Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Brice, New Asia Chief for Miranda

Hong Kong : Montreal-based, Miranda Technologies Inc. (TSX: MT), a major high-performance hardware and software vendor to the television broadcast industry, has put Richard Brice in charge of Asia operations as President, Asia. He reports to Miranda’s President and COO, Strath Goodship.

Brice has been a member of Miranda’s management team since April 2001, when the company acquired Oxtel plc (U.K.), where he was head of sales and marketing. Prior to that he wo rked as an electronics engineer in the R&D departments of major international broadcast equipment firms.

“We are determined to take full advantage of the growing opportunities that this market offers,” said Mr. Goodship. “As our European Managing Director for the past five years, Richard has given considerable momentum to our European operations and I am confident that his experience and drive will help us grow our business in Asia,” he added.

Also, following Miranda’s recent acquisition of VertigoXmedia, Darin Crosby, formerly President of VertigoXmedia’s Broadcast Division, will take over Mr. Brice’s responsibilities as Managing Director for Miranda’s operations in Europe, Middle East, and Africa, as well as the development of Miranda’s playout and graphics products.

Miranda derived 12 per cent of its sales last year in the Asia region.

[Lead} Tiruchi, India: New FM Station

The Indira Gandhi National Open University and "Gyan Vani" educational radio network will be adding an 18th station shortly in Tiruchi in Tamil Nadu State in South India on 104.4FM.

I do not know the effective radiated power but reports say it will cover a 75 kilometers radius from the city.

Bharathidasan University will house the studio and transmitter in the Department of Educational Technology.

The programming mission is to bridge the gap between literate and illiterate people.

The program format is to be educational, cultural and musical, sourced from "Gyan Vani" network and much of the airtime, locally produced.

The university has undertaken the initiative as a part of its silver jubilee celebrations.

Contact person is: R.Karpaga Kumaravel, Professor and Head, Department of Educational Technology, Bharathidasan University.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

[Pakistan Sales Lead]


In Muslim dominated Pakistan, a Christian Radio and TV Network is in the making.

Organisation: Archdiocese of Karachi

Network Name: Good News TV, Radio FM77

Possible contact person: Father Arthur Charles, director of the Catechetical Centre Karachi (CCK)

Early May, the Catechetical Centre, Karachi called for volunteers and workers, and a number of actors, actresses and singers were invited to offer their services. Also, the call went out for production staff from radio presenters to writers and program directors and cameramen.

Programming will include drama.

The organisation believes that the station will make a valuable contribution to employment of, and programming directed to, Pakistani Youth.

Meanwhile, Pakistan's Information and Broadcasting Minister Muhammad Ali Durrani said on May 22 said that media was essential in keeping the public informed about the government’s day-to-day running, accountable to the public and imperative for a true democracy. He was addressing a 32-member student delegation from the Mass Communication Department of Islamia University, Bahawalpur. A new Christian broadcaster reflects the government's transparent policy, which is a clear break from previous regimes.

Brunei Launches iTV for World Cup


Using World Cup 2006 in Germany as the launch platform, Radio Television Brunei (RTB) has launched interactive television (iTV) over its channels 10 and 11.

The World Cup project partner is Green City Concept Sdn Bhd with SMS as the main interactive component.

The RTB project has been initiated and coordinated by Sports Section, TV and supported by commercial and other RTB divisions RTB.

Extensive airtime includes selected World Cup 2002 matches, World Cup documentaries, players profiles and RTB World Cup 2006 competition from June 9.

Besides chatting, viewers will be offered three key competitions with prizes worth more than $35,000 Brunei Dollars including mobile phones, car and electrical goods.

The time difference between Brunei and Germany is 5 hours, meaning that key coverage is in evening Prime Time.

Australia TV meets HDTV 2005 Program Quota

Canberra -- In Australia, all television broadcasters, except TND Darwin, reported that they met their quota requirements for the broadcast of high definition (HDTV programs on their digital services in 2005. That is the report from the Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA).

The HDTV quota (1040 hours per year, calculated on a pro rata basis where required) was introduced for all national and commercial TV broadcasters as part of the conversion from analog to digital transmission that is currently underway in Australia. Digital services allow broadcasters to provide significantly enhanced picture clarity and quality, through the production of programs in high definition quality video. In order to ensure that viewers receive the benefits of the new technology, a quota for high definition programs has been introduced progressively, to begin two years after a broadcaster commences broadcasting in digital mode in its area.

Prime-time programs in high definition in 2005, included locally HDTV produced, ABC's Law and Order; Ten Network's Criminal Intent, Seven Network's Grey’s Anatomy and Nine Network's The Alice.

The ABC and the SBS are permitted to ‘up-convert’ their analog or standard definition (SD) digital programs to high definition (HD) digital format.

All regional areas are in HDTV broadcasts, apart from the the digital-only services in Tasmania and Mildura. TDT Tasmania will start September 2006 and MDV Mildura in January 2008.

Meanwhile the ACMA reports that all but one of the metropolitan commercial television licensees reported that they met the Australian transmission quota and content requirements of the Australian Content Standard and Children’s Television Standards (CTS) in 2005. The exception was Nine Network's QTQ Brisbane, which fell short of the pre-school program (P) quota, broadcasting only 129.5 hours rather than 130 hours. The full media release can be viewed at http://

[HDTV in Australia Backgrounder]

On 1 January 2001, all commercial and national television broadcasters in the mainland capital cities were required to begin transmitting their services in standard definition digital mode, simultaneously with their analog services. On 1 July 2003, the obligation to broadcast a minimum of 1040 hours per year of high definition programs commenced for these services.

Samoa TV3 Hits the Airwaves

Samoa's TV3 went to air last week.

Owned by the family interests of Han Joachim Keil, a former government minister, the station is intending to offer alternative and more appealing programs to the government station.

In this predominantly Christian Pacific nation, the Keil family are to open a second channel showing religious programs for the Mormon Church.

Taiwan TV Licensees Get Their Way

In Taipei, the Legislative Yuan voted on May 26 on legislation to make both cable and broadcaster licensees to be a uniform six years.

Under existing regulations, terrestrial broadcasters were at a disadvantage with two year licenses against the cable TV companies which had six years already.

In practice the main terrestrial TV stations: Taiwan Television Enterprises (TTV), China Television Co. (CTV), Chinese Television System (CTS), Formosa Television (FTV), and Public Television (PTV) are now on an even playing field with the cable TV broadcasters.

Under the revised regulation, the National Communications Commission (NCC), the newly established agency to conduct independent supervision of the electronic media organizations will review the conduct of all license holders every 2 years.

The NCC was the outcome of strong lobbying by the opposition parties, pressing to take the broadcasters out of political party influence and away from the the Government Information Office (GIO) which operates under the Office of the Cabinet.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

NHK ahead in UHD-TV Satellite broadcasts

TOKYO — It did not receive extensive industry coverage but at NAB in Las Vegas last month, the NHK Science and Technical Research Laboratories demonstrated virtual satellite ultra-high definition (UHD) TV broadcasts with 16x times higher resolution than current HD images.

NHK terms UHD technology as "Super HiVision" featuring 7680x4320 pixel resolution with progressive scanning at 60 frames per second.

Japan has been assigned the 21-GHz band for future satellite broadcasting.

NHK has not set the specifications for the next generation broadcasting system, but is using Super HiVision as the research base. Presently, the data rate of Super HiVision baseband signal is 24Gbits per second. Using 16 MPEG-2 encoding chips, the signal compressed to 250Mbits per second for transmission. Normal HDTV signals are set at 1.5Gbits per second and 20 Mbits compressed.

Full story:

India To Go Digital by 2015 under the next Five Year Plan 2007-2012

Latest news from India's Information & Broadcasting Ministry is that country is to convert from analog to digital radio and TV transmission by 2015 under the nation's Five Year Plan 2007-2012.

The Broadcasting Authority, Prasar Bharati is called upon to ensure that during 2013 digital terrestrial transmissions by both All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan (DD) will be in place in all cities (main urban areas).

The delivery systems for Cable and Satellite will be moved on to Conditional Access first as a precursor to complete changeover by 2015 along with terrestrial transmissions.

The Five Year requires the I&B Ministry to plan to make conditional access set top boxes in India, which contradicts present recommendations which recommend imports. Locally-made, STB's should have digital analog conversion capability for delivery of the digital signal to the subscriber along with conditional access and address- ability features.

Indian industry experts have also recommended that national standards for the manufacture of digital receivers must be established before local production commences.

In order to make digital conversion a complete success, testing, publication and adoption of technical standards for terrestrial digital transmission must be undertaken by the Government.

This must also include adoption and publication of digital standards for cable television.

The plan calls for implementation in a phased manner during the Eleventh Five Year plan.

The Plan also endorses also a unitary body to regulate content and distribution.

Friday, May 26, 2006

BroadcastAsia2006 June 19-23

SINGAPORE – May 26 - BroadcastAsia2006 organizors tell Digital Broadcasters Vendor News that Asia’s leading broadcasting and multimedia technology event themed “Digital: The Journey Forward,” BroadcastAsia2006 will not only reflect the growing industry trend towards all things digital but is also in line with Singapore’s vision to become Asia’s media marketplace and digital content hub.

”BroadcastAsia is the region’s most established industry event and the government’s boost to the media industry certainly enhances its relevance and importance,” said Jackson Yeoh, Project Director with organiser Singapore Exhibition Services.

