Satellite and Cable TV

Of increasing importance in TV advertising is the growth and development of satellite TV broadcasting. Sky Channel a United Kingdom based commercial satellite television station, beams its programs and advertising into most of Europe to cable TV subscribers. The technology that permits households to receive broadcasts directly from the satellite via a dish the size of a dinner plate costing about $350 is adding greater coverage and the ability to reach all of Europe with a single message. The expansion of TV coverage will challenge the creativity of advertisers and put greater emphasis on global standardized messages for a comparison of penetration rates by cable TV, computers, and the Internet in the several countries.

Advertisers and government are both concerned about the impact of satellite TV. Government is concerned because they fear further loss of control over their airwaves and the spread of American cultural imperialism Europe television programming includes such US shows a Roseanne. Wheel of Fortune is the most popular foreign show in the United Kingdom and in France, where both the US and French versions are shown. US imports are so popular in France and Germany that officials fear lowbrow US game shows, sitcoms and soap operas will crush domestic producers. This battle has even reached political levels associated with differences in worldviews represented in the news. France is investing in developing not surprisingly a French language CNN Al-Jazeera initially subsidized by Qatar government loans, is currently struggling to break even. Nevertheless it is now widely recognized Arabic CNN and is commensurately.

Parts of Asia and Latin America receive TV broadcasts from satellite television networks. Univision and Televisa are two Latin American satellite television networks broadcasting via a series of affiliate stations in each country to most of the Spanish speaking world, including the United States. Sabado Gigante, a popular Spanish language program broadcast by Univision is seen by tens of millions of viewers in 16 countries. Star TV, a new pan-Asia satellite television network, has a potential audience of 2.7 billion people living in 38 countries from Egypt through India to Japan and from Russia to Indonesia. Star TV was the first to broadcast across Asia but was quickly joined by ESPN and CNN. The first Asian 24 hour all sports channel was followed by MTV Asia and a Mandarin Chinese language channel that delivers dramas, comedies, movies and financial news aimed at the millions of overseas Chinese living throughout Asia. Programs are delivered through cable networks but are received through private satellite dishes.

One of the drawbacks of satellites is also their strengths that are their ability to span a wide geographical region covering many different country markets. That means a single message is broadcast throughout a wide area. This may not be desirable for some products; further with cultural differences in language, preferences and so on, a single message may not be as effective. PVI (Princeton Video Imaging) is an innovation that will make regional advertising in diverse cultures easier than it presently is when using cable or satellite television. PVI allows ESPN which offers this service to fill visual real estate – blank walls, streets, stadium sidings – with computer generated visuals that look like they belong in the scene. For instance if you are watching the street during ESPN’s X-games you will see the racers appear to pass a billboard advertising Adidas shoes that really is not there . That bill board can say one thing in Holland and quite another in Cameron. And if you are watching in Portland, Oregon, where Adidas might not advertise you will see the scene as it really appears – without the billboard. These commercials can play in different languages in different countries, and even under different names.

Most satellite technology involves some government regulation. Singapore, Taiwan, and Malaysia prohibit selling dishes, and the Japanese government prevents domestic cable companies for re-broadcasting form foreign satellites. Such restrictions seldom work for long, however. In Taiwan an estimated 1.5 million dishes rein use and numerous illicit cable operators are in business. Through one technology or another Asian household will be open to the same kind of viewing choice Americans have grown accustomed and the advertising that it brings with it.