Multiplatform Chances Inspire JSAT CEO’s Thinking
As Japan’s foremost satellite operator, JSAT Corp. is not merely a major player among the Asian satellite industry but also plays a key role in powering one of the most advanced satellite pay-TV markets in the world.
As part of its plans to boost its competitive position, JSAT also is forming partnerships with other companies to extends its position in multiple markets and niches.
In March, JSAT signed a deal with Japanese satellite TV provider Sky Perfect to establish a closer collaboration with Japan’s leading direct-to-home (DTH) operator. The deal will see the two companies work more closely in developing new growth opportunities in the areas of Internet protocol (IP) and mobile applications, for example.
JSAT also has a long-standing partnership with Intelsat, and announced in April that it had signed another deal with the world’s largest satellite operator to purchase a dedicated payload of five transponders on the new Intelsat-15, which is scheduled to enter service in 2009. JSAT’s transponders will be used for direct broadband communications between Japan and coastal nations throughout the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions. JSAT and Intelsat also plan to launch the Horizons-2 satellite before the end of 2007. The spacecraft, developed through the Horizons-2 Satellite LLC joint venture, marks the second satellite to be jointly owned by the companies.
Kiyoshi Isozaki, president and CEO of JSAT, spoke about the operator’s growth strategies and how he sees the Japanese digital television developing.
Satellite News: What are the major challenges for the company over the next 12 months?
Isozaki: We have established the holding company Sky Perfect JSAT Corp. in April through joint share transfers. The major challenges for the Sky Perfect JSAT group is to expand and pioneer the multichannel pay-TV market in Japan. In addition to the above, the major challenges for JSAT is to seek business opportunities in the public and governmental sectors. We are also looking at satellite and WiMAX as well as global business opportunities. We are expecting steady growth of the revenues in 2007.
Satellite News: Are you intending to order any new satellites in the next year?
Isozaki: Capital expenditure spending will be reduced this year. In the meantime, we are expecting the launch of JCSAT-11 and Horizons-2 in the second half of 2007.
Satellite News: How do you see DTH markets developing in the region?
Isozaki: Thanks to the strong promotion of HDTV (high-definition television) programs, we expect the DTH market in Japan will grow. While we expect the slight slowdown on the Sky PerfecTV!, a service which was originally launched 10 years ago based on the JCSAT-4A and JCSAT-3A satellites, we expect growth on 110 degrees service, which is where customers can buy a three-in-one digital tuner and receiver terrestrial as well as satellite television services. According to industry reports, penetration of three-in-one digital television will exceed 60 million households by 2011. In addition to this, we expect the growth on Sky PerfecTV! Hikari fiber-to-the-home service by cooperating with NTT.
Satellite News: How do you view the demand for satellite capacity in the Asia-Pacific region and its impact on transponder prices?
Isozaki: We are facing the price competition in the region and do not foresee remarkable expansion of satellite demand.
Satellite News: How do you view the satellite broadband opportunity for JSAT as Shin Satellite’s iPStar begins to grow?
Isozaki: We have started a maritime satellite broadband service for shipping operators and introduced satellite broadband systems (Space IP) to rural, remote areas where satellite has advantages. We don’t think iPStar will be a competitor in the Japanese market.
Satellite News: What are JSAT’s prospects in China and India?
Isozaki: Both countries are difficult markets in terms of regulation and price competition.
Satellite News: What impact do you think consolidation in the Fixed Satellite Services sector will have on the industry?
Isozaki: The big wave of the major consolidation has finished. We believe that mergers and acquisition is not the only strategy for business expansion. We have established the Horizons-1/Horizons-2 joint satellite project with Intelsat and just agreed with them on new Intelsat 15 project. This is the proof that we are succeeding in terms of global business expansion by using a business collaboration strategy.
Satellite News: How do you view the performance of HDTV so far in Asia?
Isozaki: Japanese terrestrial TV stations are already broadcasting HDTV programs as more than 80 [percent to] 90 percent of their total programs, which is very advanced. As for the CS broadcasting, Sky PerfecTV already started HDTV broadcasting and it will be fully in progress 2008. As for the other Asian markets, we are expecting the growth of the demand for HDTV by taking the opportunity of Beijing Olympic games in 2008.
Satellite News: Where would you like to position JSAT over the next 12 months?
Isozaki: Sky Perfect JSAT group will expand the multichannel pay-TV market in Japan with horizontal development. We are developing a multiplatform strategy with satellite, [fiber to the home], IP and mobile. We expect expansion of business opportunities through unification of broadcasting and communications such as IP broadcasting, , satellite and WiMAX collaboration.