Posts Tagged ‘astra’

No Free Speech or Paids Ads in Russia

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

The remnants of totalitarian communism in Russia refuses to go away. Putin’s mafia-style government first tried to take down the satellite TV signal of Dozhd, one of the few remaining independent channels. The channel is available via Yamal 300K, Eutelsat 36B, Astra 4A, and Dish Network in the U.S. (via Anik F3).

Now the government wants to ban advertising on any channel beside FTA television, most of which is state-owned or controlled. Removing one of the main sources of revenue is their way of putting them out of business.

Dozens of small and independent Russian television stations could face closure after lawmakers approved a controversial bill banning advertising on cable and satellite channels.

The proposal would also consolidate state-controlled channels’ dominance of the advertisement market.

The surprise bill raced through Russia’s State Duma, the lower house of parliament, last week, sailing through its three compulsory readings in just two sessions.

Excluded from the ban are “national, compulsory, universally accessible” channels and those conveyed by terrestrial broadcasting — meaning all the state-controlled channels that currently dominate Russian television.

Advocates say the new law aims to end unfair competition on the television market, where pay channels supposedly benefit from mixed funding schemes — subscription fees and advertising — while free broadcast channels are limited to commercials.

But the heads of 15 pay channels, including Natalya Sindeyeva of opposition-leaning Dozhd TV, have written a letter to the government warning that the ban will sound the death knell for more than half of Russia’s cable and satellite channels.

“Excluding the advertising model could place about 150 thematic pay channels on the brink of survival,” the letter says. “Raising payments for television services may lead to understandable customer dissatisfaction.”

The signatories also warn that the new law will hurt small and medium-sized businesses currently advertising on pay channels since “only big-business representatives can afford advertising on federal channels.”

Read the letter in Russian here. Behold the quick translation into English…

From an article in the newspaper “Kommersant” from 26/06/14, we were surprised to learn that in the State Duma in an expedited manner planned to adopt a package of amendments to the “Law on Advertising.” Our keen interest aroused amendment prohibiting advertising on pay channels. We believe that consideration of this amendment, the State Duma of the Russian Federation should take into account the following circumstances:

1. Absolutely no obvious reason why television channels necessary in law to impose a particular model in the market. We believe that any TV channel can select or advertising model, or paid, or mixed. The choice of a model should be determined solely by market mechanisms rather than the provisions of the legislation. According to our information the absence of such legislative restrictions characteristic of the vast majority of countries around the world.

2. Most pay-TV channels now uses both models of monetization of their business – and advertising and paid. Exception advertising model will deliver about 150 paid thematic channels on the brink of survival. It is possible, the financial burden will be shifted to the subscribers. Services of the largest Russian operators used by tens of millions of Russian citizens. Increased pay for TV service can lead to understandable frustration consumers.

3. Please note that the central channels of essential federal campaigns can afford only representatives of big business. For medium and small business advertising on such channels is not available due to its high cost. But representatives of small and medium businesses can promote on the Russian market their products and services by means of pay-TV channels. They can appeal to the audience of thematic channels, which are most likely to consume their product or service at feasible prices for their business. Ban such advertising can lead to a significant delay in the development of small and medium-sized businesses in our country. We believe that this provision of the legislation is contrary to public policy to support small and medium-sized businesses.

Appeal with the proposal to postpone consideration of this amendment in the spring session of the State Duma. Propose to discuss the amendment with the business community, and nominate it for discussion by the State Duma in view of his opinions.

This is ridiculous, yet typical of Putin’s stupidity. Gutting the Russian economy is obviously not a consideration.

People will find want they want from other sources: the truth.

Africa’s Digital Future: DTH Satellite

Friday, June 10th, 2011

Nice pitch from SES Astra’s Christoph Limmer in Balancing Act on the digital transition in Africa. Timed to coincide with a recent deal in Kenya, and the SatCom Africa 2011 show in J-burg, the points made are typical and correct, including…

According to Christoph Limmer, requests for information on satellite TV are flooding in. “Quite often we get asked if satellite can really reach more homes than other infrastructures like cable or terrestrial. The answer simply, is yes. Unlike DTT (Digital Terrestrial Television) or cable which are ground based infrastructures and normally roll-out in certain areas only; satellite has no limitations in achieving 100% population reach.” Digging cable is costly and time consuming and rolling out DTT network infrastructure is facing similar challenges.

