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One valuable measure of success for any satellite operator is the amount of contracted ‘backlog’, that is the value of that future business that the operator has tied up for years down the line. This past 12 months has seen Eutelsat increase that backlog by 19.9 per cent, from €5.37 billion to €6.44 billion. Eutelsat’s position is helped significantly by the acquisition last January of Mexico-based Satmex (now Eutelsat Americas).
The numbers emerged alongside Eutelsat’s end-of-year results (to June 30) where just about all its key metrics were hit, not least revenues, up 5 per cent to €1.347 billion, EBITDA (up 3.8 per cent) at €1.033 billion. Eutelsat’s operational transponders grew 16.1 per cent to 996, and the operator’s fill-rate was up more than 4 per centage points to 78.7 per cent.
Video Applications (66.8 per cent of Eutelsat’s overall revenues) were almost flat, up just 1.3 per cent at €877m, and its Value Added Services division, albeit from a low base of €65.3 million last year grew 36 per cent to €88.7m in this year. However, add Data and Value-added (21 per cent of revenues) altogether and the growth was a more modest 10.2 per cent.
“The impact of limited additional capacity for much of the year and the suspension in October 2013 of operations on certain frequencies at 28.5° East was compensated by growth at video neighbourhoods serving broadcasters in fast-growing markets, notably 36° East (addressing Russia and Sub-Saharan Africa) and 7°/8° West (addressing the Middle East and North Africa) as well as by the entry into service in May 2014 of Express-AT1 (addressing Siberia),” said Eutelsat in a statement.
“At 30 June 2014, the total number of channels broadcast by Eutelsat satellites stood at 5,746. Excluding Satmex (316 channels as of 30 June 2014), the channel count was up 769 channels (or +16.5 per cent) year-on-year. Including Satmex, 584 channels were in High Definition, up from 419, implying a penetration rate of 10.2 per cent (10.5 per cent excluding Satmex), compared to 9.0 per cent at 30 June 2013.”
Eutelsat and MultiChoice Africa have signed a multi-transponder contract for the entire payload of 15 Ku-band transponders connected to the African service area of the Eutelsat 36C satellite that will be launched next year. “These resources will support growth of the DStv pay-TV platform overSub-Saharan Africa. This commercial success further anchors Eutelsat’s neighbourhood of high-power satellites at 36° East as the point of reference for broadcasting in Sub-Saharan Africa,” says Eutelsat.
Eutelsat also announced it is ordering Eutelsat 172B, an all-electric craft, from Airbus and to be launched by Arianespace in H1/2017.