The annual report from the Satellite Industry Association (SIA), and which compares and contrasts the state of the industry in 2016 with 2015 and previous years, in general terms says that 2016 was “once again a positive year,” though results for the four key industry market segments varied quite widely. For example, Global satellite manufacturing revenue dropped 13 per cent, while satellite ground equipment revenue grew 7 per cent.
The study, the 20th in its history, was prepared for the SIA by Bryce Space & Technology, and reported that overall, worldwide satellite industry revenue grew by two per cent in 2016 to a new high of $261 billion, up from $255 billion in 2015. However, that 2 per cent growth rate is less than the 3 per cent in 2015, and not all segments fared as well as others. Satellite services revenue was flat, satellite manufacturing revenue actually fell by 13 per cent, while launch industry revenues grew 2 per cent, and ground equipment revenue increased by an appealing 7 per cent.
But it is the high-visibility satellite services sector that most focus on, and this includes satellite TV, radio and broadband, fixed satellite services (transponder agreements and managed network services) including the fast-growing in-flight services element. This segment grew by just 2 per cent, hence the ‘flat’ categorisation and from $127.4 million in 2015 to $127.7 million in 2016.
Also suffering was the commercial satellite manufacturing sector, which fell back a worrying 13 per cent. However, this segment tends to have quite wide y-o-y variations.
“2016 was once again a positive one for the satellite industry with continued overall growth, double digit growth in earth observation revenues and increased growth in navigation revenues,” said Tom Stroup, President of SIA. “Revenue growth along with advancements in satellite broadband and connectivity, plans for both increased space segment capability and a significant rise in the number of orbiting satellites and constellations all demand the need for regulators to fully understand the critical importance of satellites. Investment and innovation rely on lawmakers maintaining a spectrum policy regime that ensures the continued reliable delivery of vital satellite services to customers now, throughout the next decade and beyond.”