SES sees strong HD growth in Europe
By Robert Briel

SES has said that European revenues increased by 3.7% over the prior year period. Satellite capacity increased by 32 transponders compared to Q1 2011.

The increase came from Astra 1F (+16) at 55 degrees East and Astra 1N (+16) at 28.2 degrees East. Utilisation increased by 22 transponders, resulting in an overall utilisation rate of 89.5% in the region.
In Europe, a new DTH platform opened for business as MagtiSat began transmission of its Georgian DTH bouquet from the 31.5 degrees East aorbital position, offering a line-up of SD and HD channels.

M7 took additional capacity for HD channels in its TéléSat bouquet in Belgium. Sky Deutschland contracted an additional transponder for HD in Germany; RTL contracted an additional transponder and announced that Super RTL HD will join the HD+ platform.
The Bavarian Media Authority also contracted capacity for SD programming in Germany. Globecast signed a multitransponder, multi-year contract for the UK market on the Astra fleet at 28.2 degrees East.

In France, TNTSAT, the satellite distributor of terrestrial FTA channels, announced that the total number of set-top boxes purchased by consumers had risen to over 3.3 million at the end of 2011. This represents an increase of 25% over the total at the end of 2010, demonstrating the level of consumer demand for the high quality content delivery via satellite in those regions where digital terrestrial TV reception is poor or non-existent.

In Germany, the HD+ platform has added more HD channels, rising from 10 at the end of 2011 to 14 today. Both Sky Deutschland and Deutsche Telekom’s EntertainSat offer HD+ functionality, as offered via HD+ receivers. HD+ continued to make strong progress in the quarter. At the end of March, over 2.6 million TV households were receiving HD+, of which 2.1 million are in the 12 month free viewing period and more than 500,000 were HD+ paying households.
Romain Bausch, president and CEO, commented: “Satellite infrastructure has continued to develop well in the key European DTH (Direct-To-Home) TV markets, as shown by the 2011 Satellite Monitor survey published in March. A major milestone was passed as satellite’s market reach grew beyond that of cable and of terrestrial reception, clear

evidence of the market’s preference for satellite.

“HDTV is driving this positive development, with a number of capacity agreements having been signed, notably in Germany following the analogue switch-off at the end of April. Significant capacity agreements were also concluded in Latin America, the UK and the Middle East.
“We are proud to have been chosen to support the BBC and BSkyB’s coverage of the London Olympic Games with 48 channels in HD and SD, covering all the major events throughout the Games.”