Posted: March 05, 2009 by Mark Holmes Filed under: CABSAT 2009
The consensus viewpoint at CABSAT MENA SATELLITE MENA 2009 was there was less traffic than there had been in previous years, but there was a real optimism about the prospects for satellite players in the region. While everyone is acknowledging that no region or sector is immune from the financial crisis, with so many new satellites set to be launched, it is certainly not a time of doom and gloom in the Middle East.
Yahsat and SmartSat, two new operators who do not have any satellites yet in orbit, were hoping to make a big impression by having had two of the biggest stands at the show. In some ways, Yahsat and SmartSat stole the show for me. Exciting, dynamic new operators looking to make a real impact. It will be interesting to add them to a melting pot of local and international operators already present in the region.
On a final note, we have had a great time covering the show. We hope you have enjoyed our exclusive video interviews with a number of key executives. You can see those at www.satellitetoday.com.
Posted: March 04, 2009 by Mark Holmes Filed under: CABSAT 2009
Day 2 at CABSAT MENA SATELLITE MENA 2009 was dominated by a panel looking at the issues for broadcasters in the region, and one thing stands out – something has to give.
There seem to be huge numbers of FTA channels, meaning viewers have perhaps more choice of TV channels in the Middle East than just about anywhere else. The question is, as the economy continues its downturn, can these numbers of channels continue to increase?
There has to be a tipping point. It seems quite incredible when looking at it from the outside, but with broadcasters around the world fighting for advertising dollars, it is surely a situation that cannot continue. Many speakers hoped the economic downturn could be the starting point for more innovation in terms of the delivery of content and how broadcasters will reach consumers. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next two years and whether we will see some stunning examples of innovative approaches from broadcasters. It will also be interesting too see whether the number of FTA channels will continue to high or whether we will see a sharp decline in the region.
Posted: March 03, 2009 by Mark Holmes Filed under: CABSAT 2009
The first day at CABSAT MENA SATELLITE MENA 2009 (I am still trying to figure out why MENA is in the title twice!) was eventful. The main debates seemed to center on the age old question of access to capacity. Lets be honest, if you are on the lookout for satellite capacity right now, you might not have much luck. It is kind of like going to the cookie store and finding out all your favorite cookies sold out the day before.
But in two years, there could be more capacity than the satellite community knows what to do with. So it is a pretty odd situation but one that makes potentially for some interesting dynamics going forward.
Arabsat is putting up one satellite per year at the moment. Yahsat plans to launch a pair of powerful satellites. Nilesat is getting in on the act, and new operator SmartSat also wants a piece of the pie. That is not mentioning international players such as SES and Intelsat which also want to increase their presence in the region. Everybody wants to answer the demand for more capacity.
The interesting thing is that once this capacity is up, will it all be filled straight away? Will the numbers of free-to-air TV channels continue to rise in the region? Will there be an explosion in demand for HD services across the region? There also could be a drop in demand as military operations in Iraq wind down. It all makes the Middle East one of the most exciting regions to look at in terms of satellite capacity going forward and one that seems to be going from one extreme to another.
Posted: March 02, 2009 by Jason Bates Filed under: CABSAT 2009
Hello from sunny Dubai. Over the next three days, the Satellite Group will bring you the most comprehensive coverage of the CABSAT MENA and SATELLITE MENA 2009 trade show. Not only will we be providing news and interviews via our daily e-letter, but for the first time at a leading industry event, we will be providing daily video coverage.
So what are the key topics this year? The big question is how Middle East based satellite operators will fare and whether the global economic downturn have any impact on them. In a March Via Satellite article on the Middle East, all the CEOs interviewed believe the region would be less impacted by the current global economic situation. But is this optimism well-founded? Time will tell. Also, we are seeing some exciting new operators such as Yahsat and SmartSat emerge. How will these players do and, more importantly, will their entrance into the market change the dynamics? Also, how will the international players such as SES, Intelsat and Eutelat compete in this market going forward. One thing is for sure, CABSAT will not be dull.
Pradman Kaul of Hughes is the Via Satellite’s 2008 Satellite Executive of the Year, a well-deserved honor based on his efforts during the year. While six other nominees did not win the award, this does not diminish their accomplishments in 2008. And many of them could be in contention for 2009 if they can maintain their strong performances. The economic climate heading into 2009 does not look very favorable, so the next Satellite Executive of the Year already faces a daunting task, but there is little doubt that the 2009 field of nominees will be strong. Are there any early frontrunners?
