner Bros. and Disney are working out a scheme to charge as much as $30 per viewing for access to movies still in theatrical release, via cable partners.Bloomberg said that Time Warner CFO John Martin told the Goldman Sachs investors that Warner Bros. studio will start tests later this year for a service that will price out at $20 to $30 per viewing.

The films would be made available in a partnership with In Demand, that company's CEO Bob Benya told Bloomberg. The news service also reported that In-Demand, which is a joint VOD effort from Cox Communications, Comcast and Time Warner Cable, will likely be joined by other platforms for Disney streams, including connected devices like the Xbox console and PlayStation 3.

There are a number of other products that we will be able to create through Internet-connected television, particularly when you consider our brand focus," Robert Iger, CEO at Disney said at that same Goldman Sachs conference, driving home the point.

The appeal for the consumer? Seeing brand-new movies at home without having to spend the money on gas, popcorn and drinks that a theatre visit almost always entails: well-worn economy-driven stats point to more American families staying home with Netflix rather than spending the $60-$75 for a family of four ($35 for a couple) that a night out typically costs.

With the National Bureau of Economic Research reporting that 16.7 percent of the American workforce is un- or underemployed, and fears of a double dip recession running high, that effect is unlikely to shift much despite the recent news that the recession has officially ended now that the GDP has begun growing again after 18 months of contraction.

In theory the service would also appeal to the counch potato/film junkie combo personality that can't--or won't--wait the now-typical three months for the DVDs or VOD release, and who in the past might have turned to piracy. Or perhaps not, considering that the pirated material would likely not be paid for.

The theatres themselves, of course, are unlikely to be pleased, having already been hammered by the stay-at-home trend. Any promotion, advertising, marketing or testing of premium VOD needs to be done within the existing in-home window time frame, the National Association of Theatre Owners said on its Website.

01-10-2010, 17:20
Sky Sports has embarked upon an ambitious technology upgrade

Much lauded for the quality standards and innovation that has set for televised sport, Sky Sports has embarked upon an ambitious technology upgrade to bring about not only operational improvements in day-to-day sports highlights coverage, but also in terms of output abilities on TV and new media platforms.

The upgrade project at the new Harlequin 1 HD production facilities covers all ingest, production and play out workflows, including highlights editing and online storage infrastructures. The new Sky Sports HD production infrastructure will be relying on EVS Instant Tapeless Technology to power live and near-live HD studios, as well as its interactive and highlights production suites.

The four production studios at Harlequin 1 will be using four HD video broadcast servers and four HD studio servers, all controllable by eight director suites, including editing modules, for content management, browsing, clip creation and fast turnaround editing.

The new technology will also be used for new media production and delivery, with workflow relying on ten servers operated for ingest and play out, and controlled by the content management system. Recorded media, clips and edits will be shared in a central near-line storage system, which provides 20 Tbytes storage capacity, including proxy media.

A total of eighteen edit stations will be used for the creation of highlights packages (including graphics) with direct access to the central storage platform. Once finalized, EDL’s from the editing machines will be sent to the XS servers for HD conforming and direct play out.

EVS tapeless systems will also be implemented for Sky Sports’ SportaCabin, a production area dedicated to live and near-live highlights editing for the Premiership and UEFA Champions League. The production will be supported by eight servers, eleven HD editing workstations and eleven on-the-fly editors for halftime and post-match analyses.

Commented Darren Long, Director of Operations at Sky Sports.
The real benefit of having a new HD tapeless infrastructure covering ingest, edit and playout is that you can maximise the use of content throughout different platforms very quickly and efficiently.
EVS, with its expertise in live productions and sport broadcasting, has demonstrated the value of its tapeless technology and proven on more than one occasion that it can meet the challenges of such an important project.

01-10-2010, 17:22
Brazil has agreed with South Africa the promotion of ISDB-T adoption

The Brazilian Digital TV Forum and the South African National Association of Electronic Component Factories (Namec) executed an intention agreement by means of which Brazil will train technicians and African companies in case ISDB-T standard is adopted. In turn, entrepreneurs committed themselves to working on such standard adoption promotion. The final decision will be released before year end.

The Telecommunications Secretary advisor, Flavio Lenz, one of the Brazilian committee members, pointed out that the idea was to show that South African small and medium size companies can receive training to manufacture electronic devices and produce digital TV content. According to a press release issued by the Brazilian Ministry of Communications, South Africa had adopted the European DVB, but decided to review such decision - together with the Austral Africa Development Community, made up by 15 countries (South Africa among them) - when Brazil started negotiations.

One of the issues highlighted by the Brazilian committee is the possibility to carry out HD broadcastings. At present, South Africa has turned to standard definition broadcastings. HD would be available only for Pay-TV. Additionally, it was denied that European standard STBs were cheaper, since ISDB-T devices will be produced at great scale thus reducing prices.

The Brazilian delegation also met with local broadcasters. In South Africa, there are six TV channels, three of which are state-owned and form part of SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) network, the other two pay and subscription channels belong to M-NET network, and the third one is a free-to-air private channel. Private channels are mainly opposed to the standard change. In face of this, Brazilian representatives took advantage of the occasion to tighten relationships and show that they can also benefit from ISDB-T adoption.

