Ethiopia: GTV sets up shop with Metro plc

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GTV is to partner with Metro plc in Ethiopia to offer new pay television services after searching for a partner in the country for over six months. According to Dinir, the representative of Metro plc, GTV will transmit Ethiopian documentaries and feature films around the world. "We expect that GTV will support our football federation like other African country", he told HANA.

GTV is competing with MultiChoice, and offers a range of channels such as European football and exclusive live broadcasts of 80 percent of the UK's Barclays' Premiership Football games to 48 sub-Saharan African countries.

"GTV is targeting customers who have previously been unable to afford subscription-based services and have been limited to a small number of national Free-to-Air television stations as the price is not more than others" said Riade Yusuf, general manager of GTV. Gateway Communications, a provider of communications throughout Africa, launched GTV, as a pan-African pay-TV satellite delivery service. It provides international and local entertainment content with a subscription price aimed at penetrating the chronically underserved African television market. With over 46 million TV sets and growing at well over 10% per annum, Africa represents a large and rapidly growing market for subscription television, which Gateway's own independently commissioned research estimates will grow to over $3bn by 2015. GTV will provide a variety of quality content at an affordable subscription price to offer sport, movies, popular series, music, education and religious content. The service will carry both major international channels as well as a number of in-house channels, including 'G Prime', a general entertainment and movie channel, and 'G Sports 1' and 'G Sports 2'.

The latter will focus on live sports events, including the major European football leagues. The service will also focus heavily on promoting African content.

Julian McIntyre, the president of Gateway Communications and founder of GTV, comments: "The African market has been artificially constrained by monopoly pricing and non-relevant content. Consumers across Africa want to watch the latest high-quality television programming that combines international and local content which is relevant to their lives and at a price that is comparable to a utility. GTV will be a pay-TV platform for Africa, not simply rebroadcasts of European or SA content." Gateway Broadcast Services, a subsidiary of UK-based Gateway Telecommunications, has raised US$40 million to finance the roll-out in Africa of its new pay television service, GTV.

(Highway Africa News Agency (Grahamstown), 14 December 2007)