Modest revenue growth for satellite operators in 2013

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014 
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Modest Revenue Growth for Commercial FSS Operators in 2013

  • New revenue streams focused on HTS and emerging markets; future growth through partnerships

PARIS, MONTREAL WASHINGTON D.C. — According to Euroconsult’s newly released report, Company Profiles – FSS Operators: The Complete Analysis, the Fixed Satellite Service (FSS) industry generated $12.2 billion in revenues in 2013, corresponding to 2% growth over revenues in 2012. 60% of revenue-generating FSS operators experienced a revenue growth slowdown in 2013 after years of robust growth; ten operators reported a revenue decrease in 2013, compared to only six operators in 2012.

“In order to re-energize revenue growth, satellite operators are increasingly exploring new revenue streams; in recent years the focus has primarily been on launching new satellites over emerging markets and investments in HTS systems or payloads,” said Nathan de Ruiter, Senior Consultant at Euroconsult and Editor of the report. “Eleven FSS operators offered HTS capacity to the market in 2013, while nine operators will launch their first HTS satellite or payload within the next four years. Further, we have seen a growing number of regional operators such as ABS, APT Satellite, Arabsat, RSCC and Gazprom Satellite Sytems with international expansion plans by launching new satellites outside of their region of origin.”

While M&A activity picked up in 2013 and more industry consolidation could occur in the near term, inorganic growth opportunities are understood to be limited and often complex for the majority of operators. As a result, they must increasingly pursue strategic partnerships in order to grow organically while mitigating financial and market risks. The nature of these partnerships varies widely; they include the joint use of satellites (e.g. ABS/SingTel and Measat/Azercosmos), the joint use of orbital positions (e.g. Arabsat/Es’hailSat), bulk capacity lease deals (e.g. Eutelsat/Nilesat, Measat/Thaicom), as well as joint satellite procurement (ABS/Satmex).

While the market structure of the FSS industry remains concentrated at the top, it has become increasingly fragmented at the bottom. At least three operators (Mexsat, Boliviasat and O3b) should report their first FSS revenues in 2014, while twelve operators should launch their first satellite within the next four years. The majority of these emerging satellite operators are backed by national governments that either want to boost the national telecom market or decrease dependence on foreign satellite operators.

Based on our industry benchmark, the average FSS operator in 2013 had $237 million in revenue; 186 transponders leased of which 55% are used for video applications; 238 regular transponders and 16 Gbps of HTS capacity available for lease; 952 TV channels and 4 DTH pay-TV platforms broadcast over satellites; seven satellites in orbit with an average fleet age of six years; and two satellites under construction.
Other report findings include:

  • 20 operators had revenue of more than $100 million, while Measat and Gazprom reached this milestone for the first time in 2013
  • More than 85% of all FSS operators increased the number of transponders leased throughout 2013
  • 17 operators had fill rates of 80% or more, seven of which had fill rates of 90% or more
  • 32,500 TV channels and 146 DTH pay-TV platforms were broadcast by satellite operators in 2013