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Spotlight: Hurricanes Drive Transponder Demand

By | September 20, 2004

      A slew of big events this year have spurred occasional-use transponder demand. One of the big beneficiaries of the clarion cry for capacity in North America has been Princeton, N.J.-based SES Americom, the U.S.-based satellite operating unit of Luxembourg’s SES Global.

      Key drivers of the demand have been the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, the U.S. presidential campaign, an onslaught of hurricanes and sporting events headlined by the Summer Olympics in Athens. Specifically, SES Americom provided 3,600 hours of video transmission time at the U.S. political conventions and 3,000 hours of high-definition television (HDTV) sports programming.

      As a result, occasional-use and special-event satellite service revenues were up 60 percent for SES Americom during the first nine months of 2004 compared with the same period of 2003, said Monica Morgan, vice president of corporate communications at SES Americom.

      “With the hurricane activity, we continue to be extremely busy,” Morgan said in an interview Friday. SES Americom was responding to a relatively high number of requests for occasional-use capacity from news organizations interested in weather-related coverage during the past few weeks.

      One innovation that lets SES Americom respond quickly to emergency transponder demand for its customers is the creation of an online reservation system, called STARS Online, that offers quick access to bandwidth and inventory in almost any region of the world through SES Global’s international satellite fleet and partnerships. The online service enables SNGs, resellers and broadcasters to view, book, amend or cancel occasional satellite bandwidth in real-time through SES Americom’s Web site, The system offers 24/7 access to the company’s occasional-use transponder inventory of domestic C-band and Ku-band capacity as well as to both digital and analog video signals, and the transoceanic space segment.

      (Monica Morgan, SES Americom, 609/987-4143)

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