Astra satellite merry-go-round



Post Meister
My Satellite Setup
2xPace 430N, 1xNokia MM9800, 1xNokia 80cm Sat Dish, 1xGibertini 120cm, Big Fat Furry Puss
My Location
Berlin, Germany.
The boss of SES on how much money he is making from the UK market ...

The satellite that SES uses for UK broadcasters, orbiting 38,000km above the earth, is "practically fully booked" according to Mr Bausch.

In 2006, SES will shift the orbital position of another satellite in its fleet to meet demand from the UK market.
I suppose that'll be Astra 2C:rolleyes: With such obvious logic at hand: why not use Astra 2D for UK wide/relevant interactive services and fill-up Eurobird with the cheap shopping and always free religious stuff.

So, my friends, we might just see the BBC back on a wide beam satellite and encrypted;)


Read the full article here in the Media Guardian (you must sign in).,7493,1270442,00.html


cerca trova...
Staff member
My Satellite Setup
Triple Dragon, Dreambox 8000, Echostar AD3000ip, TBS6522,6925,6983 PCie cards.
Gibertini 1.25m motorised dish driven by the AD3000, with either Inverto BU Quad or Norsat / XMW Ka LNBs . SMW 1.05m + 3 other dishes. Speccy: Promax HD Ranger+
My Location
The Flatlands of East Anglia
Full report here:-Special report: digital TV | Television
Satellite homes in for digital take-off

SES chief predicts that new generation of televisions will create big UK demand for its technology

Dan Milmo, media business correspondent
Wednesday July 28, 2004
The Guardian

If the government achieves analogue TV switch-off by 2012 it will have a long list of names and companies to thank, from Rupert Murdoch and BSkyB to Freeview and its founder, Andy Duncan. Politicians should add a former civil servant in Luxembourg's ministry of finance to that list. Romain Bausch seems an unusual choice for the roll of honour, but the company he runs has played a pivotal role in pushing Britain to the forefront of the digital television market.

SES Global is the world's largest satellite operator, beaming programmes to more than three out of four digital satellite homes in Europe. It controls a fleet of 41 satellites that it rents to broadcasters such as BSkyB, the BBC, US pay-TV broadcaster EchoStar and its French counterpart, Canal Plus.

A $4.3bn (£2.3bn) deal in 2001 to buy American operator GE Americom propelled it to the top of the sector, with its leading position generating operating profits of €371.7m (£247.5m) last year, on sales of €1.21bn.

Despite its global reach Britain remains a core territory for SES and Mr Bausch, its president and chief executive. BSkyB will always be a totemic customer for SES, after becoming its first client in 1988. With the UK government planning to convert the entire TV market to digital by 2012 after edging away from the original 2010 target last week, Mr Bausch believes there is plenty of growth potential left.

Vested interest

"The switch from analogue to digital has been a tremendous change. When you look at the customer base, it has broadened substantially. The key UK broadcasters have for the first time become customers of SES, with the BBC, ITV and Channel Five," he says.

The satellite that SES uses for UK broadcasters, orbiting 38,000km above the earth, is "practically fully booked" according to Mr Bausch. In 2006, SES will shift the orbital position of another satellite in its fleet to meet demand from the UK market. SES has a vested interest in analogue switch-off, even if digital satellite is no longer the platform of choice for viewers wanting to sample multi-channel TV. Freeview, the digital terrestrial service backed by the BBC, is growing faster than BSkyB or cable. According to the BBC it has 4m viewers, compared with BSkyB's 7.3m subscribers and the cable industry's 2.4m digital viewers. The Freeview customer base is growing at a much faster pace, swelling by 19% in the first quarter of the year. Mr Busch points to a number of projects that will help the government achieve switch-off: BSkyB's free service, dubbed "freesat"; high definition TV, now taking off in the US, and the growing popularity of interactive content.

"It will depend on successes like this satellite free TV initiative by BSkyB. It will depend on the additional services broadcasters like the BBC and ITV will have on satellite and it will depend on the timing of the roll-out of high definition TV. All of these are initiatives that will further incentivise viewers to go for satellite reception because these services will not be available terrestrially and probably won't be available on cable."

SES is pushing interactivity through its Satmode service. SkyDigital subscribers rely on a phone line to take part in on-screen votes, which Mr Bausch believes is cumbersome: "You can use Satmode whenever you need to, it's always on and it doesn't depend on whether someone else is using your phone line."

The SES headquarters in Luxembourg is a hive of technological activity. Based at a chateau that was formally the home of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, it resembles the lair of an aristocratic Bond villain, decked with enormous satellite dishes and underground bunkers. It is at Chateau de Betzdorf that projects such as Satmode are conceived and road-tested, with the UK market very much in mind. "The UK is the leader today when it comes to the existence and development of interactive TV services. About 25% of the transponder capacity leased to BSkyB is used not for TV programmes but for interactive services," he says.

With major broadcasters already renting capacity off SES to beam channels into British homes, there is limited revenue growth in conventional satellite broadcasting. Broadcasters need to produce new services - and new services require more space on SES satellites.

Mr Bausch believes that high definition television, which offers markedly improved picture quality, will take off as more and more British viewers sample digital and pay-TV broadcasting. It is installed in 8m US homes, a figure expected to hit 50m by 2008 as the DVD boom inspires viewers to demand high quality pictures with their TV programmes. "With the launch of high definition television there will be a third wave of growth in the UK. I believe that we will see Astra [SES's European arm] adding more capacity to the UK market well beyond the satellite capacity set aside with the launch of new satellites." According to Mr Bausch, BSkyB has another reason to be grateful to SES. During negotiations over a new satellite to broadcast BSkyB's Sky Digital package in the mid-90s, Rupert Murdoch's group apparently considered a veto on other broadcasters' being allowed on the satellite. SES persuaded BSkyB to leave the platform open, sparing the broadcaster regulatory grief.

Revenue dip

"We convinced BSkyB that direct access to satellite capacity for whoever wanted to target the UK market would be in the best interests not only of SES but also of BSkyB. In all of these difficult moments with Ofcom and with other regulators, at no time has there been any discussion about the fact that BSkyB would have been perceived as the gatekeeper to satellite capacity," he says.

A weak dollar, consolidation in several pay-TV markets and the impact of the Sars virus contributed to a 3% dip in SES revenues last year. Mr Bausch's bullish view of the digital TV market will not translate into turnover growth this year, with revenues expected to be flat. But an order backlog worth €6.4bn points to better years ahead. SES is launching three new satellites this year and a further five by 2006, with the group predicting double digit growth in revenues and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation in 2005 and 2006.

With other new satellite services in the pipeline, such as delivering mobile broadband to passengers on Boeing jets, SES believes it is well set for the next five years. Many satellite operators have changed hands over the past 12 months, with Inmarsat, PanAmSat and New Skies under the control of private equity funds. If those companies are managed in typical buy-out company fashion - loaded with debt and run for cash - Mr Bausch sees an opportunity to pull ahead of the competition. "They will wait three to five years to allow the company to repay its debt and make it an attractive acquisition target. This means that those companies will have to use the cashflow to repay debt and not to invest in new satellites."