01-10-2010, 17:23
Pace presented interactive platform for its Tango STBs

According to what Jorge Orellana, Pace Americas International Sales Director told NexTV Latam, as from the 1Q2011, Latin American operators who have Pace's Tango HD STBs, and interactivity networks, will be able to offer their clients Widget interactive applications. At present, conversations are being held with companies that will join that business model in the region. Moreover, the company presented HD Dallas and Denali devices.

Orellana and Javier Ferrín, Technical Account Manager of the company, stated that Tango is the "most sold HD STB in Latin America". In addition to offering Widgets of other companies, operators will be able to develop their own applications. Pace showed such platform functioning over the course of the recent edition of Jornadas 2010 trade show held in Argentina. Cablevisión Argentina, Megacable from México, Cotas Bolivia and TV cable de Ecuador, among others, already have Tango STBs. All of them digitalized their operations with Motorola, but utlice Pace's STBs for HD. Jorge Schwartz, TV Cable President, told NexTV Latam that they were holding conversations with Pace with the purpose of having such applicatioin platform in the future.

On the other hand, Dallas and Denali STBs were shown in Argentina (during Jornadas 2010) and are already available in Latin America. Dallas HD DVR STB is fitted with a 500 Gb hard disk; whereas, Denali HD Non-DVR enables the connection of an external disk (SATA disk) as well as the addition of an internal hard disk. Both devices are available for operators with Motorola's CAS platforms.

01-10-2010, 17:23
Radio Maria seeing worldwide success

The Catholic broadcasting company Radio Maria continues to grow worldwide, now present in 54 nations with 65 new broadcasting stations in various languages. Recently, the Catholic chain has been welcomed in Switzerland, Slovakia and Ukraine. Three new broadcasting stations in the United States have also been incorporated to the Global Family of Radio Maria: in Washington, Boston, and an additional one in Chicago for Italian-speaking listeners.

Moreover, within the campaign “United in Communion” (a project of the Global Family of Radio Maria to help its expansion on the African continent), Cameroon will be the next broadcasting station to be incorporated in the worldwide network. In Africa, it is already heard in 14 countries: Burkina Faso, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Congo-Brazzaville, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia.

A communiqué from Radio Maria noted that the plans of the Catholic broadcasting station are to be extended to 10 additional countries over the next two years. “We count on the generous aid of our listeners,” the communiqué explained. “In Spain, specifically, we allocate 15% of each donation we receive to help projects coming from the African continent.”

Radio Maria was born in Italy in 1987. It attributes its growth to the collaboration of 400 volunteers in programming and 3,000 volunteer workers in promotion and transmission.

01-10-2010, 17:24
Broadcasting and broadband ‘must complement each other’

Creating an environment for broadband and broadcasting to complement each other is the key to realising a beneficial information society, the President of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), Yoshinori Imai, has said. He told the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development in New York that broadband and broadcasting each had its own distinctive advantage.

“What’s at stake now is not the choice between them but an effective hybrid of the two,” he said. “Broadcasting is a one-way but very low cost universal service that provides a simultaneous and rapid transmission of quality information and entertainment. We at NHK, along with other public service broadcasters in Europe, have just begun an initiative for a new broadcasting format which provides seamless links with broadband capabilities.”

Mr Imai said a second hybrid was that of technology and content. To create reliable, quality content that travelled on the network, broadband could take full advantage of the accumulated expertise of broadcasting in information gathering and content production. He called for a constructive deliberation among all stakeholders for a fair and balanced spectrum allocation and assignment, as more broadcasters switched from analogue to digital.

Mr Imai is a founding Commissioner of the Broadband Commission, established by UNESCO and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in May. It brings together leaders in government, business, civil society and international organisations. The commission’s role is to provide broad policy guidelines for the development of a strategic framework to accelerate the deployment of universal access to a broadband network.

01-10-2010, 17:25
BBG chairman announces “new direction” for US external broadcasting

Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) Chairman Walter Isaacson last night announced a new direction for US international broadcasting that “seizes on the latest media tools and technology to stay one step ahead of those who seek to repress free information around the world.” As Chairman of the BBG, Mr Isaacson oversees RFE, VOA, Radio Free Asia, Radio/TV Martí, Radio Sawa, and Alhurra TV, which have a combined weekly audience of more than 171 million people.

“The challenges we face in the new global struggle against repression and intolerance are as great today as they were during the Cold War,” he said at a reception marking the 60th anniversary of RFE’s first broadcast. “And just as the founders of Radio Free Europe succeeded in developing creative and innovative ways to get news and information to people suffering behind the Iron Curtain, so too must today’s US international broadcasters respond to modern threats to freedom in new and inventive ways.”

Speaking at the Newseum in Washington, DC, Mr Isaacson said, “America cannot let itself be out-communicated by its enemies. Our traditional role of delivering the news top down needs to be complimented by a new approach that catalyzes social networks,” said Isaacson. “By creating peer-to-peer global communities, we help guarantee the universal human right of access to the free flow of information.”

01-10-2010, 17:26
RFI responds after attack by Hugo Chávez

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has accused the Caracas correspondent of Radio France Internationale (RFI) of lying and trying to destabilise his regime during a press conference broadcast live on national television. RFI’s management responded by inviting Mr Chávez to an interview.