Via Satellite handed out its 20th Satellite Executive of the Year award a year ago, and the competition for the 21st award has never been stronger. The field of seven nominees is a diverse cross-section of executives, all of whom have made lasting contributions to the satellite industry in the past year. Of course, with such a large field of deserving winners, that means six will not take home the prize. That doesn’t diminish what they accomplished in 2008, and their efforts likely put them in early contention for a future Executive of the Year award.
Please take a look at our nominees, which include satellite operators, network operators, component manufacturers and other sectors, and let us know which one you favor. Input from the industry as a whole always plays a role in our decisions, and we would love to hear from our readers.
So, here we are, my first blog of 2009 and a Happy New Year to you all. I have a feeling that the global economic situation could be an ongoing theme throughout the blogs this year. So, they may well not be blogs filled with joy!!!! It seems a lot of stories this year will have the theme of ‘how a market will survive during economically challenging times?’
But, anyway, I digress. This particular blog I am going to talk about the digital signage market, a market we have just taken an in-depth look it, in the Feb. 09 edition of Via Satellite.
It strikes me that this could be a market where a winning strategy could pay huge dividends this year. I know that maybe stating the obvious, but it seems to me, it is a market that offers solutions, which are definitely geared to helping certain companies during difficult and cost-cutting times.
It is a sad fact of life, that when dark times happen economically, everything gets put under the microscope and a lot of companies are looking to slash costs in a fairly brutal way.However, the fact is, companies and organizations still need to get messages across about their brand, their products, their message if you like. Digital signage, if deployed correctly, can be a cost-efficient way of doing this. So, it will be interesting to see whether companies really embrace these solutions or whether they hold back.
For satellite companies, digital signage offers a potentially interesting market opportunity, although the jury is still out how big the potential pie is for satellite players. So, will the digital signage market see a downturn? Will companies scale back their digital signage projects? I am not sure. I think in difficult economic times, certain companies could flourish here. But, having said that, one thing the last few months has taught me is ‘expect the unexpected’. It seems markets throughout the world are increasingly volatile, and looking into the future and predicting a market can be incredibly hazardous. Still, I am starting in an upbeat manner hoping that in these troubled times, that sectors in which satellite companies operate, will be less impacted than others. Now, where did I put that crystal ball????
Finally, feel free to join me a group of stellar presenters/speakers for a webinar on the impact of the credit crunch on digital signage. The webinar ‘Digital Signage: Pros and Cons during a Credit Crunch’ takes place on Tuesday February 17th at 13.00 – 14.00 (Eastern Time). We have some great speakers lined up, and it should be an absolute cracker. Full details are on our web site at www.SatelliteTODAY.com.
Satellite executives, along with the rest of the world, have been keeping a watchful eye on the global economy for more than year, but unlike the rest of the world, the satellite sector continues to speak glowingly about its prospects through what are expected to be some tough upcoming months. Just as this issue went to press, the U.S. government released four reports that would not bolster the confidence of even the most optimistic person that the U.S. economy will recover from its slide quickly. Jobless claims continued to rise, consumer spending fell by the largest amount since the 2001 terrorist attacks, factory orders plummeted and homes sales fell to the lowest level in nearly 18 years. While no one wants to see the satellite sector suffer any adverse affects from the global economic troubles, is it realistic that the satellite communications business can weather this increasingly bad storm as well as everyone continues to predict?
More, more, more. It’s a common theme of the holiday season and something that the Via Satellite editorial team will deliver in 2009.
Along with your Via Satellite magazine and Satellite Today Daily News Feed, readers will have access to monthly webinars and e-letters on the hot topics in the industry, and we also will provide expanded coverage of the major industry shows in 2009.
We always strive to provide the best possible content to our readers, and we depended on our readers to keep us informed about the topics we should be covering. So please let us know what areas you are paying attention to as we head into 2009 and where we should be focusing our coverage.
Two main factors will determine the health of the space industry in the next few years – available money and who decides how that money is spent. As we move closer to inauguration day, the likely decisionmakers in an Obama administration and the next Congress are being lined up, providing more clarity on that side of the equation.
But at the same time, the prospects for the economy are becoming murkier. Each day seems to bring more bad news, and no one seems to be able to forecast with any certainty how bad this may become and when it may turnaround. Given what we now know — and what we don’t know — how do you assess the prospects for the space industry?