Regional satellite operators outpace Big Four

October 21, 2013 17.47 Europe/London By Broadband TV News Correspondent

Total revenues among all satellite operators increased by 2.2% in US dollar terms from 2011 to 2012, with the combined revenues of all reporting operators boosted to US$11.39 billion in 2012.
While the Big Four (Intelsat, SES, Eutelsat, Telesat) still remain dominant, capturing 65.6% of revenues, regional players are slowly catching up, increasing their total market share from 33.2% of revenues in 2011 to 34.4% in 2012, accroding to NSR’s Satellite Operator Financial Analysis (SOFA), 3rd Edition.
“Organically, regional satellite operators are growing at a much faster rate than the Big Four—in 2012 the figures were 6.8% growth for regional operators, and 0.3% growth for Big Four. Clashing head-on with this trend is the phenomenon of acquisition, which we saw with the announcement of Eutelsat acquiring Satmex in 2013. Moving forward, further acquisitions may be a key way for the Big Four to increase their market share compared to regional operators, as this trend of faster growth by smaller operators was by no means isolated to 2012,” stated Blaine Curcio, NSR analyst and report author.
Further, satellite operators collectively saw qualitative metrics improve, with metrics like Average Annual Revenues per Operational Satellite increasing by nearly US$1 million, to just over $44.5 million. Notably, for metrics like Revenues per Satellite and Revenues per Leased Transponder, the very top echelon of operators tended to be regional ones, able to capitalize on unique market tendencies or prime orbital slots in order to fight their way to the top of the rankings.
With regional operators also tending to focus more on raw capacity leasing, rather than the value-added services that complement the offerings of the Big Four, these smaller players also found themselves at the top of metrics such as EBITDA margin, with AsiaSat, Hispasat, and APT Satellite taking the top 3 spots, respectively, in this metric.
Presenting data from FSS operators relating to revenues, EBITDA, debt ratios, CAPEX, and more, SOFA3 provides a comprehensive snapshot of the FSS sector in 2012. Supplemented by annual data from 2007 to H1 2013, the report also allows the reader to understand the way that today’s trends have evolved in recent years, and the direction these trends will lead the FSS sector into the future.