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Before yesterdayBroadband TV News: Satellite

Eutelsat launches Konnect, provides 5 West B update

By Chris Dziadul

The Eutelsat Connect satellite has been successfully launched into geostationary transfer orbit by Arianespace from the Guiana Space Centre in Korou, French Guiana.

Built by Thales Alenia Space, the satellite, features all-electric propulsion and operates in Ka-band. It is the first one to use Thales Alenia Space’s all-electric Spacebus NEO platform, developed under the Neosat Partnership Project conducted by the European and French space agencies (ESA and CNES).

Eutelsat Connect will assure full or partial coverage for up to 40 countries in Africa and 15 in Europe. Offering total capacity of 75 Gbps, by next autumn it will allow the operator to provide internet access services for both companies and individuals at up to 100 Mbps.

Commenting on the launch, Rodolphe Belmer, CEO of Eutelsat,said: “Our congratulations to Arianespace and the Guiana Space Centre teams for successfully launching our Eutelsat Connect satellite towards geostationary orbit. The collaboration between Eutelsat, Thales Alenia Space and Arianespace on this ambitious satellite programme has resulted in a world-first broadband satellite for the African and European continents that demonstrates the suitability of satellite infrastructure as a means to deliver high quality broadband services, contributing to bridging the digital divide within rural areas”.

In a separate development, Eutelsat has provided an update on the status of its Eutelsat 5 West satellite, having previously announced an investigation into a malfunction one of the two solar arrays on October 24, 2019. The investigation confirmed the loss of the satellite’s South solar array, though otherwise the satellite’s performance remains normal.

Eutelsat adds that the attendant power loss means that around 45% of the capacity of the satellite can be operated. The satellite is now expected to enter service this month and meet the designed life time.

A number of mitigation actions aimed at assuring service continuity will be implemented, following the end of life in stable orbit of the satellite, for the largest possible number of customers.

Eutelsat 5 West B is fully insured against the eventuality of a partial or total loss by a launch-plus-one-year insurance for up to €173 million.

The partial non-availability of the satellite B will reduce Financial Year 2019-20 revenues for the operating verticals by €5-10 million. The one-off cost of mitigation, mostly related to the repointing of ground antennae will be between €0-10 million.

In consequence, Eutelsat’s revenue objective for financial year 2019-20 is mechanically revised to between €1,270 million and €1,315 million for the operating verticals.

Eutelsat concludes by saying that all its other financial objectives remain unchanged.

ProSiebenSat.1 channels remain unencrypted in SD on Astra; Kabel Eins Doku HD joins HD+

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Following Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, German media company ProSiebenSat.1 has also decided to continue broadcasting its free-TV channels unencrypted in SD resolution via the Astra satellite system (19.2 degrees East).

This is ensured by a new, long-term distribution contract for the use of satellite capacity with Astra operator SES. In addition to the SD channels, an agreement also covers the distribution of the HD versions of the free-TV channels on subscription platform HD+, operated by SES. Sat.1 HD, ProSieben HD, Kabel Eins HD, sixx HD, Sat.1 Gold HD and ProSieben Maxx HD thus continue to be available on HD+.

The contract also includes the non-linear distribution of HD content including features such as instant restart and the catch-up TV services as well as rights for smart TV and mobile applications.

A new addition is documentary channel Kabel Eins Doku HD, which will be offered on HD+ from January 17, 2020 as the platform’s 24th channel.

ProSiebenSat.1 and HD+ also plan to broadcast more Ultra HD content via satellite in the coming months, including for the first time content from Kabel Eins Doku, in addition to programmes from Sat.1 and ProSieben. A ProSiebenSat.1 spokesman didn’t want to comment on the duration of the contracts when approached by Broadband TV News.

“We have a longstanding and successful partnership with Astra and HD+. Thanks to the new contractual basis with both partners, our viewers will be able to receive our seven free-TV channels via satellite in HD quality in future,” said Nicole Agudo Berbel, Chief Distribution Officer & EVP Digital Publishing at ProSiebenSat.1. “In addition, our viewers will also be able to watch the content of the ProSiebenSat.1 channels on HD+ on-demand and time-shifted.”

The move by ProSiebenSat.1 follows the recent announcement by Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland of a new contract with SES for the unencrypted distribution of its free-TV channels via Astra until 2024. Germany’s two largest commercial broadcast groups have committed themselves to the Federal Cartel Office anyway to broadcast their free-TV channels unencrypted in SD resolution until the end of 2022.

In contrast, German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF are considering dropping the SD distribution of their channels on Astra as early as this year, driven by demands from licence fee commission KEF, which sees this as a way to save costs. The public broadcasters benefit from the fact that their HD channels are unencrypted, which means that their reach is significantly higher than the encrypted commercial HD channels.

Ukrainian sanctions sat TV channel

By Chris Dziadul

The Ukrainian regulator National Council has fined the satellite channel Maksi-TV 25% of its licence fee and ordered it to bring its activities into line with current national legislation within a month.

In a statement, it says that fine, which amounts to UAH105,625.50 (€3,913), has been imposed following an unscheduled inspection to the Kiev offices of Nasha Praga in which it was found that the broadcaster had shown content that called for the overthrow of the constitutional order in Ukraine.

Further sanctions will be imposed on Maxi-TV if it fails to comply with the regulator’s ruling.

German RTL channels to remain unencrypted in SD on Astra

By JΓΆrn Krieger

The free-TV channels of German commercial broadcaster Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland will continue to be available in SD quality unencrypted via Astra (19.2° East) until at least 2024.

The corresponding partnership with satellite operator SES has been extended. The new distribution agreement covers the unencrypted transmission of the channels RTL, VOX, n-tv, Nitro, RTLplus, Super RTL, Toggo plus and RTLzwei as well as the regional window programmes in SD resolution until 2024. The new channel VOXup, which started in SD on December 1, 2019, is also part of the contract. All SD channels are offered in MPEG-2 standard.

“Thanks to the new agreement, we are securing the high reach of this distribution method and can continue to offer our viewers the free-to-air channel portfolio in SD quality via satellite,” said Andre Prahl, head of channel distribution at Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland. Christoph Mühleib, managing director of Astra Deutschland, added: “This agreement underlines once more that SD will remain an important distribution standard for the foreseeable future.”

The two large German commercial broadcast groups RTL and ProSiebenSat.1 have committed themselves to the Federal Cartel Office anyway to broadcast their free-TV channels unencrypted in SD resolution until the end of 2022. The agreement between RTL and SES thus even goes beyond this period. The HD versions of the channels are encrypted and can be subscribed to via DTH satellite platforms HD+ and Freenet.

In contrast, German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF are considering dropping the SD distribution of their channels on Astra as early as this year, driven by demands from licence fee commission KEF, which sees this as a way to save costs. The public broadcasters benefit from the fact that their HD channels are unencrypted, which means that their reach is significantly higher than the encrypted commercial HD channels.

Euroconsult Space Economy Report: $485bn revenues by 2028

By Broadband TV News Correspondent

In its latest research titled, The Space Economy Report 2019, previously named Satellite Value Chain, Euroconsult projects that the commercial space value chain will see steady growth over the next decade.

The report estimates revenues will be reaching $485 billion by 2028. The upstream segment, which includes commercial revenues from manufacturing, launch and ground equipment is expected to increase from $8 billion in 2018 to $11 billion in 2028, a growth rate of four percent per year. The downstream segment consisting of commercial operations and satellite services, including satellite navigation, was valued at $290 billion in 2018, projected to increase at a rate of five percent per year to reach $474 billion in 2028.

The research highlights global trends with key metrics for each of five satellite segments including manufacturing and launch, ground segment, satellite communications, Earth observation and satellite navigation. It shows that 2018 was the first year for satellite navigation to overtake satellite communications as the top commercial revenue sector.

Detailing key events from 2019 and their impact on the market, the report documents the last five years for historical trends and includes forecasts for each segment over the next ten years.

Previously called the Satellite Value Chain Report, the research has evolved to include more detail on the ground segment with an outlook on commercial ground stations and antennas for both Earth Observation and communications as well as an outlook for satcom user terminals.

“Our Space Economy Report consolidates data from across our 2019 research to provide a broad perspective on key trends and indicators and an overview of the global industry landscape,” said Steve Bochinger, Editor-in-Chief of the Research and COO of Euroconsult.

“The focus on the strategic segments of interest for governments, industry players and investors allows them to better understand the economics of the space value chain as it evolves” said Stéphanie Willekens, Senior Consultant at Euroconsult and PM of the report.

Free satellite feed from Times Square New Year’s Eve

By Robert Briel

The Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment, the co-organisers of the famous Ball Drop, offer HD satellite and fiber feeds of the celebration from Times Square, New York.

Free satellite feeds also include behind-the-scenes preparations leading up to the big night on December 26 (Numeral Installation atop One Times Square), December 27 (Crystal Installation), December 28 (Good Riddance Day), December 29 (Confetti Test) and December 30 (Ball Test and Balloon Preparation). New for the 2020 celebration is the offering of social media-ready content of these preparations, including photos and short videos with background music and captions.

The 12/31 live feeds are clean and uninterrupted with no bug or logo. They are available free of charge to domestic and international media organisations and will feature exclusive panoramic views from proprietary camera locations with the ambient and natural sounds of the revelers, showcasing the lighting and raising of the famous New Year’s Ball, hourly countdowns, musical performances (performers TBA in December) and of course, the famous Ball Drop at midnight.

Pre-New Year’s Eve footage featuring the arrival and installation of the “2020” numerals atop of One Times Square; the assembly and lighting of the New Year’s Eve Ball; Good Riddance Day; Confetti Test; the Wishing Wall and other preparations.

Pre-event coverage will be available via download, featuring 16 x 9 HD broadcast quality video, B-Roll footage (encoded as H.264), broadcast and web quality pre-packaged EPKs, social media shareables, photos and press releases.

Video content will be uploaded mid-afternoon or evening (EST) on the following dates: December 3 (Wishing Wall), December 11 (Numeral Arrival), December 26 (Numeral Installation atop One Times Square), December 27 (Crystal Installation), December 28 (Good Riddance Day), December 29 (Confetti Test) and December 30 (Ball Test and Balloon Preparation).

New for 2020, the event will be providing social media-ready content for media outlets, webmasters, bloggers and influencers including photos and short videos with background music and captions. #BallDrop @TimesSquareNYC (Facebook) @TimesSquareNYC (Instagram) @TimesSquareNYC (Twitter)

Download information and links can be found here.

Tricolor tops Ultra HD chart

By Chris Dziadul

Russia’s leading pay-TV operator Tricolor has added the premium channel Love Nature 4K to its line-up.

As a result, it now provides its customers with a total of nine Ultra HD channels, more than any other operator in the country and also in Europe.

Commenting on the development, Arsen Khomutov, Tricolor’s content director, said: “Tricolor, the absolute leader in 4K broadcasting in Russia, has offered its customers a unique cognitive television channel. Love Nature 4K allows viewers to enjoy the beauty of our planet in the smallest detail and amazing quality. Tricolor continues the development of the UHD package, which today already has nine channels, including two own-produced television channels”.

The new channel is being offered in the Single Ultra HD and Ultra HD packages.

Tricolor ended Q3 with over 12.230 million customers, including 10 million that received HD about 100,000 Ultra HD services. As of last year it was ranked the world’s fifth largest pay-TV operator.

Fashion 4K joins HD Austria

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Austrian DTH satellite platform HD Austria has added fashion channel Fashion 4K to its line-up on Astra (19.2° East).

The channel, which forms part of Fashion One Network in New York, shows fashion, lifestyle and entertainment programmes in Ultra HD resolution.

Fashion 4K has been on air since September 1, 2015 and was previously available free-to-air in Europe. Since December 2019, the channel has been encrypted and can be received in Austria via HD Austria.

After Insight TV, Fashion 4K is the second UHD channel on the platform operated by M7 Group.

Euroconsult: satellite capacity stabilised at lower rates of decline

By Broadband TV News Correspondent

Euroconsult’s latest research, FSS Capacity Pricing Trends, shows that as the growth of satellite capacity on orbit slows, pricing levels per megahertz (MHz) for regular capacity and per megabits per second (Mbps) for HTS capacity have both stabilised at lower rates of decline and are projected to continue that trend through 2020.

Based on hundreds of data points spanning nearly all segments, frequency bands, and regions, the report uncovered broadening price disparity. It cites capacity pricing as low as $800 per MHz per month for data applications in regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa, Russia, and Central Asia, and notes market resilience with pricing remaining as high as $8,000 per MHz per month in important orbital hot spots for video broadcasting. While the cost per Mbps for HTS capacity has trended lower in the past 12 months, demand for high-quality HTS capacity in certain bands and regions has exceeded supply, enabling stable pricing in those markets.

“The slowdown in supply growth has helped the market regain a certain degree of equilibrium with demand growth also contributing to the stabilization of pricing conditions underway today,” said Brent Prokosh, Senior Affiliate Consultant at Euroconsult. “Pricing ranges remain highly dispersed, although convergence in pricing levels for regular Fixed Satellite Services (FSS) capacity and HTS bandwidth for data applications has been observed.”

Euroconsult notes that the double-digit pricing declines that were observed in the years prior to 2018 are now rare and limited to several localised markets. However, the research firm projects that today’s pricing stabilization is likely to be short-lived for data-oriented applications as a massive volume of attractively priced supply from Very High Throughput Satellites (VHTS) and Non-Geostationary-Satellite Orbit (NGSO) constellations currently under construction, is expected to enter service in 2021.

“The most frequent questions that our analysts are asked relate to the cost of capacity,” said Pacome Révillon, Chief Executive Officer of Euroconsult.

“Rather than just providing anecdotal evidence, we embarked on this in-depth research to delve into the details and more fully understand the changing dynamics of satellite capacity pricing. The report addresses the satellite bandwidth market with the perspective and authority that the industry has come to expect from Euroconsult.”

Luxembourg renews SES concession

By Robert Briel

SES and the Luxembourg Government have reached an agreement to renew SES’s concession to operate satellites flying under Luxembourg jurisdiction for 20 years.

The new concession is effective from January 2022 when the current concession expires, with an annual fee of EUR1 million from 2025 onwards.

As part of the agreement and starting from 2022, SES will also contribute a maximum of EUR7 million per year into a fund to support and strengthen the Luxembourg space sector as well as benefit the wider local economy.

“The government and SES have agreed that SES will pay a lower concession fee than in the past, but that a fund will be set up to invest in activities with a link to the satellite sector and with a potential to benefit Luxembourg’s economy as well as SES’ activities,” Pierre Goerens, executive manager for electronic communications, told local website Delano.

Thales Alenia Space to build Nilesat-301 satellite

By Robert Briel

Thales Alenia Space has signed a contract with the Egyptian operator Nilesat to build the Nilesat-301 geostationary communications satellite.

Positioned at 7 degrees West, Nilesat-301 will work with Nilesat-201 to provide Ku-band services for the Middle East and North Africa. Nilesat-301 will also help extend the company’s provision of Ku-band communications and direct digital broadcasting services in two new large regions of Africa, while also providing broadband Ka-band connectivity over all of Egypt.

As prime contractor, Thales Alenia Space will be responsible for satellite design, production, testing and in-orbit acceptance tests. Thales Alenia Space will also provide satellite control system for Nilesat in both Cairo and Alexandria.

The satellite is based on the Spacebus 4000-B2 platform and will weigh about 4 metric tons at launch, which is scheduled for the first quarter of 2022. It offers a design life exceeding 15 years.