Mr Chávez’s outburst came after a question from RFI Spanish service’s correspondent Andreína Flores during a press conference on Monday about his party’s slim victory in legislative elections. “Mr President, you have talked about 5.4 million votes for your PSUV [United Socialist Party of Venezuela] party, against 5.3 million for the opposition. The difference between the two figures is less than 100 thousand votes,” said Ms Flores.

“It is difficult to understand, particularly for those who listen to us in other countries, how the opposition obtained nearly the same number of votes as the PSUV, yet obtained 37 seats less. I ask myself if that confirms the opposition’s theory that the process was put together to favour the PSUV, or perhaps, which would be worse, if a vote from the PSUV was worth two,” she added.

After a few moments of hesitation the socialist leader responded angrily. “Have you read the constitution? Have you have listened to what I said? No, I see that you haven’t taken any notes,” said Mr Chávez. “RFI has lied for several days, I have demanded a retraction, but you have ignored it. Don’t participate in manipulation. You present the opposition’s theories and repeat them to fool people. Your question has one aim – to destabilise the regime. I say that your method of working is … ridiculous.”

RFI’s management has sent a response to Mr Chávez, which reads as follows…

“Mr President,

During a press conference with the international media on Monday 27th September 2010, our correspondent in Caracas, Andreina Flores, asked a question on the difference between the number of votes and the number of seats obtained by the opposition in the Venezuelan elections.

You responded by attacking our correspondent, who has worked at RFI for several years. She has done a number of reports on Venezuela and other countries in Latin America. RFI is satisfied with her professionalism and integrity.

RFI believes in the strict respect attached to journalistic standards and Mrs Flores, in formulating her question, did not divert from these rules. She still has the complete confidence of the management.

At the same time you questioned the accuracy of the quality of information broadcast by RFI, and spoke of lies. You also said that you had asked for explanations from RFI in the past without obtaining any response.

We would like to tell you that not one request from you has reached RFI. We remind you that RFI is an international radio station based in Paris, which can be heard outside of France. It is a public organisation governed by rules which apply to all our programmes and indeed all of our correspondents around the world.

Our news concerning Venezuela was designed for the international public. If you wish Mr President, RFI would like to invite you for an interview to explain your position.”

01-10-2010, 17:27
Sierra Leone: Radio station receives threats

The management and staff of Freetown-based Radio Democracy are living in a state fear after receiving frequent threats from some unknown persons. Radio Democracy has been off air for the past three months after being evicted from their premises by a court order, following their inability to pay their rent which was outrageously increased by the landlady from US$2,500 to US$2,500-$10,000 per annum.

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)’s correspondent reported that the threats on Radio Democracy started when the station announced that it would resume broadcasting from their temporary office in the premises of another radio station, Sky Radio. The correspondent said Hannah Johnson, the proprietor of Sky Radio, was also threatened.

According to Umaru Fofanah president of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), the threats were “a complete attack on press freedom.” He added that “SLAJ would do all it can to resist this and other attempts aimed at preventing journalists from performing their role”.

01-10-2010, 17:27
Red-shirt radio station allegedly jammed by Thai govnment

Newly revived red-shirt [opposition] community radio FM 102.75 based in Bangkok claim the government is interfering with their transmission through signal jamming and the act is a breach against their constitutional right to communicate.

“We have been threatened and this shouldn’t have taken place,” said Pongsak Kongsaena, director of the radio which broadcast to listeners in the northeastern part of Bangkok including Min Buri which is a stronghold of red shirts. “Thai society is fully entering a dark age. Those who hold differing view are being threatened.”

Pongsak said at a press conference Tuesday that the government should cease the jamming and respect the fundamental right of citizens to communicate. He added that the station will lodge a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission

01-10-2010, 17:28
Acision launches Acision Media Optimiser to provide high quality and affordable video optimization for mobile operators

Acision, a world leader in mobile data, announces the launch of Acision Media Optimiser, a key enhancement of the Acision Broadband Mobility Suite.

While safeguarding the Quality of Experience for video users, Acision Media Optimiser reduces data traffic peaks by up to 50%, through a unique, affordable, scalability approach, which uses a fraction of the hardware footprint found in most legacy products.

With mobile broadband traffic increasing exponentially, networks around the world are showing signs of congestion. Mobile video already represents about 40% of all mobile data traffic and is expected to grow to a staggering 2.3 million Terabytes a month by 2014, representing almost two thirds of all mobile data traffic[1].

In June 2010 Acision commissioned YouGov to conduct UK market research on customer satisfaction and Quality of Experience (QoE) perception in mobile broadband. As part of this research the majority of video users stated they have frequent Quality of Experience issues such as frequent video stalling (63% of respondents), long waiting periods (58%) and poor quality (31%). In particular, video stalling is a major issue with 59% of respondents considering it the most unacceptable Quality of Experience issue. When asked about video optimisation, 48% of respondents agreed that they would be happy to accept video optimisation if it would address these QoE issues. Although this clearly represents an opportunity for operators to leverage video QoE as a competitive differentiator, many operators are struggling to find an economically viable solution to control and manage video.

