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M7 Group Contracts Two Additional Transponders On ASTRA 23.5 Degrees East For Further HDTV Expansion In The Netherlands


CanalDigitaal significantly expands its Dutch HDTV lineup

Luxembourg - SES ASTRA, an SES company (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG), announced today that it has signed a long-term agreement with M7 Group for two additional transponders on ASTRA 23.5 degrees East. The newly contracted capacity will be used for the further extension of the HDTV lineup of CanalDigitaal, M7 Group’s direct-to-home (DTH) platform for the Dutch market and will bring the number of total transponders contracted by M7 Group at this orbital position to four. The Luxembourg-based M7 Group provides DTH-services in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg using the brand names CanalDigitaal, TV Vlaanderen and TéléSAT.

Following the agreement, CanalDigitaal will launch a broad range of new HD channels from mid-February onwards, including HD channels from the Dutch public broadcaster NPO, and commercial broadcasters RTL and SBS. As a result, the CanalDigitaal HD channel lineup for the Dutch market will more than double over the next three months.

In addition to the four transponders now contracted by M7 Group at 23.5 degrees, M7 Group currently also operates four transponders at the ASTRA 19.2 degrees East position. By using an ASTRA DUO LNB, Dutch DTH homes are capable of receiving programmes from both orbital positions via a single fixed dish.

Alexander Oudendijk, Chief Commercial Officer SES ASTRA, commented: “We are very pleased with this new agreement as it further strengthens our solid and long-standing relationship with the M7 Group. The agreement confirms the rapid success and key importance of ASTRA 23.5 degrees East as a fast-growing HDTV hotspot for the Benelux. It also demonstrates that in markets dominated by land-based infrastructures, satellite DTH plays a key role for the development of the HDTV market. With the launch of additional HD channels at 23.5 degrees East, ASTRA becomes the largest HD platform in the Netherlands with a lineup of over 20 HDTV channels, including all major public and commercial channels.”

Andrei Noppe, Executive Vice President of M7 Group, said: “In 2010, more than 80 percent of Dutch TV homes will be equipped with a TV set suitable for HDTV. That fact, combined with the World Championship Soccer tournament coming soon, should result in a further take-up of HD over the coming months. This agreement with SES ASTRA allows us to meet this demand with an attractive and wide range of HD services. Coupled with the fast growing free-to-air offer on ASTRA, we believe that satellite DTH is the most attractive infrastructure to capture the HDTV needs in the Dutch market.”


SES ASTRA is the leading Direct-to-Home (DTH) satellite system in Europe. The satellite fleet currently comprises 13 ASTRA and two SIRIUS satellites. The combined satellite system delivers services to more than 122 million DTH and cable households and transmits more than 2,500 analogue and digital television and radio channels. SES ASTRA also provides satellite-based multimedia, internet and telecommunication services to enterprises, governments and their agencies. With more than 100 High Definition (HD) channels on its main orbital positions, ASTRA and SIRIUS represent the most important HDTV platform for Europe’s leading broadcasters. The prime orbital positions for ASTRA and SIRIUS are 19.2° East, 28.2° East, 23.5° East, 5° East and 31.5° East.

SES ASTRA is an SES company (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG). SES wholly owns SES ASTRA and SES WORLD SKIES, 90% of SES SIRIUS in Europe, and participations in Ciel in Canada and QuetzSat in Mexico. SES provides outstanding satellite communications solutions via a global fleet of 41 satellites in 26 orbital locations. For further information:

About M7 group SA

M7 Group SA is a Luxembourg-based European provider of satellite TV services for residential and business customers. M7 currently offers TV services in the Netherlands using the brand name CanalDigitaal, in Flanders in Belgium using the brand name TV Vlaanderen, and in Wallonie in Belgium and in Luxemburg using the brand name TéléSAT. All brands offer tailor made packages for clients adapted to the local culture and language in these countries.

Today M7 Group SA has more than 1 million viewers who receive hundreds of digital national and international TV and radio channels making use of a small satellite dish for reception. For more product specific information please look at the web sites of the different brands.


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