NAB: Intelsat's Galaxy 19 Nears 250 International Channels

Complete Coverage: 2012 NAB Show

Growing demand for international content in the U.S. has helped push the number of international channels up to nearly 250 on Intelsat's Galaxy 19 satellite, which is located at 97° West and provides complete coverage of the continental United States, the Caribbean, Alaska and Hawaii.

Overall, the nearly 250 DTH channels of programming included content in more than 40 languages (up 32% from the end of 2010). The programming originates from 66 countries (up 14%) and 53 channels of religious-themed content (up 29%.)

The satellite services provider also reported that channels carried by Galaxy 19 cater to about 70% of those viewers in the U.S. whose native language is not English or Spanish. About 83% of content is free-to-air.

A recent survey conducted by IBOPE Zogby International also found that the content on the Galaxy 19 is viewed by 28% of Arabic speakers, and 33% of Farsi speakers.

"North America is home to a growing number of viewers who seek diverse and compelling programming from their native countries," said Kurt Riegelman, senior VP of global sales at Intelsat in a statement.

To further build on its international business, Intelsat also announced that it would be adding a new point of presence (POP) in Miami and noted that it had signed new agreements with a number of leading Latin American programmers on Intelsat 9, Intelsat 805 and Intelsat 11.

Some of the new agreements were being driven by the launch of new HD channels.

Recent agreements include one with Discovery Communications, which signed a multi-year agreement to expand its use of capacity serving numerous Latin American countries, including Brazil and Argentina. The agreement will allow Discovery to deliver high-definition channels both to cable and DTH providers in the region.

In addition, Overon America has expanded its use of capacity on Intelsat 805 at 304.5° East, which will allow Miami-based Overon America to distribute new high definition video channels to cable and DTH service providers in Latin America.

Finally, Argentinean service provider TIBA, recently signed a multiyear agreement for capacity on Intelsat 11 at 317° East to provide video distribution services to viewers throughout Latin America.

The new deals build on earlier agreements announced in March with Viacom and HBO.

"Intelsat's media business continues to make great strides in Latin America as we attract new programmers to the region's top video neighborhoods," said Carmen Gonzalez-Sanfeliu, Intelsat's regional vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean in a statement.

The new IntelsatONE POP in Miami will give the Caribbean and Latin American region improved access to Intelsat's fiber network, satellites and teleports and will be installed over the next several months.