Marco Wanders, Executive VP Mobile Broadband at Acision, says "Legacy optimisation solutions have been in the market since the early days of mobile internet, promising to reduce traffic peaks by compressing all web and video traffic. In the current mobile broadband era these types of solutions are economically unsustainable, as they require large server farms to deal with projected video traffic levels and are highly intrusive to content. Acision's unique, subscriber aware video optimisation solution overcomes these drawbacks of legacy solutions, by providing content transparency and the lowest hardware footprint offered in the market today, reflecting a substantially lower total cost of ownership for the operator. With Acision Media Optimiser, operators can increase customer satisfaction but also drive new revenue and profitability by stimulating video and data usage."

Acision Media Optimiser offers a unique combination of features. Video shaping reduces video traffic in a highly efficient manner, without altering the content. Acision's leading transrating and transcoding technology can be applied when required as well as off-line, providing operators full control over video Quality of Experience. Intelligent caching reduces internet traffic and saves transcoding resources by delivering transcoded content directly from the cache.

Acision Broadband Mobility Suite

Acision Broadband Mobility Suite is the most affordable, scalable mobile broadband solution for the breadth of capability provided, combining all of the capabilities operators need to address today's mobile broadband challenge such as policy management and enforcement, web and media optimisation, service allowance and bundle management, charging, location-awareness and VAS - uniquely pairing control and cost saving measures with the creation of revenue generation.

As a single solution, Acision Broadband Mobility Suite enables mobile operators to control all types of internet traffic and ensure a profitable, reliable mobile broadband business today and tomorrow. It leverages Acision's unparalleled experience in massively scalable data service solutions and provides a TCO which is affordable even at the most extreme levels of mobile data growth. The Broadband Mobility Suite uses common hardware, offering independent scaling of each functional layer.

01-10-2010, 17:29
BBC testing NHK Super Hi Vision

BBC Research & Technology has carried out one of the largest experimental broadcasts in many years, bringing together NHK Super Hi Vision system, stereoscopic 3D and some of the departments own 3D projects into the previously mothballed studio TC0 at Television Centre.

The project, designed to help demonstrate to BBC Sport the technologies that will be available at the time of the 2012 Olympics, featured a live performance of The Charlatans, recorded for digital radio station BBC 6 Music. The recording will be shown on the 6 Music website and was also filmed by the BBC’s technology magazine Click.

Writing on the BBC Research & Development Blog, BBC R&D’s Ant Miller explained that the 33 megapixel per frame pictures from the NHK Super Hi-vision camera were displayed around the studio on 4k (4000 horizontal lines resolution) monitors. Even though these were the highest definition monitors available to the BBC team, the pictures still needed to be downscaled.

Alongside the Super Hi-vision was a pair of HD cameras, which were aligned to give a fixed stereo pair to be merged with the Super Hi-vision in post production to create 3D with extremely fine texture, as part of the i3DLive project.

Around the studio was a fixed ring of a dozen HD cameras that allows the action to be shot in ‘true 3D’ from multiple angles. The content is being processed by the BBC 3D4You project.

An internet feed of the test was streamed to Tokyo using parts of the JANET and NTT networks.

01-10-2010, 17:30
Slovenian telco provides progress report

Telekom Slovenije has announced that its latest set-top box has been a resounding success.

Known as the SiOL Box, it was introduced in September and sold to over 2,500 customers in the three weeks, with the number expected to rise to 10,000 by the end of the autumn.

The SiOL Box has a number of advanced features, among them the ability of receive DTT channels as well as the 145 offered by the proprietary IPTV service SiOL TV. It retails for €69, with SiOL TV subscribers being offered the receiver for €49.

Additional features, including a time lapse recorder, media centre, weather and access to Facebook cost an extra €4 a month to SiOL TV subscribers and double the amount to other customers.

Separately, the Slovenian telco has also revealed that its strategy will include a greater focus on Macedonia and Kosovo.

01-10-2010, 17:30
Musselman to retire from UPC

Liberty Global has announced a series of management changes following the decision by Gene Musselman, managing director, European broadband operations, to retire from day-to-day business at the end of the year. His place will be taken by Diederik Karsten, the current managing director of UPC Netherlands.

Musselman has been with Liberty Global for almost 20 years and has a total of 35 years in the cable business. He will continue as CEO of Germany’s Unitymedia, until a replacement is found, and will serve as a special advisor to Liberty Global on a number of issues.

Karsten has been managing director of UPC Netherlands since 2004. In his new role he will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of LGI’s cable businesses spanning 10 European countries, 13.5 million customers. He will remain a board member of LGI’s Belgian subsidiary Telenet and become an executive officer of Liberty Global, reporting to President and CEO Mike Fries.

Earlier in his career Karsten served as CEO of KPN Mobile in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium and a non-executive board member of Easyjet in the UK. He also held senior management positions at PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble in the Netherlands and the United States.

“I have worked with Gene Musselman for nearly 20 years and he is one of the best operating executives the cable business has ever produced. He has made invaluable contributions to our growth and development over that time and while I’m saddened by his decision to retire,” commented Fries. “Fortunately, we did not have to look far for a successor. Diederik Karsten has been one of our top operating executives, managing the turnaround of our Dutch cable business and demonstrating the leadership and drive we will need during our next phase of growth in Europe.”

