Sky Perfect JSat is Asia’s biggest satellite operator but it walks softly and does not carry a big stick. Company managers say that is about to change.
Tokyo-based Sky Perfect has a growing domestic market as Japanese consumers, not surprisingly, move from standard- to high-definition (HD) digital television about as fast as any major market, giving the company a solid base of future revenue.
The company reported having 730,000 standard-definition television customers and 1 million HDTV subscribers as of March 31. By March 2014, the figures should be 370,000 standard-definition and 1.3 million HDTV customers, according to Sky Perfect JSat forecasts.
The Japanese operator has also been in the forefront of pushing ultra-HD broadcasts, which require more bandwidth than HD, with a soccer match broadcast in ultra-high definition last October from the JCSat-5A satellite. How quickly global markets will adopt ultra-high-definition is a subject of debate among commercial fleet operators. But all agree that it should more resemble the success of HDTV than the relatively modest take-up, so far, of 3-D television.
The Japanese government could be a growth customer as well depending on its future use of X-band frequencies on satellites that would be owned by Sky Perfect JSat. Disaster mitigation, or what the company calls “business continuity plans,” is a focus, as is mobile communications for aeronautical, maritime and energy industry customers in the Asia-Pacific.
Disaster response-related revenue was down in 2012 compared to 2011.
Developing new markets overseas will be trickier, as East Asia does not lack for satellite operators large and small. But that is what Sky Perfect JSat says it will do to win business in Russia, Australia/New Zealand and the Pacific islands through regional Ku-band beams.
Sky Perfect JSat has only one satellite under construction, the JCSat 14 ordered from Space Systems/Loral of Palo Alto, Calif., and scheduled for launch in late 2015.
One of the near-term priorities for the company is preserving its regulatory rights to orbital slots by moving satellites around as some spacecraft are retired.