SIA Report Says Satellite Manufacturing Slowed but Services Grew in 2010

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WASHINGTON — Following a banner year in 2009, global satellite manufacturing revenue shrank by 20 percent in 2010, while the worldwide market for satellite services continued its strong growth last year, according to a June 20 report by the Washington-based Satellite Industry Association (SIA).

Despite a growing share of the satellite manufacturing and launch services markets, the U.S. satellite industry shed nearly 7,000 jobs in the first three quarters of 2010 after losing 12,000 jobs in 2009, according to SIA’s “State of the Satellite Industry Report.”

The global satellite industry — which includes satellite hardware and services, ground equipment and launch services — grew by 5 percent in 2010 to $168.1 billion. The industry has grown an average of 11.2 percent per year from 2005 through 2010, not accounting for inflation, the report said.

Satellite services account for the largest and fastest growing segment of the industry, rising from $93 billion in 2009 to $101.3 billion in 2010, the report said. Consumer satellite television services account for roughly 80 percent of this revenue, and the segment grew by 10 percent last year; the subscription base for satellite television services increased by 5.5 million users to 147 million users in 2010, spurred by Asian demand. Satellite radio revenue grew by 12 percent to $2.84 billion in 2010, the report said.

Mobile satellite services operators saw revenue increase from $2.2 billion to $2.3 billion in 2010, as a 9 percent drop in revenue from mobile voice services was counterbalanced by a 10 percent increase in revenue from mobile data services, the report said. Worldwide revenue from fixed satellite services and consumer satellite broadband grew slightly to $11.1 billion and $1.1 billion, respectively. Global satellite imagery sales remained flat at $1 billion.

Global satellite manufacturing revenue peaked at $13.5 billion in 2009 and retreated to $10.8 billion last year. These figures represent the total value of all satellites delivered in these years, as opposed to the value of all satellites ordered in these years. For the second consecutive year, the U.S. satellite manufacturing industry brought in more than half of global revenue, with much of that revenue coming from U.S. government sales.

The total number of commercial geostationary satellites ordered fell from 41 in 2009 to 28 in 2010, the report said. U.S. vendors won 16 — or 57 percent — of these orders, up from 46 percent the previous year.

The satellite launch industry’s revenue retreated somewhat in 2010 but remained relatively high. Industry revenue surged from $2.7 billion in 2006 to $4.5 billion in 2009 and slid back to $4.3 billion last year. Launch revenue is also counted when a launch occurs, not when it was ordered. The number of commercially procured launches increased from 46 to 54 in 2010. Average revenue per launch decreased last year due to an increasing number of lower-cost launches, the report said.

Launch bookings rose from 35 in 2009 to 49 in 2010, the report said. U.S. providers snagged 20 of these orders, while 14 went to Europe, 11 went to Russia, two went to China and the multinational Sea Launch and Land Launch services each received one order.

Satellite ground equipment revenue was up 3 percent to $51.6 billion in 2010. This segment includes consumer terminals such as GPS receivers and satellite television dishes, as well as satellite command-and-control hardware and network equipment.