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International airwaves roundup

Turkey's Saadet Party buys TV station; national coverage planned

Representatives of Turkey's Saadet Party have purchased shares of Bayrak TV, giving the Islamist party access to nationwide broadcasting for the first time.

The group purchased all outstanding shares of Bayrak TV in Zogat for a reported $200,000.

The investors include Kazim Aslan, an executive member of the Saadet Party and five other associates. According to Aslan, the party authorized the acquisition of the channel. After improving its infrastructure, the station's headquarters will move to Istanbul or Ankara and it will begin national service.

The channel will focus on news, culture, economic, sports and religious themes.

China to launch DTV channels, pay-per-view next month

In September, China takes an important step on an ambitious effort to bring digital television service to viewers when it will launch several new digital television and pay-per-view services.

The TV modernization plan, established by China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, calls for 10 new commercial stations to begin offering national digital service as well as one million subscribers to digital cable service by year's end. Conversion is set to begin next month with new digital broadcasts being made available. Currently, there are 5,000 digital cable subscribers nationwide.

China plans to cease analog television service by 2015. It also envisions transmitting high-definition coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics to be held in Beijing.

Australian broadcast association promotes DTV to viewers

An Australian association of television broadcasters is out to convert viewers to digital television with a new promotional campaign.

The "Digital TV – Free To View" campaign launched by Commercial Television Australia features personalities from the nation's three free over-the-air broadcasters touting the benefits of digital television.

Plans call for the commercials to run through Christmas. Sales of DTV set-top boxes appear to be growing. According to Digital Broadcast Australia, nearly 94,000 DTV receivers were sold in the first half of the year. The group forecasts 150,000 being sold by the end of the year.

Some Canadians of Italian ancestry object to proposed RAI service on cable

A group of Canadians of Italian ancestry has sent a letter to the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission opposing an effort by Rogers Cable to begin national distribution of Italian-language RAI International via digital cable.

The group, the National Congress of Italian Canadians -Toronto District, oppose the application on the grounds that RAI's service might be detrimental to Toronto's Italian Canadian community because it might limit the opportunity of a local Italian-language broadcaster. Telelatino, a Toronto broadcaster, has aired a mixture of RAI and locally originated Italian programming for 20 years.

On the heels of the Rogers Cable application, RAI announced it would withdraw its programming from Telelatino by month’s end.

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