However, one must first assume there is electrical power availability and somebody to pay for the service. Advertiser-supported content needs an audience that’s able to pay for their products/services. What I think needs to happen is the satellite operators take the hit and get the service going and wait for the market to catch up.

The developing world needs our help. Get on with it!

Al-Jazeera’s Yugo-Nostalgia

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

A new regional news operation is opening up in the Balkans, with an interesting business plan. The story, via AFP:

The Al-Jazeera pan-Arab satellite channel says it will begin airing a Balkans programme in September, hoping to to establish itself as a regional news hub in the ethnically divided region.
With powerful public television divided along ethnic lines across the region and dozens of private channels mostly focusing on entertainment, Al-Jazeera Balkans hopes to fill the void for a regional news broadcast.

“In the region there are currently more than 100 stations that broadcast news,” said Goran Milic, 65, a prominent Croatian journalist who will be responsible for Al-Jazeera’s Balkans operation.
“We cannot compete with them on the level of local news and won’t be able to for a long time,” he added, Instead, he said, Al-Jazeera could offer the regional approach abandoned in the 1990s due to war and the emotions that it sparked.

In the 1990s, the former Yugoslavia broke up into six separate states (Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia) and the disputed territory of Kosovo.

But Milic argued that many people across the region “are still interested in what is going on on the other side of the border.

“No local television dares to make a regional programme treating topics relating to bordering countries, for fear of being accused of “Yugo-nostalgia,” he noted.

“Our advantage will be also to compare information on an event in one country with a similar situation in an another,” he explained.

Media analysts however question whether Al-Jazeera can succeed since several previous attempts over the past 16 years to set up Balkans broadcasters with support of the international community failed because of lack of interest.

“They were political concepts aimed at breaking down the walls that arose during the conflicts and to push reconciliation,” Bosnian media analyst Zoran Udovicic told AFP.

After 20 years of various state media repeating the official line, it is hard to get people interested in what is happening in neighbouring countries, he added.

“(Al-Jazeera) can focus on the languages that are similar or the same and even on the feelings that people still have about the (Yugoslav) period before the wars … but they will also need to work to spark people’s interests in their neighbours,” Udovicic said.

Al-Jazeera’s best bet, he noted, would be to steer clear of the war-torn past and focus its programming on the present and the future of the region.

Serbian journalism lecturer Zoran Cirjakovic also saw problems ahead for the Balkans branch of the Qatar-based company.

“The audience in various parts of the Western Balkans has a different understanding not only of the past but also of the present,” he warns.

“The audience in all countries (in the region) have radically different interests in political topics,” he told AFP.

“They are more easily united in topics like art, culture and entertainment,” he added, citing examples of successful regional entertainment such as music and reality shows.

“My students, born in the late 1980s or early 1990s do not remember Yugoslavia… for them it is another planet, another world,” he explained.

So Al-Jazeera Balkans will be put to the test when it starts broadcasting in what was once called Serbo-Croat, which is universally understood in Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro.

Together with Al-Jazeera Turkey, it will be one of the first regional offices to broadcast in languages other than Arab or English.

The Pan-Arab channel has invested more than 20 million dollars (14 million euros) in the Balkans project.

Initially launched in 1996 as an Arabic news and current affairs satellite TV channel, Al-Jazeera has since expanded into a network with several outlets, including the Internet.

Al-Jazeera Balkans will employ some 100 people, including around 60 journalists and cameramen.
It will have correspondents in all the countries that once made up the former Yugoslavia and in several world capitals.

And it will tap a regional audience of over 20 million people as well as an important diaspora from each of the six former Yugoslav republics, particularly in Western Europe.

I don’t think they’ve figured out what satellite they’ll be on. Al-Jazeera is carried by quite a few satellites around the world, but they’ll likely select one that’s popular in the Balkan region. However, the either Astra or Eutelsat would be be a good choice as well.