Packer’s Nine web buys into AsiaSat 2 bird

Kerry Packer’s Nine Network Intl. has paid $ A250,000 ($ 169,000) to reserve 10 high-power transponders on the AsiaSat 2 satellite due for launch in 1995.

The satellite, which will have a footprint that reaches from Germany to Japan and down to Tasmania and New Zealand, will provide the Aussie media magnate with a potential audience of 2 billion.

If programming is originated outside Australia it would be free of local restrictions on advertising and siphoning placed by legislation on the Aussie satellite operators.

As one media analyst noted, “Packer’s action could well affect the fundraising of Hi Vision and UCOM,” the two companies which together bid $ 275 million for the two Australian satellite pay-TV licenses.

By buying into the Hong Kong-controlled bird, Packer’s strategy suggests a pincers movement on the Aussie market. Concurrently, Nine and Rupert Murdoch (who is buying 15% of the Seven Network) are partnered with Telecom in a consortium which is developing a cable network for pay TV in Australia.

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