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Eutelsat Strikes Deal With TLV

By | July 3, 2002

      Paris-based satellite operator Eutelsat is teaming up with TLV to broadcast oil company Shell’s TV channel across its service stations in France. The deal announced June 24 is further indication of Eutelsat’s drive in the multimedia area.

      Jean-Francois Fremaux, Eutelsat’s development manager for markets and products, told Interspace: “TLV is a small company. This shows that Eutelsat is able to build partnerships with small companies who have a knowledge of their customers and their needs. Through these types of companies, we can reach customers that we would not be able to serve without these intermediate partners. For us, it is a way to diversify our business in the multimedia area.”

      Shell is one of the first oil companies to use television to directly communicate with customers. It has a reach of one million customers a week throughout its 70 service stations in France. The service will operate via Eutelsat’s new multimedia platform at its site in Rambouillet.

      TLV’s move to Eutelsat should enable it to save money as well as distribute video content simultaneously. Stéphane Brugere, director of TLV, told Interspace: “Working with satellite technology enables us to have very high-speed data in the middle of nowhere where other wire communication solutions would be hard to install or at a very expensive cost. The use of the satellite enables us to broadcast programs more adapted to the time and the place and much faster. It also allows us to develop our business at the European level with our current and future customers.”

      By switching to Eutelsat, TLV estimates it will save 25 per cent in terms of distribution costs. Brugere added: “Our solution runs on a Linux operating system, which makes the overall cost much cheaper and more stable than other operating systems. Also the video application software was developed by TLV. We don’t have to pay for any kind of licence for third party software. The fact of freeing limits of the European frontiers and the ability to update content quicker allows us to conquer new markets. Now that TLV controls the technique of broadcast via satellite, we can approach the European market and spread our programs either from our company based in France or from international platforms.”

      It remains to be seen what impact the new, improved service will have on advertising revenues on Shell TV’s channel. On this subject, Brugere said: “Advertisers are more perceptive about the fact that we improve the image and sound quality as well as the speed and the flexibility of broadcast.”

      For Eutelsat, the deal is a satisfying one. While not a huge deal in terms of numbers, it is an important one in terms of gaining credibility in this area of the market as it looks to generate greater revenues through multimedia applications. It has already made inroads into the lucrative e-learning market. Fremaux said: “We are looking at partnerships in e-learning and medicine. We are working with a company called Empreinte Multimedia. This company specialises in rich media delivery for e-learning. We are working with them in order to broadcast medical training in Europe, North Africa, the French West Indies etc. We are doing the same with another medical service company, TéléMedecine.”

      Fremaux is optimistic that Eutelsat will see greater opportunities in this area. He said: “We believe this type of business will increase. We are very careful in terms of forecasts and the type of ramp-up of business we expect. What we are offering is the opportunity for small companies to multicast very efficiently and in a cost-effective manner to a number of sites through our open platforms. We believe that these small companies will come to us and use this system. We are working with them to resolve all aspects of handling rich multimedia content in order to develop a global approach.”

      –Mark Holmes

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