Animal Planet to air in New Zealand

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SINGAPORE--Sky Network Television Ltd. of New Zealand will launch pay-TV channel Animal Planet in December on a new direct-to-home (DTH) system with more than 27,000 subscribers.

In a distribution deal spanning three years, Sky viewers will soon receive the "all animals, all the time" 24-hours a day channel through the Sky DTH basic package.

Animal Planet's parent company, Discovery Channel, has also renewed existing agreements with Sky to continue on its UHF system as well as provide carriage on the new DTH system. The largest pay-TV provider in New Zealand, Sky has been affiliated with Discovery Channel since January 1995.

Sky currently operates an analog UHF system offering a five-channel service, including a shared channel that features Discovery Channel. The new digital service currently being rolled out is a multi-channel DTH system that will allow Sky to deliver up to 20 full channels. The UHF and DTH systems will operate simultaneously throughout New Zealand. The DTH programming will be available to subscribers beginning in December.

Copyright December 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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