Robert Dunn, managing director of UPC Ireland since 2006, is expected to succeed Diederik Karsten as managing director of UPC Netherlands, from January 2011.

It will be a return to Amsterdam for Dunn who was managing director, finance and accounting and then CFO of UPC Broadband from 2000 to 2006.

01-10-2010, 17:31
Skylink rings in the changes

The leading Czech/Slovak DTH platform Skylink has announced a number of important changes to its offer.

Some affect its basic MULTI package, which will lose the movie channel Kino CS (moved to a package known as CS TV) and gain both CS Film and kids CS Mini. The total number of channels in MULTI will therefore rise to 25.

Skylink will also add a seventh HD channel – Travel Channel HD – to its HD Plus package on November 15, bringing the total to seven.

Furthermore, as of this October Skylink will also carry the adult channel Hustler and Man-X.

Its CS TV package, consisting of Kino CS, Doku CS and Muzika CS, will meanwhile become a premium service using MPEG-4 compression.

01-10-2010, 17:32
Polish DTT finally launches

Following of months of delays, digital terrestrial broadcasting will finally make its debut today (September 30) in Poland.

This follows the signing of agreements between the national transmission company Emitel and national commercial broadcasters Polsat and TV4 yesterday and TVN and TV Puls earlier this week.

The four broadcasters will each contribute two channels to the second multiplex, which, according to a statement from Emitel, will be launched from transmitters in Warsaw, Poznan, Zielona Góra and Zagan today.

Emitel says that the negotiations between the parties were helped by the fact that they had already reached an understanding as far back as June last year.

Commenting on the launch, Emitel’s president Przemyslaw Kurczewski said: “two multiplexes with 15 digital terrestrial channels is finally a fact”.

The first multiplex is currently carrying TVP channels, although the thematic ones will migrate to the third multiplex, which will launch on October 26 and be allocated solely to the public broadcaster.

Poland’s DTT service will eventually offer viewers around 30 channels.

01-10-2010, 17:33
Arab World Cup coverage jammed from Jordan:

Coverage of this year’s World Cup football finals in South Africa by the Al-Jazeera satellite television was jammed from Jordan, Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported in today’s edition. “Mysterious jamming of TV broadcasts of the summer’s World Cup by the Arabic satellite channel Al-Jazeera has been traced to Jordan, which appears to have retaliated angrily after the collapse of a deal that would have allowed football fans there free access to the matches,” the paper reported.

“Secret documents seen exclusively by the Guardian trace five episodes of jamming definitively to a location near Salt in Jordan, northeast of the capital Amman, confirmed by technical teams using geolocation technology. “The co-ordinates identified were 32.125N 35.766E. It is accurate to within a range of three to five kilometres (one to three miles).”

Jordanian officials were not immediately available to comment on the reported jamming, which infuriated million of fans who had payed in advance for coverage of the tournament only to receive blank screens, pixelated images or commentary in the wrong languages.

The Guardian said the interference to the broadcasts by the Qatar-based channel over the Nilesat and Arabsat satellites had affected a total of eight games. “There was speculation that Egypt or Saudi Arabia, both hostile to the channel, were involved, though the network has never named any suspects or gone public with the results of its own investigation,” the paper said. “Experts say the jamming was unlikely to have been done without the knowledge of the Jordanian authorities. ‘It was a very sophisticated case,’ said one.”

Al-Jazeera had exclusive pay-TV rights to broadcast World Cup matches across the Middle East from North Africa to Iran and charged up to 150 dollars for one-month subscription packages or cards to see the games. “Jordan’s King Abdullah, a keen football fan, sent a close adviser to negotiate the deal with Al-Jazeera,” the Guardian reported. “When it collapsed on the eve of the games, one Jordanian official complained that the network’s stance was ‘based on a political agenda and has nothing to do with commercial or any other purposes’,” it added.

The paper quoted sources at Al-Jazeera as saying King Abdullah had asked the channel to provide giant television screens in public places where Jordanians could watch the games free. “It refused, saying other Arab countries would expect similarly favourable treatment,” the report said.

Al-Jazeera has revolutionised the Arabic-language media and reporting on the Middle East since its foundation in 1996 but at the expense of offending many Arab governments, including that of Jordan.

01-10-2010, 17:33
New Sri Lankan TV tower at Kokavil almost ready

The Kokavil transmitting tower in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka will be ready for television, radio and other broadcasts within the next couple of months, Secretary to the Ministry of Mass Media and Information W B Ganegala told the Observer Online today.

He said the erection of the new transmission tower, replacing the old television tower destroyed by the LTTE during the war, has now been completed. “We have completed the construction of the tower. The installation of transmitting devisers and other equipment is now taking place. It should be ready for all TV and radio broadcasts before the end of this year,” he said.

This will be Sri Lanka’s first ever multi-channel broadcasting tower. Though such common towers are rare in other countries, Sri Lanka will be having such a facility for the first time. “This will enable all radio and TV stations, be them State or private, to transmit their TV and Radio broadcasts from Kokavil, covering the entire Northern Province,” Ganegala said. He added that such common transmitting towers will be built in other parts of the country in the future so that all TV and radio channels share such facilities available at strategic locations.

