Namibia: GTV Launched television services


New pay television station, GTV Namibia, was launched on last Friday after it received a broadcast licence the week before. According to Johan Schutte, Director of the Namibia Communication Commission (NCC), the commercial broadcast licence is N$80000 per annum, and GTV Namibia has already paid N$20000.

GTV is a Pan-African television service already available in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Botswana, Rwanda, Mauritius, Zambia and Ghana, and is currently proceeding with a phased rollout across sub-Saharan Africa. "In preparation for launching GTV, we asked consumers what they want from their televisions. Overwhelmingly, English football was the answer - and high subscription prices was the complaint. We listened and our service will give consumers Premier League football for less," said Julian McIntyre of Gateway Broadcast Service, the company behind GTV.

The station will carry around 80 percent of all football matches, including up to eight live matches per week. Less than two percent of Namibian households subscribe to pay television services.

This compares to pay television penetration of 15 percent in Eastern Europe, 36 percent in Western Europe and 93 percent in North America. The GTV Namibia service promises to broadcast the Barclays Premier League, which is internationally recognised as the most popular football competition.

The Premier League will be broadcast on 'G Sports 1' channel dedicated to international football. "The Premier League's increasing popularity and profile in Africa has been phenomenal over recent years. "This has been driven by the high tempo style of play and the fact that some of Africa's biggest stars have made a huge impact on the English game," said Richard Scudamore, Chief Executive of the Barclays Premier League.

Commented Tania Frankle, GTV Namibia's General Manager: "Increasing consumer access to the content they most want to watch underpins our business. The Premier League adds immense value to our programming mix and proves that premium content does not have to be a luxury. "GTV is delighted to include the world's most popular football competition in an affordable service within reach of millions across Africa. The growth potential of the Premier League in Africa is huge, and it is about to be realised."

The GTV service is a direct-to-home satellite-based service and promises to deliver at substantially reduced costs.

The service offers two packages: the 'G Base' is available at N$170 per month and includes 'G Prime', BBC World, Sky News, Al-Jazeera, MTV Base, Kiss, God Channel, and Zee Cinema. 'G Plus' offers the full bouquet of G Base plus G-Sports 1 and 2, and Fox Sports Africa for N$260 per month. The cost of the dish, decoder and smartcard package is N$1 950 including installation and value added tax (VAT).

"With an innovative model that champions African consumer demand, GTV is completely redefining the pay-television market and home entertainment," said Frankle.

"Challenging existing services, we are significantly dropping entry level pricing and boosting consumer service, promoting real value for money."

Gateway Broadcast Service has invested over US$250 million in Africa and has announced a further investment of over US$35 million in expanding its next generation network (NGN) in West Africa.

(New Era (Windhoek), 15 October 2007)