The main growth driver for satellite operators came from broadcasting TV channels last year, according to analyst firm Euroconsult.
The Satellite Communications & Broadcasting Market Survey reported that there were over 29,000 TV channels distributed by satellite worldwide last year. Growth in the number of channels broadcast was supported by the launch of 15 new satellite pay TV platforms which were launched in emerging regions, for a total of 126 satellite TV platforms serving around 155 million subscribers worldwide.
Capacity demand for TV broadcasting grew by over 9% in several regions including Latin America, Russia, the Middle East, Africa, and South East Asia. The number of high-definition TV channels worldwide increased by 42% last year to reach around 2,680 HD channels (excluding local networks in the US). While 70% of HD channels broadcast in 2009 were concentrated in North America, this share decreased to 58% in 2010. By comparison, Euroconsult said 3DTV remains a nascent market with no more than 20 3D channels reported in 2010.
The survey found that the fixed satellite sector grew both in terms of transponder demand (up 4.4%) and revenue last year, which reached US$10.8 billion (€7.6 billion). However, Euroconsult said this is set against a backdrop of slowing growth rates and a more challenging business environment in the next several years.