Satellite operator Eutelsat’s much-anticipated renewal of its core agreement with Sky Italia, the extension of contracts with Tricolor TV in Russia and Azam TV in Sub-Saharan Africa, and new wins with BluTV in Brazil and Kabelio in Switzerland helped bolster its broadcast revenues in the first quarter, contributing to a solid three months that nevertheless saw operating verticals revenues dip by 1.9%.
The Paris-based operator posted operating verticals revenues of €306.7 million for the quarter. Broadcast revenues were down 1.5% on a like-for-like basis to €190.6 million.
Eutelsat said the decline in broadcast revenue reflected the impact of a renegotiation of its contract with Greek pay TV operator Forthnet.
The operator’s renewal of a multi-year agreement with Sky Italia, Eutelsat’s largest broadcast customer for the renewal and consolidation of its capacity agreements at the Hotbird position, helped enable it to confirm its full-year objectives.
The total number of channels broadcast by Eutelsat satellites stood at 6,683, down 4% year-on-year. The number of HD channels stood at 1,739 versus 1,582 a year earlier, up by 10% and represented 26% of channels compared with 22.7% a year earlier.
“Eutelsat has made a solid start to the year, with operating verticals revenues in line with expectations and a backlog of €4.4 billion, up 3% year-on-year. Highlights of the First Quarter include the renewal of the Sky Italia contract at Hotbird, confirming the ongoing relevance of satellite in Western Europe, and significant steps in our Fixed Broadband strategy with the acquisition of Bigblu Broadband Europe ahead of the imminent entry into service of Eutelsat Konnect,” said CEO Rodolphe Belmer.
“This performance demonstrates the general resilience of our business to the current environment. Although the rate of new business in certain verticals, in particular in Broadcast, is slower than usual against the general operating backdrop, we have nevertheless produced a solid commercial outturn securing several new contracts and renewals on favourable terms. Based on this performance we confirm our financial objectives for the current year and subsequent year.”
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