EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE ASIAN TELEVISION BUSINESS. FROM THE PUBLISHERS OF TELEVISION ASIA, TELEVISION ASIA'S EXECUTIVE NEWS – DIRECT TO YOUR DESKTOP EVERY MONDAY MORNING.

Television Asia's Executive News
29 January 2007

ESPN STAR Sports loses hotel distribution in China

BeijingChina's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) has limited the number of foreign TV channels in hotel rooms to just 31.

ESPN STAR Sports is among the channels to lose out.

"ESPN STAR Sports is still in the renewal process of its landing rights and is actively working to conclude the arrangements," says a company spokesman.

The 31 permitted channels are CNN, HBO, Cinemax, CNBC Asia Pacific, MTV Mandari, National Geographic Channel Asia, STAR Movies, Channel V, AXN, Discovery, Hallmark, BBC World, NHK World Premium, Phoenix Movies, Phoenix Chinese, TVB8, TVB Galaxy, NOW, MASTV Chinese, Phoenix Infonews Channel, Bloomberg, Xing Kong Wei Shi, Euro Sports News, CETV, Horizon Channel, SUNTV, Celestial Movies, Channel NewsAsia, TV5, East TV and Cuba Vision International.

AXN and Animax jump into Games-on-Demand

Singapore SPE Networks – Asia and Dragonback Media have formed co-branded gamesites (http://axn.jumboplay.com & http://animax.jumboplay.com) with action and adventure channel AXN, and anime youth channel Animax.

While the AXN site has been live since 1 December 2006, Animax's new website is to to launch on February 1. SPE Networks – Asia says the move is to keep up to speed with the digital habits of tech-savvy and game-hungry AXN and Animax viewers.

Says Ricky Ow, General Manager of SPE Networks, "The Internet and PC entertainment has grown tremendously since its introduction into the consumer market. The tie-up with Dragonback Media shows that the channels are serious in connecting with our viewers beyond television."

The co-branded sites offer access to a large inventory of PC and console games from Eidos, PlayFirst, Atari, Ubisoft and Microsoft, with new games added every month. JumboPlay will be the first Asian-based Games on Demand service to carry PlayFirst titles and release the Diner Dash series. Another Asian first will be Atari's newest Never Winter Nights 2. Other titles include Microsoft's Age of Empires, and Age of Mythology, as well as Zoo Tycoon, Prince of Persia and Ghost Recon series, Tomb Raider: Legends, Championship Manager, Deus Ex, and the Hitman series.

CASBAA grows and sets 2007 program

Hong KongThe Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA) has welcomed a new Patron Member and four Corporate Members on board. The new Patron Member is new pay-TV network Asia Broadcast Networks, while new Corporate Members are children's content provider HiT Entertainment, Singapore-based satellite services provider Globecast, conditional access supplier Viaccess, and broadcaster Television New Zealand. Satellite capacity supplier Intelsat also upgraded its CASBAA membership to Patron status.

The CASBAA members program for 2007 includes training schemes (the CASBAA Media College), CASBAA Market Reports (Indonesia and Taiwan, among others), IPR seminars and networking events, CASBAA Satellite Industry Forum (June 18), the CASBAA China Forum (late August) and the CASBAA Convention 2007 (Oct 30 – Nov 2).

Government to expand CAS to more Indian cities

IndiaCurrently limited to Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, the January 1-enforced Conditional Access Bill is expected to be implemented across other major cities in India including Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Pune, and Indore, and satellite towns of Noida and Gurgaon.

BBC Worldwide receives kudos from Broadcast International

LondonBBC Worldwide was awarded on January 24, 2007 the Broadcast International Programme Sales Award for the second consecutive year following its celebrity dance show format, Dancing with the Stars. The Emmy-nominated show has featured in 29 countries including USA, Russia, Australia, Japan, India and Chile.

BBC also won Channel of the year (BBC ONE), Best entertainment programme (How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?); Best comedy (Extras); Best sports programme (World Cup Final coverage) Best documentary series (Planet Earth: From Pole to Pole), Best children's programme (Charlie & Lola producedby Tiger Aspect); Best drama series or serial (Bleak House) and Best new programme (Life On Mars).

Irdeto, Alticast, LG-Nortel and Kaon Media collaborate to deliver IPTV solution

SeoulIrdeto, provider of content security for digital TV, IPTV and mobile TV networks, is collaborating with Alticast, interactive middleware solution provider for digital broadcasting services, together with Korea-based set-top box manufacturers LG-Nortel and Kaon Media, to deliver an end-to-end IPTV solution worldwide.

Irdeto's IPTV SoftClient, software security client for protection of broadcast, on-demand and PVR content on IP networks will be integrated with set-top boxes, VOD servers and middleware solutions from its established partners to ease deployment for telcos and broadband operators.

Gang Won-Chul, vice president of Alticast, hopes for more collaborations in future between the partners, including for simulcrypt solutions for the cable market.

MTV China and Huiyuan Juice form year-long alliance

Beijing / Hong Kong – MTV Networks China and Chinese fruit juice maker, Huiyuan Juice, have formed sponsorship alliance for on air and on-the-ground partnership. Huiyuan is also the first sponsor of 2007 MTV Style Gala in Shanghai, an awards show for the music, movie and fashion industries in China.

2007 MTV Style Gala will be telecast on MTV China and MTV's syndicated programmes as well as Shanghai's OTV and movie channel CCTV6.

MTV China 24-hour Channel is available to 13.1 million TV households in China. In addition, MTV locally produces and syndicates programming in 459 cities across the nation to reach over 181 million households.

Discovery Networks Asia and Samsung to co-promote HD

SingaporeDiscovery Networks Asia will partner Samsung to promote adoption of HD technology and content, following the launch of Discovery's HD channel in Singapore on StarHub cable.

The partners will organize roadshows in key cities and develop an online microsite to provide information to consumers. Discovery will provide Samsung with HD content on Blu-ray discs as starter kits at retail outlets and pamphlets to be distributed with Samsung HD LCD TV sets. Discovery will also create four Samsung-branded educational vignettes for HDTV in April. The partnership includes an eight-week sponsorship of content on Discovery Channel and Discovery Travel & Living, including Discovery Atlas on the former.

Celestial Pictures and Jaman to distribute Shaw Brothers titles online in North America

Hong KongSilicon Valley-based online movie distributor and online community Jaman Inc. has acquired online distribution rights to 50 titles from Celestial's Shaw Brothers library in the US and Canada. It will distribute Shaw Brothers classics including martial-arts, horror, period dramas and action movies. Key titles include martial-arts classics such as Chang Cheh's The Duel and The Legend of the Fox, and Chu Yuan's The Sentimental Swordsman.

Celestial's Shaw Brothers library archives 760 Chinese-language films including blockbusters starring Jet Li, Chow Yun Fat, Gordon Liu, Andy Lau, and directed by pioneers of the Hong Kong film industry such as Chang Cheh, Chu Yuan, and Li Han-hsiang.