Are satellite execs more focused on profitability than before? When discussing Wednesday with Arabsat CEO, Khalid Balkheyour what was the biggest surprise when listening to the opening CEO panel Tuesday morning, he said it was the comments relating to profitability, and that CEOs seemed more focused on this than before. He mentioned them using such as terms as costs per transponders, costs per employee etc, as if they were now speaking a new language. Balkheyourâ€™s comments somewhat surprised me as I thought CEOs were ALWAYS focused on profitability. Were they not using these terms a few years ago?
Secondly, I thought the most surprising comments were Andy Sukawatyâ€™s (Inmarsat CEO) attack on the LEO operators. It always seems unusual to me when a CEO makes an attack such as this on his competition. The usual cloak of respect just seemed to disappear here. Still, back to profitability. Are CEOs more financially focused than ever before and is there greater financial discipline? What do you guys think?
Washingtonians aren’t used to seeing any kind of president display an ironic sense of humor, so it came as a welcome icebreaker during one of the most anticipated appearances of the week when Rob Peckham, president and general manager of Sea Launch, showed some good-natured if world-wearied humor on Wednesday as he referred to the Jan. 30 catastrophic failure of the NSS-8 satellite aboard a Zenit-3SL as “a little setback a few weeks ago….”
Maybe it was the champagne, but opinions about the XM-Sirius merger had changed noticeably by last night’s SSPI gala.
When the deal was first announced on Monday, initial opinions from a half-dozen CEOs all were dubious about its going through. Yet in informal discussions last night, another spate of conjecture was unanimous in its consensus that the deal would go through. Judging by that swing, could the timing of the announcement — deemed by some as odd for coming as it did on a U.S. holiday — have been been a calculated deal by Mel Karmazin’s cadre to soften adverse reaction?
No tiger tails?! You know there’s a general lack of swag at a show when no one’s been seen carrying around distinctive if generally useless corporate giveaways… Two days into the event, the general consensus seems to give ILS props for its snacks, but there is a noticeable lack of bags being lugged around with knickknacks….
Attendees took notice of some comments made by Inmarsat executives at separate panel sessions Tuesday. Officials from the Mobile Satellite Services giant launched attacks against potential competitors, citing the technological and cost advantages of Inmarsatâ€™s geostationary system over their competitorsâ€™ low-Earth orbit (LEO) plans and questioning whether investors in those potential competitors truly learned any lessons from the LEO failures of the late 1990s.
The first set of Inmarsat comments simply looked like a case of the leading company taking a few shots at its potential competitors, but when a second executive kept up the same line of commentary, it gives the impression that Inmarsat actually fears that the LEO systems may be real competition in the future.
The Sea Launch Odyssey platform has arrived at the companyâ€™s port in Long Beach, Calif., nearly three weeks after the loss of the Zenit-3SL rocket and SES New Skies NSS-8 satellite. Sea Launch and its partners remain upbeat that the next mission could take place in 2007.
But the companyâ€™s customers may not be as certain, according to talk around SATELLITE 2007. Some of the companies on Sea Launchâ€™s manifest have been seeking alternative rides into space rather than wait and see what happens to the sea-based launch provider. The only problem is that there are not that many alternatives available at the moment due to full manifests at other companies.
Typical — The first day of SATELLITE 2007, and crosstown neighbor XM Satellite Radio and its New York consort Sirius have finally announced they’re hopping into bed together, at a stroke impacting all the panels and speeches that opened the financial-flavored programming of Day 1 (just think of all the index cards spared simply by the pair’s opting to announce it just after most of the day’s presentations).
While few would admit true surprise at the deal’s reckoning, yet another Washingtonian — that prudish FCC — would have to perform one of the biggest reversals in history to approve the consummation of the deal.
Initial responses from numerous execs at SAT07 were nearly unanimous in their surprise, and ponderous as to whether and how the FCC might approve this deal. The initial feeling on the shop floor was clearly dubious — in fact, not one of the execs surveyed believed the deal would be approved. One or two hedged by saying it was a â€œdifficultâ€ decision for the FCC, but none stood up to suggest the deal would be approved.
All in all, initial impressions about the merger figured its odds slightly less realistic than the claims of one of Anna Nicole Smith’s purported paramours….
Welcome to semi-tropical Washington (well, compared to last week, anyway). While it is still a little chilly outside, as one of 8,000 attendees expected to visit and contribute to SATELLITE 2007 you will find plenty to keep you busy inside the convention center.
The show will once again feature numerous panel sessions, the largest exhibit floor in the conferenceâ€™s 26-year history, and plenty of opportunities to network with your customers, suppliers and anyone else. As there is far too much going on for any one person to experience it all, be sure to revisit the SATELLITE 2007 blog throughout the week while the Access Intelligence team keeps you clued in to what is taking place outside of the panel sessions â€“ the news, opinion and scuttlebutt that stirs from conversations on the exhibit floor, in the hallways, at the receptions and anywhere else around the show.