Middle East and North Africa push Eutelsat

October 26, 2012 10.25 Europe/London By Julian Clover

Growing interest in the Middle East and North African markets helped Eutelsat Communications deliver solid results in its first financial quarter of 2012-13.

The Paris-based operator has been developing its 7 degrees/8 degrees West video neighbourhood. One of the most dynamic positions in the Eutelsat portfolio it has seen a 37% increase in TV channels year-on-year to reach 587.

Capacity was expanded in 2011 following the launch of Eutelsat 7 West A. It will be further increased next year by redeployment to 8 degrees West.

Serving Central Europe and the Indian Ocean, 16 degrees East has also benefitted from additional capacity, growing the number of channels by 23% to 591. However, take up is less strong because of the competitive pressure from other operators in the Balkan region.

Revenues were up 6.5% at €314.4 million.

“Eutelsat delivered solid first quarter 2012/2013 revenue growth. The strong performance of Video Applications reflects the rapid uptake of additional capacity made available last year to serve the dynamic regions of the Middle East and North Africa,” commented Eutelsat CEO Michael de Rosen.

HD penetration at the Hot Bird video neighbourhood (13 degrees East) is now well above the group average with HD channels now representing 13.1% (versus 8.2% last year) of a total 1,102 channels.

At September 30, 2012, the total number of channels broadcast by Eutelsat’s satellites stood at 4,403, up 11%.