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Earth Observation: Data Distribution

Earth Observation: Data Distribution - Profiles, Strategies & Trends. An assessment of the distribution level of the Earth observation value chain. | Published March 2014

Single User License: 3,000.00 €
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Earth Observation: Data Distribution - Profiles, Strategies & Trends is the first research report to explore the connection between operators and distributors and the advantages and challenges in expanding the operators’ geographical footprint and reaching out to the largest potential number of end users through partnerships. It considers both the organization strategy developed by the satellite operators and the viewpoint of the distribution companies.

Highlights from the report:

Data distributors and services providers have established themselves as a key component of the EO value-chain and an important partner of the EO satellite operators in order to disseminate data to the largest number of end-users possible. This is particularly apparent in accessing key fast growing regional markets and being able to do business with government and private end-users locally. An estimated 12-17% of the $1.5 billion commercial data market flows through the distributors. It is considered that all major vertical sectors are procuring from the data distributors to varying degrees.
While this percentage may seem low, it should be recalled that the majority of the total market is to defense end-users (65%) who prefer a more direct approach to receive imagery, such as through direct receiving stations. Business for the data distributor reflects this, with a far greater emphasis on enterprise markets.
Revenue through data services from the distributors is first from civil governments, totaling 47% of distributor data business. This highlights the need to be local in accessing civil contracts, an important consideration given the growing demand globally for EO solutions. Data provision to the private sector through distribution is also disproportionately higher than the total data market, representing 37% of the distributors business.

The relatively small figure of 16% data revenues associated with defense users demonstrates the more direct approach preferred by this user community. Most operating companies with very high resolution satellites offer direct receiving stations solutions to defense and end-users in order to meet their requirements of secure, continuous data supply with degrees of autonomy in satellite tasking and data acquisition, and short delivery time.

In order to reach out to all user sectors it is therefore considered a necessity to have a diverse approach in mechanisms for data distribution. This is reflected in the type of distribution offering. In total, there are more than 550 active data distribution agreements signed globally with local companies.

Report Elements:

  • Over 50 pages
  • More than 20 full page graphs and tables

Highlights of the Executive Summary:

  • Data distributors are not overly concerned with regulatory restrictions for data sale. However, they face difficulties with operators’ licensing policies, which can inhibit sales opportunities.
  • Distributors view their relationship with operators as satisfactory. They don’t fear the competition from operators’ “in-house” distribution solutions, such as Web portals.
  • The multiplication of national programs is predominantly viewed as an opportunity to increase datasets’ availability and awareness on the use of EO technology within the country of program development.
  • Several distributors stressed that as the market is characterized by a global scale, the geographic limitation assigned to the distributor’s sales footprint is outdated.

Who will benefit from this report?

  • Satellite Operators
  • Data Distributors
  • Service Providers
  • Satellite Manufacturers
  • Banks & Investors
  • Space Agencies

Listing of tables & graphs

1- Data Distribution Overview

  • Earth Observation Value Chain
  • Imaging Capacity per Day for VHR Satellite Operator
  • VHR Optical Satellite Prices per Km2

2-The Operators Standpoint

  • Optical and Radar Commercial High-Resolution Operational Satellites Based On Anticipated Lifespans
  • Typologies of Distributors and Distribution Agreements
  • The Common Approach - Data Distribution Path through the Value Chain
  • Free/Almost Free Data Operators’ Approach - Data Distribution Path through the Value Chain
  • Multiple Satellite Operators Combined Scheme - Data Distribution Path through the Value Chain
  • Operators’ and Distributors’ Online Portals
  • Global Mapping with Number of Active Distribution Agreements By Operator

3- The Distributors Standpoint

  • Review of Data Distributor Selection (Map)
  • Summary of Organized Interviews
  • Overview of Data Demand
  • Interviewed Companies: Length of Time In Distribution
  • Interviewed Companies: % of Business Dedicated To Data Distribution and Staff Aligned To This Activity
  • Data Distributors’ Revenue Breakdown
  • Key Motivations for Setting up A Data Distribution Business
  • How Distributors View Their Advantage
  • Balances between Client Requirements
  • Data Delivery Options Used By Distributors
  • Ranking Of Factors Influencing Sales
  • Ranking the Vertical Markets Driving the Data Sales
  • Ranking the Vertical Markets Driving the Value-Added Services Sales
  • Factors Quoted As Inhibiting Business Growth

1- Data Distribution Overview

  • Methodology & acronyms
  • Product terminology used in this report
  • Executive summary
  • Value-chain overview
  • Role of distribution within the value chain
  • National regulatory frameworks associated with data distribution
  • Profiles of national regulatory frameworks
  • Considerations on data pricing

2- The Operators Standpoint

  • Global commercial data solutions
  • Typologies of distributors and distribution agreements
  • Commercial operators distribution profiles
  • Alternative distribution schemes of operators and distributors
  • Online portals’ functionalities
  • Regional splits of operator distribution
  • Global mapping of distribution networks

3-The Distributors’ Standpoint

  • Review of data distributors selection
  • Overview of data demand
  • Distribution business within companies
  • Data distributor customer mix
  • Motivation for distribution
  • Offer to satellite operating companies
  • Relationship with the satellite operators
  • Primary client requirements
  • Technology as market driver/inhibitor
  • Main factors influencing sales
  • Driving vertical markets for data
  • Driving vertical markets for services
  • Main inhibitors for business growth


Development Team:

Adam Keith, Director, Space & Earth Observation
Kammy Brun, Consultant
Ricardo Topham, Consultant


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