Eutelsat double win

Eutelsat had a good day on Nov 20, winning Airfield Media Group which will use Eutelsat’s Hot Bird to beam a bundle of French-language channels to Belgium viewers.

The new capacity will be used to broadcast the five Belgian French-language channels in the new TéléSAT pay-TV platform, comprising RTBF La Une and La Deux, RTL-TVi, Club RTL and PLUG TV. The channels will go live next month.

In addition to capacity at the HotBird neighbourhood, the contract covers provision of contribution links, multiplexing and uplinking of the five TéléSAT channels from Eutelsat's Rambouillet teleport in France. The service is scheduled to launch in December. Direct-to-home satellite reception will be available throughout Belgium with MPEG 4 decoders (MPEG 2 compatible) using Nagravision's Mediaguard 3 encryption system.

On signing the contract Kurt Pauwels, CEO of TéléSAT said: "We are delighted to collaborate with a satellite operator of Eutelsat's stature for the TéléSAT platform. The dynamic and competence of Eutelsat in Europe and beyond are well tested and guarantee us impeccable quality of service and room to grow. Beyond television and radio Eutelsat is constantly developing new technologies and services which will ultimately enable us to propose our subscribers internet access solutions and multiple interactive services. The French-language market in Belgium is well on course to play its role in a fully digital environment."

Eutelsat’s second win was somewhat less important in terms of its overall value, but hugely important in that it represented a switch of a channel from arch-rival Astra. Belgium’s public service broadcaster, RTBF, has switched to Eutelsat’s Hot Bird 7A satellite to “significantly boost coverage of its international TV channel RTBF SAT and radio station RTBF International across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.” The channel started broadcasting from Eutelsat on November 13 with a widescreen 16/9 format of RTBF SAT due formally to be available by the end of the month. The channel targets Belgian’s overseas viewers and broadcasts free-to-air 24h per day.