SES (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG) announced today that the technical reach of its ASTRA Satellite System in the Benelux markets from the 23.5 degrees East orbital position has increased by more than 140,000 households to 870,000, an annual growth of 20 percent. In total, 1.1 million homes in the Benelux are today receiving their programmes from ASTRA. 80 percent of them are receiving programmes from the two orbital positions 23.5 and 19.2 degrees East while the other 20 percent are served from 19.2 degrees East only. These are the results of the year-end Satellite Monitor that SES presents annually.

The rapid growth of the ASTRA 23.5 degrees East reach in the Netherlands and Belgium has been fuelled by the launch of Dutch regional channels and a wide range of HD channels via M7 Group-owned providers CanalDigitaal and TV VLAANDEREN. The orbital position 23.5 degrees East is also used for the transmission of the Luxembourg TV channels.

The dual reception device DUO LNB enables ASTRA households to receive programmes from both orbital positions, 19.2 and 23.5 degrees East, allowing them to watch a wide range of free-to-air HD channels from the neighbouring German speaking market. The ASTRA Satellite System is home to the largest HD platform in the Benelux, with more than 40 HD channels. The French-speaking part of Belgium receives a wide range of channels including all Wallonian and French channels via the 19.2 degrees East position as part of the M7-owned TéléSAT bouquet.

Norbert Hölzle, Senior Vice President Commercial Europe, said: "We are very happy with the outcome of the SES Satellite Monitor. It confirms that, in only five years time, ASTRA 23.5 degrees East has firmly established itself as the leading and fastest growing satellite position for the Benelux region, in conjunction with the ASTRA 19.2 degrees East position. This great success in a region formerly dominated by terrestrial infrastructures is the result of a very close and solid cooperation between all market partners involved: M7 Group, free-tv broadcasters, the satellite equipment resellers, installers and SES.".