Major digital TV vendors to the broadcasters related market already commited to the Exhibition and/or Conference include: Tandberg Television, Nokia, Panasonic, Thomson, Harris Corporation, Snell & Wilcox, Co-ship, Scopus Network Technologies, Sennheiser, DVB – Digital Video Broadcasting, Barco, Quantel, Qualcomm and Conax. More industry players are expected to come on board in the next month, with the positive outlook in the international entertainment and multimedia industry.

This year’s show also boasts a strong international showing and nine group pavilions from countries such as China, France, Germany, Italy, Korea, Spain, Singapore, the UK and the USA having confirmed their presence at the show.

“BroadcastAsia is not just a place where companies showcase their latest technologies but also serves as a platform where the brightest minds in the industry come together to exchange ideas and views on the issues facing the industry,” he added. “This year’s International Conference will feature individuals of the highest calibre and will act as a springboard for the advancement of the digital media industry in the region“, added Mr Yeoh.

This year’s exhibitors will feature the latest in Broadcasting to Handhelds, Internet Protocol Television (IPTV), Video on Demand, Personal Video Recording, Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), Computer Graphics and Animation, Conditional Access Control, and High- Definition (HDTV) technology.

Interesting innovations and highlights include:

[Innoxius Technologies], the local Singapore aspirant, will launch the region’s first multi-standard and multi-band Mobile Digital TV (MDTV) SDIO receiver which will turn your PDA into a multi-system mobile digital TV receiver, supporting DVB-H, DVB-T, T-DMB, DAB and Enhanced Packet Mode DAB standards, in various spectrum ranges. Innoxius will also feature their DVB-H base-station. Quite possibly the first of its kind, this is a complete DVB-H headend and transmission system in a compact chassis.

[Nokia] will be showcasing the Nokia N92, the world’s first integrated DVB-H mobile device for watching and recording broadcast TV programmes. Nokia will be having Live digital TV simulcast demonstrations at their Mobile TV booth.

[ST Electronics] will feature their Media Magik IPTV solution consisting of Headend equipment, Decoding devices and ST’s IP Set top Box - MaxboxT IP Set Top Box. MaxBoxT is a plug-n-play device used to deliver digital content on television for IPTV implementation. MaxboxT’s unique identity allows targeted messaging and advertising; facilitating service providers with easy billing and statistical information. This dynamic system does not need software requirements from any third party to form a complete content delivery network.

ST Electronics has been able to achieve seamless streaming qualities such as “Trick Mode” functions (Rewind, Fast forward, Stop etc.) with Quality of Service Guarantees on Public Internet Networks; thus, opening up multiple avenues for interested organisations willing to be a part of the content distribution domain without the actual ownership of networks. End users can also enjoy watching their favourite videos at full screen resolutions at as low as 600 Kbps.

Other companies featuring IPTV solutions include "Scopus Video Network", "Tandberg TV", "Irdeto Access", "Conax", "Optibase", and "UDcast".

High Definition (HDTV)

[Chyron Corporation] is launching its Gold Standard character generator Duet HyperX. Utilizing Chyron Lyric and Lyric Pro creation and playout software; HyperX incorporates Chyron’s latest interFuse Technology into its robust system and packs a punch with exceptional capabilities such as advanced 3D, compressed real-time dip player and easy migration path from SD to HD.

[Benchmark Systems] will be launching the RT.X2 designed primarily for real-time native HDV and DV editing. It will be running a special promotion for the RX.T2 to be held for the duration of the show. Benchmark will also be showcasing an integrated, networked, broadcast system of the future.

Other exhibiting companies featuring HD solutions include "Ikegami", "Daxco Digital", "Miranda", "Snell & Wilcox (HK)", and "Enesys" (France).

Computer Graphics and Animation

The specialist segment of BroadcastAsia2006 - ComGraphics&Animation2006 - will feature the latest hardware, software and services designed especially for the computer graphics and animation industry, film and motion picture industry, as well as for major broadcasters worldwide.

Companies that will feature their graphic and animation solutions include "Click Grafix", "Techtel", "Vizrt", "Quantel", "Da Vinci", "Benchmark" (Matrox) and "Hybrid MC" (France).

BroadcastAsia2006 International Conference

Held concurrently with the exhibition, the BroadcastAsia2006 International Conference promises valuable insights from the most renowned and experienced personalities in the electronic media industry, who will address the broad spectrum of issues facing the broadcasting industry today.

Remember that BroadcastAsia2006 is being moved from Singapore Expo’s Halls 1 and 2 to Halls 7 and 8 - a shorter walk to connect to transport services, and therefore greater conveneience.

Don't forget that BroadcastAsia2006 is also a specialist digital broadcasting segmenm\t of the much larger telecomms show with CommunicAsia2006 and EnterpriseIT2006.

Anyway, all you wish to know on this year's show can be found at where you can review what your competitors will be launching.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

[ALERT] On UK Business

[Be Alert] - A Digital Broadcasters Vendor Advisory

Under the "Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act" the British Police have been given the green light by the Home Office to be able to demand of any business or individual to hand over encryption keys for programs on their computers, according to a report on the CNET News web site.

It seems we have to forget about personal privacy, a good reason why many of us use access codes on our computers.

One example comes to mind. Perhaps you have a bank account with Internet online access. While it is a lengthier and less straight forward for government agencies to ask banks to divulge client details, this new law is an easy alternative - get to the customer directly. In that way banks would not need to be directly notified.

But it has to be said that already the buzz around the City of London is that for international bankers perhaps they too should be considering a move outside the UK.


Korea’s Next-Generation DMB Services Put on Display

Seoul - On May 24 various forms of next-generation mobile digital TV services were put under the spotlight by Korea’s major broadcasters, with multimedia contents expected to be available for mobile TV reception late this year, The Korea Times reports.

Digital broadcasters, KBS and SBS presented their evolved versions of the terrestrial digital media broadcasting (DMB-T) service during the Korea International Broadcasting, Audio & Lightning Equipment Show (KOBA 2006) at COEX in southern Seoul.

KBS demonstrated its on-screen data transmission service using DMB handsets, called BWS, on which users can view the news and other information by clicking on the screen while watching DMB programs, just like surfing the Web on the Internet.

SBS presented a more advanced version of the DMB service, using the Binary Format for Scenes (BIFS) technology. The BIFS supports transmission of video and other digital data simultaneously, enabling, for example, a user to check on the scoreboard and player profiles while watching a baseball game on a DMB terminal.

Both KBS and SBS have been preparing for the commercialization of the BIFS service, with the launch slated for after this summer.

The broadcasters are pressing ahead with the DMB-T service, to beat the rival DMB-S for Satellite transmission, which is operated by mobile phone carriers.

KBS is planning to expand coverage of the go-anywhere TV from Seoul and the surrounding region to the whole country, before the kickoff of the 2006 World Cup in Germany next month.


World Cup 2006 HDTV Endcoding by Scientific Atlanta

Scientific Atlanta, now under the Cisco company umbrella, says it has expanded its support for video transport of the upcoming 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany matches to include high-definition (HD) encoding and delivery of video to German national broadcaster ARD/ZDF.

In 2005 Scientific Atlanta announced that its iLYNX™ video adaptation platform had been chosen to support live video feeds from 12 German football stadiums to an International Broadcast Center (IBC) in Munich for distribution to soccer fans around the world.

The new video transport project will use additional iLYNX systems to connect three ARD/ZDF regional broadcast centers with the IBC for delivery of coverage across Germany.

More than 30 Scientific Atlanta HD encoders (Model D9050) will be used at the venues and in the IBC to deliver compressed HD video streams to maximize bandwidth use over the iLYNX platform and for satellite distribution worldwide.

“Video compression, contribution and distribution are complex tasks, and MPEG encoding of HD video is even more demanding,” said Bart Spriester, managing director of Transmission Networks for Scientific Atlanta in Europe.

“Our decades of video transport experience, local presence in Europe and past successes with other 2006 FIFA World Cup projects give us the insight and ability to deploy a high-performance, all-in-one compression, aggregation and network adaptation platform, and encoding solution that can deliver an exciting entertainment experience for viewers across Germany and around the world.”

Axerra Opens Korea Centre

Seoul -- Axerra Networks, "The Pseudo-Wire Company" has opened a local office in Korea. This follows the earlier opening of a telecomms training centre in the country, as well as additional operations in Singapore and India.

Heading the office is Kimin Shin in the position of Country Manager. Mr. Shin most recently the Founder and CEO of AllLayer Co., Ltd. in Korea.

Axerra already has commercial systems installed with Korean operators as well as advanced field trials and new deployments underway.

One of Axerra's key solutions is to provide immediate reduction in recurring backhaul charges while enabling the additional bandwidth needed for emerging telecommunications services.

TVNZ Upgrades Teletext

In New Zealand, national broadcaster, TVNZ has revamped its Teletext service. Its brighter and has been repackaged into a new format and design that is easier and quicker to navigate. All done without a change in content.

TVNZ says that that the enhanced system, now known as TVNZ Teletext comes after months of systems development, which includes new hardware and software. The new software has allowed clever use of the service's content including the 'grouping' of data, and new functions and features such as On The Box - an area dedicated to TV listings, where viewers can find detailed synopses of their favourite up-and-coming programmes.

