Regional media turn to satellites

Inmarsat, announced today at the Arab Telecom and Internet Forum (ATIF) the results of an opinion survey directed at media houses in the region. The survey covered regional satellite TV and print media company's usage of mobile satellite communications to improve news coverage.

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By  Maddy Reddy Published  June 1, 2004

Inmarsat, announced today at the Arab Telecom and Internet Forum (ATIF) the results of an opinion survey directed at media houses in the region. Inmarsat spoke with leading regional satellite TV and print media, to investigate how the regional media is using mobile satellite communications to improve news coverage. At the ATIF conference, Inmarsat revealed that in today’s evolving media climate, consumers demand up-to-the minute, multi-media news coverage from remote locations. “The changing media landscape has put increased pressure on media organisations, particularly broadcast houses, to deliver the news as it happens. The challenge today is to get pictures, voice, and articles out, fast and accurately, from wherever the news is breaking, be it a city under siege or a community in crisis. And with the world’s eyes focused on our region, a high proportion of news is made up of Middle East content,” says Samer Halawi, regional director, Inmarsat Middle East and Africa (MEA). The objective of the opinion survey was to identify what role regional media play in delivery of this content and how technology can help them compete against the global media companies. Media professionals surveyed revealed that high-speed mobile data solutions are crucial to file stories before their competitors. The opinion survey also revealed how a combination of strong regional presence and immediate access to the news allows regional broadcasters to compete globally with news providers such as CNN, Fox News, BBC and others. “The media’s investment in mobile satellite communications technology has resulted in the delivery of news coverage direct from the front line, from regional players with in-depth understanding of the Middle East. On the whole this contributes to a more accurate world view of the Middle East,” explains Halawi. Inmarsat currently operates more than 300,000 terminals were registered to access satellite-based services. The company’s typical customers include end users in the maritime, aeronautical sectors and the media. ADTV and Al Jazeera, both of which use mobile satellite communications technology from Inmarsat’s Regional BGAN and GAN solutions during the Iraq conflict. Five years ago, Abu Dhabi TV (ADTV) considered its competitors to be local and regional players. “Our competition has changed significantly over the last few years. In fact, during the Iraq war we were used as a resource by international players such as CNN and BBC,” says Abdel Majid Othman Mohammed, technical director, ADTV. The Regional Broadband Global Area Network (Regional BGAN) allows media companies to transfer up to the minute information from remote locations. Along with Regional BGAN, the broadcast media continues to rely on Inmarsat GAN (Global Area Network), to deliver live news. When television viewers see ‘via videophone’ on a correspondent’s live report, the station is using services similar to Inmarsat GAN to transmit from the field. This means that voice, text and video can be transmitted from mobile satellite units about the size of a PC that can travel as hand luggage, increasing the media’s ability to covers news from anywhere in the world. And because both services are on demand, as opposed to pre-booked, the media have the flexibility they need to report the news as it happens says Inmarsat.

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