Advanced Television

SES: HD coverage growing fast

February 27, 2017

By Chris Forrester

SES’s CEO Karim Michel Sabbagh has said the conversion from standard definition to HD is accelerating. “We have achieved a growth nearing 7 per cent during the course of 2016. We are serving today close to 2500 HD channels on the SES network. Equally important is that conversation is that HD penetration now represents 33 per cent of the total portfolio that we are serving, up from 31 per cent last year.”

Sabbagh said that by the end of the decade some 50 per cent of its European channels would be in HD. SES is also claiming to be the world’s premier supplier of Ultra-HD channels, now with 21 on air and up from 8 a year ago.

Speaking to analysts, he also said that last year’s acquisition of RR Media, which SES rolled into its MX1 facility business, was now carrying “close to 2750 channels, serving 120 subscription VoD platforms and broadcasting close to 500 hours of sports content every day”. MX1 is carrying the English Premier League’s football output, selected Sky sports channels, Eurosport and a multiyear agreement with the NFL. They also carried the Super Bowl in Ultra-HD.

Sami Kassab, equity analyst at investment bank Exane/BNP-Paribas, in a 6-page report highlighted the position of Video in the mix of SES revenues, saying: “Video revenues are guided to be stable to slightly growing. Video contract length is over 10 years and stable to increasing on recent renewals. Management argues there are few European Video contract renewals into the end of the decade (2-3 per cent of annual revenues). This view echoes Eutelsat’s and is broadly in line with consensus and appears reassuring in the context of investors’ long-term concerns. In the long term management argues that satellite differentiation and cost efficiency will enable them to maintain their economic value in the video distribution value chain.”

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