Sports content will be captured into one easily identifiable area, and weather - now referred to as Your Town - incorporates daily forecasts, tides information and marine forecasts for your local centre - all on one page.

A former feature, Newsreel, has been reintroduced. Viewers can visit the Newsreel pages and watch slideshows of national and international news.

TVNZ Teletext is a free news and information service produced in digital by TVNZ for its own networks, TV ONE, TV2 as well as CanWest MediaWorks' TV3. The service is broadcast 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via VHF, Satellite and Cable, to everyone who has a TVNZ Teletext television.

Teletext was first screened on New Zealand television in 1984 from proceeds raised at the 1981 Telethon. Since then the service has grown from a vital service for the deaf and hearing impaired to a more general service, with approximately 1.3 million viewers.

Other TVNZ Teletext features include: business and financial news, national and international flight information, Lotto and TAB information and results.

[Diary Date] PTC'07 Hawaii

Traditional telecommunications is under siege, according to the Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC).

Network scarcity is giving way to bandwidth abundance. Application and content services are growing more valuable than transport and access. Historical boundaries between networks, media, entertainment, software, and advertising have blurred.

Competition comes from all quarters. Value chains are in turmoil. Predictable earnings are jeopardized by the uncertainty of on-demand services. It's The End of the World as We Know It. And it's about time...time to look Beyond Telecom, Beyond Transport, Beyond Telecommunications as a utility service.

PTC'07 - the Pacific Telecommunications Council's (PTC) 29th annual conference and exhibition – will do just that, and address the threats and opportunities that come with "the end of the world."

Policy makers will explore also the options and impact of next generation service licensing, net neutrality and IPTV. Vendors will demonstrate the infrastructure platforms and consumer devices that enable the transition to forward-looking business models. Satellite, fiber and VoIP CEOs will share their vision through annual executive roundtables.

And PTC'07 will continue PTC's commitment to illuminate the positive role IP and low-cost access technologies can play in humanitarian relief, disaster management, distance learning, health care, social advancement and poverty reduction.

PTC'07 will be held from 14-17 January 2007 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa in Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.

[It is organized by PTC, an international, non-profit, non- governmental, membership-based organization, which has been actively promoting the development of telecommunications and related industries in the Pacific region for the last 30 years. The annual PTC conference is considered by many to be the premier telecommunications event in the Asia-Pacific rim.]

Latest Arab Telecoms Report

Arab telecom operators served 85 million cellular subscribers and 30 million mainlines in 2005.

Amman -- May 24, 2006 -- With the advent of new operators and increased competition in 2005, subscribers for 39 examined cellular operators in 18 Arab countries reached 84.844 million. ALJAWAL and Maroc Telecom sustained their top rankings by end of 2005, with 11.845 million and 8.237 million subscribers respectively. Orascom Telecom Algérie ended 2005 with 7.109 million subscribers, becoming the third largest mobile operator in the region. Bahrain recorded the highest cellular penetration rate in 2005, which stood at 105.8% followed by UAE (99%). UAE and Bahrain also had the highest fixed line penetration rates in 2005, which stood at 27% and 26.6% respectively. The simple average for the operators’ Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) was US$ 26 in 2005 for cellular services compared to a fixed line ARPU of US$ 45.7. Qatar’s Qtel recorded the highest ARPU for both fixed and cellular services in 2005.

A new report, “A Scorecard of Key Performance Indicators of Arab Telecom Operators” was released to the Arab Advisors Group’s Telecoms Strategic Research Service subscribers on May 18, 2006. The eighteen countries covered in this report are: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan, Tunisia, UAE and Yemen.

“The Arab cellular markets are growing at a high pace, while the fixed line markets are stagnating. In 2005, cellular operators added around 34 million subscribers while all the fixed line operators added a mere 2.4 million mainlines. Cellular operators in Algeria, Egypt and Saudi recorded the highest subscriber additions in 2005. Algérie Telecom Mobile topped the ranks with 3.731 million added subscribers in 2005. As for Telecom Egypt, it added the highest number of mainlines in 2005 which stood at 900,000.” Ms. Serene Zawaydeh, a Consultant at Arab Advisors Group wrote in the report. “Competition in cellular services is a main driver for growth. Several cellular operators recorded high growth rates in 2005. Wataniya Telecom Algérie recorded the highest growth rate, which stood at 413.2%, followed by MTC Atheer (339.1%). As for fixed line operators, Iraq’s ITPC, recorded the highest growth rate of 82% in 2005, while the fixed line markets in Sudan, Jordan and Bahrain declined.” Ms. Zawaydeh added.

The report covers the Integrated Communications Providers (ICPs) in the region that provide both fixed and mobile services. These operators include Algérie Telecom (Algeria); Batelco (Bahrain); Etisalat (UAE); Jordan Telecom Group (Jordan); Maroc Telecom (Morocco); Paltel (Palestine); Qtel (Qatar); Saudi Telecommunications Company (Saudi Arabia); Tunisie Telecom (Tunisia); and Omantel (Oman). The report also covers the operators that offer only fixed line services. These are: Telecom Egypt; Lebanon’s Ogero; Syrian Telecommunication Establishment (Syrian Telecom); Kuwait’s Ministry of Communications (MOC); Libya’s General Directorate of Posts and Telecom (GPTC); Iraqi Telecommunication and Post Company (ITPC); Sudan’s Sudatel; and Yemen’s Public Telecommunication Company (PTC). The report further covers operators that provide cellular services only. These are: Areeba (previously Spacetel Syria); Areeba Sudan; Asiacell (Iraq); Alfa (Lebanon); Al Madar (Libya); Bravo (Saudi Arabia); Fastlink (Jordan); Iraqna (Iraq); Libyana (Libya); MobiNil (Egypt); MTC Atheer (Iraq); MTC Vodafone Kuwait; MTC Vodafone Bahrain; MTC Touch (Lebanon); Nawras Telecom (Oman); Medi Telecom (Morocco); Mobily (Saudi Arabia); Mobitel (Sudan); Orascom Telecom Tunisie; Orascom Telecom Algérie; Sabafon (Yemen); Spacetel Yemen; Syriatel; Umniah Mobile Company (Jordan); Vodafone Egypt; Wataniya Telecom (Kuwait); Wataniya Telecom Algérie; XPress (Jordan) and Yemen Mobile.

The Arab Advisors Group’s team of analysts in the region has already produced over close to 570 reports on the Arab World’s communications and media markets. The reports can be purchased individually or received through an annual subscription to Arab Advisors Group Strategic Research Services (Media and Telecom). To date, Arab Advisors Group has served over 370 global and regional companies by providing reliable research analysis and forecasts of Arab communications markets to these clients.

[If you contact Arab Advisors Group let them know you read this in Digital Broadcasters Vendor News]

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Pakistan's HUM-TV Lands in Canada

TORONTO -- Asian Television Network International Limited (ATN) (TSX- SAT) is to add HUM TV to its bouquet of South Asian Television Channels across Canada. The idea is to launch the channel before its premiere in the United Statses, Shan Chrandrasekar President and CEO of ATN in Canada said.

Duraid Qureshi, CEO, of HUM TV said that he was planning to produce Canadian drama using Canadian talent in collaboration with ATN for distribution not only in Canada but world wide.

HUM TV is the flag ship of the Eye Television Network Limited which is the only television network to be publicly listed on the Karachi Stock Exchange. It was launched a year ago and caters to the female segment of the audience using a programming mix of Soaps, Drama, Music and Game Shows.

Behind the entertainment concept is the need to educate and inform at the same time.

NZ Govt's Expansive TV Budget

Wellington: The New Zealand Labour-led government labels its just announced budget as "Enhancing New Zealand broadcasting". The Government continues its strong investment in public broadcasting with funding of NZ$24.9 million over the next four years, Broadcasting Minister Steve Maharey said.

The funding will go towards the production of high quality local television through NZ On Air, as well as measures to strengthen the Pacific elements of **New Zealand's broadcasting sector.

"Public broadcasting plays an important role in defining our cultural identity and giving us a sense of our place in the world," Steve Maharey said. "This funding is part of the Labour-led government's ongoing work to enhance New Zealand's broadcasting sector by supporting more locally made content, and ensuring that what we see and hear reflects our diverse nation.

"NZ On Air will receive an additional $20 million for local programming. This will allow it to maintain the high quality and quantity of programmes it currently funds in the face of recent worldwide increases to production costs.

"The budget also provides funding of $2.4 million to enable TVNZ to supply New Zealand programming by satellite to the Pacific nations, and $2.4 million to Radio New Zealand to implement a remuneration strategy.

The funding brings the total government investment in public broadcasting in 2006/07 to $129.4 million, an increase of $45 million since 2001/02.

Steve Maharey said this underlined the government's commitment to broadcasting that reaches people across the variety of geographical, cultural and interest-based communities of New Zealand.

[**The funding also ensures that TVNZ news and program support via satellite to the Pacific nations is to continue. Editor NZ1.00=US0.61]

Al Arabiya wins at 1st Djerba TV Festival

Al Arabiya has won the ‘Special Award’ for its ‘Closer to the Truth’ TV commercial at the inaugural Djerba Television Festival in Tunisia.

The new industry award reconfirms Al Arabiya’s increasing recognition as the leading news channel for millions of viewers across the Arab world and beyond.

