Welcome to the October edition of the Satellite Television and Radio pages and just a reminder, all television and radio mentioned on these pages is received in the DVB digital format unless otherwise noted.
As mentioned in the closing remarks of last months satellite pages an unexpected global event or even a satellite failure can occur at any time, and during September major events have included Hurricane Katrina and Rita, the New Zealand elections, as well as the continuing events in the Middle East.
Hurricane Katrina & Rita
News feed coverage of Hurricane Katrina and Rita were widely found across the Asia-Pacific satellites during September. APTN Direct on Asiasat 2 (3706, Horizontal, 4167, 5/6) fed hours of unedited video, BBC World on Panamsat 2 & 8 presented extended special coverage and the CBS Newsource and CBS Nightly News feeds on Panamsat 2 (3902, Horizontal, 30800, 3/4) allowed dish owners in Australia to experience coverage of the hurricanes and aftermath from a local American perspective.
Panamsat 2 - 169.0 degrees east
The 2005 New Zealand general election was held on September 17th with Television New Zealand's ONE News coverage being distributed via the Panamsat 2 Adhoc II VC7 Channel (3901, Horizontal, 30800, 3/4). Continuous coverage was provided on election day, commencing with the 6PM nightly news right through the vote count till after midnight. The feed didn't include New Zealand commercials but did provide studio video during the add breaks enabling viewers to experience an interesting behind the scenes view of the production. On the Sunday following the election Panamsat 2 also distributed a special election post-mortem edition of the ONE News "Sunday" program.
Meanwhile a press release from Television New Zealand advises that ONE News and other New Zealand produced Pacific programming is now being made available daily for South Pacific Broadcasters via the Panamsat 2 service.The New Zealand Government has decided to fund the expanded satellite service to South Pacific television broadcasters. The new funding will ensure the daily satellite transmission of ONE News, and weekly transmission of TV ONE's specialist Pacific programme Tagata Pasifika to Samoa, Niue, Tonga and the Cook Islands. The service began officaly on Friday 16th September.
TVNZ says part of the funding announced by the Government will also provide research to determine the most appropriate satellite transponder for the expanded service, and to make available those New Zealand-made programmes that are of special interest to Pacific nations.
TVNZ has had a longstanding relationship with Pacific broadcasters, and has helped establish television stations in the Cook Islands, Samoa, Fiji and other island groups.
Prior to the Government's decision, TVNZ itself had paid for a daily satellite feed of ONE News, which last year established a new Pacific unit to give greater depth to News coverage of the region. A poll conducted by TVNZ to Pacific broadcasters indicated they wanted TV ONE news in preference to Australian bulletins.
The announcement of New Zealand Government support ensures not only a continuation of the service but an expansion of programming which will be particularly welcomed by the smaller South Pacific broadcasters.
Panamsat 8 - 166.0 degrees east
ABC Asia Pacific, Australia's international satellite television and online service celebrated its launch into India on September 9th. The new service a major coup for the ABC as it increases its reach to the sub continent and surrounding nations as far as the Middle East. The ABC Asia-Pacific India service is received in India within the encrypted Zee Turner Pay Television service on Asiasat 3. However the service is feed to the Zee uplink via a free-to-air service (4:2:2 format) on Panamsat 8 (4180, Horizontal, 27500, 3/4).
ABC Asia Pacific India was 'switched on' at 1710 (AEST) by the Minister for Foreign Affairs the Hon Alexander Downer MP along with the Managing Director of the ABC Mr Russell Balding and Mr Michael Simmons, CEO of SPTelemedia, the ABC's international broadcasting partner.
The ABC considers India to be a crucial market for the expansion of its international television service. ABC Asia Pacific is working in conjunction with Zee Turner and their direct-to-home service Dishtv and it is expected that further distribution arrangements negotiated by ABC Asia Pacific will be announced in coming weeks.
This new service will soon also reach into Iraq where Australian servicemen and women will be able to access Australian programming through ABC Asia Pacific.
Ian Carroll Chief Executive of ABC Asia Pacific said "We are thrilled to be launching into India and beyond and offering an Australian viewpoint to another area of the Asia Pacific region. It is further testament to ABC Asia Pacific's continued growth and success and increasing demand for a channel providing an educational and unique Australian perspective in the region. India looms large for Australia as a great trading partner along with China".
ABC Asia Pacific, funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, was launched in December 2001 and is one of the fastest growing networks in the Asia Pacific region. ABC Asia Pacific aims to provide a credible, reliable and independent voice in the region on behalf of Australia.
Apstar 6 - 134.0 degrees east
A number of new mainland Chinese channels have commenced during September on Apstar 6. The Food Channel, Global Travel Channel, Fishing Channel, Channel Pet, Exam Channel, Auto Fan Channel, Baby Channel, Shopping Channel, Top Music Channel, New Entertainment Channel, Fashion Channel and Collectible Channel are currently free-to-air (4140, Vertical, 27500, 7/8 also on 4180, Vertical, 27500, 7/8).
Asiasat 3 - 105.5 degrees east
TV One (3739, Vertical, 2893, 3/4) the new Pakistani channel broadcasting in Urdu commenced regular operation in September following a few weeks of test broadcasts. Programming includes news and current affairs, entertainment, drama and music. TV One is operated by Airwaves Media who also operate the Pakistani FM radio station Radio One / FM 91.
Asiasat 2 - 100.5 degrees east
Music Media Enterprises Europe Ltd. Have commenced operations on AsiaSat 2 to broadcast Club 977's two Internet radio streams, Club 977 The 80's Channel and Club 977 The Hitz Channel (3960, Horizontal, 27500, 3/4).
Club 977 The 80's Channel (www.club977europe.com), claims to be the world's most listened all 80s Internet station, playing 80s Pop, Rock and Retro Music whilst Club 977 The Hitz Channel (www.club977hitz.com) plays the best U.S. Top 40, R&B, Hip Hop and Rap music taken directly from the charts.
Club 977, Inc. is based in Minneapolis, USA and takes it's name from the pirate radio station that the online broadcaster has evolved from. Starting in a small way with its first broadcast in 2000, Club 977 now has over 5 million listeners tuned in to the stream each month from the Internet. Club 977 currently offers two Internet radio stations with a third and fourth channel scheduled for launch in the late 2005.
The grand opening of Hong Kong Disneyland was accompanied with a four channel digital feed for broadcasters on September 12th via Asiasat 2 (3697, Vertical, 20615, 3/4). The four channels were used by various media outlets for live crosses to their reporters as well as providing full coverage of the opening day celebration.
Seen for the first time in our region is the Emirates Channel broadcasting from Abu Dhabi via Asiasat 2 (3960, Horizontal, 27500, 3/4). The channel operates general entertainment programming in contrast to Abu Dhabi Television, which has a strong news and current affairs focus and continues to be available via Asiasat 3.
One of my favourite satellite offerings comes to regular television in Australia during October! A dramatic improvement on the web-cam concept is the Earth TV Network, a series of un-manned, live, high quality video cameras that pan and zoom across some of the most interesting views on the planet. There are even cameras in our part of the world with six locations in Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Hamilton Island, Philip Island, Hobart and the Murray River) and Auckland's Viaduct Harbour in New Zealand. International camera locations span five continents offering views including London, Dubai, Paris, New York and Niagara Falls. From October Earth TV will be featured four times each day on SBS in an expanded global weather program. My guess at this stage is that this will be available on the SBS World News Channel (available via satellite, Foxtel, Austar and digital terrestrial), we will have a full report in next months Satellite Pages.