In the face of future connection expansion, satellite companies are battling broadcast reductions

Lower broadcast earnings and the pandemic remain to wreak havoc on the financial statements of major satellite operators, even as they tout the traction their new connection growth engines are generating. In the three months leading up to the close of September 2021, Eutelsat, Intelsat, SES, and Telesat all saw declines in their broadcast operations compared to the same time last year.

For the quarter, Intelsat had to deal with roughly $100 million in consultancy services and other costs linked to its Chapter 11 restructuring, up from around $36 million the previous year. For the 3rd quarter of 2021, the company reported an 11% drop in media revenue to $181 million.

Total revenue, on the other hand, increased by 7% to a little over $526 million, largely to the consolidation of commercial aviation sales following the acquisition of properties from Gogo, the in-flight interconnection solutions provider, last year. “The ongoing rebound in North American airline travel boosted Network Services, resulting in stronger in-flight connection revenues,” Intelsat Chief Executive Officer Stephen Spengler stated. “A substantial planned service move from the Intelsat network to customer-owned assets, as well as ongoing business trends, had an influence on media.”

Adjusted EBITDA, (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization), declined to over $283 million in third quarter of 2020, compared to nearly $333 million in the previous quarter. When adjusted for the foreign exchange rates, Telesat’s total revenues fell 2% to $154 million (192 million Canadian dollars), following a minor reduction in service for one of the North American DTH clients, according to the Canadian operator.

The company’s adjusted EBITDA fell 1% to $126 million (157 million Canadian dollars). The business is investing substantially in Lightspeed, a low-Earth-orbit broadband constellation that expects to launch a network of about 300 broadband satellites the following year. Telesat has secured funding for over two-thirds of the constellation’s anticipated $5 billion cost, thanks to a recent agreement from Canada’s government to invest roughly $1.15 billion in Lightspeed.

Telesat Chief Executive Officer Dan Goldberg stated during the firm’s most recent financial reports that the company is on schedule to become a publicly-traded company by the end of the year in order to support Lightspeed’s financing.

SES and Eutelsat, both based in Europe, reported reductions in their broadcast business in their quarterly reports, although they also indicated that the area is improving. SES’ underlying video earnings for the year to date totaled 785 million euros ($908 million), a decrease of 4.1 percent when regulated for the foreign exchange rates yet less than the previous year’s drop of 8%.

In third quarter of 2021, it reported underlying video revenue of 259 million euros, down 4.6 percent year on year. “The strength and resolve of the Video business are evident in the revised FY 2021 projection, which is based on significant renewals and new contracts secured in our core neighborhoods, as well as the continued good momentum of the HD+ platform in Germany,” stated SES CEO Steve Collar.

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