Q: What are some challenges that the satellite communications industry will face this year?
A: Terrestrial players, both wired and wireless, continue to pose a threat and competition to satellite communications. In the broadcasting arena, we are seeing more players coming to play from fibre, over-the-top (OTT), over-the-air (OTA) and cloud applications competing for the broadcast space. However, the unique advantage of its broad reach, immediate access, and reliability that satellite broadcasting can offer will allow it to play a key role in all forms of communications. The other challenge the industry is facing is the situation where there is a sudden sharp increase of supply in a particular market, which is what we are seeing today in Africa. In parallel, the terrestrial fibre providers saw this as an opportunity to make the investment into building a fibre network to meet the growing demand.
For the satellite operators to remain relevant in these times of oversupply, one of the key objectives is to be able to remain competitive in terms of price by finding creative ways to procure satellites and deliver capacity to the end users more affordably.
Q: What can you say about the current state of broadcasters’ HD transition/ digitisation plans?
A: We are also seeing a shift for more demands for HDTV as demand from viewers continues to grow in the region which is encouraging for satellite service providers. The region is also undergoing rapid digital TV conversion especially the emerging markets such as Indonesia and the Philippines. We see robust growth in all types of applications within the Asian marketplace – with growth in Pay TV/DTH in Thailand, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. The enterprise market is very competitive with a lot of pressure on pricing. There is strong demand coming out of Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and India, where there are some of the world’s largest VSAT networks.
Q: What conversations are you having with broadcasters in terms of their needs?
A: We are speaking with broadcasters/channel providers in those emerging markets on our capabilities to support their local distribution as well as contribution needs. Also, we are exploring opportunities with international broadcasters who have already got a foothold in Asia to further develop localised feed for individual market needs, instead of a regional feed that covers several countries. We have recently made a significant investment on the ground infrastructure and in the installation of digital television playout facilities in Subic Bay in the Philippines as well as Hong Kong. We are able to support SD and HD playout from content ingestion, all the way to scheduling and localisation services. This gives us the ability to offer more value and enable us to provide our customers with a richer portfolio of innovated services that will help them to access satellite capacity and customised tailored solutions.