Eutelsat doubles its HD numbers

It seems satellite operators can do no wrong as far as HDTV is concerned. Eutelsat May 14 unveiled some impressive revenue numbers, helped by increased demand for HDTV.
Eutelsat reported revenues up 8.9% (to €223.9m) for its Q3 trading period, and such is capacity demand that it raised its formal revenue guidance for the full trading year by €10m (to €860m-€870m). The company statement said it all, reporting “strong revenue increases” compared to the same period last year, with video demand and revenues up “rapidly” y-o-y by 10.8% (from €148.8m to €164.9m).

The past year has seen a staggering 472 (up 19%) new channels join one or other of Eutelsat’s growing slices of orbital real estate, taking Eutelsat’s March 31st overall total to 2977 – which suggests that the actual total of channels now being carried is extremely close to the 3000 mark.

eutelsatberretta.jpg HDTV capacity certainly saw significant gains, with CEO Giuliano Berretta (pictured, left) saying that Eutelsat had more than doubled the number of HD channels it is now carrying compared to a year ago, at 35. New HDTV channels launched in the third quarter include Rush HD for the UK, FilmBox HD and HBO Polska for Poland and Movie Max HD for Turkey.

Berretta talked about robust growth in a couple of specific regions: “The markets of Russia, Africa, Turkey and the Middle East account for almost 60% of new channels, notably as a consequence of major contracts signed since March 2007 with the Russian operator Intersputnik, as well as with the pay-TV operators Entertainment Highway and Gateway for Africa, and with CanalSat Reunion for the Indian Ocean islands,” said Eutelsat.

He added that the take-up of the Eurobird 9 satellite, which entered into service at 9 degrees East at the end of the last fiscal year, also did well, broadcasting 78 channels at March 31, 2008. Eurobird 9 also won new business during Q3 from Tele Colombus, one of the three leading cable operators in Germany for the upcoming launch of an offer of digital channels within the framework of the transition of German cable from analogue to digital.