Arabsat buoyant despite satellite piracy

Khalid Balkheyour, president & CEO of Saudi Arabia-based satellite operator Arabsat, told delegates to its 9th Customer Forum in Salalah, Oman, that the operator was in extremely healthy state despite the problems created by satellite signal piracy and the consequent loss of advertising revenues.

Arabsat, the world’s 6th largest operator, confirmed that it will be launching two satellites next year (Arabsat 6A and HellasSat-4) and that by the end of next year it will be operating 10 satellites in orbit.

Arabsat is now carrying some 170 HDTV channels, and the introduction of West and East beams is allowing broadcasters to target specific channels into North African markets, as distinct to those targeting the Arabian Gulf regions. “This makes transmission rights easier to manage,” he said.

But he also explained that Arabsat’s new generation of satellites would make satellite piracy (by channels stealing content from legitimate right’s holders) and signal jamming.

Arabsat saw a signing ceremony with the BBC for capacity for its News channels at 26 degrees East.

Arabsat saw a new chairman appointed earlier this year with rumours that a new CEO would follow.  That has not happened, and Balkheyour spoke of a buoyant market with expansion over Europe (helped by its ownership of HellasSat) and a new high-capacity project for 44.5 degrees East.

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