The jury, chaired by Jean Claude Boulos, former World President of the International Advertising Association (IAA) and General Manager of Al Sumaria TV, awarded Al Arabiya the recognition based on its compelling advertising that powerfully communicates the importance of accurate, balanced and professional investigative reporting.

The winning TV commercial takes the viewer into a Hollywood-style Middle East war zone, which proves to be nothing more than a façade for the real story that reveals the suffering of a mother and her dead child. The message to viewers is that the truth is dramatic enough and needs no manipulation.

Sponsored by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Tunisian Ministry of Tourism, the Djerba Television Festival was established in order to further television production in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

The award is the latest industry accolade for Al Arabiya. At the Fourth Arab Media Festival in Beirut in April, Tahar Barakeh and Najwa Kassem received the awards for best male and female presenters respectively, while Al Arabiya’s website, took the accolade of “Best Website of an Arab News Channel”. In February, the same commercial ensured that Al Arabiya won the Media Advertisers Cristal at the MENA Cristal Awards ceremony in Casablanca.

Gigamedia Offloads ISP Biz

TAIPEI -- GigaMedia Limited (Nasdaq: GIGM) continues to restructure and has given up being a consumer Internet Service provider to concentrate on being a content provider, and entertainment conglomerate, seen as a high-margin, high-growth online sector.

Webs-TV Digital International Corporation, a Taiwan digital content provider ("Webs-TV") purchased outright the ADSL business of 62,000 subscribers from GigaMedia in a cash transaction totalling US$17.9 million, including approximately $9.7 million for the ADSL ISP unit and approximately $8.2 million in fees for bandwidth, consulting and other support services payable over a defined transition period.

"GigaMedia" expects to record a significant one-time gain in the second quarter as a result of the transaction.

"The ADSL business was a non-core legacy of the old Giga," explained GigaMedia CEO Arthur Wang. "Today we reaffirm our commitment to build the leading Asian online entertainment company."

Through the end of 2006, the Company expects that revenues generated from the provision of such services will largely offset the decline in broadband ISP revenues resulting from this sale.

Grass Valley Upgrades SKY New Zealand

Wellington: SKY Network Television Limited (SKY), New Zealand's pre- eminent pay television company has appointed Grass Valley, a Thomson company (Euronext Paris: 18453; NYSE: TMS) a major turnkey project from technical design, equipment supply, to installation, testing and commissioning for their Broadcast Center Upgrade project.

The project will deliver new digital facilities at two locations: SKY’s current base at Panorama Road, Mt. Wellington, and at the recently acquired Prime Television (Prime TV) site in Albany, which will also provide a secondary digital broadcast center in the event that services from their main site are lost.

SKY delivers multi-channel television by satellite to more than 600,000 subscribers, more than 40% of all New Zealand homes. One of the fastest-growing pay TV networks in the world, it employs 600 people. The current transmission facilities had been developed on an incremental basis over the years with additional capacity being linked as new channels were added to the service. The resulting configuration could not meet SKY’s required efficiency levels. Further, the age of some of the equipment was causing concerns about reliability.

“The time had certainly arrived to create a tapeless environment which would provide a number of operational efficiencies, transforming our 15-year-old television station to a digital, server- based architecture,” said Derek Greenly, program manager at the SKY Broadcast Center.

In developing the detailed designs for the project, Grass Valley and SKY will establish workflow specifications that are influenced by both current practices and state-of-the-art broadcast operational concepts. Key principles in mind will be the savings and benefits offered by today’s leading TV production, transmission and asset management products.

Grass Valley will also provide additional sub-systems integration and project management services for integration and commissioning over the period of the entire transformation.

[Does anyone know how long this digital broadcaster's transformation will take?]

[Diary Date] AIBD Meet

A reminder -- Journalists and managers from public service broadcasters around the world can still register for the Asian Media Summit, scheduled for May 29 to 31 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) organizes the annual gathering in partnership with the UN and several local and international media organizations.

The organizers say they expect about 400 print media, Internet publishers,radio and TV professionals and scholars from Asia and from other parts of the world to attend. The agenda includes several seminars on topics such as radio in the digital age, reporting on religion, covering humanitarian issues in conflict areas, and elections.

Public service broadcasters worldwide can register for free, along with members and affiliates of AIBD. Those from privately owned radio and TV networks and individuals from outside Malaysia must pay a registration fee of US$1,250, which includes a four-night hotel stay and seminar materials. Malaysian individuals can attend for MYR800 (about US$220).

More info from AIBD:

Fuji TV profits plunges

Tokyo -- The Livedoor Company debacle in Japan cut Fuji Television Network Inc's 2005 profit by 50 per cent.

Fuji TV management said Group net profit in fiscal 2005 plunged 50.3 percent from the previous year to 11.35 billion yen due primarily to a heavy loss on the sale of equity shares in Livedoor Co.

Fuji bought a 12.74 percent stake in Livedoor to amicably end its battle with the Internet company to gain control over radio broadcaster Nippon Broadcasting System Inc. last year, but Livedoor shares' sharp fall and delisting earlier this year prompted Fuji to sell the stake at a loss, Kyodo News reported.

Livedoor share prices nose-dived from January as its President Takafumi Horie and other executives were suspected of having falsified financial statements.

Fuji sold the Livedoor stake to Yasuhide Uno, president of cable TV broadcaster Usen Corp.

Fuji's consolidated sales in fiscal 2005 that ended March 31 scored a substantial gain of 24.5 percent to 593.49 billion yen as Nippon Broadcasting and its affiliates became Fuji's consolidated subsidiaries.

On the brighter side, the TV broadcasting division alone boosted its sales 1.5 percent to a record 381.56 billion yen as Fuji achieved the highest audience ratings in all time zones.

Fuji lowered its dividend payout for fiscal 2005 to 4,000 yen per share from 5,000 yen in the previous year.

TVNZ Support to Pacific Broadcasters to Continue

19th May, 2006

TVNZ Programming Assured for South Pacific Broadcasters

An announcement in the New Zealand budget on May 19 ensures Pacific Island countries will continue to receive TVNZ television programmes by satellite.

The Minister of Broadcasting, Steve Maharey, has confirmed that the budget includes funding for a further four years, helping strengthen the important linkages between New Zealand and the Pacific Island communities.

The Pacific Service is provided by TVNZ and is free of charge to Pacific broadcasters. It began last year after the New Zealand Government announced it would fund the distribution of programmes by satellite because commercial pricing would put the content beyond the reach of most countries.

TV ONE's news programming is received via satellite by twelve broadcasters in the Islands each evening while Tagata Pasifika is broadcast weekly. Additional content, like coverage of the Commonwealth Games, Rugby 7s and Netball is also distributed.

Digital broadcaster, TVNZ welcomes the budget announcement saying the New Zealand Government's continuing support through the Ministers of Broadcasting and Foreign Affairs means the service can now be expanded to the benefit of broadcasters throughout the Pacific.

India: Nimbus to own TV channels

New Delhi -- Cricket is big business in India. Sports marketer and TV production company, Nimbus Communications Ltd should know, the company recently acquired the radio and TV broadcast rights for all international Cricket matches to be played in India for four years for US$612 million.

Having spent this huge sum, it has decided to leverage marketing income by launching its own 24-hour pay-TV sports channel in October 2006. Two further channels will be started before September 2007. They will cater to sports entertainment and sports news.

Channel names have not been released yet.

The Cricket change is expected to open at the time of the Afro-Asia Cup to be held in India.

For Pakistan, Nimbus has licensed the rights to GEO TV.

[Quote] From India TV Boss

"India is a slightly senseless country when it comes to cricket... but filling it up creatively is a challenge."

Harish Thawani, Nimbus Communications Ltd New Delhi (In an interview with Agence France Press to announce the launch of a new all day Cricket Pay-TV channel in India)

Now Shopping TV for TV18

New Delhi: One of India's most successful broadcasters - TV18, the television news network is to enter the TV Mail order business to tap into the country's rapidly expanding middle class market of 30 million consumers. This segment of the market is expected to be worth US$30-35 billion by 2010.

TV18 is going into partnership (it calls it 'collaboration') with SB Asia Investment Fund (SAIF).

The venture will set up The Shopping Network (HSN) to leverage the TV18 network of five TV channels currently - CNBC-TV18, CNN-IBN, Awaaz, Channel 7 and SAW, plus its six web sites --,,,, and Jobstreet India.

While it is common place for consumers in developed markets to to simply pick up the phone, clicking online, calling on their mobile, or simply sending sms for their requests, it will be the first time in India that people will be able to access and buy products and services that exactly meet their requirements through TV18.

The changing socio-economic environment, higher disposable incomes, willingness to spend and availability of cheap credit, the share of organized shopping is all set to increase in the consumer’s wallet, according to TV18's CEO, Haresh Chawla. "TV18 believes that the time is ripe for a shopping enabler that integrates our media offering with a fulfillment capability," Chawla said.

SAIF spokesman, Ravi Adusumalli said that although his firm typically did not invest in early stage companies, TV18 provides the company with the ability to quickly become a dominant force in the shopping space.

SB Asia Investment Fund is a US$643 million fund that is managed by Hong Kong-based SAIF Partners.

BBC World Radio - 163m listeners

London -- The BBC World Service have reached a fresh record 163 million listeners a week. The majority listen in other language output other than English. Solely in English accounts for just 42 million.

