Execs see bright future for sat industry

17 Sep 2007

Satellite operators painted an optimistic picture for the years ahead with new growth opportunities as well as strong demand in core markets such as video.

The industry is "in a dynamic phase,"said Yves Blanc, director of strategic planning and institutional relations at Eutelsat. "We are looking at expansion and growth. DTH (direct to home) remains more than ever the core business.

Officials from SES Global and Intelsat joined Eutelsat in saying that there have been considerable changes to the fixed satellite services landscape in recent years.

"Two operators account for around 50% of total revenues," said Phillip Spector, executive vice president and general counsel at Intelsat, said, referring to his company and SES Global. "There is a changing operator landscape. Five operators account for 75% of revenues. Content globalization is driving demand for global operators."

With the satellite operator landscape now dominated by stronger, bigger players, the question is what the demands will be for satellite capacity throughout the next few years. All operators pointed to numerous new growth opportunities, while also admitted that plain, old-fashioned video would remain the dominant revenue generator going forward.


Numerous markets will drive an increase of C-band, Ku-band and Ka-band utilization over the next five years," said Christophe De Hauwer, vice president of strategic and business planning at SES Global. "These include residential broadband, government applications, enterprise networks, aeronautical applications and maritime applications."

De Hauwer also believes the demand for services in the aeronautical industry will still be strong even though the market is proving tough to crack.

In terms of the maritime sector, he said SES was seeing strong demand for more Ku-band based services, as this sector moves away from L-Band.

However, while there may be attractive new markets for capacity, video will still dominate. "Video is a huge demand driver for the future," said De Hauwer. "Three years ago, we did not expect the demand for video would be so huge.

He said compression improvements are also driving video. The mobile space also is becoming a bigger focus for the larger operators, as evidenced by SES Global'srecent joint venture with Eutelsat.

© 2007 Dialog, a Thomson business. All rights reserved.

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