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Hot Bird TV Awards give sat TV a boost.

On October 2, the Hot Bird TV Awards in Venice recognized excellence in thematic satellite television channels throughout Europe and the Mediterranean Basin. The Hot Birds remain the only European awards to recognize thematic satellite broadcasting.

The awards and the ceremony were sponsored by the Paris-based Eutelsat, a leading international satellite operator that delivers programming to over 1,400 TV channels and 700 radio stations, and the Rome-based Eurovisione, the international Festival for Film and Television, founded in 1987. The awards ceremony took place in the newly restored La Fenice Theater.

Hot Bird is organized in conjunction with the international satellite exhibition, SAT Expo 2004, and held on the last day of that event, which unfolded in the nearby city of Vicenza, from September 30 to October 2.

Created in 1998, the awards ceremony intends to recognize excellence, to promote satellite broadcasting and shed light on the continued importance of thematic broadcasting.

The awards are divided into several categories--Culture, Cinema & Fiction, News, Kids, Music Documentaries, Sports and Various. Though hundreds of TV channels from around the world enter their programs in the competition, only a few nominees are chosen by a jury of experts. This year, the jury for both the initial selections and the awards was comprised of 12 international journalists from Poland, Russia, Spain, Greece, the U.K., Turkey, Germany, France and Italy, including jurors from the U.K.'s The Daily Telegraph, France's Le Monde and Italy's La Repubblica.

The event is thus divided into two distinct sections--the nominations and the awarding of bronze statues. As part of the nomination process, the jury met for a three-day period in Rome last July, where they discussed the evolution of thematic broadcasting and chose the line-up of channels for nomination, at least three candidates for every category. The criteria that nominees must meet in order to be considered included dynamic approach, creative programming, quality of production and positive image. The same jury members who chose the nominees also chose the winners, announced on October 2 and awarded the famous Gaea statues, representing the earth Goddess Gaea--the symbol of Eutelsat--designed by Vicenza-based sculptor Nereo Quagliato.

This year's winners included Poland's Europa Europa in the Cinema category, Italy's Jimmy Jimmy for Fiction, Italy's Planet for Culture, Italy's History Channel for Documentaries, France's Piwi for Kids, France's Mezzo and Italy's MTV Brand New for Music, the U.K.'s BBC World for News, Italy's Sky Sport for Sport, France's Gourmet TV and Italy's RaiSat Gambero Rosso fur Various, and Poland's 4 Fun TV for Best New Channel.

Special awards were bestowed by Eutelsat to SkyTG24, the news channel operated by Sky Italia, and to the European Broadcasting Union, which celebrated the 50th year of its Eurovision and 20 years of collaboration with Eutelsat.
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Title Annotation:Niche Channels
Publication:Video Age International
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Nov 1, 2004
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