SES winning Ethiopian DTH battle?

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The rivalry between SES and Eutelsat to win DTH homes in Ethiopia seems to be going firmly in favour of SES.

In a statement, SES said that on January 1st “the majority” of satellite TV channels beaming to Ethiopia will be carried from 57 degrees East. “To continue accessing their favourite TV channels on Ethiopia’s first-ever dedicated TV platform, TV audiences need to turn their dishes to point to Ethiosat at 57 degrees East,” added SES.

SES referenced a statement made by the Ethiopian Government on December 15th in Addis Ababa: “The partnership agreement signed between Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority (EBA), Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute (ESSTI), which represented the Ethiopian government, public and private broadcasters and SES, the leader in global content connectivity solutions, marks for the beginning of a new era for TV viewers in Ethiopia as the country moves permanently towards the consolidation of Ethiopian content into one prime TV neighbourhood.”

“By migrating most of the Ethiopian satellite TV channels to one location, we’ve created a truly Ethiopian-only TV offering that will benefit the country’s economy. Together with the various broadcasting associations and SES, we are committed to helping all Ethiopian TV households across the country to repoint their satellite dishes by year-end to ensure that Ethiopians will continue to have the highest-quality content,” said Dr. Getachew Dinku Godana, Director General of Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority.

Ethiosat is Ethiopia’s first-ever dedicated FTA TV platform, hosted on SES’s NSS-12 satellite. The platform was launched in October 2019 as a result of an agreement between the Association of Ethiopian Broadcasters (AEB), the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) and SES to consolidate all Ethiopian TV channels and broadcast them from one orbital position rather than having viewers navigate through a multitude of foreign channels.

Together with EBA, ESSTI and SES – with its Elevate Installer Training programme – will ensure the training and mobilisation of more than 20,000 additional installers to help repoint the dishes. