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Before yesterdayBroadband TV News: Satellite

DTH subscriber falls to spread from North America to Europe and Far East

By Broadband TV News Correspondent

Direct to Home satellite TV (DTH) subscriber falls will accelerate and spread from North America to Europe and eventually to the Far East, according to Rethink Technology Research’s Rethink TV service.

Where subscribers numbers rise there will be falls in ARPU.

The decline in DTH will turn out to be terminal, and yet it all began when cable TV began to churn around 2010, a story which spread to the US satellite operators a few years later.

Today the exodus is gathering speed and starting to spread to Europe, leaving operators scrambling to mop up their departing customers via the life rafts of low ARPU OTT.

This makes it impossible to maintain existing high ARPUs at historical levels, and the wheels have just come off for AT&T in the US as DirecTV Now, its stand-alone OTT is seen as an alternative to the main DTH service – both have now been losing subs after initial gains and investors are starting to ask if this is a permanent trend.

What is still true is that DTH continues to thrive where there are no competitive alternatives for premium content, or where one operator has hogged the most sought-after sports rights.

And in some parts of the world DTH continues to provide an engine of growth for pay TV – but only in developing markets and only for a short while longer, notably India.

Latin America with it artificially high pay TV ARPU looks less like India and more like the US and sustaining ARPU there will be a thankless challenge.

DTH saw rapid growth in pay TV until 2014 in Latin America, on the back of an expanding middle class in key markets. Now it is set for a period of decline and falling ARPU as OTT services continue to take off there and provide a direct threat.

This report looks at multiple geographies, the Americas, Europe, and developing countries in Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa along with Oceania.

In Europe the picture is more mixed, with the decline well advanced for some operators such as France’s Canal+, whose base will be halved by 2024 from 2018. Some Eastern European markets have profiles more like developing countries, most notably Cyfrowy Polsat in Poland, set to continue gaining subs for at least the next few years. However, even these operators will run out of rope towards the end of the forecast.

In Asia Pacific DTH subscriber growth will be sustained throughout the period but with signs of flattening later around 2024. We anticipate some Asia Pac operators that are still growing subs now will reach a turning point during the forecast period with decline setting in just before 2024.

Squaring all the regions together there is still a global rise in DTH numbers, but this will come to an end during 2020, and move on to an accelerating decline as more and more DTH operators in Asia Pacific pass their summit.

Management acquires Media Broadcast Satellite

By JΓΆrn Krieger

The managing directors of Media Broadcast Satellite, Christian Fleischhauer and Sven Sünberg, as well as the technical director Qi Zhang-Holste, have agreed to take over the German satellite services provider from its previous parent company, a French-American private equity fund.

The three managers acquire all shares in the company based in Usingen near Frankfurt in federal state Hesse through the newly founded holding company MBS Holding. The purchase price was not disclosed. Wirtschafts- und Infrastrukturbank Hessen (WIBank) is providing a loan of €7.5 million to co-finance the takeover. A further €2 million will be contributed by managed funds of BM H Beteiligungs-Managementgesellschaft Hessen, a subsidiary of Landesbank Hessen-Thüringen.

The financial means of WIBank and BM H will not only enable the new shareholders to take over the company, but also to expand its service portfolio in a future-oriented manner and thus open up new markets, WIBank stresses in a statement. The company plans, for example, to expand its activities in commercial data traffic via satellite and the internet. Customer groups include government-related organisations on national and European level as well as globally active companies.

Additionally, Media Broadcast Satellite wants to use to financial means to invest in data transmission via satellite for fast-moving reception units such as cars, aircrafts and ships. The aim is to improve global satellite-based data exchange for road, air and sea traffic, also with a view to the future market for self-driving cars.

“Hesse is and should remain an attractive location for innovative technology companies. With this innovation loan, we are helping to secure Hesse’s economic future,” said Tarek Al-Wazir, Hesse’s Economics Minister (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen).

Media Broadcast Satellite was originally part of Media Broadcast Group which was acquired by Freenet in March 2016. The satellite division was excluded from the transaction and remained in the hands of the financial investors, who are now withdrawing from the company through the management buy-out.

Media Broadcast Satellite operates satellite communications services with around 70 employees at its earth station in Usingen. More than 230 million households in 60 countries in Europe, North Africa and the Arab world are supplied with around 225 TV channels from the uplink site. For data distribution via internet, the earth station is connected to the world’s largest internet hub in Frankfurt, DE-CIX.

Nigeria’s Premium Free provides 13 more channels

By Robert Briel

Nigeria’s free-to-air local channel bouquet, Premium Free, has enabled local television broadcast audiences access to 13 new premium channels which are custom-made for African viewers.

These include multinational language channels like Cinema Hausa, and popular African lifestyle channels such as True African.

Delivered via SES satellites, this bouquet is supplied by AfricaXP, an independent African network, which is well-known for its Nollywood catalog and longstanding partnerships with West African producers.

CEO of AfricaXP, Craig Kelly, said: “orking with SES has enabled Premium Free to achieve the maximum possible reach in Nigeria and that the company is confident that localization, coupled with the firm’s fresh international rights, will provide the kind of content blend that modern West African audiences demand. Transmitted free-to-air via satellite, this is obviously a great offer at a price point that can’t be beaten.”

Clint Brown, VP of Sales and Market Development, Africa for SES Video, added “The Nigerian FTA market in particular offers great opportunities for growth, and the company is proud to have engaged with Premium Free to deliver a differentiated content package for Nigeria and offer more choice for viewers. New initiatives such as this, which focus on delivering local and international content that is attractive for the end-consumer and is offered in high picture quality, will further develop consumer choice in Nigeria.”

GSS offers Arabic TV packages for hotels

By JΓΆrn Krieger

German technology company GSS Grundig Systems is expanding its range of head-end, hospitality and reception systems to include TV packages for the hospitality industry.

A collaboration was formed with TV distributor Mondo Globo, which offers a new platform for Arabic-language TV channels, Telearabia Pro.

The pay-TV package, compiled for the European hospitality industry, comprises six Arabic lifestyle and entertainment channels, including three channels from Saudi media group MBC (Middle East Broadcasting Center). The bouquet is broadcast via Eutelsat Cirrus on the Hotbird satellite system at 13° East and enables hotels throughout Europe to provide their international guests with TV channels from the Middle East and North Africa.

“International programme content for hospitality applications is an important part of our portfolio. Our head-ends can centrally decrypt the received encrypted channels among other features,” said Robert Kirschner, CEO of GSS Grundig Systems, in Nuremberg. “In addition to hardware and software, a tailor-made end-to-end service for the customer is indispensable. The Telearabia cooperation gives us another opportunity to create customer-specific solutions.”

Dish to acquire EchoStar’s BSS business

By Robert Briel

Dish Network Corporation and EchoStar Corporation have executed an agreement that will transfer certain EchoStar operations and other assets that comprise the company’s Broadcast Satellite Service (BSS) Business.

The acquisition includes nine direct broadcast satellites and the certain key employees responsible for satellite operations, licensing for the 61.5-degree orbital slot, and select real estate properties to Dish in exchange for approximately 22.9 million shares of Dish Network Corporation stock that will be distributed to EchoStar shareholders.

“In 2017, when Dish acquired the EchoStar assets that we needed to deliver the Dish TV and Sling TV customer experiences, key broadcast satellite operations and services remained with EchoStar,” said Dish President and CEO Erik Carlson.

“This transaction brings those operations, including the BSS satellites, associated assets and key team members, in house and we expect those additions will create operational efficiencies and improve both free cash flow and EBITDA.”

DBS spacecraft involved in the transaction will include EchoStar VII, EchoStar X, EchoStar XI, EchoStar XII, EchoStar XIV, EchoStar XVI, EchoStar XXIII, Nimiq 5 and QuetzSat-1.

Canal Algerie now on Arabsat-5C with Globecast

By Robert Briel

Canal Algerie is now available on Arabsat-5C, making the channel available on the satellite’s Direct-To-Home platform over Africa.

Canal Algerie is an Algerian French-speaking public television channel, owned by EPTV (Algerian Public Television), who also owns A3 (available on BADR-6), Terrestrial TV, Tamazight TV and Coran TV. Canal Algerie broadcasts its programmes 24/7 via different platforms all over the world.

Globecast is expanding its longstanding relationship with Arabsat, providing the technical broadcast solutions needed to deliver Canal Algerie across Africa.

Arabsat-5C at 20 degrees East is designed to serve the African market, matching the specific technical requirements with the growing demand across the continent. Arabsat -5C has a huge footprint, equipped with a powerful C-band beam which covers 100 per cent of African satellite TV households and needs only the minimum required dish size to receive its channels.

This new broadcast of Canal Algérie is part of the commercial contract between Télédiffusion d’Algérie, the Algerian public TV and radio broadcasting operator and Globecast.

Giorgio Giacomini, MD of Globecast in the Middle East, said, “We have a longstanding and very successful relationship with Arabsat.We are perfectly positioned to both launch new channels and expand the reach of existing channels, providing cost-effective end-to-end services to do so.”

“The launch of Canal Algerie on Arabsat-5C comes as part of our core mission to connect Arabic societies across the world; we provide African, Arab and Islamic communities with the largest possible choice of Free-To-Air TV channels in Africa,” says Khalid Balkheyour, Arabsat president & CEO.

“Furthermore, the broadcasting of Canal Algerie via Arabsat-5C, highlights the continued successful Arabsat and Globecast partnership. This is expanding across additional territories beyond MENA, helping grow the reach of the existing Direct-to-Home portfolio of channels active on Arabsat-5C, and supporting the addition of more leading channels on Arabsat-5C in the very near future.”

Eutelsat reports slight drop in revenue

By Robert Briel

Eutelsat said that revenue for the first nine months of FY 2018-19 stood at €994.8 million, down 2.7%.

The number of operational 36 MHz-equivalent transponders stood at 1,418 at 31 March 2019, broadly stable versus end- December and slightly down year-on-year, mainly reflecting the disposal of Eutelsat 25B in August 2018.

The number of utilised transponders stood at 960, down 10 units versus end-December. Year-on-year they were up by nine units on a reported basis and up by 17 excluding the disposal of Eutelsat 25B. The evolution versus end-December principally reflects lower Fixed Data volumes in Latin America. On a year-on-year basis this was more than offset by new contracts in Video as well as the ramp-up at 174°East.

As a result the fill rate stood at 67.7% at end-March 2019 compared to 66.8% one year ago and 68.3% at end-December 2018.

During the third quarter, ending on. March 31, Video Applications revenues were down by 2.5% to €215.4 million, on a year-on-year basis. This reflected mostly an accelerated, double-digit decline in Professional Video in a context of intensifying competitive pressure. Professional Video now accounts for less than 8% of Video revenues. Pure Broadcast revenues were stable.

On a quarter-on-quarter basis, total Video revenues were stable while Broadcast revenues recorded a slight rise.
On the commercial front, a multi-transponder contract was secured for a new DTH platform on Eutelsat 65 West A. On the other hand, other projects in the pipeline were delayed for non-structural reasons and should materialize in the near future.

At 31 March 2019 the total number of channels broadcast by Eutelsat satellites stood at 7,021, up 2.0% year-on-year and by 3.0% stripping out the effect of the disposal of EUTELSAT 25B. HD penetration rose by 11% to 1,509 channels, implying a penetration of 21.5% of channels compared to 19.7% a year earlier.

Rodolphe Belmer, Chief Executive Officer, commented: “The Third Quarter of 2018-19 saw the return to growth in Broadcast on a quarter-on-quarter basis, an improvement in the US Government renewal rate and commercial wins in Maritime Mobility. The Konnect Africa broadband service is showing positive indications of demand but its ramp-up has been significantly hindered by some short-term operational issues. Moreover, we are experiencing softer conditions in Fixed Data and Professional Video. In consequence, revenues for the Operating Verticals at the nine month stage stood at -3%, and we now expect the outturn for FY 2018-19 to be in a similar range, versus our previous objective of ‘broadly stable’.

“We are encouraged by the resilience of our core Broadcast business, and we continue to target a return to slight revenue growth in FY 2019-20 on the back of the materialisation of delayed business, traction in broadband and the availability of incremental capacity with Eutelsat 7C and Eutelsat Quantum. All other financial objectives for the current and following years are also confirmed.

“Market conditions continue to support the pertinence of the focus on Discretionary Free Cash Flow generation implemented three years ago, and on which we continue to draw on all levers. In this context, our strengthened group is well placed to benefit from the next growth cycle in our industry driven notably by Fixed Broadband and Mobility. Finally, the outcome of discussions on tax territoriality treatment will lead to significant reduction in our annual tax burden.”

Results of the satellite operator were helped by the outcome of discussions on tax territoriality treatment to secure a reduction of the order of €70m in its annual tax burden, subject to final formal approval by French Tax administration.

Insight TV launches on My-HD platform in MENA

By Robert Briel

Insight TV has launched its HD channel in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) on My-HD, the low-pay DTH HD Pay-TV platform in the region.

The deal was concluded through the Dubai based distribution company, SAWA Rights Management.

Subscribers in the United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Iraq, Yemen, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Chad, Somalia, Tunisia, Libya, Mauritania, and Djibouti can watch Insight TV’s lineup of thrilling content, which features trending topics and behind-the-scenes stories of global social influencers against a backdrop of stunning locations from around the world.

Carmen Chen, CEO, My-HD commented, “Since our launch in 2012 we continue to strive to bring the best content from around the world to our subscribers. Insight TV is a big draw for millennials because its shows reflect the evolving values of this demographic and covers issues and themes that are important to them.”

“We are committed to delivering our inspirational and topical content to viewers around the world and we’re excited to launch on the My-HD platform,” adds Graeme Stanley, COO, Insight TV. “We like to take our viewers on an adventure and we look forward to seeing the reaction from My-HD subscribers.”

SES showcases 8K content over satellite

By Julian Clover

Samsung, Spin Digital and SES Showcase 8K Content via Satellite

SES has demonstrated the delivery of an 8K signal directly to a flat screen TV without the need for a separate external receiver or decoder.

The demonstration in partnership with Samsung and Spin Digital marks the start of the satellite operator’s annual Industry Days in Luxembourg. The signal is being broadcast at SES prime satellite position of 19 degrees East.

The 8K content, with 7680 x 4320 pixels at 50 frames/s, is encoded by Spin Digital using its HEVC encoder at a bit rate of 70 Mbps for broadcast-grade quality, while the transmission is carried out by SES on a single 33 MHz transponder using DTH broadcast parameters.

“Audiences today want richer video experiences that can be best fulfilled by immersive Ultra HD content, hence a lot of our broadcast and video customers are migrating their channels to high definition (HD) and Ultra HD. As their trusted partner, our vast TV audience reach and ability to deliver truly engaging video experiences via satellite mean we are well placed to differentiate their offerings and deliver customer success,” said Thomas Wrede, Vice-President of New Technology & Standards at SES Video.

The 82-inch Samsung 8K Q950RB QLED production model TV receives this signal directly, and is using DVB-S2 transmission parameters specifically for this demo. This Samsung flagship TV features a 4000 Nits peak luminance, an 8K-compatible HEVC 50/60 fps video decoder, the latest HDMI interface and is capable of displaying High Dynamic Range (HDR) content.

“Samsung is delighted to partner once again with SES with another leading-edge technology demonstration at the SES Industry Days. Samsung is fully committed to the development of a future 8K TV market and this demonstration of the viability of the SES satellite platform is an important step towards that goal”, said John Adam, Head of Business Development and Industrial Affairs at Samsung Research UK.

The TV will soon be available across Europe.

Eurosport to show French Open in Ultra HD via HD+

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Eurosport will broadcast the French Open tennis tournament live in Ultra HD/4K for DTH satellite households in Germany from May 26 to June 9, 2019.

During the tournament, event channel Eurosport 4K will be distributed on Ultra HD channel UHD1 by HD+ via Astra (19.2° East).

All matches taking place on the Center Court Phillipe Chatrier will be shown in UHD/HDR format with German commentary and without commercial breaks, including semi-finals and finals – around 120 hours in total.

In France, public broadcaster France Télévisions will transmit the French Open 2019 in 8K format.

Free satellite/fibre feeds of Earth’s Call Celebration

By Robert Briel

Free, commercial-free satellite and fibre feeds are being offered of the inaugural Earth’s Call Celebration on May 18, live from Aspen, Colorado.

The programme features world-famous musicians and scientists putting the focus on climate-change solutions. The feed is available to air the programme in its entirety, or for shorter segments to highlight the celebration.

This live programme feed from the inaugural Earth’s Call celebration at the Benedict Music Tent in Aspen, Colorado, will feature Patti LaBelle, Colbie Caillat, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Mickey Hart and Anthony Hamilton, plus the Earth’s Symphony Orchestra (led by Grammy-winning conductor Cheche Alara) and others will perform, inspiring others to support the effort.

The programme will also include inspirational talks from messengers of conscience, and immersive visual effects produced by Batwin + Robin. This clean, uninterrupted feed (no commercials, voiceover or bug) will be provided free of charge to media organisations around the world on a non-exclusive basis solely for their use in creating television programming relating to the event (please credit Courtesy: Earth’s Call). A full run-of-show, including performance times, will be available prior to the event.

This concert event will anchor a three-day immersive experience of sight and sound in Aspen, celebrating the launch of Earth’s Call, a new nonprofit organization that finds and funds innovative solutions to fight the climate crisis. The invite-only weekend will convene world-famous musicians, environmental experts and youth leaders to “answer Earth’s Call” and draw attention to world-saving ideas. Earth’s Call passionately supports such ideas through unique collaborations and partnerships, and it has already committed more than $50 million to such efforts. Additional information about the foundation and event is available at www.supportearthscall.org.



Test Feed: Friday, May 17, 2019; 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. MT; 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT; 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. GMT
Program Feed: Saturday, May 18, 2019; 5:00 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. MT (no later than 10:15 p.m. due to show overrun); 7:00 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. EDT (no later than 12:15 a.m. on May 19 due to live show overrun); 11:00 p.m. to 3:45 a.m. on May 19 (no later than 4:15 a.m. due to live show overrun)

The New York Switch IN HD: NY POOL 2 1080i/59.94
The Los Angeles Switch IN HD: LA POOL 1 1080i/59.94
BT TOWER – Local End: HD/RR1 – HD-SDI, 1080i50

VIA SATELLITE IN HD 1080i/59.94:
Test Feed: Friday, May 17, 2019; 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. MT; 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT; 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. GMT
Program Feed: Saturday, May 18, 2019; 5:00 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. MT (no later than 10:15 p.m. due to show overrun); 7:00 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. EDT (no later than 12:15 a.m. on May 19 due to live show overrun); 11:00 p.m. to 3:45 a.m. on May 19 (no later than 4:15 a.m. due to live show overrun)

C Band: SES 2, Txp 04C Slot D; Orbital Position 87’ West; Downlink Frequency 3793.5 Vertical,
Bandwidth 9MHz, MPEG 4, FEC 3 / 4, SYMBOL RATE 7.2, DVB S2, 8PSK

KU Band: SES 3, Txp 06K Slot A, Orbital Position 103’ West, Downlink Frequency 11816.75 Vertical,
Bandwidth 9MHz, MPEG 4, FEC 3 / 4, SYMBOL RATE 7.2, DVB S2 , 8PSK


Test Feed: Friday, May 17, 2019; 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. MT; 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. EDT; 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. GMT
Program Feed: Saturday, May 18, 2019; 5:00 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. MT (no later than 10:15 p.m. due to show overrun); 7:00 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. EDT (no later than 12:15 a.m. on May 19 due to live show overrun); 11:00 p.m. to 3:45 a.m. on May 19 (no later than 4:15 a.m. due to live show overrun)

Europe: E10A Txp B03 Channel EF, Orbital Slot 10’ East; Downlink Frequency 11060.2 Horizontal, Bandwidth 9MHz, MPEG 4, FEC 3 / 4, SYMBOL RATE 7.2, DVB S2 , 8PSK

Latin America: IS21 Txp 19C, Slot A, Orbital Slot 302’ East; Downlink Frequency 4066.4 Vertical, Bandwidth 9MHz, MPEG 4, FEC 3 / 4, SYMBOL RATE 7.2, DVB S2 , 8PSK

Asia: AS5 Txp C7H Channel 9B, Orbital Slot 100.5’ East; Downlink Frequency 3866.5 Horizontal, Bandwidth 9MHz, MPEG 4, FEC 3 / 4, SYMBOL RATE 7.2, DVB S2 , 8PSK

Africa/Mideast: IS 20 LM03C Slot B, Orbital Slot 68.5’ East; Downlink Frequency 3781 Horizontal, Bandwidth 9MHz MPEG 4, FEC 3 / 4, SYMBOL RATE 7.2, DVB S2 , 8PSK

Technical Contact: Lenny Laxer – (1) 917-299-0205


A live webcast of the broadcast program feed, featuring all musical performances, inspirational talks and immersive visual effects, will be available from 7:00 p.m. to 11:45 p.m. EDT (no later than 12:15 a.m. on May 19 due to live show overrun); at supportearthscall.org.

Earth’s Call is inviting digital media outlets, bloggers, webmasters and streaming media services to embed the live, clean, uninterrupted feed (no commercials, voiceover or bug) on their own sites.

The embed code is as follows:

The webcast will also be streamed and available for sharing via Facebook Live video via Earth’s Call’s page: https://www.facebook.com/AnswerEarthsCall/.

Matt Child joins Avanti from Eutelsat/Solaris Mobile

By Robert Briel

Avanti Communications has appointed Matt Child as Director of Government, Wholesale and Integrators.

In the newly created role, Matt will report to Chief Operating Officer – Customer, Libby Barr.

Child will be responsible for overseeing the relationship between Avanti and its wholesale partners. Specifically, he will be focused on developing Government and Department of Defence relationships, in parallel with satellite partners and integrators.

On his appointment, Libby Barr said: “Matt brings to Avanti over 35 years’ worth of experience in the converged technology sectors, over half of which has been dedicated to business development and sales of satellite communications services. As we focus on the growth of Avanti’s wholesale customers, Matt is the ideal person to be leading us forward.”

Matt joins Avanti from Eutelsat where he held the position of SVP Government Services before becoming Commercial Director for Eutelsat’s Quantum satellite program, the world’s first software-definedsatellite. Prior to joining Eutelsat, Matt was the Chief Executive Officer at Solaris Mobile Ltd, the joint venture MSS operator owned by SES and Eutelsat.

Matt added: “I am extremely excited to be joining Avanti at a time when there is so much focus and activity in the space sector. Avanti has great satellites and a dedicated management team that is passionate about making Avanti a success. I want to contribute to that success and the continued growth of Avanti.”

Newtec enables world’s first 5G over LEO satellite demo

By Robert Briel

Newtec has played a key role in the world’s first demonstration of 5G backhaul over a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite with global satellite operator Telesat and the University of Surrey.

The successful tests confirmed that LEO satellites will provide effective backhaul transport, including for future 5G networks.

The live test connected the University of Surrey’s 5G Test bed network within its 5G Innovation Centre to Telesat’s Phase 1 LEO satellite.

Video chat sessions, simultaneous 8K streaming and Internet browsing were tested within stringent Quality of Service (QoS) and slicing parameters. A 4K video was also transferred to the edge of the 5G network representing a future 5G use case. Out of the technologies tested, Newtec modems demonstrated higher modulation, efficiency and throughput performances, and the ability to deliver 8K videos with superior Quality of Experience (QoE). This paves the way for increasingly bandwidth-hungry applications over 5G for the maritime, aero, connected car and broadband markets which have not previously been possible.

“We are amazed at the opportunities this test opens up,” said Jo De Loor, VP Market Development at Newtec.

“The seamless and very high-performance connectivity provided by Newtec technology validates the use cases for many new 5G applications in the strategic market verticals where Newtec is positioned. The work carried out is a guideline for future multi-orbit deployments and highlights the benefits of the unique combination of LEO constellations and 5G.”

Michel Forest, Director of Engineering at Telesat, said: “Telesat is pleased to be collaborating with innovative companies such as Newtec that recognize the potential of Telesat’s LEO system to enable demanding low-latency 5G applications such as 4K video streaming. This demonstration confirms that Telesat’s state-of-the-art LEO architecture delivers on the promise of latency-sensitive and high bit rate applications such as in 5G connectivity.”

Eutelsat 7C completing final stages of pre-launch preparation

By Robert Briel

Eutelsat 7C completing final stages of pre-launch preparation. The satellite will serve markets across Africa, Europe, Middle East and Turkey.

As part of the environmental testing completed in early February 2019, the all-electric Eutelsat 7C, manufactured by Maxar Technologies, was subjected to conditions simulating the launch and harsh space environment in orbit. With the loading of the spacecraft tanks with Xenon propellant now finalised, the satellite is currently undergoing final preparation operations ahead of shipment to the Arianespace launch site in Kourou, French Guiana, where it is due to be launched as a co-passenger on an Ariane 5 rocket before the end of June.

Equipped with 49 36-Mhz equivalent Ku-band transponders, Eutelsat 7C will serve markets across Africa, Europe, Middle East and Turkey. It will be co-positioned with Eutelsat 7B at 7° East, increasing capacity at this neighbourhood by 19 transponders for the dynamic market Africa. Eutelsat 7A will be transferred to another orbital location as part of Eutelsat’s ongoing fleet optimisation.

“I am delighted Eutelsat 7C has completed all its major testing and is on track for its launch date before the end of June. I would like to thank our partner, Maxar Technologies, and look forward to another successful launch with Arianespace,” said Yohann Leroy, Deputy CEO and CTO of Eutelsat.

Eutelsat selects ground infrastructure providers for Konnect

By Robert Briel

Eutelsat Communications has chosen th ground infrasetructure providers to operate its future Konnect satellite and associated broadband services.

General Dynamics Satcom Technologies has been selected to offer and deploy seven antennas, while Hughes Network Systems will provide its Jupiter ground network system.

With 75 Gbps of capacity, Konnect is a new generation multi-beam satellite scheduled for launch at the end of this year. Once in service in 2020, the all-electric satellite will serve the broadband Internet market on a large scale throughout Western Europe and Africa.

General Dynamics Satcom Technologies’ solution will provide seven 9-metre antennas to support traffic exchange between the satellite and its ground network system, ensuring a best in class performance and speed of deployment on a cost-efficient basis.

Eutelsat’s long-standing partner, Hughes will provide its Jupiter platform for Konnect’s ground network system, including baseband equipment and new generation user terminals.

“Ground infrastructure was the last missing link in our Konnect satellite programme and this has been bridged thanks to orders placed with Hughes Network Systems and General Dynamics Satcom Technologies, two trusted partners and references in their respective fields,” said Yohann Leroy, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technical Officer of Eutelsat.

“The satellite, which has just completed its construction and is currently starting its test phase, will thus benefit from high-performance ground and in-orbit infrastructure on a cost-efficient basis to deliver competitive services to our customers.”

(Picture shows artist rendition of Konnect satellite – credit: Thales Alenia Space)

Timeless Drama Channel launches in MENA with My-HD

By Robert Briel

The first global Turkish drama channel, Timeless Drama Channel, is launching with My-HD on Arabsat.

“We are delighted to be extending our existing partnership with My-HD to bring the newly launched Timeless Drama Channel to drama lovers in the MENA region,” said Mr. Murat Murato?lu, Head of Distribution at SPI International.

Timeless Drama Channel has over 800 hours of fresh content including eight Turkish TV series: Karadayi, Black Money Love, 20 Minutes, Kurt Seyit & Shura, Moms and Mothers, Red Scarf, Five Brothers and The End.

“My-HD is dedicated to provide the best family entertainment programs to our subscribers. We recognize the strong following for great storylines and excellent productions which Ay Yapim dramas are known for. My-HD is proud to be the launch platform for Timeless Drama Channel and we are confident that the channel will bring 100% satisfaction to our customers” said Carmen Chen, CEO at My-HD.

DTH satellite TV remains on top in Austria

By JΓΆrn Krieger

With a market share of 57%, DTH satellite remains the most-used TV reception method in Austria.

2 million of the 3.57 million Austrian TV households have opted for satellite TV, according to the Astra TV-Monitor 2018. Cable TV remains the second most-used TV reception method with a market share of 31% followed by IPTV (9%) and DTT (5%).

HDTV continued its growth course in 2018: 2.97 million Austrian households received HD channels at the end of the year. In 2017, the share amounted to 2.89 million. The development is driven by DTH satellite: 1.73 million of the 2 million satellite households have HD reception equipment (2017: 1.65 million).

Paramount Network launches on Freesat

By Robert Briel

UK’s DTH platform Freesat has announced the addition of Paramount Network to its line-up of entertainment channels.

On channel number 132, viewers will have access to US scripted drama, comedy and movies featuring Hollywood stars. Paramount Network replaces 5Star+1.

Highlights across April and May include US dramas such as political thriller, Designated Survivor, starring Kiefer Sutherland and Suits, the iconic legal drama set in a cut-throat US law firm. From Marvel there’s Agent Carter, as well as the adventures of DC hero Arrow.

There’s also comedy with hit US hidden camera show, Impractical Jokers, as four real-life friends challenge each other to prank unsuspecting members of the public; while fans of Dunder Miflin can reacquaint themselves with the spoof US fly-on-the-wall documentary, The Office from the very beginning.

Angie Mee, Head of Content Partnerships, Freesat, said, “Our viewers have already had a taste of Paramount Network via My5 on Freesat, so we’re delighted to give them the chance now to experience the full range of exciting and varied programming available and to expand our portfolio of entertainment channels even further.”

Mezzo launches in Africa on Canal+

By Robert Briel

French music channel Mezzo, dedicated to classical music, jazz and dance, has launched on Les Bouquets Canal+, distributed in 22 African countries.

“With this launch in Africa, Mezzo, which is already available in some sixty countries in Europe, in Asia and North America, continues to expand internationally. It’s an extra step for Mezzo, a channel devoted to classical music, jazz and dance, in order ??to cross borders and, beyond languages, speak to the heart of everyone,” said Caroline Cochaux, Deputy Director of TV channels Lagardère-Active, President of Mezzo

For Marc Welinski, director of Mezzo: “We know the decisive contribution of African music to European and American music. The arrival of Mezzo in Africa testifies in return of the growing interest of classical music, jazz and opera in Africa, and the dynamism of its actors, especially among the youth.”

The channel is now available as part of the Tout Canal package in Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Equatorial Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Chad, Togo. The new deal bring the total number of countries that Mezzo reaches to more than 80.

BjΓΈrn Ivar Moen appointed CEO of Canal Digital

By Julian Clover

Telenor has appointed Bjørn Ivar Moen as new CEO of Canal Digital and Telenor Broadcast, the Oslo-based communications company has announced.

Moen, who has worked at Telenor since 2000, was most recently the acting CEO of Telenor Norway. He will take up the new role on June 1.

“This is certainly an exciting opportunity and I am both thrilled and honoured to take on the CEO role. Canal Digital operates in an interesting and transformative industry. I look forward to joining Telenor Broadcast and the team, and contribute in driving the business forward,” said Moen.

Moen will replace current CEO Ragnar Kårhus, who is leaving Telenor.