Video isn’t going away. We love to watch the likes of dramas, movies, sports, and that is unlikely to change. But, what is changing for satellite operators is that they can no longer rely on broadcast to fuel future growth. This has been evident in the latest set of results from a number of the major operators. Amazon and Netflix are now major players in video, something few could have seen even a few years ago. Direct-to-Home (DTH) user numbers, particularly in major markets, are on the decline. What is obvious is that the traditional models that satellite operators have relied on for well over two decades are changing rapidly. This is significant for the industry considering video has often been the safety blanket for the industry. The lack of Geostationary Orbit (GEO) orders last year and the declining video revenue figures this year are adding up to uncertainty. High Definition (HD) may well have been a killer app, whereas 3D TV definitely wasn’t — and progress in 4K has been slow.
However, it is not all doom and gloom. Satellite companies have a great opportunity to re-invent themselves. They can be creative, and many have adopted a startup mentality — even though many have been around for decades.
In this issue, we focus on the broadband and broadcast markets in Africa and see how the demands for satellite capacity are shaping up. We also catch up with Greg Wyler, the enigmatic founder of OneWeb, and talk about what is happening at the company. OneWeb has been the talk of the industry over the last few months, and is one of the most polarizing companies in our sector. It was great to catch up with Greg, while trying to separate the truth from the rumors.
As we come to the end of the year, I want to thank the loyal readers of Via Satellite for their support and wish them a strong end of year as we head into what is likely to be a momentous 2019. VS