Digitally Speaking: Satellite Drives Content Delivery in Africa

As countries throughout Africa embrace digital TV, the continent is expected to experience a steep increase in the number of DTT households within the next few years. Balancing Act  ascertains that almost 5 million homes (approximately 5% of the total number of TV households in Africa) currently have access to DTT bouquets, but that number could increase to 100 million TV households in the near future.

As this boom continues, satellite is, and will remain, the most viable way for distributors to deliver content to the most viewers in the most cost-efficient manner. Here are three reasons why:

  1. For the broadcast market, the changeover will translate into growth opportunities related to content production as well as the distribution of new channels. Satellite is the most efficient way to distribute that content effortlessly to the most homes. With DTT, we are already seeing a multiplier effect on the number of pay-TV platforms operational or planned for launch in numerous African countries. Intelsat, with our strong video neighborhoods serving Africa, already delivers content to the largest number of viewers on the continent, providing an easy path for new DTT bouquets to reach a wide audience.
  2. Satellite service providers will be key partners in helping African broadcasters achieve their business goals around DTT and meet end-user demands. With 22 satellites providing services in Africa, Intelsat already provides DTH services and established DTT solutions in the region. We work with operators such as Multichoice and Sentech to assist with the delivery of DTT media applications to sub-Saharan Africa, providing more affordable and differentiated programming to viewers throughout the region. Sentech recently extended its contract with Intelsat to leverage capacity on Intelsat 20 at 68.5˚E. Intelsat also delivers TV content on behalf of 25 African national broadcasters, and we expect these broadcasters will continue to grow and add new channels in the digital environment.
  3. Over the longer term, viewers will want to see regionalized content and distribution solutions, and broadcasters will need services that enable them to address these demands cost-effectively. Here again, satellite is the answer. Intelsat’s network — which includes a global fleet of satellites, and soon the high-throughput satellite platform, Intelsat EpicNG and the IntelsatOne terrestrial fiber network — offers a variety of solutions that can satisfy the content distribution needs of the largest DTT providers down to new platforms just entering the African market. Simultaneously, there will be a need for African producers to export their content to the African diaspora abroad and more generally to the international viewing markets. Here again, our experience, global fleet and strength of our global DTH platforms in North America and Australia provide pay-TV operators with the ability to take their content around the world.

As Africa continues its gradual migration to digital TV, viewers’ appetites for media consumption will continue to rise, driving an increase in demand for channels and local productions. Supporting that evolution, satellite will continue to help drive the spread of entertainment, education and locally produced content throughout the region.

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