World News Briefs

JAPAN

DirecTV Japan has enlisted 152,400 subscribers as of the end of July. The company has picked up about 20,000 subscribers a month since it started service in December of last year.

DirecTV is facing tough competition in Japan from the 171-channel Sky PerfecTV platform, which currently has more than 800,000 subscribers.

Larry Hunter, a senior vice president of business affairs for DirecTV Intl., has taken the position of DirecTV Japan’s chairman. He is replacing Gareth C.C. Chang.

ITALY

Silvio Berlusconi’s media conglom Fininvest sold its 33.5% stake in German sports TV channel Deutsche Sportfernsehen (DSF) to the Kirch Group for $100 million — a deal that was inked in 1997 but was unveiled only this week. The deal was mentioned in the Fininvest Financial Yearbook for 1997, which started circulating this week in Italy’s financial circles.

LATIN AMERICA

Luca Bentivoglio has ankled his post as topper of Latino cabler the Warner Channel (WBTV), seeking to return to his roots in production.

The Caracas-based web, launched in 1995 in association with HBO Ole Partners, has been without a G.M. for two weeks now, and no replacement is yet known.

Carlos Abascal, G.M. of film net HBO Ole, is overseeing WBTV in the meantime, insiders say.

GERMANY

Hans Seger has been named vice president and managing director of the Disney Channel in Germany. He was previously executive director of sales and production in Germany for Walt Disney TV Intl., and, in his new post, he will continue to oversee production in Germany and Eastern Europe.

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