[Satnews] DigitalGlobe, Inc. (NYSE: DGI) announces their third customer commitment for direct access capacity on the WorldView-4 satellite, which is expected to start commercial operations in early 2017 following the satellite's launch in September.
Since the end of the third quarter of 2015, DigitalGlobe has received contracts and letters of intent from international defense and intelligence customers totaling $335 million for capacity on WorldView-3 and WorldView-4, representing $38 million of incremental annual revenue starting in 2017.
DigitalGlobe accelerated the launch of WorldView-4 to meet strong international demand for the world’s highest resolution commercial satellite imagery, and these pre-launch commitments ensure that the satellite will begin generating revenue in early 2017. Approximately 60 percent of this potential future revenue is under firm contract. While there is no assurance that revenue reflected in the letters of intent will turn into contracts, this has historically been the case. WorldView-4 revenue is expected to start to be recognized in the first quarter of 2017.
With the most advanced constellation of satellites in orbit, DigitalGlobe is investing in the best technology to meet the growing needs of its customers. The company has been upgrading the ground stations of its Direct Access Program customers to a common architecture to fulfill the demand for rapid access to the entire DigitalGlobe constellation and offer more imaging opportunities to these customers. Four of these Constellation Direct Access Facilities are now online, with a fifth ground station expected to be upgraded in the second quarter and all facilities upgraded for full constellation access by early 2017.
“The fact that we have this level of commitment from multiple international customers — more than half in the form of firm contracted revenue — this far in advance of the WorldView-4 launch is unprecedented,” said Jeffrey R. Tarr, DigitalGlobe President and Chief Executive Officer. “It is a testament to the unique value of our resolution and accuracy and our long history of performance with these customers who rely on us for the safety and security of their nations.”
“We are in discussion with many other nations interested in our high resolution, high accuracy 30 cm satellite imagery, and the launch of WorldView-4 will allow us to satisfy unmet customer demand across much of the world,” said Daniel L. Jablonsky, DigitalGlobe General Counsel and General Manager for International Defense & Intelligence. “The investments we are making to enhance our customers’ direct access facilities will expedite access to WorldView-4 in 2017 and allow us to provision additional access facilities with greater speed and efficiency.”