Free-to-air satellite television service PremiumFree TV from international channels operator AfricaXP will launch in South Africa on May 1.
The new service will feature a bouquet of 18 TV channels, including BongoTV (focusing on Swahili movies), True African Channel (African blockbusters), Fresh (reality shows), Limelight (family and action movies), Romanza+ Africa (telenovelas) and LOL Africa (comedy).
Also in the bouquet are Sports Connect, Kiddiwinks, Pulse, Riverwood (Kenyan movies), RPM (motor sports channel), LifeTV (crime and investigation), DIVA (entertainment), Gospellife, Fight Night (martial arts and boxing) and Synapse (e-gaming).
Viewers can access the channels through Openview decoders, MultiChoice’s DStv decoders and universal free-to-air set-top decoders using a satellite dish.
In late 2018, AfricaXP launched PremiumFree TV in Nigeria and Ghana in West Africa with 13 TV channels as a freely available satellite TV offering. The company is bringing its multichannel bouquet to sub-Saharan Africa two-and-a-half years later after acquiring space on Intelsat’s IS20 satellite.
AfricaXP CEO Craig Kelly told SA blog TV With Thinus: “Broadcasting unencrypted not only means that the service can be offered free of charge, it also means that the channels can be instantly received on dishes and decoders already owned, installed and connected. It’s all about instant reach for us and with no extra equipment or cost for the viewer.
“After years of stagnation in the African TV market, characterised by the regular failure of new pay TV initiatives, Intelsat’s decision to seek out AfricaXP as a partner and allocate one of the few available transponders on IS20 to PremiumFree TV is a clear vote of confidence in the PremiumFree TV project. Intelsat has a clear conviction that multichannel free-to-air TV delivered over satellite has a big role to play in the future of the African TV market.”
Intelsat senior account director Christelle Meyer added: “Many countries dealing with economic disparity or smaller populations struggle with making fibre and mobile broadband work as a universal media distribution technology. Satellite will play a vital role in delivering rich media content to all corners of the continent well into the future.”
Meyer said that since January 7 PremiumFree TV has been transmitting a pilot channel on the IS20 transponder with at least 18 TV channels in a bouquet that will be tested from April and PremiumFree TV will officially launch on May 1.
“It’s exciting to be able to offer a compelling multichannel bouquet to such a large and underserved market. Free-to-air TV is critical in stimulating the market by offering value to a segment that can’t afford to pay regularly for premium content, if at all,” Meyer added.
“A strong media industry is symbiotic for the whole ecosystem. Strong free-to-air drives penetration of TV sets, stimulate content development and grows viewing habits which in turn attracts advertisers. We hope to make our contribution to stimulating activity to the benefit for all players.”