SES to Deliver DTH Broadcast Services Across French Speaking Countries in West Africa - TNTSat Africa

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Three world-leading satellite operators present globally including in Africa are well positioned to support digital TV deployment across Africa: Intelsat, Eutelsat and SES. The broad size of the continent and the limited terrestrial TV infrastructure - especially in rural areas - explains why satellite will be needed to reach universal TV access. Several announcements have been made by those global players over the past 3 years; capacity is available, just waiting for DTT bouquet signals. So far, the implication of satellite in DTT migration in Africa has been limited.

However on 18 August 2014, SES  announced that it will be delivering direct-to-home (DTH) broadcast television - with the ability to support DTT - across French-speaking countries in Sub-Saharan Africa for the Lomé-based consortium of West African broadcasters led by Africable and Media Plus. Sylvain Béletre, analyst at research house "Balancing Act" tried to find out more.

The multi-year contract - which value has not been disclosed - for two transponders will allow the new platform to deliver direct-to-home (DTH) television from its Bamako Teleport to member countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (also known by its French acronym UEMOA - Union économique et monétaire ouest-africaine). Private Malian television group Africable is based in Bamako, and Media Plus distributes Canal + in Togo.

Africable, which presents itself as a Free-to-air, "Pan-African" TV channel, is widely watched on the continent and in Europe by the diaspora. Africable started broadcasting on 26 June 2004 and is born from the desire of many African cable operators affiliated to an association of private operators in Africa (OPTA) to increase the broadcast of African TV programs to its relevant audience. Today with the broadcast of newscasts to some national TV channels including those of Mali (ORTM), Senegal (RTS), Guinea (RTG), Benin (ORTB), Gabon (RTG1, Cameroon (CRTV), Cote D'Ivoire (RTI1), Burkina Faso (RTB), Niger (Télé Sahel), Africable covers over 13 countries and reaches about 300 million viewers via MMDS, cable, DTT, DTH, internet and analogue technologies.

SES will provide the satellite capacity on its SES-4 satellite located at 22 degrees West, the company’s prime orbital slot for Francophone sub-Saharan Africa, providing 100% audience reach from urban to non-urban areas.

Branded TNTSat Africa, the service will offer a bouquet of 80 channels, free-to-air (FTA) and encrypted, and will allow member countries to meet the global digital migration deadline of June 2015. Audiences will be able to connect to the existing national Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) networks and to receive content via satellite using a Dual Tuner receiver (MPEG4 and DVBS2/T2) included in the offer.

“As a global satellite operator, SES is well positioned to facilitate digital migration, particularly in Africa where geographic challenges loom large for broadcasters,” said Ibrahima Guimba-Saidou, Senior Vice President, Africa for SES. “With over 50 satellites globally, SES has nine satellites which cover Africa. As such, we are well positioned to increase the choice of broadcast channels for local communities.”

Ismaila Sidibe, CEO of Africable, said, “Right to TV access is our slogan. With over 20 years of experience as a leading wireless cable (MMDS) operator and content provider across Africa, we understand the importance of supporting digital migration on the continent to achieve 100% audience reach. It is our goal to deliver quality television to the wider population at an affordable cost, and we believe DTH technology can help us achieve this.”

The roll-out begins on 1 October 2014 across Mali, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Niger, primary orbital locations of the operator in Sub-Saharan Francophone Africa both in rural and urban areas. Other similar deployments are due to take place in the coming years.



Digital Content Africa: Balancing Act's web TV channel Smart Monkey TV has launched a new e-letter called Digital Content Africa. On a fortnightly basis, it covers online film, music, publishing and services and applications. We have already produced 21 issues and these can be viewed on this link: Essential reading for those in broadcast or film. If you would like to subscribe, just send an email to with Digital Content Africa in the title line.

Here are some examples of past issues below:

You Tube provides a platform for piloting new TV series: An African City and Al Bernameg light the way

Licensing delays stall Kenya’s “i-Tunes” content platform on a Raspberry Pi but end may be in sight

The Mobile Deal that is keeping Africans from having more music, film and TV on their mobiles

Online film, music and TV content in Africa – In search of the elusive business model

Video clip interviews this week:

Man on Ground Akin Omotoso on his latest film a rom-com called Tell Me Sweet Something

Director of Dr Bello, Tony Abulu on his next film Superstar slated for release in March 2015

Evert van der Veer, Head of Comedy Central, Africa on the South African comedy scene and programmes they make

Three competition winners talk about the film they'll make for Afrinolly's Cinema4Change

Mandy Roger on exclusive African content coming on Pana TV inc a Basketmouth series

Jason Njoku, iROKO on launching its production arm ROK Studios to test film and TV series

Egyptian TV satirist Bassem Youssef on fear as Govt's favorite weapon and satire as antidote

Prince Ade Bamiro on the twisted tale of Close Enemies, 1st Nollywood film shot in Hollywood

Tinsel director Tope Oshin Ogun on her film Journey To Self and her next TV series

Jeremy Nathan on a film about Nelson Mandela as the "Black Pimpernel" - Mandela's Gun

Tunde Kelani on his latest film Dazzling Mirage about a family hit by sickle cell anemia

An African Edutainment TV Revolution - Can you mix a message with a good story?


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