The figure is 14 million higher than last year and beats the previous record of 153 million listeners in 2001.

The rise came despite the BBC axing 10 foreign language radio services last year, mostly in eastern Europe.

BBC World Service director Nigel Chapman said the figures were an "outstanding achievement" in a fiercely competitive industry.

The World Service broadcasts in more than 30 languages and is undergoing change as it moves from using old transmitters to FM stations and the internet.

The BBC's British Affairs correspondent Stephen Evans says that is partly because the BBC is now broadcast by other FM radio stations around the world.

Mr Chapman said it was also because people turned to the BBC as a trusted service, particularly in trouble spots.

He said the figures were a "strong and welcome indication that we are not only strengthening our impact in priority areas but are flourishing in the multimedia age".

Areas showing a particular increase included Nigeria, Indonesia, Kenya, India and Nepal.

Two countries showing big falls were Pakistan and Bangladesh. Audiences in the latter fell by 4.4 million to 8.6 million in the last year.

The BBC said the losses were due to lack of FM frequencies.

Last October the BBC announced the closure of its Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Greek, Hungarian, Kazakh, Polish, Slovak, Slovene and Thai services.

The money saved is to fund an Arabic TV news channel, to be launched next year.

RTM, RTB, RRI in Joint Program Output

Kuala Lumpur -- State broadcasters, Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM), Radio Televisyen Brunei (RTB) and Radio Republik Indonesia (RRI) are to cooperate in producing radio programs to enhance understanding and the spirit of brotherhood among the three countries which share a common ethnic and religious origins.

Malaysia's Information Minister Datuk Zainuddin Maidin said under the collaboration, the three national radio stations would produce "Salam Muhibbah", "Titian Senada" and "Berbalas Pantun" programs.

The intent is to benefit tourism, and residents of the other two countries in the host country.

Producers would be exchanged in the making of the programs.


Intense debate aims at a future shape of digital broadcast services as the Radiocommunication Conference now taking place

Geneva -- The ITU Regional Radiocommunication Conference (RRC-06), in session since last week, has been making quiet but steady progress towards an 'all-digital' terrestrial broadcasting service for radio and television.

This represents a significant step in the future development of information and communication technologies as well as the revolutionary direction it will provide in improving communications worldwide.

In its first week of deliberations, RRC-06 took decisions to allow iteration of the complex software tools used by the ITU secretariat as a basis to generate the draft plan that will facilitate digital broadcasts around the world in the future.

For full text to see digital broadcasting progress:

Thailand IBC For King's Anniversary

(Digital Broadcasters Vendor News] Advisory

Bangkok -- This is the 60th Anniversary of His Majesty the King being on the Thai Throne.

For Thai domestic Radio and TV Networks it is a year long project of special programming.

As international interest grows in the story, the Public Relations Department (attached to the Office of the Prime Minister)and MCOT are creating an International Broadcast Centre (IBC) for its own and its international partners' program output.

Any overseas broadcasters wishing to be part of the celebrations should contact the PRD/MCOT.


China keen to lease MCOT radio time for tourists

Bangkok -- Under the leadership of Mingkwan Sangsuwan, the Mass Communications Organisation of Thailand (MCOT PLC) has been outward looking and signed a number of MoU's with overseas broadcaster organisations. These include CNN from the US, BBC from the UK, TVS from France, DW from Germany, RAI TV from Italy, NHK from Japan and just recently South Korea's KBS.

The latest MoU is with China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) - China's Broadcasting Ministry. The deal would be for SARFT's China Radio International to broker airtime on one of MCOT's 62 radio stations. The programs in Chinese would target resident Chinese and tourists in Thailand.

This is a possible contentious issue as the Thai Finance Ministry holds 80 per cent of MCOT's shares. (MCOT is a listed company on the Stock Exchange of Thailand).

SARFT is the Chinese government's arm for control of all broadcasting channels. Organisations under its responsibility include CCTV's television channels, China Radio International and the Xinhua News Agency.

It has to be said that the MCOT and SARFT also entered into a memorandum of understanding on the exchange of TV and radio programs. Last year MCOT and CCTV exchanged documentary and other infotainment TV programming/content.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Media Prima 1Q2006 Growth

Kuala Lumpur -- Media Prima Bhd, Malaysia's biggest media group, has reported a 28 per cent jump in first quarter 2006 revenue and is confident that it can improve its financial performance.

The better revenue was driven by growth from its television networks - TV3 (by far the largest contributor to earnings), 8TV and NTV7 - as well as income from its two radio stations - Hot.FM and Fly.FM - bought and re-launched last year.

The three television networks now collectively have 48 per cent of Malaysian viewership, as against 44 per cent in the same period last year. Channel 9 was launched early April and not part of this reporting period.

The group's revenue rose to RM99.9 million for the quarter to March 31 2006 versus RM78 million in the same quarter last year.

"As a consequence of the strong revenue growth and continuing prudent cost management, the group's operating profit grew by 27 per cent to RM12.24 million in the first quarter," Media Prima said.

Other part of the Group, the New Straits Times Press was not so healthy and took the Group into loss for the reporting period.

Star PCCW TeamUp for IPTV Development

Hong Kong -- PCCW Limited and STAR are to work together to explore IPTV pay-TV opportunities in overseas markets.

PCCW's "now TV" is the world leader in IPTV with more than 550,000 users, subscribing to the service since its launch in August 2003, representing 25 per cent of HKSAR homes. "now TV" carries over 110 TV and audio channels including 17 channels provided by STAR and its joint venture partners.

The STAR/PCCW cooperation will involve full pay-TV operations.

The venture makes sense. PCCW's CASCADE Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of PCCW is a provider of worldwide technical and IT solutions in IPTV.

CASCADE has built and installed end-to-end technical IPTV solutions in countries as far afield as Thailand and Morocco.

Ongoing discussions are in progress with a number of other overseas operators.

Etisalat+Samsung in Futuristic projects

Abu Dhabi: Etisalat and Samsung are at the MoU stage on two projects: To test and implement the advanced WIMAX system, a mobile wireless solution with futuristic application, and develop smart future cities in the United Arab Emirates.

The 'Smart Future Cities' concept uses home-based internal networks and cutting-edge technology to deliver home control systems.

The projects will improve fast access to Internet data, digital TV broadcasting services via mobile handsets, Instant Messenger and Multimedia Video Streaming, Push to Talk service, Push to View, Push to Data services and other services.

STAR India Big Time into Mobile Phone Content

Mumbai -- Digital broadcaster, STAR India is taking its mobile phone platform to a new level and is targeting the burgeoning mobile entertainment market. A slew of initiatives enhance its STAR 7827 platform. This means moving way from just television-focused interactivity to entertainment specially created and aggregated for the mobile screen.

The proposed initiatives are to be revolutionary,innovative, and bring a diverse mix of programming and high quality fresh and diverse content, says STAR. These include exclusive ring tones, astrology predictions from Bejan Daruwalla, jokes and other mobile games like Super Simpoo.

The web site has been re-designed to reflect this new push in content aggregation.

The developing of the mobile phone medium is clearly to promote business opportunities. As Sameer Nair, CEO of Star Entertainment, India, said: "STAR 7827 will be one of the key focus areas of our business and is expected to contribute significantly to our revenues over the next 3 to 5 years.”

Highlighting the synergies between mobile and TV business in India, Viren Popli, SVP of STAR Interactive, said the content will be continuously refreshed so as to create stickiness with the consumer.

STAR India says a heavy marketing campaign accompanies the launch of the project.

[Mobile ESPN Asia Pacific] Launch

Singapore -- Bridge Mobile, NeuStar (NYSE: NSR) and ESPN STAR Sports collaborate to bring "Mobile ESPN" service across seven markets in Asia Pacific.

This means that we'll be able to view super sports content such as the upcoming World Cup in Germany via our mobiles. That is if we live in areas covered by Airtel (India), CSL (Hong Kong), Globe Telecom (Philippines), Maxis (Malaysia), SingTel Mobile (Singapore), Taiwan Mobile (Taiwan) and Telkomsel (Indonesia). These companies come together under what is called the Bridge Mobile Alliance.

The offerings are being branded (packaged) under the Mobile ESPN label. This is the mobile sports content service to be provided by ESPN STAR Sports, a joint venture between two of the world’s leading cable and satellite broadcasters, ESPN Inc. and STAR.

Put in context, digital broadcaster, ESPN STAR Sports transmits the world’s premier live sports and leading regional sports events to over 139 million households on ESPN and over 63 million households on STAR Sports TV networks.

The link between Bridge Mobile and ESPNSTAR TV is through a Singapore company called, NeuStar Asia Pacific Pte Ltd. They provide the clearing house for the many telephone call requests from the mobile users and ensure the requested audio-video is delivered to the hand set - such as ESPN STAR Sports content and service applications for English Premier League (EPL), Major League Baseball (MLB) and National Basketball Association (NBA), amongst others.

Mobile ESPN’s coverage of the 2006 World Cup is the first sports content to be commercially launched, with more to come in the months ahead. (Please see attached Annex for more details on full service offering). The services are delivered through a regional infrastructure platform provided by Bridge Mobile and NeuStar.

Dr. Patrick Sim, Bridge Mobile Chief Executive Officer is touting the Mobile ESPN service as the first and largest multi-market rollout of a regional mobile content service.

