Is Satellite Broadcasting Still Relevant?
The satellite broadcasting industry has evolved exponentially since the first television signals were relayed between the United States and Europe by Telstar 1 satellite in 1962. The world has witnessed historic events such as the Apollo 11 Moon Landing in 1969, several life-changing concerts, and global sports tournaments through satellite broadcasting.
Groundbreaking innovations have been birthed through satellite broadcasts, including major television network launches, the transition from analog to digital television through HDTV, and video-on-demand and live streaming services.
Indeed, satellite broadcast services have bridged many gaps by facilitating access to real-time global information worldwide, including in remote and underserved areas.
Question: Satellite Broadcasting has come a long way; what are the main changes you have witnessed recently?
The satellite broadcasting industry is facing an enormous challenge, likewise many other technological domains. The emergence of the internet and the subsequent birth of social media and nonlinear television, such as OTT Platforms, is an immense threat to long-dominating satellite televisions worldwide.
In addition to the technological evolution, there are some other factors, such as the change in the consumers’ appetite, most especially in the new generation, Z&X, as they are growing up with their mobile and tablet and spending the majority of their time interacting with those non-linear media than legacy linear TVs. In the satellite industry, we must acknowledge the trends; however, it doesn’t mean the satellites will be entirely obsolete or redundant anytime soon for many reasons.
Question: Do you believe that satellite broadcasting can still remain relevant?
We often neglect that more than half of the world’s population don’t have access to very minimum connectivity, and the other big majorities are inhabiting the areas with very minimum or very expensive broadband capacities. That means those non-linear technologies are, in reality, out of their reach or would be considered luxuries.
Apart from that, the very nature of broadcasting technology over satellite makes it the easiest and cost effective way to target a significant population scattered over vast geographical areas for any single government/ entity. As such, a satellite is still the most accessible and feasible way to close the digital and information gaps, especially in underserved areas and remote locations, no matter where they are.
Another note is the vulnerability of no satellite infrastructure in many natural disasters and harsh conditions, making them out of reach or hard to deploy and maintain. Specific domains, such as maritime and aviation sectors, will only be served through satellite connectivity.
These are all reasons for the importance of keeping satellite technology still relevant; however, we must proactively navigate and embrace some none disruptive areas and applications.
There are many new trends in the world in which satellite broadcasting can play a significant role, subject to the proper presentation and business model. One area is sustainability and ESG.
Satellite broadcasters play a considerable role in raising awareness about environmental issues, thus encouraging sustainable behaviors among their viewers. By airing campaigns, documentaries, and educational content, they contribute to a broader understanding of the importance of sustainability and inspire eco-conscious changes in consumer habits.
Question: Do you see the media/technology as a killer or immediate threat for satellite:
Firstly, it is a broad and generic question and view that we often hear even from experts in our industry; however, it does neglect the very fact of segmentation which is the bedrock of any commercial business.
Without a doubt, satellite technology was substituted and pushed away from some areas; however, that is a very nature of any technological advancement and could and did happen not only for satellites but for many other technologies.
At Northtelecom, we still see considerable opportunities in the area where we operate; however, we don’t close our eyes to the market trends and customers’ needs. Satellite broadcasting is still the top priority for many content producers in the middle east as the other infrastructures are not well placed.
Although the substitute media are pushing the boundaries and making it harder for the broadcaster to maintain their market share and monetize their content, we are witnessing the crowd’s turn to standard television for major events such as the World Cup.
Question: How do you see the future of satellite broadcasting in the next five years?
I am optimistic; however, it is hard to generalize and give a one-size-fits-all answer. Some segments will move and invest more in other communications and platforms than satellites.
Especially the advanced countries with good internet infrastructures; however, there would still be many underdeveloped countries and underserved spots, even in developed countries, that need satellite to reach out.
We need some non-disruptive moves in the market to embrace new ideas and work hand in hand to promote the uniqueness and ubiquity of satellite technology to our esteemed clients and partners.
Question: How does Northtelecom helps its clients and partners in this challenging environment?
Although satellite remains the final destination of our clients, it is not their only need and application. In today’s complex market environment, the needs of a business go beyond one or two single applications, and you can only serve your client with cross-functional expertize and solutions.
Northtelecom has heavily invested in many domains to increase the reliability of the broadcasting services and our customer’s satisfaction and happiness, including advancement in our RF and network infrastructures and offering many value-add and custom-made solutions upon our client requests. Recently we invested in new firewalls and cyber security measures to give our customers more protection and peace of mind. We continue our effort, keep our communication channels open with our partners, and closely monitor and follow our partners’ needs to serve them the best.
The Q&A Interview with Mr. Mehrabi in the September issue of Satellite Evolution Global is now available for viewing on the Satellite Evolution Global website:
The magazine will also be distributed between 15th and 18th September at the IBC show in Amsterdam.