Last Updated
Thursday 18 December 2014, 14:58 pm.
African satelite landscape tilted

A new 'order' is transforming monopolies that Canal+, a French operator, and DStv, a subsidiary of Naspers, a South African media giant, enjoyed for years.
By Staff Writer Sun 21 Dec 2014, 14:46 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: African satelite landscape tilted








This is partly because of Sub-Saharan Africa's economic growth in the last decade, creating a market niche for other players in pay-televison, thus drastically shifting the Satelite Televison landscape.

Many African countries have a small emerging middle-class eager to spend. GTV's, a satellite-television company created just over a year ago, July 2007, now the fastest-growing in Africa according to London-based Balancing Act, has signed up more than 100 000 customers in 20 countries.It intends to have its footprint across 48 African countries by the end of 2008.  Prior to its establishment, Pay TV penetration was at a mere I%.

With GTV's investment of over US $200 million to date (making it the biggest investment in African media) the African Satelite landscape will never be the same. It hopes to sign up millions of customers over the next few years.

A subsidiary of Gateway Communications, a pan-African telecoms firm, sold to create investment capital; GTV is taking advantage of its parent company's satellite network and local experience.

In Africa, as in most parts of the world, sport defines some of the best pleasures of life. It is what people are most willing to pay for. When big soccer games are on, homes and bars burst into life in cities such as Harare, Kinshasa, Johannesburg, Nairobi, and Gaborone.

Fans huddle around TV sets. European and particularly English football, with its big stars, is popular. Some big names are of African origin adding yet another dimension to the excitement.

So when GTV snatched from DStv the rights to broadcast 80% of the English Premier League's football games live across much of sub-Saharan Africa, it was a coup. The idea was to bring the 'world's favourite game' to the people at a price they can afford.

According to a recent report on African broadcast markets from Balancing Act, GTV has captured five out of seven new satellite subscribers in countries where it competes with DStv. In Uganda GTV claims that it has already grown bigger than its South African rival.

This has motivated the incumbent pay TV provider to action.

It launched Africa Magic, a channel dedicated to African soaps and movies, mainly from Nigeria, five years ago. And it broadcasts Italian, Portuguese and Spanish football, too.

Earlier this year it launched a basic package for a mere $30 a year.

Despite losing most of the English Premier League live games, DStv is doing well: outside its South African base, it signed up 140,000 new subscribers last year.

It reckons that by 2015 it will have as many subscribers in the rest of Africa as in South Africa. It would be interesting to see what happens when the English Football rights are up for grabs next year. Let the giants face each other - head on.



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