01-10-2010, 17:34
BBC, NHK successfully test Super Hi-Vision TV

The BBC sent a Super Hi-Vision TV broadcast of a band gig to Japanese public broadcaster NHK yesterday in a successful transmission test of the experimental digital video format. The Super Hi-Vision TV signal has a higher resolution than the current generation of high-definition plasma displays.

NHK’s powerful optical data transmitter inside the Super Hi-Vision camera captured a live set by the group The Charlatans and streamed the video at 24Gb/s to a large screen in Tokyo where it was watched by locals. The video will be rebroadcast on 6Music’s website today for the UK audience.

Super Hi-Vision TV can generate a 7680 by 4320 pixel signal, which no TV can show yet. The highest resolution that current high-definition displays can show, 1920 by 1080 pixels, is only one quarter of the resolution of Super Hi-Visionl.

The BBC is planning to use the technology in capturing the 2012 Olympics in London and showing the video on test screens. NHK plans to broadcast in Super Hi-Vision by 2020.

01-10-2010, 17:35
Teknomobil Appointed Thuraya IP Reseller in Turkey

Thuraya has appointed Teknomobil as its Thuraya IP satellite-based high-speed data service reseller to various market segments in Turkey, Thuraya announced Sept. 29.

Our partnership with Teknomobil combined with Thuraya’s blanket coverage over Turkey will extend our satellite broadband service to several industries in Turkey, especially those in remote areas where telecom access might not be convenient or sufficiently reliable,” Thuraya’s CTO Ali Al Mazrooei said in a statement.

Thuraya IP is a A-5 sized satellite broadband solution that aims to meet the needs of target customers such as oil and gas, government, maritime, large corporate, NGOs, defense, broadcast media, and individual users. The solution aims to offer broadband service speeds up to 444 Kbps with streaming video speeds of 384 Kbps.

01-10-2010, 17:36
Harris Corp., Atlas Launch Video, 3-D Geospatial Joint Venture in UAE

Twitter [Satellite TODAY 09-30-10] Harris Corp. has launched a joint venture with Middle East telecommunication systems and security provider Atlas Telecom to deliver intelligence solutions such as enhanced video management and geospatial 3-D visualization for the United Arab Emirates, the companies announced Sept. 29.

The joint venture, dubbed, Harris Atlas, will initiate development of a full-motion video asset management engine platform that provides video, audio and metadata coding, video analytics, and archive capabilities. The platform aims to help government and commercial agencies improve their situational awareness and responsiveness.

The company also will develop the Enterprise Geographic Information Systems
(E-GIS) solution, which will provide high-resolution, 3-D visualization and mapping for various government and commercial applications. The E-GIS will process and combine multiple types of imagery and graphics into composite products that provide customers with advanced image exploitation.

Harris Chairman Howard Lance said the Harris Atlas' initiatives would extend beyond defense and security industries. “The E-GIS technology encompasses a broad range of capabilities that could be used for scientific investigations, resource management and urban planning. Full motion video technology can be used to enhance the enjoyment and safety of sporting events, among other uses.”

01-10-2010, 17:37
Thales Teams With Zodiac to Develop Interference, Monitoring Solution

Thales Alenia Space and Zodiac Data Systems have partnered to develop satellite transmission monitoring and interference protection solutions,
The two companies will combine technical and commercial efforts to offer turnkey solutions to frequency allocation agencies and intelligence agencies, which combine equipment needed for carrier monitoring, traffic analysis and transmitter geolocation.

Thales Alenia Space said that the turnkey solution would include payload traffic manager, in-orbit testing, communication system monitoring and a telecom carrier analyzer. Zodiac Data Systems will provide hardware solutions for high-resolution digital acquisition and embedding using its compact geolocation system.

01-10-2010, 17:38
Cosmos TV Belarus launches HDTV

Belarusian service provider Cosmos TV Belarus has launched an HDTV service based on the Eurosport HD channel, which it says makes it the first operator in the country to supply the format.
Eurosport HD will be available in MPEG-4 to Cosmos TV’s DVB-C cable subscribers equipped with a compatible HD decoder.
Separately, Cosmos TV has made its services available to viewers equipped with CI Plus modules. The HD service will be available via CI Plus to cable subscribers.

01-10-2010, 17:38
Vodafone Portugal adds new channels

Vodafone Portugal has added a number of new channels to its Casa TV service.
As well as news and information channel TVI24, Casa TV viewers will also be able to watch kids channel KidsCo, news channel Económico TV in HD and SD, and travel channel Yes Itália, all available in the basic package.
Sport TV Liga Inglesa, with coverage of the English Premier League, will be avialble in the Sport TV HD package. Three further channels – kids channel JimJam, The Food Network and music channel Brava HDTV – will join the platform in October.

01-10-2010, 17:39
European cable technology body Cable Europe Labs

European cable technology body Cable Europe Labs has announced product certification for EuroDOCSIS 3.0 and 2.0 equipment from Cisco, Netgear, Technicolor and Ubee.
EuroDOCSIS 3.0 and EuroPacketCable 1.5 certification goes to the Cisco EPC3208, Ubee EVM3230 and Technicolor THG571 EMTAs, while the Technicolor TCM471 modem also gains 3.0 certification. Netgear’s CG2100 modem meanwhile has gained EuroDOCSIS 2.0 certification.

