Nigeria: HiTV Signs On Sky, Eurosports News

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New Nigerian pay television operator, HiTV, has underlined its commitment to bringing the best television entertainment to Nigerians with the introduction of additional news and sports channels to bring its total collection to 21. The new pay TV company has signed on leading European news station, Sky News and sports channel, Eurosports News, to increase the viewing choice for its expanding subscriber base.

In addition, the Toyin Subair-led outfit has also concluded plans to launch its own new sports channels ahead of the 2007/08 European football league season in August. The new channels, Hi Soccer and Hi Sports 2 are aimed at bringing premium sports entertainment close the viewers.

Sky News is a Europe focused information service provider based in the United Kingdom and owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Among its sister stations are global sports leader Sky sports, Sky TV and Sky movies. Eurosports News is an exclusive sports information provider. Its objective is to deliver first the important sports news stories to its audience.

Another Christian channel, Believers Loveworld, owned by the Christ Embassy Church, would be joining the HiTV bouquet this month. This is in addition to the Redeemed Christian Church of God, (RCCG) owned Dove Vision which already leads the pack with God TV out of a collection of 16 channels as more comes.

Following the introduction of these new channels are Hi Soccer and Hi Sports 2 which HiTV would be launching prior to the commencement of the new European football season in August. While Hi Soccer is completely dedicated to first rate football games especially from the Barclays English Premier League, EPL, and the Spanish League, La Liga, for which it has rights, Hi Sports 1 and 2 would offer wide variety games ranging from international and local athletics, the American NBA basketball, World Wrestling Entertainment, WWE to Wimbledon Tennis Grand slam and many more including extreme sports.

HiTV is in talks with Dele Momodu, publisher of celebrity magazine, Ovation, to produce the television version of the international journal. There are indications BEN TV of England presenter and producer Kayode Tijani would produce this entertainment feature on a dedicated channel known as Hi Ovation on the new platform.

This is in addition to other existing entertainment channels like Hi Nolly which is dedicated to beaming Nigerian home movie entertainment and Nigezie a 24 hour music channel with the best collection of Nigerian stars from around the world. Amuludun a Yoruba language station would complement Hi Nolly in movies, while international music station MTV Base would provide additional black music.

And E! Entertainment would provide the razzmatazz and gist on top Hollywood celebrities. Lovers of foreign movies are not left out in the HiTV consideration as the bouquet also runs a channel dedicated to American and foreign movies. HiTV is also inching into the local language broadcast market with the inclusion of a Yoruba channel known as Amuludun. Subair affirmed that it is the first of such stations as it would also launch Igbo and Hausa language broadcasts.

For children HiTV has created a customised kiddies channel with first class edutainment programmes for the family, while the adult and mature audience are effectively catered for on the Hi Life channel. HiTV owned by entertainment Highway Limited, EHL, jolted the Nigerian broadcast market when last year it won the right to the English premier league and the Spanish Liga for the whole of Africa. It is the first television platform in Africa to deploy the new terrestrial pay per view decoder system technology known as the MMDS Hypercable. It makes pay TV viewing cheaper. Subscribers to the new station would have to pay N3, 000 monthly subscriptions after the initial N25, 000 installation fees.

Vanguard Lagos, 20 June 2007