TranSPORT: Satellite-Services Providers Find More Demand Than Ever

Given the increase in the number of ways that sports-content creators can backhaul and distribute content and the rise of next-generation compression technologies, one would think that satellite services would see an opening up of capacity. But that isn’t the case. Speaking at the Satellite Services: Beyond the Basics session at last week’s TranSPORT forum, supplier executives explained how satellite services are in more demand than ever, with the explosion in service capacity matched by an explosion in demand as TV networks and governments increasingly rely on satellite.

“On weekends, especially Saturdays, there can be some competition in Ku band while C band has more availability,” said Brian Nelles, SVP, PSSI/Strategic Television. “But we plan ahead and are able to find solutions and the dark capacity that is out there.”

According to Gerry McAree, managing sales director for North America media sales, Intelsat, a shortage in North America is due to growth of demand in Russia, along with high demand for Ku-band services by government and news services during the 2012 election.

“We are seeing some [capacity opening up], and defense cuts will lessen demand,” he said. “So, in 2013, the pressure will come off somewhat, but we have eyeballed a number of Ku transponders in the marketplace. But we are optimistic we can balance the supply-and-demand scenario.”

Growth in the amount of content being created at venues by sports broadcasters also contributes to the crunch, said Anthony De Vita, SVP, Vista Satellite Services, noting that higher-order modulation schemes and the proliferation of MPEG-4 are helping.

“But you have things like multicam distribution, where cameras are switched back at the studio,” he added, “and a lot of clients continue to do more and more Webcasting.”

Nelles concurred: “Streaming guys used to be the ones in the closet next door bugging and wanting a feed, but now it has flipped around, and the Web content makes money, has advertising, and is having more resources dedicated to it. UFC, for example, sends out cameras to the Web. It’s very important.”

There is also growing interest in using satellite for delivery of IP-based services. “We can do that now,” he said, “but we just don’t get many requests.”

McAree added that Intelsat is moving into IP by connecting into muxes and teleports: “Clients can send us a file, and we can get it to where it needs to go.”

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