The number of TV channels broadcast over SES satellites rose by 11.3% to 7,268 as of December 31, 2015, with strongest growth in emerging markets, the company said. The growth was driven by HDTV in developed markets and SES’s expansion in major emerging markets.
SES said that its growth of 11.3% compared contrasted with an overall growth of 2% for the rest of the industry. “The superior development was driven by the continued introduction of new High Definition (HD) channels across Europe and North America, as well as the further expansion of SES’s Video business across emerging markets. Nearly 60% of all channels on the SES fleet are now broadcast in the MPEG-4 compression standard,” the company said in a statement.
The penetration of HD channels across all markets continues to be an important driver of growth for SES. The number of HDTV channels served by SES's fleet of over 50 satellites grew by 18% to 2,230 channels, representing 31% of the total TV channels on SES satellites. In contrast, the number of HDTV channels carried over satellite for the rest of industry grew by 13% to about 6,400 channels.
The number of total TV channels in Europe served by SES increased by 9% to nearly 2,600 channels, while the total channels in North America was unchanged at about 1,800 channels. The continued penetration of HDTV channels, which require more satellite capacity than Standard Definition (SD) channels, was the principal contributor to growth, as the number of HDTV channels grew by over 25% to nearly 700 channels in Europe and by over 3% to more than 1,200 channels in North America.
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The growth of SES’s global channel count has been pronounced in the emerging markets, where the company is successfully expanding its presence in global video, as a key element of SES’s differentiated strategy. SES now carries close to 2,900 TV channels across a range of fast-growing emerging markets, such as Latin America, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa (40% of the total of channels). This compares to just over 2,300 channels at the end of 2014 representing a growth of 25% in only one year. It also includes a doubling in HDTV channels to well over 300.
These trends have been a consistent driver in the superior development of SES’s channel count, which has grown by a compound annual rate of more than 9% per annum over the last three years. Over the same period, the number of HDTV channels broadcast over the SES fleet has increased by a compound rate of nearly 15% each year.
SES was the first satellite operator to introduce Ultra HD in Europe and North America and to secure capacity agreements for Ultra HD, with seven channels to broadcast commercial Ultra HD channels on SES satellites worldwide in 2015, and the outlook is for significant growth in the coming years as more commercial offerings gain momentum.
Ferdinand Kayser, chief commercial officer of SES, said the company was well placed to leverage growth opportunities, especially in new and emerging markets. He added that the company’s launch programme is due to deliver a 21% increase in capacity in emerging markets by the end of 2017. The launches of SES-9 and SES-10 will deliver a total of 80 additional transponders in Asia and Latin America, with important pre-fill rates underwritten by customer agreements.