TSBc CEO Highlights Maritime as Major Growth Opportunity
[Via Satellite 09-23-13] Telenor Satellite Broadcasting (TSBc)’s new CEO Morten Tengs is excited about the opportunity for the company in the maritime market. This was the one vertical that Tengs highlighted where he felt the company could make more of an impact. Tengs replaced Cato Halsaa, who had been the CEO for many years at TSBc, earlier this year. In his first interview with Via Satellite, Tengs talks about his management style, the company’s focus on Thor 7 and beyond, as well as what he sees as the major growth opportunities for Telenor in the initial parts of his tenure.
VIA SATELLITE: If you could name one market segment where you think TSBc could have more of an impact, which one would it be and why?
Tengs: I would say the maritime sector. We will add a great deal of capacity in some interesting areas, where there is some big market potential. Toward the end of next year, we will be able to offer capacity in these areas of interest, and we will see substantial growth. I would say we are targeting the oil and gas industry, as well as the normal shipping industry. There is now much more of a need for vessels to be connected to corporate networks, so there is a definite increase in the demands for capacity.
VIA SATELLITE: What do you see as the main challenges to grow TSBc’s business over the next couple of years? What are the main targets for the company?
Tengs: In the next year or two, the focus will be on Thor 7. The satellite is basically empty so we need to fill it. That is where all the focus is right now and will be over the next couple of years. We are of course are already thinking post Thor 7, but not in very concrete terms. The plan is for us to grow further and we are looking at new opportunities. There are no plans to commission a new satellite next year and if we were to contract a new satellite it will more likely be the year after.
VIA SATELLITE: How would you describe your management style?
Tengs: I don’t think I have a certain style. One of my jobs is to agree with the owners on the company’s strategy and then ensure that we are very clear internally on what we are going to do and that all employees understand their role. Another important part of my role is to ensure that the company stays focused and that we don’t “jump around” so to speak on activities that may be more exciting but essentially are not linked to the overall strategic goals.
I am a firm believer in understanding our customers’ needs and supporting them by providing first class solutions that fit their requirements. We need to be “best in class” in execution and do this in a cost effective way – striving to achieve operational excellence.
VIA SATELLITE: You have held a variety of positions within Telenor. What are your perceptions of the satellite industry compared to say the telecoms/wireless business? Do you think the satellite industry is being increasingly marginalized?
Tengs: It depends on how you define marginalized. If you look at revenue growth in a particular market sector, the mobile sector growth in the telecoms industry is higher than what you are seeing in the satellite industry. So, you could say in that sense it is being marginalized in terms of the total growth in the communications sector. Having said that, we still think there are interesting opportunities in the segments we are targeting. For the foreseeable future, we think there will be a growth in these niche sectors. It really depends on how you look at it; of course it will be a smaller part of the total telecoms sector but essentially there will still be growth in particular segments.
VIA SATELLITE: What can the satellite industry learn from these other industries? There has often been talk of a lack of innovation within the satellite industry? From someone with experience of different communications industries, is this something you agree with?
Tengs: I am not sure I would be that defensive. I think there has been a lot of innovation in the satellite industry. It is quite understandable that the industry is very cautious and conservative and that it is slower-moving compared to other parts of the telecoms sector. We have seen innovations and I am quite optimistic about the prospects for the industry going forward.
VIA SATELLITE: What are your views on High Throughput Satellites? What is your vision in terms of TSBc’s capital expenditure strategy?
Tengs: I think the Thor 7 satellite can be described as a high-throughput satellite. So, we are quite optimistic. There is a very high focus on these satellites in the industry, and we share that view.
VIA SATELLITE: We have seen Netflix make quite a dramatic impact in the pay-TV market. Do you think this spells trouble for DTH?
Tengs: I would not necessarily see this as a threat. I think it will be more of an addition to the normal television services that we are used too and only increases the amount of time customers spend watching video. Linear TV continues to play a focus as we spend more and more time watching live sports and events on TV. Whilst this demand continues, I do not see an immediate threat to the DTH market.
VIA SATELLITE: Are we in an era of MSS/FSS convergence now?
Tengs: We have been talking about FSS/MSS convergence for 10 years, but we are now starting to see it happen because the price of installation has decreased dramatically. These services will be more accessible than they used to be.
VIA SATELLITE: What are your three main objectives as the CEO of Telenor?
Tengs: Our main target is to grow the company, both in terms of top line and profitability. We need to improve on operational excellence and further understand our customers’ short term and long term requirements.