01-10-2010, 17:40
NTV Plus adds Mezzo Live HD

Russian DTH pay-TV provider NTV Plus has begun carrying music channel Mezzo Live HD.
The channel, available via the Eutelsat Eurobird 9A satellite, carries a range of jazz music programming as well as symphonic, chamber and choral music events.

01-10-2010, 17:40
VH1 gets a new look and programming line-up

Viacom-owned music channel VH1 has had a programming and on-air look and feel refresh in Europe.
As well as a new logo and graphics there will be new programming strands including VH1 Loves, Guess the Year and VH1 Super Chart. VH1 will also extend its themed weekends, which will run Friday through Sundays.

01-10-2010, 17:45
Ex-Endemol UK director sets up Spirit

EndemolDigital TVPeter Cowley, the former managing director of digital media at Endemol UK, has today announced the formation of Spirit Digital Media.

At Endemol, Cowley played an integral part in the successful extension of popular TV shows into digital and social channels, including Big Brother and Deal Or No Deal.

After leaving the production company, he has now formed Spirit Digital Media to help media and advertising brands to better monetise their IP through multi-platform digital channels.

The outfit will be backed by ContentFilm and will be based at the company's offices in London and Santa Monica in the US.

Spirit will also be able to access an international distribution network via ContentFilm's television and digital distribution arm Fireworks International.

"Digital platforms provide unlimited ways to fund content and my aim is to unlock this potential by extending and monetising existing IP into the digital space," said Cowley.

"We're excited about the prospect of creating new multi-platform formats and content and together with our partners at ContentFilm who are leading the way in multi-platform distribution; we are in an unrivalled position to monetise and distribute this content internationally across digital channels."

ContentFilm chief executive John Schmidt added: "Partnering with Peter underlines our continued strategy to team with the industry's leading experts in the development and distribution of innovative new multi-platform content.

"The launch of Spirit builds nicely on our existing and market-leading digital strategy, led by Jonathan Ford. Peter has a wealth of experience launching and monetising globally renowned digital properties and we look forward to working with him as we establish Spirit digital media as a new force in the digital industry.

01-10-2010, 17:46
Welsh stars oppose S4C budget cuts

Alex JonesKatherine Jenk…Matthew RhysBroadcastingA group of Welsh stars, including The One Show presenter Alex Jones and actor Ioan Gruffudd, have written to the government objecting to rumoured budget cuts at Welsh-language broadcaster S4C.

Singer Katherine Jenkins, actor Matthew Rhys and former Blue Peter presenter Gethin Jones have all signed a letter sent to culture secretary Jeremy Hunt protesting against the expected reduction in S4C's budget, reports The Guardian.

"Our careers all began, or were given a substantial boost by, involvement in productions commissioned by S4C," the letter states.

"S4C has a great pedigree in commissioning programming which is not only of benefit to Welsh speakers but, through subtitling and dubbing, audiences further afield, bringing in money to UK plc as well as providing opportunities for new local talent."

The letter adds: "S4C is not another bureaucratic quango, but a serious organisation which both has and can continue to be the cornerstone of culture and creativity in Wales."

S4C is rumoured to be facing a cut of up to 24% to its annual £101 million grant when the government unveils the outcome of its spending review next month.

01-10-2010, 17:47
DCD Media launches new factual division

BroadcastingDCD Media, the independent production and distribution operator, has launched a new factual production division, with a first major commission from the BBC.

The new unit, called DCD Factual, will bring together DCD's "formidable" factual operation, including Prospect Pictures, Prospect Wales, West Park Pictures and West Park West.

David Green, DCD Media's chief executive, has hired industry veteran Charles Thomson to helm DCD Factual, starting tomorrow.

Thompson has extensive production experience, including work on Channel Four's Cutting Edge series, UK Border Force for Sky and the acclaimed Commando documentary series for ITV.

The centralised DCD Factual unit will bring together the back office and management functions of the factual brands to save on costs and increase profitability.

It will also drive DCD Media's expansion into the US market, which currently accounts for around 30% of the group's revenue. Green wants that to increase to 50% by the end of 2011.

DCD Factual's first major commission will be Prospect Picture's as-yet-untitled six-part health and pregnancy documentary series for BBC Three.

The unit is also currently producing "several" other programmes, including BBC Four's one-hour special Keith Douglas - A Poet at War and the Passion Of Port Talbot for BBC Wales, both produced by Prospect.

West Park Pictures is working on one-hour documentary Duchess Of Malfi for More4, while all the factual divisions are producing a series of short films for BBC One's The One Show.

Thompson also expressed his hope that Steadfast Productions, the independent producer he set up in 2005, could come under the DCD Factual umbrella in the future.

"Steadfast remains open for business with its ongoing productions, Brit Cops, Timothy Spall's Somewhere at Sea and Salvage Code Red, continuing. However, my new role enables us to see how we can bring Steadfast under the roof of DCD Factual and to new ownership," said Thompson.

"The existing companies under DCD Factual are great brands and I look forward to helping them work together to achieve even more programming."