Following Nilesat-201, Nilesat-301 is the second geostationary communications satellite built by Thales Alenia Space for Nilesat. It is also the fourth payload developed by Thales Alenia Space for the Egyptian operator.

“I am delighted that Nilesat, and its Chairman and CEO General Ahmed Anis, continued to place their trust in us,” said Jean-Loïc Galle. President and Chief Executive Officer of Thales Alenia Space.

“This achievement proves that our telecommunications offer perfectly replies to the telecom market’s needs and that we are perfectly capable of providing tailored solutions that meet each operator’s specific requirements, to enhance global connectivity and reduce the digital divide.”

Mediaset to launch FTA Italian movie channel

By Robert Briel

Mediaset will be launching a new free-to-air TV channel on DTT specialising in classic Italian films next month.

The new channel will be called Cine 34, and goes live on January 20, to mark what would have been the 100th birthday of film director Federico Fellini. That day will be devoted in full to Fellini’s movies, such as I vitelloni, Lo sceicco bianco, Boccaccio 70, La dolce vita, 8 1/2 and Giulietta degli Spiriti.

Every day of the week will be dedicated to different film genres. Mondays will feature classics from Italy’s “masters of cinema”, Tuesday will be devoted to romantic comedies, Wednesdays to action films, Thursdays to comedies, Fridays to ‘gialli’ (Italian thrillers), while Westerns and cult movies will be shown at weekends.

Cine 34 will replace Mediaset Extra on channel position 34 on the country’s DTT network, and is also expected to debut shortly on the free-to-view satellite DTH platform TivuSat.

M7’s Diveo recommends Zattoo as successor

By JΓΆrn Krieger

M7 Group’s German DTH satellite and internet platform Diveo, which ceased operations on November 30, 2019, recommends its former customers to move to TV streaming provider Zattoo.

Diveo has agreed on a corresponding partnership with Zattoo, Jörg Meyer, Chief Officer Content & Consumer of Zattoo, told Broadband TV News.

Diveo customers will receive two months of free access to the Zattoo Premium subscription package in order to try out Zattoo without obligation. Diveo informs its customers about the cooperation with Zattoo in an e-mail and on its website www.diveo.de (see screenshot).

Zattoo has entered into similar partnerships this year for customers of the discontinued streaming services Magine TV and TV Spielfilm live.

Meanwhile, competitor HD+, operated by Astra satellite operator SES, is trying to win former Diveo customers with a cashback campaign. Media Broadcast’s Freenet TV, in contrast, considers its existing proposition to be so attractive that there is no need for a special offer.

Trade organisations welcome WRC-19 treaty for 5G

By Robert Briel

Trade organisations such as GSMA and GVF have welcomed the international spectrum treaty adopted by the World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19), which will unlock the potential for game-changing 5G services around the world.

Decisions taken at WRC-19 include:
– Providing travellers on planes, ships and trains greater access to the internet via satellites;
– Enabling deployment of ubiquitous satellite terminals to bring increased broadband connectivity to many parts of the world;
– Providing additional spectrum to improve satellite-provided services to end-users;
– Protecting communications delivered by satellites from harmful interference;
– Potentially allocating additional spectrum for satellite services at a future World Radiocommunication Conference.

David Meltzer, GVF (the global trade association for the satellite industry)’s Secretary General, comments: “Satellites today are bringing critical communications to all areas of the world which power economies, entertain billions, and saves lives. Millions of people who otherwise are on the other side of the digital divide are able to connect to the internet via satellites and many more will cross the divide because of satellites. Spectrum is the oxygen that brings such services alive.

“The decisions reached at the Conference protecting existing satellite spectrum and providing access to more spectrum will enable satellites to maintain and grow these and future services with advances in satellite and antenna technologies and increased capacity. As a result of the Conference, individuals will be better able to connect to the internet, businesses will be able to increase the capacity and power of their networks, and governments will be better able to communicate life-saving information to their citizens.”

