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No chance for 3rd MENA hot spot
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Thumbs up No chance for 3rd MENA hot spot - 11-August-2009, 03:10

No chance for 3rd MENA hot spot
Chris Forrester

There are four satellite operators dominating Middle East and North African broadcasting: Arabsat, Nilesat, Eutelsat and Noorsat. However, these four players occupy just two dominant orbital positions, Arabsats 25.5 deg East, and Nilesats at 7 deg West. Eutelsat has co-located satellites at both positions and where it leases capacity to Noorsat. Now Noorsats CEO says theres no space for another operator to enter this market.

No other player can easily get into the DTH TV market, said Omar Shoter, Noorsats CEO. It takes between 40-60 million homes to be pointed at your new satellite, in order to be profitable. Shoter was speaking to Digital Production Middle East.

Noorsat is a virtual satellite company. It owns no satellites itself. It is itself owned by broadcaster Orbit, which is merging its pay-TV assets with Showtime. Noorsat is not part of the merger.

Shoter was referring to two newcomers to the Arabian broadcasting scene: SmartSat, operating out of Kuwait, and YahSat, out of Abu Dhabi. YahSat is working with SES Astra to commercialise its upcoming satellite launch, and has just hired away Arabsats CCO, Mohamed Youssif, to head up its efforts. YahSat 1 is due for launch towards the end of next year.

Shoter wished his rivals well, and suggested the new players can concentrate on governmental and corporate clients, but advised them to steer clear of DTH transmission.

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