Home >> June 2009 Edition >> EXECUTIVE SPOTLIGHT ON... Rob Bednarek

When Rob Bednarek takes the podium as the featured keynote speaker at CASBAA on the eve of CommunicAsia in Singapore later this month, he will unveil the inner strategy driving his newly combined SES division’s global success. He will also share his view of the dynamic Asian markets and how his company’s energetic team and long-term participation in the market continues to help Asian customers to benefit from satellite services.

SatMagazine caught up with this industry veteran a few weeks ago and received a thorough update regarding SES AMERICOM-NEW SKIES as well as obtaining a better understanding of this leading satellite services company’s success, direct from the company’s president and CEO.

The answers we secured were refreshing and straightforward and were, in many ways, a reflection of Bednarek himself and the SES division that has been busy of late breaking new ground and marking historic milestones from North America to Taiwan and everywhere in between.

There has been no shortage of good news coming from SES AMERICOM-NEW SKIES this year. What’s the driving force behind all of your new business activity across Asia and the world? Can you divulge your successful strategy?

Rob Bednarek
The success of our business revolves around our unwavering commitment to our customers. Commitment is a word that frequently gets loosely tossed around the industry. But it’s much more than just a word at SES AMERICOM-NEW SKIES. It is the engine that drives our people, our solutions, and ultimately our customers to new levels of achievement.

It starts with our ability to listen to our customers’ needs. Our core commitment is to consistently deliver what they need, not just the latest, great technology or solution. We have insisted that commitment become an integral part of everything we do and deliver. As a result, we are a leader in the experienced support of innovative video content and diverse communications applications — from advanced HD to high-speed broadband and the many and diverse businesses spawned by these developments. And our customers — from Asia to the Americas and everywhere in between — know they have a secure business platform in SES AMERICOM-NEW SKIES that they can count on for the long haul as they invest in their business.

Our customers know they can rely on us based on their experience with us. They’ve seen firsthand that our vision, our prior investments and our desire to understand their business challenges leads to long term solutions that work. SES AMERICOM-NEW SKIES has the right satellites in place to meet regional and global requirements, for example. We’ve talked with our customers and placed capacity where demand is coming — years in advance.

We have the best orbital locations in space to support even the biggest needs for content and connectivity in even the remotest cities and towns. Whether it’s growing business demand for broadband across the islands of Indonesia, the emerging DTH market in Taiwan, or the insatiable craving for HD in the U.S. and Europe, our customers know for a fact that SES AMERICOM-NEW SKIES provides commitment they can count on. It comes in the form of reliable, well coordinated satellites and the best orbital real estate available. It’s also in the knowledge base that can only come with the kind of deep experience our teams have around the globe. And we deliver that commitment with the strongest financial backing in the industry.

You and your company have certainly committed to the Asian markets. What is your take on the drivers of satellite demand across this important region?

Rob Bednarek
One of the strongest and healthiest developments throughout Asia is the rapid uptake of DTH broadcasting. There is a real desire and ability to launch new DTH platforms and services across this part of the world. Just look at India, for example, where subscriber counts and demand are extremely healthy and growing.

The rise in regional DTH startups is proof positive that satellite provides the quickest, most effective way to launch a new broadcast operation today. That coupled with the exciting evolution of HD and VOD in the U.S. and Europe, not to mention the relaxed regulatory stance across Asia, is really promoting the growth and expansion of DTH in countries like Thailand, Vietnam, and Australia.

We saw it coming a few years ago. And now there is a proliferation of three and four transponder, 40-50 channel DTH offerings sprouting up all over the Asian markets. SES AMERICOM-NEW SKIES is carrying a bulk of the Asian DTH content. We just signed a three-transponder deal in Taiwan, for example, where our NSS-11 satellite will be delivering more than 50 channels across the country.

What are some of the other Asian markets and applications that are counting on your satellite capacity and expertise?

Rob Bednarek
Other applications in Asia are essentially driven by the growing need for broadband connectivity almost anywhere there is economic activity. A growing number of broadband service providers are using satellite to offer solutions to enterprises of all sizes. Throughout the region, particularly in places like Indonesia, Malaysia, and India where there’s a strong history of economic development and growth, there’s big demand for connectivity to support and further drive that economic activity.

Just getting connected to the Internet backbone is vital to business, and we see our satellites being used more and more to provide that kind of link. Outside of major metropolitan areas the use of terrestrial networks remains difficult in a lot of the Asian geographies.

Indonesia has seven thousand islands and not many of them have full broadband connections. So if you run a business in environments like that, satellite represents not only the best way but often the only way to establish connectivity or a lifeline for conducting business across the country and around the world.

How is SES AMERICOM-NEW SKIES positioned to serve Asia markets today and tomorrow?

Rob Bednarek
SES AMERICOM-NEW SKIES has long been committed to Asia markets and we continue to add to our portfolio of capacity dedicated to the region. The launch of our NSS-9 satellite earlier this year represents the most recent expansion and we have additional capacity in the pipeline, including NSS-12 slated for launch in just a few months.
Currently, we have five satellites serving the region, enabling both media distribution and enterprise connectivity types of applications throughout this important part of the world.

We had an extremely smooth and well coordinated transition, as we brought NSS-9 online without any customer disruptions. We had made a significant investment in the planning and execution of this transition in order to ensure minimal disruption for our customers. That, as well as the investment in the new capacity itself, is clear evidence of our strong and long-term commitment to the market.

We understand the customer’s need for a commitment to continuity. And we’ve responded by consistently delivering new capacity and committing early and clearly to the replacement of existing satellites as they near the end of their lives.

That’s what the Asian market wants. That’s what any market wants. And SES AMERICOM-NEW SKIES is well positioned to exceed the demands of Asian markets with our unmatched assets in the sky and unsurpassed expertise and presence on the ground.

What about your local support in Asia ­— both facilities and people?

Rob Bednarek
SES AMERICOM-NEW SKIES has a major office in Singapore staffed by a dedicated sales team as well as technical and business support teams that consistently help us understand our markets and our customers’ businesses. We constantly strive for the deepest possible understanding of Asia — from capacity, regulatory, and customer points of view. And we have people and offices in every corner of the world sharing best practices in support of our global customer base.

In terms of facilities, we partner with the leading teleports throughout Asia and throughout the world. Reach and Galaxy in Hong Kong are two examples of leading ground service operations supporting our work in Asia. It is part of our commitment to the customer and the region to establish commercial relations with existing operators in the region, who are more than capable of providing our terrestrial access points.

We could come in and construct our own ground facilities, but then we’re competing with our customers and the communities we serve – and that goes against our philosophy and company culture of complete customer and market commitment.

What is it that you want your audience at CASBAA and CommunicAsia and the markets you serve throughout Asia to know about SES AMERICOM-NEW SKIES?

Rob Bednarek
It’s what our customers already know about us. That once you build your successful business on our platforms, our satellites and our people will always be there for you.

It’s this stability that helps differentiate SES AMERICOM-NEW SKIES from our competition. It’s the financial stability of our parent company SES and it’s the rock solid expertise and insight that we provide our customers day-to-day that allows our business and our customers’ businesses to thrive. That’s the kind of commitment and quality Asian markets and global markets demand – in good times and tough times. As a result, SES AMERICOM-NEW SKIES and our customers are weathering the economic storm better than most.

Asia is poised for success and we’re positioned to take our Asian customers anywhere they need to go.