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SES sees emerging markets boost for video-over-satellite

Satellite TV is still growing, but that growth is likely to come from emerging markets in the future, alongside new applications such as UHD TV, according to SES.

Speaking at a press event at IBC, SES commercial chief Ferdinand Kayser said SES now has over 500 video customers, including 50 TV platforms, with a technical reach of 317 million homes.

He said that SES had expanded its technical reach in video to 317 million homes. It now delivered 7,463 channels, up from 5,210 five years ago. Some 32.7% are HD services. Kayser said this percentage was still low, compared with the US, where HD channels accounted for two thirds for the total. In Europe, he said, HD penetration was still at 28-29%.

Kayser said that growth would come from increases in the number of TV homes in emerging markets. SES predicts that homes in these markets will grow from 920 million to 1.126 billion by 2023  The number of TV channels in emerging markets is expected to grow from 25,310 to 34,194 in 2024.

Kayser said that 52% of SES’s satellite capacity could serve emerging markets. SES expects HD channels in emerging markets to grow to 14,897 by 2024, while HD channels in developed markets will grow to 7,419. UHD channels will number 305 in developed markets and 481 in emerging markets by the same date, according the figures cited by SES.

Kayser added that SES now carries 26 UHD TV channels, out of 57 globally. Via its new MX1 unit, SES is also delivering hybrid solutions, supporting 120 VOD platforms. Kayser said that linear viewing was stable in the developed markets, or even slightly increasing. In no market dies non-linear account for more than 10% of viewing time, he said.

Kayser said that SES was seeing strong continued demand for video traffic on its satellites. “Satellite will have a strong role to pay in the future as we expect growth in the video segment of 3% CAGR between now and 2020. he said SES expected stronger growth in enterprise and mobility segments. “Mobility is the segment where we see the highest growth rates for the time being,” he said. SES is also seeing growth in the government segment, he said.

Kayser said that 2016 had been a very important year because the company had taken the decision to go more and more into new vertical including mobility and government as well as the enterprise segment.

“We started the year with the launch of the first SES Plus networks…for enterprise,” he said. “A second important milestone was the acquisition of RR Media followed by the creation of MX1 in July.”

SES now also owns 100% of mobile satellite network O3b Networks. Kayser said the company offered a way of offering a high-performance data network with prospects in the government and enterprise segments.

SES now has over 50 GEO satellites, as well as 12 MEO satellites. It operates over 30 teleports and has a presence in 24 countries.

Kayser said that SES wanted to offer services to avoid capacity sales becoming entirely commoditised. “Video is the vertical where we have started with services,” he said. “ We have developed our market share and are distributing more channels than any other operator.”

He said that this had generated additional infrastructure business. While margins on services where lower than for infrastructure, he said the business still generated good margins. “It is a health and a solid business if it is managed properly.”