Television Asia's Executive News
18 December 2006


ITV loses appeal against licence fee ruling

Bangkok – Thai television network ITV, lost its appeal against the May 2006 ruling revoking the company’s rights to reduced concession fees and its replacement of news and educational programming with entertainment which breached the requirements of ITV’s original broadcasting licence.

Temasek Holdings (Singapore)-linked ITV’s concession fees were granted by an arbitration panel in 2004, for a 30 year concession to operate the only network not owned by the government or military, on condition that more than half of its programming is dedicated to news and information.

It is believed ITV will face fines of up to 94 billion baht (US$2.67 billion) with the Supreme Administrative Court upholding the May 2006 ruling, and will negotiate the exact payment with the government. The company may be forced into bankruptcy should it be required to pay the full amount.

ITV’s predicament worsened Temasek’s position as its purchase of a stake in ITV’s parent company Shin Corp is already under investigations by the interim Thai government, examining foreign ownership levels and the use of nominee companies.


NGCI and FINAS jointly commission Malaysian HD documentaries

Kuala Lumpur – National Geographic Channels International (NGCI) and National Film Development Corporation of Malaysia (FINAS) announced the commissioning of two, one-hour HD documentary programs for the NGCI-FINAS High-Definition Documentary Fund 2006, Malaysia to the World. The closed door commissioning event and master workshop was held in Kuala Lumpur on 13 December.

Over 80 proposals were received from Malaysian filmmakers and six filmmakers were shortlisted to attend the full-day master workshop conducted by NGCI senior producers.

Novista Sdn Bhd and Cosmo Vision Production Sdn in collaboration with VHQ Post (M) Sdn Bhd, will produce a one-hour documentary each. The programs will be shot in HD format with budgets of up to US$200,000 per documentary.

Production will commence in January 2007 under the guidance of NGCI senior producers, with the product to be showcased on National Geographic Channel’s global distribution network of up to 290 million homes in 164 countries and in 27 languages.


2006 Asia Television Forum closes on record high

Singapore – The 2006 Asia Television Forum (ATF), Asia Film Market & Conference (AFMC) and Asia Animation Conference (AAN) closed with US$47.1 million worth of deals concluded, exceeding the US$33 million mark in 2005 by about 42%. The market grew by 25%, with participation from a record total of 49 countries.

The market drew 121 Asian sellers, a 44% increase from 2005. Strong participation came from Singapore with 25 companies, a 20% increase over last year; and South Korea, with a first time involvement of all four of its major broadcasters.

The Media Financing Forum saw over US$250 million of total seed funding with 38 submissions, a 40% increase in submissions from 2005, resulting in a record 34 submissions being shortlisted for potential financing.

The ATF and Asia Animation SuperPitches received entries from Australia, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand, and recorded 11 pitches. Australia’s Little Production House and Thailand’s Anya Animation won the ATF SuperPitch and Asia Animation SuperPitch respectively.


CASBAA to pursue 2007 mobile, regulatory agenda

Hong Kong – Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA) announced its strategic direction for 2007 and results of the 2006 Annual General Meeting elections to the CASBAA Council of Governors and Board of Directors.

CASBAA will focus on the increasing impact of mobile technology and step up initiatives in India and China. It will also continue to engage regulatory authorities in markets and promote industry development in Indonesia, Vietnam and Pakistan among others.

Newly elected to the CASBAA Council of Governors include: Craig Zimbulis, President and COO of Anytime; Garie Pimentel, President and CEO of Mabuhay Satellite; Ian Barnard, President of MIH Asia; Juno Henares Chuidian, Head of Programmes Acquisition of SkyVision Corporation; Malcolm Spry, CEO of AGB Nielsen Media Research and Susan Ho, Head of Creative, Media and Tech Industries, Client Relations of Standard Chartered Bank. Re-elected members are: Christine Fellowes, Managing Director of E! Entertainment, Hong Kong; Hugh Stephens, SVP International Relations and Strategic Policy, Asia-Pacific of Time Warner; Jeanette Chan, Partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; Jeremy Pink, CEO/GM of CNBC Asia; Nic van Zwanenberg, Regional Director, Distribution and Business Development of BBC World; Nigel Francis (Individual); PJ Wong, Founder, Chairman and CEO of iMediaHouse; Thierry Raymaekers, GM, Sales and Marketing of Irdeto; and William Pfeiffer, CEO of Celestial Pictures.

Personnel elected to the CASBAA Board of Directors are: Jonathan Spink, CEO of HBO Asia; Peter Jackson, CEO of AsiaSat; Sompan Charumilinda, EVP-Chairman, United Broadcasting Corporation; Nic van Zwanenberg, Regional Director, Distribution and Business Development of BBC World; and William Pfeiffer, CEO of Celestial Pictures. Retaining seats on the CASBAA Board of Directors 2006 for the second year of two-year terms are Ian Carroll, SVP and GM, Turner International Asia Pacific; James Ross, Regional Director, Granada International/ITV Worldwide; Marcel Fenez, Asia-Pacific Leader, Entertainment and Media Practice PricewaterhouseCoopers and Michelle Guthrie, CEO of STAR Group.

Stepping down from the CASBAA Council of Governors were Jeanne Marie Gescher, President of Claydon Gescher Associates and Karl Rossiter, CTO of Zieland Productions.


Media e2e, Oracle and Wipro Infotech form Media Technology Consortium

Mumbai – Media e2e, Oracle and Wipro Infotech announced the formation of a Media Technology Consortium to address growing technology needs of the media and entertainment sector by designing advanced information systems.

The alliance sees Media e2e bringing domain expertise and niche applications solutions for the media and entertainment industry, Oracle providing industry focused business applications, and Wipro offering infrastructure services and system integration capabilities.

The consortium is in the process of meeting broadcast and media and entertainment companies, and expanding its focus on key Asia-Pacific markets in the coming months.


Disney Channel launched on HiTRON in Papua New Guinea

Disney Channel has launched on the basic offerings tier of Papua New Guinea’s HiTRON. The country’s television and data service provider also distributes the channel to other cable TV platforms in the market.

HiTRON provides television and data communication services through satellite TVRO and TV re-broadcast systems in Papua New Guinea. It has a MMDS TV system in Port Moresby and a VSAT data communications system. The company’s wireless Internet network also provides internet services in the country.


ICC selects ESPN STAR Sports as global media and production partner till 2015

Dubai – ESPN STAR Sports has been selected as the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) global media and production partner for its audio-visual rights for ICC Events from late 2007 to 2015.

Official figures of the agreement are understood to exceed ICC’s previous deal with Global Cricket Corporation (GCC), which saw sponsorship rights and audio-visual component amounting to US$550 million for the years 2000 to 2007.

18 ICC tournaments are expected to take place within the 8-year agreement, including 2 ICC Cricket World Cups in Asia (2011) and Australasia (2015); at least 3 ICC Champions Trophy tournaments; 2 ICC Twenty20 World Championships in South Africa (2007) and England (2009), Cricket World Cup qualifiers, 4 ICC U/19 Cricket World Cups; and the inaugural Women’s Cricket World Cup in Australia (2009) and India (2013).