Satellite overtakes cable in Europe

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

SES ASTRA Further Extends Its Reach in Europe; For the first time, satellite reaches more households than cable

LUXEMBOURG — SES ASTRA, an SES company (Paris:SESG)(LuxX:SESG), announced today that it has again significantly increased its reach and grown the number of digital and High Definition TV households on the ASTRA satellite system. SES ASTRA is now broadcasting to 125 million TV homes across Europe and North Africa, three million more than the year before. For the first time, satellite reaches more households than cable in Europe, with 77 million satellite and 71 million cable households. Terrestrial infrastructures reach 86.5 million households; however, not even half of them (48 percent) are digital.

The digitalisation rate of satellite increased to 92 percent, with a total of 71 million out of the 77 million satellite households being digital. Cable still shows the lowest digitalisation rate, with one third or 34 percent (24 million) of all 71 million cable households being digital. IPTV is – by definition – 100 percent digitalised and reaches nine million households across Europe.

In High Definition, ASTRA counts around six million HD viewing homes and currently broadcasts 114 HD channels. The success of HD is underpinned by the high number of HD screens sold across Europe. 125 million HD Ready TV sets have been sold since the start of HD in 2005. It is expected that by 2013, an estimated 55 million households will be equipped with both an HD Ready TV set and a suitable HD receiver. Satellite is expected to remain the largest distribution platform for HD.

These are the results of the latest SES ASTRA Satellite Monitor, conducted in 29 European and North African countries, and based on almost 70,000 face-to-face and telephone interviews. The methodology and the results are controlled by independent institutes and accepted by regulatory bodies as objective market measurements.

“The significant increase in reach and the success of SES ASTRA are based on a stable business model and on strong drivers which allow us to develop our business despite the difficult market situation,” says Ferdinand Kayser, President and CEO of SES ASTRA. “The underlying dynamics of Western European key markets, and the growth in Eastern Europe, impressively demonstrate that we are able to maintain our competitive position and further develop our reach, in technical and commercial terms. Whether in HD, hybrid reception or 3D TV, we are extremely well positioned to play a leading role in future innovations.”

Satellite Monitor figures for year-end 2009 in Europe and North Africa at a glance:

  • Total of 244 million analogue and digital TV homes in Europe
  • ASTRA fleet reaches 125 million analogue and digital TV households in Europe and North Africa (57 million Direct-to-Home, 68 million through cable head-ends)
  • Around 60 percent or 146 million TV homes receive programs digitally (includes all reception modes: satellite, cable, terrestrial, IPTV)
  • Satellite serves every second digital TV household and reaches 71 million digital homes (49 percent of the digital market); cable reaches 24 million digital homes (16 percent), terrestrial reaches 41.7 million digital homes (29 percent), IPTV reaches nine million homes (6 percent).
  • ASTRA serves 52 million digital satellite homes (72 percent of all digital satellite homes)
  • ASTRA currently features 114 HD channels and reaches around six million HD viewing homes
  • Digitalisation rate of satellite is 92 percent, compared to 48 percent for terrestrial reception and 34 percent for cable networks

More: ASTRA Satellite Monitors