Green added: "As the factual genre increasingly dominates television on both sides of the Atlantic, it is important that we give the international production community clear sight of three distinctive production divisions at DCD: September Films UK & September Films USA who are leading producers in the fields of factual entertainment, reality television and formats; Done and Dusted, one of the world's foremost producers of live music, entertainment and event programming; and thirdly our newly formed DCD Factual division under the aegis of Charles Thompson.

"This is the latest move in our strategy to streamline the group to increase profitability, and position DCD for an even bigger push into the international television markets."

01-10-2010, 17:47
Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt has said that he stands by Chris Moyles following last week's on-air rant against the BBC.

The head of the corporation's flagship radio station praised Moyles's abilities as a broadcaster, and said that while Wednesday's programme "wasn't the best" instalment of The Chris Moyles Show, he did not consider the presenter's behaviour to have "crossed a line".

Parfitt said: "[Moyles] is a very gifted broadcaster. Occasionally, and it is only occasionally, he steps over a line that I have.

"And when he does that I'm absolutely there to make it absolutely clear to him where those lines are. It's kind of part of the nature of what he does, living his life in one sense out on air. He's almost bound to push at those barriers on occasion.

"I kind of made a judgement [about Wednesday's broadcast], did it overstep a line that I have for Chris? And I judged that it didn't.

"It was a lively programme - it wasn't the best Chris Moyles programme I've ever heard."

Parfitt added that he had discussed the situation with Moyles since the broadcast, but that he considered rectifying his payment issue to be top of the agenda.

Last week, the BBC's head of network radio Tim Davies said that Moyles's listeners understood him to be an outspoken character, and that the presenter's tirade was not "utterly inappropriate".

01-10-2010, 17:48
Sky, Channel 4 win International Emmys

SkyBroadcastingSky News and Channel 4 News were the big winners at the 2010 International Emmys for 'News' and 'Current Affairs'.

In the 'News' category, Sky News won the award for its March 2009 report Pakistan: Terror's Frontline, which featured footage of Taliban training camps.

The broadcaster beat a report from the Al-Jazeera English channel on Israel's ground operations against Hamas in Gaza.

The 'Current Affairs' category was won by Channel 4 Dispatches documentary Pakistan's Taliban Generation.

Produced by independent firm October Films, the programme examined how Pakistan's radical Islamists were bringing violence to the country and beyond.

The winners picked up their awards on Monday at a ceremony at the Frederick P. Rose Hall of Jazz at the Lincoln Center in New York.

01-10-2010, 17:49
BBC hires new BBC.com commercial director

Digital TVBBC Worldwide has appointed British Airways executive Chris Davies as the new commercial director of BBC.com.

Davies, who is currently the airline's digital marketing head, will be responsible for all parts of the BBC website outside of the UK, including news, weather, business, technology, lifestyle and the recently-launched travel section.

He will report directly to BBC.com's executive vice president and managing director Luke Bradley-Jones.

Davies's appointment comes as Worldwide prepares to drive forward the launch of an international version of catch-up service BBC iPlayer.

At last month's Edinburgh TV Festival, BBC director general Mark Thompson pledged that the corporation would make a commercial version of iPlayer available to overseas users within a year.

Towards that aim, Worldwide has promoted BBC executive Mark Smith to become the new global iPlayer launch director with a direct remit to oversee the rollout.

01-10-2010, 17:49
International cable group Liberty Global has announced a series of major changes to its European management team.
The company has created a new position of managing director, European broadband operations, to be filled by current UPC Netherlands managing director Diederik Karsten. Karsten will take over the functions of current UPC Broadband president and chief operating officer Gene Musselman, who has announced plans to retire from his main role at the end of this year.

Musselman will continue to serve as CEO of Liberty’s German operation Unitymedia and will also serve as special advisor the CEO of Liberty Global on strategic and operating initiatives.
Robert Dunn will meanwhile replace Karsten as managing director of Liberty’s Dutch operation on January 1. Dunn is currently managing director of UPC Ireland, and the company is in the process of identifying a successor for him in that role.

01-10-2010, 17:50
Following its international debut in Norway in March, factual channel provider Discovery Communications has announced the launch of its TLC channel across central and eastern Europe, as well as plans for further expansion of its activities in Russia, where the female-oriented channel will launch in January 2011.

Ahead of its Russian launch, TLC will launch in Poland, Bulgaria and Slo/venia on October 1. Targeting women aged 25-49, it will carry non-scripted and scripted entertainment focusing on everything from food, family, and fashion to travel, health and life events. Shows include American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior, Kate Plus 8 and Toddlers & Tiaras. The move will make TLC available in 29 international markets. Discovery Networks International president and CEO Mark Hollinger has said he wants to see the channel in 75 markets, reaching 100 million households next year. As well as Norway, the channel was launched across 20 Asia Pacific markets in September. October 1 will also see its launch in Colombia, following launches in Brazil, Mexico and Argentina.

The Russian version of TLC will carry local programming including a new makeover show Like Mother, Like Daughter, produced by Moscow-based Mastiff.
Discovery is also to launch a commercial-free science education block on the Discovery Channel in Russia called Crazy Break, to air weekdays from 16:00-17:00.