World Briefs

GERMANY

In addition to taking over the post of managing director at Germany’s top-rated commercial web, RTL, Gerhard Zeiler will serve as the network’s programming director during his first year as helmer. Zeiler, currently director of Austrian pubcaster ORF, is due to replace Helmut Thoma as head of RTL on Nov. 1. RTL programming director Marc Conrad is also leaving the web in November.

Germany’s No. 2 commercial web SAT1 will turn a small profit this year, managing director Fred Kogel has reported.

After reporting losses of 165 million marks ($95 million) in 1997, “the course is set for a slight profit in 1998,” Kogel said. With ad sales improving, Kogel expects SAT1’s revs to rise by around $57 million to reach $1 billion this year. SAT1 is spending $670 million on programming in 1998, and will invest the same sum in 1999.

CANADA

The launch of Kanata-based Telesat’s new direct broadcast satellite has been delayed after the satellite’s manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, said more testing is required.

The satellite, called Nimiq, which will be used by ExpressVu to provide DTH broadcasting services, was scheduled to be launched this month. Telesat now estimates that the $265 million satellite will be up and functioning in early 1999.

HUNGARY

Israel-based cinema developer Forum Film, owned by Israeli exhibitor/distributor Muki Gridinger, opened a 10-screen multiplex in the Hungarian city of Gyor, via Gridinger’s local subsidiary IT Magyar Cinema.

IT Magyar Cinema would not reveal the cost of the Gyor plex which opened last Wednesday, but analysts estimate it to be approximately $2 million.

As the first multiplex to be built outside of Budapest (the capital currently boasts four cineplexes), distributors are hopeful that the re-tooling of Hungary’s rural exhibition infrastructure with modern multiplexes will increase box office results in the provinces in the same way cineplexes have revived the cinema industry in Budapest since the first plex appeared in the city two years ago.

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