“WRC-19 has brought the mobile industry a step closer to making the full power of 5G something everyone can experience,” said Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA.

“Countries struck the right balance in opening up groundbreaking possibilities for 5G while protecting existing radio services worldwide. The mobile industry’s goal going into WRC-19 was to identify enough 5G spectrum to deliver long-lasting socio-economic benefits. WRC-19 delivered on this goal, and also secured a pathway to 5G’s future success in the agenda for WRC-23.”

As mobile continues to evolve, so do the spectrum requirements. WRC-19 recognised this by setting an agenda for the next WRC in 2023 that will consider identification of additional mid- and low-frequency bands.

Mid-frequency spectrum in the 3 GHz range (from 3.3-4.2 GHz) is already being used for commercial 5G services, providing a good balance of coverage and capacity. Increasing the amount of globally harmonised spectrum in this frequency range at WRC-23 would boost 5G network performance, bring down deployment costs and drive significant economic benefits.

To help spread the benefits of 5G to rural areas and accelerate the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution, the GSMA is also supporting efforts to identify more spectrum below 1 GHz at WRC-23 to improve 5G coverage.

“We want the benefits of 5G to be available to everyone. With more than 5 billion mobile subscribers globally, previous generations of mobile technology have connected more people more quickly than any technology in history,” added Mats Granryd. “WRC plays an essential role in driving the global economies of scale that allow mobile services to transform people’s lives and national economies.”

TA3 to restrict availability

By Chris Dziadul

The Slovak news and information channel TA3 will restrict the availability of its signal on December 2.

According to Rozhlas.cz, once encrypted only viewers in Slovakia and the Czech Republic who have Skylink’s decoder card will be able to watch it on Astra 3B at 23.5 degrees East.

It adds that TA3 has been using Astra for many years, initially to distribute its signal in SD and then also HD.

TA3 HD has been operating on a paid model since 2018 and charged operators for distributing the service.

Although TA3 will no longer be available free of charge to DTH viewers from December 2, those watching DVB-T services will continue to be offered the SD version for free.

Airbus presents active antenna for Eutelsat Quantum

By Robert Briel

Airbus, ESA and Eutelsat have presented the new ground breaking multibeam active antenna payload today at Airbus in Madrid.

Airbus’ ELSA+ (ELectronically Steerable Antenna+) is a first for commercial satellite communications in Europe. The versatility of its performance represents a step change for communications satellites with a spacecraft able for the first time to adapt to the customers’ business cases as and when needed by means of software control.

The electronically steerable reception antenna, works in Ku-band with eight independent reconfigurable beams. This inherent flexibility enables the operator to reconfigure the radio frequency beams over the coverage zone, allowing for an unprecedented flexibility in multimedia and broadcasting services.

In addition, these capabilities can be implemented on each beam either independently or simultaneously including hop up to several tens of predefined different configurations per beam (beam hopping).

Another new feature is the capability of the antenna to mitigate possible interference, intended or not, thanks to its ability to GEO locate any interference and null them.

This new antenna technology complements new generation fully digital payloads where the operator can thus change the orbit position, frequencies and the power of their spacecraft.

Airbus Defence and Space in Spain is the prime contractor for this advanced instrument developed over four years. Airbus led an industrial group that included a group of 12 European companies, eight of them Spanish, to build this advanced system.

Innovative design and manufacture of active antennas is one of the Airbus strengths in Spain. ELSA+ builds on previous developments such as: the DRA/ELSA for Hispasat 36W1, IRMA (In-orbit Reconfigurable Multibeam Antenna) on board SpainSAT for secure military communications, as well as the Gaia active antenna that transmits large amounts of data as the spacecraft maps a billion stars. These systems are all operating successfully in orbit.

“With ELSA+ we are entering a whole new game in satellite telecommunications, this is just a starting point and a reference for future missions,” said Fernando Varela, Head of Airbus Space Systems in Spain, “we are constantly evolving this technology, and Airbus is already developing the future generation antennas for the Spainsat-NG programme.”

