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CEO Interview: Steve Orlando, Seaborn

Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen: I'm here with Steve Orlando, the CEO of Seaborn. We are here to talk OTT and OTT technology and of course, to coin a phrase, it's been an unprecedented year, hasn't it? Consumer patterns have changed significantly, more and more people are watching more and more OTT. So let's talk a little bit about the changes in consumer behavior that you've seen, the changes that you anticipate, and how you think those are affecting and are going to affect your clients' buying and investment patterns.

Orlando: I'll start with the industry first, and then pivot to a Seaborn, but, you know, speaking strictly technology, the COVID-19 pandemic I think has had a positive impact to the world's OTT business growth that's out there. Let's face it: Users are interested in online content on all the platforms. It already has momentum. We know that people continue to subscribe away from the traditional cable/dish TV. They're leaning towards more subscription-based video and audio streaming, but I do think the pandemic has forced many states and people indoors, giving the demand in the market for entertainment a boost that's clearly needed. I believe those lifestyle changes are going to increase the adoption these platforms. So I think the industry was looking for catalyst. It had momentum. This is the catalyst so that you can have more stickier services post-vaccine. If you look at some of the projections and there's a whole bunch of them out there, the pandemic [is] driving anywhere close to 50 or 55% CAGR growth in the short term, but post-vaccine, I think it normalizes back down the 14 or 15%.

How does it relate to us? Look, we we've already got solid tailwinds around capacity and IP services for the platforms for our customers. They still look for secure high-performance connectivity. They want it real time. And I think where we have a major advantage in the marketplace is our ability to scale provisioning, which gives us the ability for our clients to respond in real time to their clients. And that's what this is all about, the ability to scale with this unprecedented demand.

Schumacher-Rasmussen: Well, let's talk more specifically then about Seaborn. From where you sit, what makes Seaborn better and different from others in the market? You mentioned the ability to scale, but is it the people, the technology, the services?

Orlando: I've been here only 30 days, but I've been more impressed with the commitment to the subsea architecture and, really, quality of service. Certainly being a smaller company gives us the agility and the ability to execute for our customers. You know, we sat down as a leadership team, talked about our vision, which is Seaborn's pioneering change through connectivity and technology innovation that enabled communities to realize their potential and improve the world. So think about that for a second: To enable to realize their potential and obviously improve our world. I think the people, the expertise, and our commitment to this consistent execution does allow our clients just to focus on their core business and allows us to focus on the connectivity piece, which is really important in our partnership.

Schumacher-Rasmussen: What is your 3-year plan for the space? You said you've just had some planning meetings and you've only been there 30 days, but that gives you a chance to come in and, you know, hit the ground running in a crazy time and  a really exciting time for our industry. Looking out in the next 3 years, what does Seaborn have planned?

Orlando: I think that it starts off with the goal. Our goal is to be the leading provider of quality network infrastructure in the Americas. And there's many items that we're considering along the journey. Certainly we see a surge in 100Gbps technology, a little bit of a change from 10Gbps to 100Gbps for our clients. Therefore, since we have the asset, we're going to monetize the asset. You look at Seabras-1 and AMX-1 for capacity. There'll be a big push on adding sales head count, and being able to look at the inventory to our clients and the addressable marketplace. I do think there's also an ability to expand in Brazil from IP services standpoint. We'll expand to the top five or six different States in Brazil to support the growing ISP population—really an enterprise play.

You'll see commitment on the indirect channel side from us, something that hasn't been there in the past, as we continue to launch into the enterprise space. We certainly need to do it with partners that deliver a full suite of services. And one of the key elements will be what Seaborn brings to the table from an investment standpoint. I do think there's an opportunity in the Northeast of Brazil corridor that's more industrial. I think if you look at Mexico and the Caribbean, which also extends into Panama, into Columbia, there's great opportunities to invest. Still, the largest route for any of us in the industry is Brazil to United States. There's huge demand intra region within Latin America, versus the full shot back up to the States. And then with incredible amounts of supply that's out there and the consolidation that is happening in North America that probably will extend also for subsea in South America. There'll be an opportunity for M and A. As we look into 2021 and 2022, there's a possibility for more M and a opportunities across the world. Those are the top plans for us over the next 3 years in this space.

Schumacher-Rasmussen: And of course the people want to learn more, they can go to the Seaborn website and you'll see the URL at the bottom of your screen as we close out here.

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