SES-Astra has confirmed the renewal by BSkyB of 24 of the 31 transponders held at its 28.2 degrees orbital slot. A statement released by the Luxembourg-based satellite operator said the transponders had been renewed on a “long-term basis”.
The relationship between SES and Astra goes back to 1989 when Sky launched its four channel analogue package on Astra 1A.
“The continued trust in ASTRA allows for the further growth of the UK and Ireland satellite DTH market and an exciting TV-offer on a long-term basis,” said Alexander Oudendijk, chief commercial officer, SES-Astra.
Mike Darcey, Sky’s chief operating officer, added that the satcaster’s success had been driven by its use of a flexible platform. “Our relationship with ASTRA has been long and fruitful and our decision to renew our commitment is based on a belief in satellite’s ongoing ability to deliver quality services, like HD, on a scalable and nationwide basis.”
Darcey’s prepared comments ended with an indication of Sky’s thinking over the next few years, recognising the ability of Astra to deliver HD to 99% of the UK, but bringing in other distribution mechanisms. “Sky’s hybrid distribution strategy also harnesses a state-of-the art broadband network to deliver one-to-one content services,” he said.
The remaining seven transponders fall under relatively recent contracts and will be renegotiated at a later stage.