Eutelsat put out a note late on July 19th and including a – seemingly unambiguous – statement from the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corp (EBC). SES announced July 9th a matching contract, saying that the Ethiopian channels are “migrating” to its 57 degrees East NSS-12 satellite.
The July 19th statement said: “Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation reaffirms its commitment to the agreement it entered with satellite operator Eutelsat in February. The multi-year contract for video capacity leased on the Eutelsat 8 WB Satellite following public tender remains valid and secures the partnership between the two companies. Drawing on Ethiopian foot-print of the Eutelsat 8 WB Satellite for broadcasting its offering of more than ten channels, EBC provides several million TV households equipped for satellite reception.”
Dr. Niguse Mitiku, CEO of EBC, said “We would like to restate our confidence in Eutelsat. We are delighted to see Ethiopian homes pointed towards Eutelsat’s flagship position at 7/8 West, a key neighborhood in the Ethiopian broadcasting landscape, and we will continue to rely on their expertise in the region to enhance the viewing experience of Ethiopian population”.
Quite where this leaves SES is to still to be seen. It could be that the EBC statement is wholly correct but that it has also decided to duplicate transmissions with SES. SES frequently permits a ‘payment holiday’ to attractive bouquets, and EBC certainly fits that bill. The one word that confuses the issue, however, is “migrates” and SES was quite specific that in winning its EBC contract it involved “migrating” channels from Eutelsat.
SES will, no doubt, explain its precise position during its quarterly results statement on July 26.