NATPE’s international panel, unlike past year’s, featured few snipes at Americans for ignoring European product. Panelists were more concerned with European dilemmas and challenges.
Panelists included: Patrick Dromgoole, CEO of British commercial broadcaster HTV; Canal Plus’ Marc Tessier; RTL Plus’ Helmut Thoma; and Reteitalia’s Daniele Lorenzano.
According to Dromgoole, the chief concern of U.K. broadcasters will be to retain their franchises. France’s Tessier said Canal Plus is readying the launch of its German pay-tv service, Premier, in March. In Germany, RTL Plus now has broken even on ad revenues of 900 million marks, up from 25 million at launch seven years ago. A big problem will be how to get some of the terrestrial frequencies reserved for RTL Plus in what were East German territories.
In Italy, the major challenge for RAI honcho Silvio Berlusconi, said Lorenzano, will be the launch and programming of three pay-tv services, called Telepiu. They launch in March and consist of a movie channel, a sports channel and a cultural channel.