Advanced Television

SES: €8bn backlog; Video “accelerating”

October 28, 2016

By Chris Forrester

SES has revealed its Q3 numbers, saying it was now carrying 7,317 TV channels on its fleet, of which 2,434 were in HDTV (33.3 per cent).  SES says the growth of Ultra-HD channels accelerating and that it was now carrying 17 commercial UHD channels (this time last year it was just one).

Its recently acquired playout and TV facilities company RR Media (now part of MX1) meant that the overall business was now handling more than 2,500 channels, and 120 VoD platforms around the world.

Revenues at SES topped €1.490 billion (down 0.6 per cent at constant foreign exchange), and took the operator’s EBITDA down 4.1 per cent to €1,061 billion. Its all-important backlog increased to €8 billion (up from €7.1 billion last year) and with the growth helped by the now consolidated RR Media (worth €100 million) and satellite constellation O3b (worth €300 million).

Video remains the backbone of SES’s business, representing 69 per cent of revenues (up from 66 per cent last year), and delivered €1.027 billion in revenues (up 3.8 per cent on same period last year).

However, its ‘Enterprise’ division saw revenues tumble 15.9 per cent and driving the division’s value in overall terms down from 15 per cent of overall revenue to 12 per cent (and worth €181.7 million). The fall was not helped by cancelled capacity contracted by Argentina’s ARSAT which is building its own satellite.

As at 30 September 2016, the SES fleet had 1,550 available transponders (30 September 2015: 1,502 available transponders). Of these, 1,085 transponders were utilised at 30 September 2016 (30 September 2015: 1,086 utilised transponders).

New capacity is being added. By the end of next year, SES will launch six satellites, adding a total of 127 extra transponders.

SES said Q3 2016 revenue was higher than both the previous two quarters. Growth in video is accelerating and is complementing strong growth dynamics in mobility. Quarterly revenue in Enterprise and Government has stabilised, while Government backlog has grown.  “SES now has the foundation in place to deliver sustainable long-term growth.”

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