Eutelsat Communications has successfully launched Sat.tv, its enhanced electronic programme guide for Free-to-Air channels. The service is already operating at the 7/8° West position, serving over 56m Arabic-speaking homes across the MENA region and is being progressively deployed at other Eutelsat video neighbourhoods.
Sat.tv gives TV audiences an FTA user experience, with the broadest content visibility, while enabling broadcasters to maximise their reach and increase their ability to target specific viewers through various features.
It includes an enhanced electronic programme guide which provides a preview of all the programmes to be aired, filtered by content genre. The guide also includes programme thumbnails – a first for the FTA market.
All channels are automatically installed on the satellite receivers with a fixed channel numbering. Receivers are updated automatically overnight, so any new channels can be immediately found by viewers without needing to re-scan.
Channels are presented with their name, logo, and channel genre, written in the local language (including Arabic script), giving viewers easy, graphics-based navigation. They are referenced with a single channel number and can be discovered by filtering on a specific channel theme.
In addition to a unique channel numbering system, a selection of channels that are of interest to the end user’s country are listed first. This allows an orbital position to be customised geographically and enables national broadcasters to be found more easily by their core target audience.
Regional numbering, and search options, help broadcasters to be found by the relevant audience. Broadcasters can also drive different audiences to different video feeds and customise advertising inventories to specific audiences.
As such, Sat.tv combines the massive audience of satellite broadcast, with the benefit of targetted engagement, to boost advertising revenues. The regionalised channel numbering is also a unique asset for countries seeking to extend their terrestrial TV (DTT) network with satellite coverage, as the Sat.tv receivers enable the channel numbering required by the local regulator to be used, as with DTT distribution.
Sat.tv runs on low-cost set-top boxes and is being rapidly implemented by a wide range of set-top box manufacturers. It is free-of-charge for set-top box vendors, as well as for broadcasters operating at Eutelsat’s video hotspots.
Commenting on the launch, Michael Cairns, Chief Operating Officer at Rotana Media group said: “We have appreciated Sat.tv‘s innovative solution, it will allow our channels to be presented together in a consistent manner, with logos and descriptions translated in local languages. It gives full visibility to our programming in attractive graphical navigation that’s easy to use.”
Serge Schick, International Development Director and Commercial Resources at France Media Monde, commented for France 24: “Sat.tv is the perfect tool for us to fully leverage our massive audience at Eutelsat’s 7/8°W orbital position. The channel numbering system logically positions us with other news content and enables us to communicate on a single channel number so that our viewers can easily find us.”
Commenting on the launch, Philippe Oliva, Chief Commercial Officer of Eutelsat Communications said: “We are delighted at the successful launch of Sat.tv and the considerable success it is already having amongst leading broadcasters at our 7/8° West position, where it is increasing audience engagement for our broadcast customers and significantly enhancing the free-to-air user experience for the millions of viewers at this position. We are in the process of rolling this service out to further reinforce the attractiveness of our key video neighbourhoods.”