It is always an interesting development when one of the big four FSS operators makes a change at the CEO position. When Michel de Rosen became CEO of Eutelsat in late 2009, the industry wondered what his vision for the company would be and how he would build on the impressive tenure of Giuliano Berretta, his predecessor. This year, de Rosen’s vision has really begun to take shape by winning rights to a Brazilian orbital slot in an auction hosted by Brazilian regulator Anatel earlier this year and acquiring the GE-23 satellite, associated customer contracts and orbital rights from GE Capital for $228 million.
Eutelsat, which has focused mainly on organic growth rather than acquisitions, has now decided it can no longer just be a peripheral player in these markets. The moves in Brazil and with the GE satellite acquisition are examples of the company’s new direction. But, in a conversation I had with de Rosen following the GE acquisition, he said Eutelsat’s strategy was more focused on continuing the company’s long-standing vision rather than bold moves. While I see his point, I have to slightly disagree. I think with Asia and Latin America being the hot markets for satellite right now, it is totally understandable that Eutelsat would like to diversify its global portfolio. It also seems to me that with these moves, we are seeing the vision of Eutelsat take a new, global shape.
At recent satellite events and conferences, the talk has very much been about emerging markets, with Asia and Latin America clearly leading the way in providing growth opportunities for satellite players. There is a lot of excitement in these regions for the industry and it is easy to see why. It can certainly be argued that these regions have cultivated the perfect environment for satellite growth — still relatively low pay-TV penetration and broadband penetration, high mobile penetration rates but with high demand for data placing huge demands on mobile networks. Add to that the dynamic new middle classes and governments not weighed down by the same level of debt as Europe and North America and it becomes clear that these are the markets that require immediate attention.
Government investments have turned satellite technology into key parts of the communications equation in many countries in both regions. Naturally, there is always talk of India and China at CommunicAsia, but opportunities in markets such as Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines were far from overlooked. There was a great deal of energy for the entire region this year. Looking back at previous CommunicAsia events, I can’t say that there has ever been the same level of excitement as in 2012.
We at Via Satellite have taken notice and are also moving in this direction. We are now dedicating more coverage to the emerging markets in an effort to share this excitement with our readers. Last month, we launched a digital edition, Via Satellite Latin America — a digital only publication with features and interviews with end-users from the likes of BT, Telefonica, ESPN, DirecTV Latin America and GvT, among others. It was the first time we published in languages other than English, taking on Spanish and Portuguese. I strongly urge our readers to take a look at the results, offering unique insights from end-users and customers who are shaping communications and video strategies in the region. We aimed to show how the nature of the satellite industry has changed in recent months and why there is a very clear and definitive shift towards these emerging markets.
You can expect more, deeper coverage from Via Satellite like the Latin America digital publication in these and other markets moving forward. It is a captivating time as part of today’s broader, more connected satellite industry and Eutelsat’s Michel de Rosen is clear proof of that enthusiasm.