Jamie Davis, ESPN STAR Sports Managing Director, said the new project "is what avid fans expect on our TV channels and on and creates a pre-eminent third screen in sports."

Jeff Ganek, NeuStar CEO points to the content platform as a good exposure for his company: "NeuStar is pleased to join this highly regarded team and we look forward to supporting the expansion of more content services in the near future.”

Interesting fact: Bridge Mobile Alliance claims an 80 million combined customer base across the Asia Pacific region.

Let us see what the video offerings turn out to be. The launch is the up front hype.

I thought the announcement would have included a dedicated web site to click on to having fired up my curiosity, but I guess we have to wait for that to materialise.

TV-7 Jakarta Using Jampro DVB-T Transmitters

Jakarta -- Digital broadcaster, TV-7 owned and operated by PT Duta Visual Nusantara Tivi Tujuh, recently commissioned 14 UHF television stations throughout Indonesia with new Jampro JUHD panel antennas.

Jampro broadcast engineers supervised the projects and the Company’s technicians completed the turnkey antenna installations, which included Jampro's RCPU patch panels-power splitters and transmission lines.

TV-7 airs 18 UHF digital broadcast channels over their 15 station network. It also offers television programming downlinked from the Telkom-1 satellite at 4075 MHz.

Indonesia is a major market with a population of over 240 million and the market area is almost three times the size of Texas, but spread over 6,000 populated islands and three time zones.

Jampro points to the size of market and interior mountains that reach 5,000 meters as posing significant challenges to broadcasters.

TV-7 chose Jampro's JUHD antennas because of a modular design that could be configured to specific azimuth and elevation patterns, and because beam tilt and null fill could be shaped for maximum coverage.

Depending on the TV-7 tower site, either the JUHD antennas were installed as side-mounts or top mounts. Antennas were delivered DVB-T/ DTV ready for UHF bands IV and V with wide bandwidth for multiple channel operations such as TV-7. Durability is a key consideration for durability of the broadcast equipment n a hot, humid climate with heavy tropical rainfalls, as found across the Indonesia.

93.4FM for The Breeze Auckland

Auckland -- There is a swap in frequencies to enable the launch of RadioWorks' The Breeze radio outlet for Auckland.

Solid Gold FM relinquishes 93.4FM and moves to 93.8fm, previously occupied by Kiwi FM.

The Breeze launches on June 12 using 93.4FM.

The frequency change will allow RadioWorks to pursue the option of providing a broadcast service which gives full Auckland coverage by synchronising Solid Gold on 93.8 in Auckland and nearby Waikato region.

Brent Impey, CanWest MediaWorks CEO, commented: “As things currently stand, with different radio stations on 93.8 FM in Auckland and the Waikato, we are only able to broadcast on 93.8FM at a lower power, which leaves some areas of Auckland unable to receive the signal. This move may give us the option to provide a full coverage service to our listeners.”

Hong Kong ATV with CITIC Guoan Input

The Standard newspaper in Hong Kong has reported that local terrestrial broadcaster, Asia Television is to sell a 22.2 percent stake to Mainland cable-TV operator, CITIC Guoan.

A state-owned enterprise, CITIC Guoan will help ATV sell television content and generate additional advertising sales in the mainland, ATV chief executive Chan Wing-kee said.

"CITIC Guoan's extensive interests in cable TV networks in the mainland will prove to be a tremendous asset to ATV as it expands in the mainland," Chan said Friday.

CITIC Guoan has interests in 21 cable TV networks in seven mainland provinces, with a combined nine million subscribers, ATV said.

Total company assets, valued at 18 billion yuan (HK$17.43 billion) at the end of last year, also include interests in telecommunications, satellite and travel industry-related property.

Half of CITIC Guoan's stake will be in the form of new shares, while the rest are existing shares held by Chan. He did not disclose the transaction size.

Following the transaction, Chan and Phoenix Satellite Television chairman Liu Changle will together retain control over 70 percent of ATV's shares.

The proposed deal will be subject to approval from the Broadcasting Authority, Chan said.

"CITIC Guoan will not interfere with the production of ATV news and other types of programming," Chan said. "The deal will comply with Hong Kong's broadcasting regulations."

By increasing the potential for greater future revenues from the mainland, the deal will aid ATV's bid to list in Hong Kong.

Market observers said past attempts by ATV to sell shares were delayed by former stock exchange rules requiring main board listing candidates to be profitable for at least three years.

ATV, which gained landing rights to broadcast in Guangdong province in 2002, has failed to derive significant income from the arrangement to supplement revenues from its operations in Hong Kong, where it ranks a distant second to Television Broadcasts.

CITIC Group, the investment arm of China's State Council, is the parent of Hong Kong-listed CITIC Pacific and CITIC International Financial, operator of local lender CITIC Ka Wah Bank.

Beijing move for Darren Yip

In Beijing, Darren Yip has moved from being the Regional Manager of the Discreet division of Autodesk to take up a similar position with Network Electronics China. His responsibility covers the greater China market. The announcement was made by Joel Lam, Network Electronics’ Managing Director – Asia-Pacific.

“We are happy to have Darren join Network Electronics as we continue to expand our business in Asia. Darren’s extensive experience in the Greater China market will be an enormous asset to both our customers and our company,” stated Lam.

Yip, in the TV equipment sector for more than twelve years, was also with Sony Corporation in Hong Kong.

Although Yip is a Hong Kong citizen, he has made Beijing his home for more than 6 years in the digital television sector.

Dayang Opens Korea Support Office

Digital broadcasting equipment manufacturer, Dayang has opened a new office in Seoul.

Dayang International (Korea) is to provide sales and customer technical support in a market which is rapidly expanding in digital television production, postproduction and broadcast infrastructure and moving into HDTV.

Kyung-Woo Shin joins Dayang International (Korea) as general manager. He arrives with a 26 year background in engineering management, including 14 years in electronic equipment manufacturing and later as director of engineering at Korean cable television networks, GTV and A & C Kolon (Art & Culture TV), both of which are based in Seoul.

Dayang is a Chinese owned and operated company with its International Division based in Hong Kong.

Scott replaces Balding at ABC

Sydney -- The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has chosen a print executive as its next Managing Director.

Mark Scott comes from being the Editorial Director at the John Fairfax Publications Group.

Scott served in a range of senior roles over the past 10 years, including Editor-in-Chief of Metropolitan, Regional & Community Newspapers, which included The Sydney Morning Herald, Sun Herald, The Age and Sunday Age.

The ABC Board unanimously selected Scott following a national and international search that produced an outstanding field of candidates.

The official ABC announcement on the appointment said that "The ABC is one of Australia's largest and most diverse media organisations and in Mr Scott we have found someone with the media experience and drive necessary to take the ABC confidently into the digital media future.

"The Board was particularly impressed with his combination of editorial experience, management skills developed in one of Australia's oldest and most distinguished media companies and his proven ability to respond to the challenges of a changing media environment.

Mark Scott replaces Russell Balding.

CNBC Asia Confirms Pink as MD

CNBC Asia has confirmed Jeremy Pink as its President and Managing Director.

Pink has been in Singapore in a temporary capacity, holding the reigns since Sandy Brown moved on in January and subsequently has become a joint COO of WorldSpace Satellite Radio, New York.

Friday, May 19, 2006

[Diary Note] KOBA 2006 Seoul

A reminder that KOBA 2006 - the Korean International Broadcast, Audio, Video and Lighting Equipment Show takes place at COEX, the Convention and Exhibition Center, Seoul, from May 23 to May 26.

The show's web site has a list of 190 exhibitors

It is available in Korean and English:

Thursday, May 18, 2006

[Digital Broadcasting]Quote of the Day

"We are forbidden to call them phones. Instead, they're 'multimedia computers'"

Harry Santamaki, VP, multimedia strategy and business development Nokia Espoo,Finland

Mr Santamaki says that to call his Nokia hand set a "phone" attracts a penalty. He has to sip cod liver oil from a bottle placed on his desk at the world's leading mobile phone vendor!

This rigid corporate culture reveals Nokia's vision of the cellphone future, one in which one device will manage your information, communication and entertainment needs — a single remote control of sorts for your electronic life. Not suprisingly Nokia has hardly any landlines connecting its offices to a fixed line network. Nokia aims to be on the cutting edge of an industry that determines much of our technology-driven activities. Already, it dominates the wireless business, producing about a third of the 800 million mobile phones sold around the world every year. Contrast that with Dell, the world's largest computer maker, which last year shipped a fraction of that — 37 million units, many to Asia-Pacific.]

Already, I post articles like this one to this blog: [Digital Broadcasters Vendor News] using just my Nokia. This is very convenient when I am attending trade shows, conferences or simply on- the-road visiting digital radio and TV stations and digital vendors - Editor.

Full story: 2002993095_nokia14.html

Aussie Broadcasters' Profits Soar

ACMA releases Australia's Broadcasting Financial Results 2004-05

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has released the 2004-05 Broadcasting Financial Results for commercial radio and television broadcasters.

The results show that the 53 reporting television licensees achieved profits of A$576.9 million (down by 2.4 per cent compared to 2003-04), with expenditure reported at $3,542.4 million (up by 13.1 per cent compared to 2003-04).

The 274 reporting commercial radio licensees achieved a broadcasting profit of $170.3 million in the 2004-05 financial year (up by 37.8 per cent compared to 2003-04).

