New look, and 6,000 channels for SES

Satellite operator SES used IBC to unveil its new logo, and told press and conference delegates that it was now carrying 5,905 channels and radio networks and that more than 2400 were being transmitted over Europe. SES is claiming the world’s top spot for HDTV channels, with 1,071 now on air around the globe. (although just 216 over Europe). Indeed, SES says that 16 million out of Europe’s 20 million HDTV households were viewing their signals via SES satellites.

Romain Bausch, SES’s president and CEO, at an IBC press event, said SES was now the world’s largest provider of broadcast channels.  Moreover, the Luxembourg-based operator was now transmitting to 245 million cable, DTH and IPTV homes, of which some 135 million were in Europe.  Globally, SES was being used by 43 DTH platforms.

The ‘new look’ SES brings the former diverse and regionally-focused operations of SES into a more streamlined structure with “a strong focus on emerging markets”. Bausch said that demand for video capacity remained strong, and by the end of 2011 he expected to be carrying some 230 high-def channels.

Bausch, and CCO Ferdinand Kayser, explained that developing markets were now a focus for SES in particular South Asia, Africa and in particular sub-Saharan Africa, Russia and the CIS as well as Latino regions were high on Kayser’s agenda. New staff were being hired to seek out business in these markets, and the ‘new look’ SES would now have a single customer interface although supported by local offices.

The ‘Astra’ brand name would still be used in all customer-facing markets such as Germany and France where it had considerable weight amongst viewers.

He explained that SES would be launching 10 new satellites by the end of 2014, the first of which was a new craft (QuetzSat-1) to serve the Mexican and Latino region which launches in the next few weeks. SES management also revealed a new multi-year deal with Russia’s giant Gazprom which sees SES place a satellite to serve Russian viewers into what is a fast-growing market.

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