Digital Television is Transforming the Viewing Experience for African Households

By Rob Cerbone, Vice President and General Manager, Media

African television broadcasters are racing against the clock. By June 17th, 2020, broadcasters in multiple African countries are expected to migrate their terrestrial television signals from analogue to digital.

The digital terrestrial television (“DTT”) transition is a big opportunity for broadcasters to offer more differentiated content to African viewers. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone the number of TV households are expected to grow by 43 million since 2016, reaching 131 million by 2023, according to September, 2018 research from Dataxis. With Africa expected to be the fastest-growing TV market in the world, digital television will enable broadcasters to differentiate their service offerings, increase market share, open new revenue possibilities and importantly, bring more entertaining and informative, high quality content to viewers throughout Africa.

Some nations in Africa have already completed the transition, significantly improving viewers’ experience while making valuable spectrum available for other services. That means clearer picture quality and high definition (HD) content, more channels, access to new programming and more content choices for viewers.

While the promise of digital terrestrial television (“DTT”) is compelling, the reality of migrating to DTT can be daunting, costly and challenging to implement for many governments and broadcasters.

Intelsat has helped broadcasters around the world making the digital switch. Multichoice’s GoTV, the largest DTT and direct-to-home provider in Africa, has relied on Intelsat’s redundant and resilient satellites and expertise to successfully launch their DTT solutions across 12 countries, enhancing the viewing experience for more than 2.9 million people. Similarly, the Africa Digital Network Limited (ADNL), a consortium of two Kenyan media companies, leveraged Intelsat for DTT rollout, delivering content to the entire population, including many rural and remote areas.  

As with Multichoice and ADNL, many broadcasters around the world have counted on the reliability, reach and scalability of Intelsat’s satellite solutions to cost effectively make the digital switch. For example:

  • In Africa DTH and DTT will serve 98% of Africa homes by 2022. Intelsat has the largest video neighborhoods in Africa with seven satellites broadcasting 900 channels. And it’s not just Africa where Intelsat’s leading video neighborhoods offer unprecedented reach. African broadcasters can reach their diaspora all over the world through Intelsat’s premier video neighborhoods.
  • It has the benefit of speed. Broadcasters can transmit signals to satellite and instantly reach viewers. By leveraging Intelsat’s satellite solutions with the IntelsatOne terrestrial network of redundant fiber and teleports, broadcasters can focus on growing their audience rather than building expensive infrastructure.
  • Our high-throughput satellites in Africa, Intelsat 33e, Intelsat 35e and Intelsat 37e, are enabling companies to access higher performance bandwidth which is well-suited for supporting a fast, cost efficient and reliable DTT transition.
  • Intelsat’s proven, high quality network can deliver HD content today, but is also capable of delivering 4K and 8K content through our premier video neighborhoods in Africa and around the world.

Finally, Intelsat’s satellite solutions enable broadcasters to grow their audiences, not their costs. The cost to broadcasters doesn’t change whether they reach hundreds of thousands, millions or tens of millions on Intelsat’s premier video neighborhoods.

African broadcasters have a big job, but they aren’t alone. Intelsat has partnered with leading broadcasters to smoothly migrate to digital, cost-effectively deliver high quality content, and reach more viewers. Go here to learn more about Intelsat’s DTT solutions or visit our booth at IBC, 1.C71.

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