The 53 reporting television licensees reported $4,119.3 million in revenue in 2004-05, a 10.6 per cent increase in revenue over the previous year. Similarly, the $947.8 million in revenue generated by radio licensees represents a 10.9 per cent increase compared to 2003-04

The three major television networks (7,9 and 10) and their affiliate licensees generated $4,045.5 million (98.2 per cent) of total commercial television revenue. The Nine Network and its affiliates accounted for $1,644.1 million (40.7 per cent of the major networks’ total), the Seven Network and its affiliates $1,203.1 million (29.7 per cent) and the Ten Network and its affiliates $1,198.3 million (29.6 per cent).

Commercial television licensees spent $1,163.4 million on programming for the 2004-05 reporting period. This represents an increase of 15.7 per cent over the previous year. Of the total programming expenditure, $812.8 million was spent on Australian programs, which represents an increase of 20.5 per cent from 2004-05. However there has been a 1.4 per cent decrease in expenditure on Australian drama in each of the last two years.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Afghan TV chooses Jampro

US-based, Jampro Antenna/RF Systems Inc has informed Digital broadcasters Vendor News that 24 of its top-mount VHF Prostar series slot antennas have been ordered by Afghanistan's Ministry of Communications (Wizara-e-Mukhaberat)to rebuild the country's television infrastructure of People's Radio and TV Afghanistan. Many of the original transmission sites were damaged or destroyed in the 2001 war.

The reconstruction process is already building momentum. State- operated and financed, national broadcaster, People's Radio and TV Afghanistan, based in Kabul, is transmitting from the capital and has facilities in nine of Afghanistan's 32 provinces.

In making the announcement, Alex Perchevitch, Jampro president said, "The selection of our VHF Prostar slot series is an endorsement of our product, technology, and capabilities. Our Prostar slot series of antennas have a very well established record and we are very pleased to be able to provide such an integrated system for the rebuilding of the Afghan TV Network."

Jampro's Prostar series VHF slot antennas satisfy the range of requirements specified by Afghani broadcast engineers for PAL low, medium and high powered antennas. The units’ ability to be combined for HDTV and NTSC broadcasting at various power levels was also a determining feature in the selection process. Key factors additionally included the equipment’s proven reliability to withstand the brutal weather of a cold, mountainous country.

[I understand everything except the reference to NTSC broadcasting. Afghanistan is firmly committed to the PAL broadcasting standard. None of the neighbours and their broadcasters use NTSC. Why NTSC. Is this some kind of payback to the United States (home of NTSC)and at some point, some transmissions in Afghanistan will also be in NTSC making Afghanistan a dual-standard country.]

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Mackay 105.9FM Confirmed

In Australia, a full community radio license has been confirmed to Mackay and District Aboriginal and Islander Media Association Inc (MDAIMA) for the Mackay region of Northern Queensland on 105.9 MHz.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority said that MDAIMA was the only applicant and succeeded in being granted a full license after evaluation showed the broadcaster met the existing and perceived future needs of the Indigenous community in the Mackay area.

MDIAMA currently broadcasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The proposed service will provide programs that will cover a wide range of local issues that will appeal to the Indigenous community in Mackay. The Mackay area is currently served by four national radio services (4ABCFM, 4ABCRN, 4QAA and 4JJJ); four commercial radio services (4MK, 4RGM, 4MKY ad 4MMK); and one community broadcasting service (4CRM – general format). Mackay is also served by two national television services (ABC and SBS) and three commercial television services (Channel Seven, Southern Cross Ten and WIN TV).

ABC Local Radio Awards 2006

Australia: This year's ABC Local Radio two day Forum took place in Adelaide May 10-11. The presentation of the Annual Local Radio Awards took place on the closing night at the National Wine Centre.

[Editor's note: There are 51 regional station and 9 metropolitan stations on the network. ABC Local Radio is publicly funded by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation which has a mandate to bring a distinctive mix of news, views, current affairs, talkback, entertainment, sport, music, and rural issues in local radio program output.]



* Station of the Year (metropolitan) 1233 ABC Newcastle & 774 ABC Melbourne

* Station of the Year (regional) ABC Goulburn Murray

* Outstanding Contribution to Local Radio by an Individual Fiona Churchman

* Broadcaster Of The Year Virginia Trioli - 774 ABC Melbourne Drive & 702 ABC Sydney Mornings

* Rural Reporter of the Year Adrienne Francis - NT Country Hour

* Outstanding Contribution To Local Radio By A Sports Broadcaster Simone Thurtell & Caroline Davison for Northern Grandstand

* Online Feature/Website Of The Year Sarah Knight & Sinead Mangan for "Tales from the Riverbank"

* Local Program of the Year (metropolitan) Mornings with Matthew Abraham & David Bevan - 891 ABC Adelaide

* Local Program of the Year (regional) Bonita Brown and Lyndall Bell for "The Big Fish with Snagger Brown" - ABC Illawarra

* Outstanding Coverage Of A Local Story Local Radio Victoria for 'Fear in the Forests - 26 days which scorched Victoria'

* The Paul Boddington Award for Outstanding Radio Feature/Package By An Individual Joel Rheinberger for 'Nude Day' - 666 ABC Canberra

* Outside Broadcast Of The Year Mornings with Jon Faine - 774 ABC Melbourne - King Khalid College

* Community Event of the Year ABC Rural - The Country Hour 60th Anniversary Roadshow

* Networked Program Of The Year Overnights with Trevor Chappell

* Promotion Producer Of The Year Andrew Taylor - 774 ABC Melbourne & ABC Victoria

* Producer of the Year Tim Moore - 105.7 ABC Darwin Breakfast

* Best New Talent on Local Radio Matt Dowling - ABC Goulburn Murray

* Marketing Campaign of the Year Angela Scrymgour - "Men's Cooking Campaign", 1233 ABC Newcastle

The Awards were presented by the Governor of South Australia, Her Excellency Marjorie Jackson-Nelson, AC, CVO, MBE; Premier of South Australia, The Hon. Mike Rann; Senator for South Australia and Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, The Hon. Amanda Vanstone; Minister for Education and Children's Services, Minister for Tourism, Minister for the City of Adelaide, The Hon. Dr Jane Lomax-Sminth; Chairman of the ABC, Donald McDonald AO; Director ABC Radio, Sue Howard; Director ABC New Media and Digital Services, Lynley Marshall.

MCOT and IRIB MoU to Co-operate

Bangkok -- Iran's Ambassador to Bangkok has met with, MCOT head, Mingkwan Sangsuwan and has submitted a draft MoU on expansion of radio, television and media co-operation. Mr Mingkwan also accepted an official invitation to visit state broadcaster IRIB in Tehran.

The MoU underlines exchange of news, films and TV serials, production of joint movies, holding technical training courses for Iranian and Thai personnel and mutual co-operation in the International arena.

Iran is suggesting the first project could be a movie on the great Iranian scholar, Sheikh Ahmad Qomi, who rendered great services to the Thai people four centuries ago.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

EVS Broadcast Report

[View from EVS Broadcast Equipment Manufacturer]

Outlook 2006

"The broadcast industry is undergoing a major technological evolution. EVS serves hundreds of TV stations worldwide with its high- end digital video and audio applications, especially in the field of live sports and studio productions where the company has developed leadership positions in niche markets. The migration from tape-based operations towards integrated tapeless workflows is underway and will last during the next decade. This process is accelerated by the transition from Standard Definition Television to High Definition Television because new equipment needs to interoperate with digital solutions that shall be High Definition. Hence, EVS directly benefits from two key broadcast industry drivers, i.e. HDTV and Sport. EVS has a double growth strategy for its broadcast business: first, to benefit from its Mobile TV Production leadership and transition all production trucks to HDTV over the next 6-10 years; second, to develop the Near-Live Studio Editing market for which the XT[2] platform is to become the core engine. HDTV will impact the business over a long period of time and shall follow usual equipment acquisition wave patterns."

Liège (Belgium), 11 May 2006, EVS Broadcast Equipment S.A.

About EVS Group

EVS Group designs, develops and markets professional digital equipment for Television (EVS Broadcast) and Cinema (XDC). The Group employs over 180 persons in 9 countries and sells its products to professionals of the video and audio sectors in more than 70 countries. EVS is a public company traded on Euronext Brussels: EVS, ISIN: BE0003820371. For more information, refer to.

EVS Broadcast is the world leader for Live TV Production Digital Disk Recorders and Related Software Applications, especially in the field of sports. The company's dedicated hardware and software suite offer a complete production platform: live slow motion (LSM), high speed slow motion, replay only, clips generation, quick clips editing, real- time SD/HD video files transfer, time delay, multi-camera recording, metadata association, graphics storage and play-out, digital transmission, multi-format ingest and play-back, audio record & edit. Main software applications are running on the dedicated robust and flexible hardware the "XT Platform".

EVS client list includes the BBC, NBC, BSkyB, FOX, RTL, and in Asia- Pacific NHK Japan and CCTV China.

EVS's strong performance Jan-March 2006 it says is due to equipment deployments lead by worldwide sporting events which took place in Europe (Winter Olympics in Italy, February; Soccer World Cup in Germany, June/July), in Australia (Commonwealth Games, March) and in Qatar (Asian Games, December). Broadcasters usually complete and upgrade their mobile facilities for large one-time sporting events where investments may represent between 2 and 5% of the TV rights respectively.

