Continuing its quest for new Internet-related revenue, satellite operator PanAmSat Corp. has hired a well-connected IBM executive to head its NET/36 streaming venture.
Bill Moses has joined the Greenwich, Conn.-based company as senior vice president of PanAmSat and president of NET/36, the Internet content-distribution business launched in March. He comes to PanAmSat after serving as VP of broadband services at IBM, where he co-authored Big Blue's digital-media strategy and helped launch the PGA.com and NHL.com Web properties.
Now he is charged with growing NET/36, which will use PanAmSat's extensive space capacity to bypass traditional Internet bottlenecks. Although such companies as iBeam, Akamai and Vyvx are pursuing the use of satellites to deliver high-speed Internet content, PanAmSat has the advantage of its robust satellite system. It has dedicated 24 Ku-band transponders worldwide to NET/36 and has also pledged to spend $250 million over the next two years on IP-based ground equipment, such as servers that will receive the satellite content at local headends.
Moses became interested in satellite Internet distribution while at IBM. "One of the things I was trying to get IBM to focus on was distribution to the edge of the network, since it played into a number of IBM's strengths, such as storage and media management." He had been closely following the progress of NET/36 and its competitors.
"The company's approach made a lot of sense to me," says Moses. "Hughes [81% owner of PanAmSat] knows how to build a company, and they know the risk of capital and assets required. If you look at where our competitors are in terms of burn rate, we stand in a really good position. We have a strong corporate parent that actually owns the assets that are able to fly over the Internet congestion. Unlike the competition, we're not going to go out and fight for transponder leases."
So far, NET/36 has signed a last-mile deal with US West and is currently testing seven POPs (points of presence) passing 150,000 US West customers. Several other deals with cable and/or DSL providers are in the works. But what NET/36 really needs to do, says Moses, is convince content owners that satellites are an efficient way to deliver high-quality content to cable modem and DSL customers.
"In order to make this really attractive," he explains, "we need to convince the content owners that this new technology is going to enable them to create incremental revenue streams."
To that end, NET/36 is already hiring "some really sharp content people." Moses will also look to leverage his contacts at television networks and studios. Before his broadband post at IBM, he was vice president of broadcast cable and sports for their Global Telecommunications and Media division. In that position, he oversaw the creation of asset-management and spot-delivery systems for such customers as CBS and The WB.
Earlier, Moses had been senior vice president of worldwide distribution and new media for the NFL.