This new development for the Eutelsat Quantum satellite positions Airbus in Spain as the leader in Europe for active antennas. The project has been possible thanks to the support of CDTI (Spanish Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial) and the European Space Agency. Quantum is being built under an ARTES Partnership Project between manufacturers Airbus and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, operator Eutelsat and ESA. ESA’s Partnership Projects aim to achieve economic impacts and competitive leaps forward federating industry around large-scale programmes.

Eutelsat Quantum satellite is a revolutionary step forward for commercial satellites, offering very high customization and flexibility. It will supply services with unprecedented in-orbit reconfigurability in coverage, frequency and power, allowing complete mission rehaul, including orbital position.

The mass of the satellite at launch is 3.5 tonnes and its design lifetime is 15 years. The Eutelsat Quantum satellite is due to be launched 2nd half of 2020.

Eurojust, Europol and AAPA join forces to combat piracy

By Robert Briel

Eurojust, Europol and the Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAPA), representing the industry of protected audiovisual content, have joined forces to improve the sharing of expertise to tackle audio-visual piracy via IPTV networks.

More than 70 judicial and law enforcement authorities from EU Member States and representatives from the two EU agencies discussed, during a two-day seminar at Eurojust in The Hague, how to close the technical knowledge gap between national authorities and organised crime groups (OCGs).

The dedicated seminar focused on the information needed to identify, investigate and prosecute two forms of audiovisual piracy: card-sharing and illegal streaming. The main points of discussion were how to identify a pirate service, investigative tools and the challenges faced by the private sector in investigating piracy, as well as the scale and impact of audiovisual piracy and its links to organised crime. Further sessions included knowledge sharing on how to achieve successful prosecutions and how the judiciary could work with the private sector.

In September of this year, during a coordination centre at Eurojust, a large-scale piracy network, through which a criminal group had illegally sold pay television subscriptions to more than 800 000 customers, was brought down by the blocking of more than 200 computer servers.

In June 2019, police officers from the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior, under the supervision of the Bulgarian Supreme Prosecutor’s Office of Cassation, with the collaboration of Europol and the Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAPA), carried out a joint action against five cable operators in Bulgaria. They were illegally intercepting and distributing premium TV channels (both foreign and Bulgarian). The entire illegal hardware infrastructure used for the criminal activity was seized during the house searches.

Sky Deutschland CEO Carsten Schmidt to step down

By Julian Clover

Carsten Schmidt is to step down as chief executive officer at Sky Deutschland at the end of the year.

He’ll be replaced by current Sky COO, Continental Europe, Devesh Raj, who takes over on January 1.

Raj has been Sky COO, Continental Europe since summer 2019 and interim as Chief Commercial Officer for Sky Deutschland.

Schmidt has worked for Sky Deutschland and its predecessors for some 20 years, including the last 4 and a half as CEO.

“I would like to personally thank Carsten. With strong leadership and great dedication, he has played a significant role in Sky’s growth and success over the last two decades. With over five million customers in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and a powerful team, the company is ready to master the challenges ahead,” said Andrea Zappia, Sky CEO, Continental Europe.

Schmidt oversaw the launch of Sky Sport News HD and Sky Q in the German market.

Prior to Sky, Devesh Raj spent five years as Senior Vice President of Strategic and Financial Planning for Comcast NBCUniversal in the US. Prior to that, Devesh spent 14 years at the Boston Consulting Group in New York, where he was a senior partner and managing director, heading its telecommunications, media and technology unit in North America.

Euronews expands on DStv in Southern Africa

By Robert Briel

The Euronews Group has struck a deal with the MultiChoice Group to offer Euronews content to millions of households across Sub-Saharan Africa, on the DStv platform.

Euronews’ English language edition was already available on the DStv platform across many countries in East and West Africa, the new deal will now allow this global English language edition of the network to also be distributed to Southern African countries which include Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe. The channel will be available on DStv channel 414 to customers on the DStv Premium, DStv Compact+, DStv Compact and DStv Family packages.