Indian Downlink Deadline Past

New Delhi --- The Government of India set a May 11 deadline for submission of downlinking TV channels under new guidelines that stipulate any channel beaming into India had to have a registered office in the country. Simply stated this means India will control content and require taxes to be paid on income derived in the country.

An Information and Broadcasting Ministry official is reported to have said that Star Group, Sony, Zee, Discorvery, Anil Planet, Cartoon Network, CNN, Pogo, MTV, Channel V, Toon Disney, Hallmark, HBO, Ten Sports and Channel News Asia were among 41 TV channels making their submissions on time. Outstanding 48 hours ahead of the deadline were Fashion TV, ESPN-Star and BBC World.

Around one hundred channels were expected to apply as there are that many operational currently.

The penalty of failure to submit will mean that a channel could not be carried on the cable networks across the country; the offending channel could be blacked out and continual failure will result in more serious offences.

MCOT Thailand, Profit Up

MCOT still enjoys impressive revenue growth in first quarter

BANGKOK, May 9 (TNA) – From its own web site, the MCOT Public Company Limited (MCOT) said the company continued to enjoy impressive revenue growth in the first quarter of this year, according to the company’s president Mingkwan Sangsuwan.

Delivering the first-quarter performance result of MCOT, Mr. Mingkwan said on May 9 that the company registered net profits of 316 million baht, up 25 per cent from 252 million baht in the same quarter of the previous year despite political tensions and the rising fuel costs.

“Last year’s profit base is quite high. So, the profit growth of more than 10 per cent is considered very good. We achieve the impressive growth because we can differentiate our character and have a mixed marketing strategy. More importantly, we get ads from state agencies as we are 77.28 per cent owned by the Finance Ministry,” he said.

The overall revenue earned by the company in the first quarter enjoyed growth for the fourth consecutive year with 946 million baht, up 16 per cent, he said.

Of this, 580 million baht stemmed from its television station--TV Channel 9 or Modernine TV.

Such revenue grew by 10 per cent since MCOT shared a production of TV programs and produced certain ones by itself.

The company’s participation in the TV production had made its programs popular, which led to more revenue from advertisements, he noted.

The ads-based revenue is 65 per cent from private companies and 35 per cent from state agencies.

Revenue earned by radio stations totaled 177 million baht, up 69 per cent, since the company managed radio frequencies by itself.

The company targeted to earn an average of 15-20 million baht in monthly revenue from operating each radio station.

Operating expenses in the first quarter totaled 524 million baht, up 9 per cent from 477 million baht in the same quarter last year.

Mr. Mingkwan believed the company would continue to enjoy a two-digit growth in the second-quarter operating performance because all political parties and the Election Commission of Thailand (EC) are set to use the printing and electronic media for political campaigns on the eve of the fresh election ordered by the Constitutional Court.

As well, MCOT planned to adjust its TV programs in preparation for the World Cup tournament and reshape its modern radios in the second phase.

In June, he said, MCOT would present a special documentary named “The King” produced by Panorama Worldwide Co. to honor His Majesty the King.

All revenue will be offered to the beloved monarch without any expense cuts.

Mr. Mingkwan added that foreign investors had expressed interest to invest in MCOT shares and the Thai stock market in the country's recent roadshow in Scotland.

They viewed there is much room for the Thai bourse to grow, while prices of most stocks on the market remain low when compared with other markets in the region.

He conceded that some foreign investors had slowed their investment on concern of political uncertainties in Thailand, but believed foreign funds would be back to the country when the political situation returns to normal.


EutelSat+RRSat for BA 2006 Singapore

Singapore -- Eutelsat says it will be at Broadcast Asia 2006, Asia's premier broadcasting and multimedia technology event and supported by RRSat a leading provider of end-to-end transmission and production services.

Using a digital video platform located in Israel that uses Ku-band capacity on Eutelsat's W5 satellite, Eutelsat and RRSat can offer content providers an efficient and reliable means for reaching DTH, cable headends, hotel and conference centres in south-east Asia.

In addition to geographic reach, RRSat offers broadcasters network engineering and custom-tailored end-to-end solutions including conditional access and standards conversion.

International broadcasters who have already selected the platform as their preferred point of entry into south-east Asia include EuroNews, Trace TV and World Fashion Channel.

Oman Hosts Arabsat Meet

MUSCAT — The Sultanate of Oman will host this year's General Assembly of Arabsat as well as the eighth Arab Telecommunications and Internet Forum, May 21 to 25.

The Sultanate's hosting of this very important forum supports the trend of the Omani government towards liberalising telecommunications sector. It also reflects Omantel's desire to enhance cooperation and coordination between Arab countries in the telecomms sector and IT.

The events are backed by Omantel- Oman Telecommunications Company in cooperation with Al Iktissad Wal-Aamal and the Arab Regional Office of the International Telelcomm-unications Union (ITU).

Sponsors include some 20 regional and international companies: Siemens, Juniper networks, Flag Telecom, Oman Mobile, Ericsson, Huawei, Cisco Systems, Nokia, Alcatel, Motorola, UAE Telecommunications Company Etisalat, Thuraya, Comuim, Inmarsat Sakhr, KOM, NPA, Times of Oman and Al Shabiba.

WorldSpace Hires Brown+Armstrong

WorldSpace Satellite Radio has hired two TV industry veterans in Asia to become joint COO's.

They are Gregory B. Armstrong and Alexander P. "Sandy" Brown.

Armstrong will oversee WORLDSPACE's sales, customer care, technology and distribution functions.

Brown will guide the company's marketing and content departments, and will drive market development activities in Europe, China and other new markets.

Behind the moves is Noah Samara, Chairman and COO of WORLDSPACE.

Armstrong's arrival will be in June. He was COO with Jupiter Telecommunications Co., Ltd. (J:COM) a joint venture between Tele- Communications International, Inc. and Sumitomo Corporation in Tokyo.

Brown already in situ at WorldSpace was previously President and CEO of CNBC Asia Pacific.

Armstrong and Brown will take over the duties previously held Andy Ras-Work who is leaving the company.

ABC Budget - "Best in 20 Years"

On May 9, Australia's national broadcaster, the ABC received Federal Government confirmation of its Budget for 2006/7 and beyond.

ABC Chairman, Donald McDonald said it is the best for the ABC in more than 20 years.

The Budget included the renewal of the ABC's triennial funding for the period 2006-07 to 2008-9, plus an additional A$88.2 million over the three years.

Other headlines:

* an extra A$30 million over three years has been allocated to fund quality Australian drama and documentaries for ABC Television; * an extra A$13.2 million over three years to sustain and enhance regional and local programming across Australia; and * an extra A$45 million over three years for capital renewal to ensure the ABC has the equipment and infrastructure it needs to service the entire population.

Mr McDonald added that the extra funds for television content will ensure an increase in the level and diversity of locally made drama, documentary and children's drama programs. available to the Australian public

ABC Television is watched by more than 13 million Australians each week.

The additional funding for Australian television content is recognition of the key role played by the ABC in the cultural life of the nation.

The budget helps the ABC to further develop its partnerships with independent producers.

In a rapidly changing media environment and new technologies the ABC said it is already setting priorities for the type of content needed on radio and television, along with ABC Online and new digital media platforms, to best serve its audiences. This in turn will help to set the workforce, infrastructure and equipment priorities for the Corporation in the years ahead.

[Not always seen as pro-ABC, the Canberra Government has seen the light and importance of the ABC to the cultural fabric of the nation. Earlier myopic cuts to the shortwave service of Radio Australia over several years is partly ameliorated by the sensible, latest domestic funding. Better confidence and morale now has to be built-up in the organisation. - Editor]

BBC Starts HDTV Trials Today

Recognised as the world's leading broadcaster, the British Broadcasting Corporation, the BBC starts a 12 month trial on high definition TV.

Interestingly, the BBC in London commissioned survey research firm, GfK NOP to conduct an online survey using a representative sample of about 1,500 respondents in the UK.

When asked what they knew about HDTV, the highlights of the results were as follows:

- 83 per cent of men and 62 per cent of women had heard about high definition television - 87 per cent said they expected the BBC to broadcast in high definition in future; - 93 per cent expected those broadcasts to be free to air; - 95 per cent expected HDTV broadcasts to be available on all platforms – satellite, cable and Freeview; - 88 per cent disagreed they should pay a higher license fee to view HDTV

The core operations of the BBC continue to be funded by an annual license paid by each household and the majority of the public are against the BBC putting paid advertisements to air on domestic radio and television channels.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Australia extends Eureka147 trials

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has just announced a further extension to digital radio trials using Eureka 147 technology in Sydney and Melbourne until June 30, 2007.

The trials, using VHF Band III spectrum, are being conducted in Sydney by Commercial Radio Australia and in Melbourne by Broadcast Australia.

It seems that in both cities availability of new coding and an advanced version of Eureka, which may significantly improve the quality of digital radio sound, need to be checked out.

ACMA says its remains committed to facilitating trials of all digital radio technologies, including Eureka 147, Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM), In-Band On Channel (IBOC), ISDB-TSB and any other existing or emerging system that make use of the broadcasting services frequency bands.

[Note: the ACMA is calling for more parties to come forward, especially in Eureka 147 technology, and those who wish to trial new or improved aspects of digital radio technology to do so. Ed]