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Eutelsat ups channel footprint by 7.4%

Eutelsat’s satellites broadcast a total of 6,810 channels as of the end of December, marking a 7.4% year-on-year increase as HD penetration continued to rise.

Announcing its half year results, Eutelsat said that its number of high definition channels stood at 1,275, up 28% from 997 a year earlier, implying a penetration rate of 18.7% compared to 15.7% at the end of 2016.

Noting video highlights for the period, Eutelsat said it renewed a major contract with Cyfrowy Polsat as well as with distributor Globecast.

It also signed a capacity contract with SFR-Altice at 5° West for some 20 channels and multi-year agreements for new DTH platforms in several emerging broadcast markets, including Fiji on Eutelsat 172B and the Caribbean region on Eutelsat 117 West B.

Video Applications revenues in the first half were down 1.2% on a like-for-like basis to €449.2 million and accounted for 66% of Eutelsat’s revenues.

Eutelsat’s total revenue was down 5.7% on a like-for-like basis to €697 million, while EBITDA was down 7.4% to €545. However, EBITDA margin gained 0.5 points at constant currency to stand at 78.4%, reflecting stronger than expected delivery on Eutelsat’s Leap cost savings plan.

“First half results were in line with our expectations, with the decline in revenues mostly reflecting, as in the first quarter, an unfavourable comparison basis in FY 2017,” said Eutelsat CEO Rodolphe Belmer, who described profitability as “robust”.

Separately, Italian broadcaster Mediaset has signed a deal to launch three HD versions of its channels on Eutelsat’s satellite platform.

The three flagship channels of the Mediaset Group – Canale 5, Italia 1 and Rete 4 – will be broadcast simultaneously in SD and HD on the free Tivùsat television package operating from Hotbird at 13° East, Eutelsat’s satellite hotspot for the Italian market.