Euronews now reaches 50 million homes on the African continent. From January 2020, advertisers will be able to target the continent with a specific ad window on Euronews.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with DStv to reach even more households on the African continent. DStv subscribers in these additional countries will be able to benefit from a different set of perspectives on international news given Euronews’ multicultural approach, as well as a variety of magazines that Euronews offer, on issues such as climate, entrepreneurship, innovation, culture and travel,” said Carolyn Gibson, Chief Revenue Officer at Euronews.

“We are delighted to be able to launch a great new channel in our markets that will keep our customers informed with what is happening around the world through a wider variety of news and current affairs programming available on our platform. We remain committed to ensuring that we are able to source the best content available, ensuring a great value offering for them,” added Yolisa Phahle, CEO for General Entertainment at MultiChoice Group.

Euroconsult: 11 new FSS providers have emerged

By Broadband TV News Correspondent

In its latest research titled, FSS Operators: Benchmarks & Performance Review, Euroconsult shows that 11 new FSS providers have emerged over the last five years including two in 2018.

Many of these companies are state-owned national operators, which will mostly serve national interests. Twelve new satellite operators are planning to enter the FSS geostationary (GEO) market by the early to mid 2020s, including companies targeting national market such as NepalSat, and Royal Group of Cambodia. Included in these twelve operators, are three with plans for small GEO satellites, which may indicate a new trend in the FSS industry facilitated in part by digital payloads, electric propulsion, and lower launch costs.

The research demonstrates that the market structure of the FSS industry remains concentrated at the top with growing fragmentation at the bottom. The top four operators (SES, Intelsat, Eutelsat and Telesat) today represent approximately 60 percent of the industry’s revenue, a share that has decreased in recent years. Five years ago, they combined for 64 percent of total revenue. The landscape behind the top five is rapidly evolving with three new companies joining the top ten in the past five years. These include YahSat, China Satcom, and ISRO.

“Our analysis shows that FSS operators are exploring new strategies to address the evolving market,” said Dimitri Buchs, Senior Consultant at Euroconsult and editor of the report.

“We noted that several satellite operators are transitioning from sole wholesale bandwidth suppliers to managed services providers. This helps them increase the value they bring to their customers and minimize commodity pricing. Some satellite operators, such as SES, are even pushing towards end-to-end network solutions for selected markets and/or customers.”

To meet data-driven market demand, the survey reports that many FSS operators are shifting their investments from traditional satellites to High Throughput Satellites (HTS). The number of FSS operators with an HTS payload doubled between 2014 and 2019, growing from 12 to 24 with the total HTS supply expected to reach more than two terabits per second by the end of 2019.

The market survey quantifies available capacity by operator, breaking out regular transponders in orbit versus gigabits per second of HTS capacity. It also addresses non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) projects currently in development or planned. It discusses the projects that have progressed the furthest, which include OneWeb, Telesat LEO and SpaceX’s Starlink constellation, as well as other projects that could materialize in the longer term such as Amazon’s Project Kuiper, and Chinese projects Hongyan and Hongyun.

Market forces continue to impact the FSS industry in 2019. In 2014 at the market peak, the overall size of the industry reached $12.3 billion. In 2018, the industry had an overall size of $11.5 billion, with revenues down 0.4 percent year-over-year.[EV1]

“Our forecast is for FSS revenues to continue their downward trend in 2019,” said Buchs.

“However, despite the overall environment, the market structure of the FSS industry has remained relatively stable, with the four top operators dominating the market. New growth segments, led by in-flight connectivity, maritime connectivity, and general broadband access, continue to drive demand for HTS capacity, and global interest in universal broadband access offers significant upside potential.”

The Benchmarks & Performance Review survey provides insight into 50 Fixed Satellite Services (FSS) operators and their shifting strategies. The report reviews how market players are dealing with and adapting to the[DB2] market shift from television broadcast to data communications as new connectivity requirements and online services continue to expand, and it highlights the growing field of FSS players resulting in an increasingly competitive market.

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