Tag Archives: SES

SES launches free Covid-19 channel

Satellite and terrestrial telecoms network provider SES has launched a free-to-air channel called Fight Covid-19 to help curb the spread of the pandemic.

Steve Collar

The channel will offer millions of households across Africa, Europe and Asia-Pacific access to informative content about Covid-19.

The content will be provided by trusted organisations such as UNICEF and AFP as well as global educational technology enterprise Potential. It will inform viewers in underserved and rural communities about Covid-19 symptoms, the recovery process, how to manage the effects of the pandemic and social distancing measures.

The channel will broadcast from SES satellites including ASTRA 4A at five degrees east for Sub-Saharan Africa and Ukraine, ASTRA 2F at 28.2 degrees east for West Africa, NSS-12 at 57 degrees east for Ethiopia and adjacent countries, and SES-9 at 108.2 degrees east for the Philippines.

Steve Collar, CEO of SES, said: “Our lives have been disrupted by Covid-19 in the last few months and unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. Through the global reach of satellite TV we are in a position to contribute our resources wisely to help provide important information to vulnerable communities.

“We have been really fortunate to be able to collaborate with UNICEF, AFP and Potential who are willing to contribute content for this good cause. Together, we hope to reach a wide group of audiences with reliable and trustworthy content and do our part in helping slow the spread of Covid-19.”

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Canal+ Afrique expands reach in Africa

French pay TV operator Canal+ Group’s Canal+ Afrique has partnered with satellite operator SES to penetrate new markets and bring ultra-HD channels to African communities.

David Mignot

The move is in response to the rising rate of TV consumption in West Africa, which has led to demand for more choice, improved local content and premium video quality.

In 2002, Canal+ partnered with SES to replace the NSS-7 satellite that provided limited coverage in West Africa. It later revamped the SES-4 satellite footprint, which reached more audiences in the region.

By 2018, the pay TV operator increased its reach to approximately 40% of TV households in the region, with a line-up of more than 200 channels, radio stations and services. The Canal+ Afrique platform also has the largest HD offering in Africa at more than 50 channels.

David Mignot, CEO of Canal+ Afrique, said: “Canal+ Afrique and SES had been looking into how to expand the market and deliver additional and improved services to African audiences and, through this collaboration with SES, Canal+ Afrique expects to be rolling out ultra HD-programming within the next three years.”

In related news, SES has named Frank Esser as chairman, replacing Romain Bausch.

“I am honoured to be elected chairperson at this important and exciting time for our company with SES being in a great position for further development,” said Esser.

“I am delighted to be joining the board with several new directors who will each bring strong competencies, complementing those of the rest of our board colleagues. I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Romain and his contribution, commitment and ongoing service to SES with his continued presence as a director.”

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AfricaXP launches new FTA bouquet

Digital content distributor AfricaXP has launched a free-to-air (FTA) channel bouquet.

Clint Brown

Premium.Free consists of 13 premium channels designed for African viewers, with programmes ranging from movies, sports and lifestyle to telenovelas, movies and kids’ content.

The delivery of these channels is via SES satellites at 28.2 degrees east.

AfricaXP CEO Craig Kelly said: “By choosing to work with SES, Premium.Free offers our channels full regional coverage for multinational language channels like Hausa. SES also offers the best possible verified reach in dynamic and important markets like Nigeria.

“AfricaXP is well known for its compelling Nollywood catalogue and longstanding partnerships with prominent West African producers. We are confident that localisation, coupled with our fresh international rights, will provide the kind of content blend that modern West African audiences demand. Transmitted free to air, this is obviously a great offer at a price point that can’t be beaten,” he added.

Other services like encoding, ad-insertion, uplinking and playout servers are made available by SES’s media subsidiary MX1 in addition to hosting these TV channels on the Astra 2G satellite.

Clint Brown, VP of sales and market development at SES Video Africa, said: “The Nigerian FTA market, in particular, offers great opportunities for growth, and we are proud to have engaged with Premium.Free to deliver a differentiated content package for Nigeria and offer more choice for viewers.

“New initiatives like this, which focus on delivering local and international content that is attractive for the end-consumer and is offered in high picture quality will further develop consumer choice in Nigeria.”

These channels have high picture quality and also contain international content across a wide range of themes. AfricaXP owns and operates over 20 themed channels supplied to major African broadcasters and African diaspora platforms worldwide.

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Benin digital switchover close to finalised

The implementation of the switch from analogue to digital television has almost been completed in Benin City.

Darius Quenum

About 80% of the territory has already being covered and most of the sites are now operational, thanks to the use of equipment provided by StarTimes.

The platform can accommodate up to 18 channels and already 14 of the selected 15 that will show on the platform are tested on 150 StarTimes trial decoders.

Although 15 free-to-air channels have been allocated to viewers in the West African country by Satellite operator SES as directed by the Benin government, there is still delay in the creation of the Beninese broadcasting company, the distribution of decoders and the roll-out of the communication campaign regarding the switchover to digital TV.

These FTA channels are said to be the first ever high definition channels to be made available through digital-terrestrial TV across Africa.

The chairman of the DTT steering committee of the presidency of the Republic of Benin, Darius Quenum, said: “The ground-breaking deal with SES was an essential milestone as Benin moves closer to its deadline for the analogue switch-off.”

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SES reaches 11m Nigerian homes

European satellite operator SES expanded its reach in Nigeria from three million TV homes in 2015 to 11 million in 2017, an increase of 367% in just two years.

Clint Brown

A market report from Satellite Monitor recently stated the Luxembourg-based company now reaches over 11 million TV homes in Nigeria, 3.5 million of which are directly served by its satellite fleet.

Therefore, SES now directly serves 37% of satellite TV homes in the country. However, the growth of SES can also be attributed to the advent of digital terrestrial television (DTT) homes fed indirectly by SES.

The prime orbital position at 28.2º east was described as a key driver for the growth of SES’s direct reach, with three million TV homes in Nigeria directly served via this orbital slot, up from 1.3 million in 2015.

This video position hosts SES’s premium free-to-air TV platform for Nigeria, giving broadcasters access to the highest technical reach in West Africa. The growth of SES’s reach was also driven by direct-to-home (DTH) satellite broadcasting and feeding DTT head-ends via 5º east.

There are currently a total of 35 million TV homes in Nigeria, of which close to 10 million are served by satellite and the rest are reached by terrestrial networks. The penetration of digital TV has expanded to 25 million homes receiving digital TV signals, which represents 35% growth compared with 2015.

Clint Brown, recently appointed VP of sales and market development for Africa at SES Video, said: “SES has been committed to driving the growth of digital TV in Nigeria for many years, and local partners in the country appreciate the Satellite Monitor study as a token of our commitment.

“We are particularly excited by our growing technical reach at 28.2º east, which broadcasters and content programmers will be able to leverage to increase their audience via our Nigerian TV platform. In addition, the results show that the hybrid DTH/DTT approach is the winning strategy to deliver TV entertainment to the highest number of TV homes.”

The news comes after SES inked a deal with Cable Channels Nigeria in 2016 to provide a video platform via 28.2 º east for the provision of DTT and DTH broadcasting in Nigeria, as part of the country’s digital switchover strategy.

SES is the satellite operator behind the Astra constellation and has over 50 satellites in geostationary orbit and 16 in medium Earth orbit. The company currently has a market capitalisation of €5.96bn (US$7.15bn).

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