Good news from Outer Space

The past few days have seen each of the Top 10 satellite operators release their end-of-year results. We have reported on the numbers, but now the number-crunchers have analysed the picture, and the overall impression is that they represent “good news” for the sector. SES, for example on February 25th stated it expected to be leasing about 25 transponders for 4K/Ultra-HD services by 2018.

Sami Kassab at investment bank Exane BNP-Paribas, in a 10-page report on the satellite industry, reminds clients that it still prefers Eutelsat over SES, and says that so-called High Throughput Satellites (HTS) and Ultra-HD transmissions are both now “taking off” although consumer (satellite) broadband take-up is slowing.

“Echostar, Viasat and Eutelsat reported a slowdown in consumer broadband growth as capacity fills up. Eutelsat is well placed to benefit from its deal with Echostar in Brazilian broadband as more capacity comes on stream. The sale of Ultra-HD TV displays is progressing at a faster pace than HD a few years ago,” says the bank’s report.

Indeed, reflecting a London briefing on February 25th given by SES, Exane reports that SES is now talking about leasing 25 transponders for the transmission of 50 Ultra-HD channels by 2018, out of a probably 200-channel global take-up of Ultra-HD services by 2018.

“Year to date, Eutelsat has outperformed Media by 2 per cent (11 per cent over the last 12 months) while SES has underperformed by 9 per cent year to date where it beat the market by 4 per cent over the last 12 months. We believe the year to date performance reflects the solid outlook of accelerating growth at Eutelsat and a slow-down of top line growth in FY15 for SES,” stated Exane.

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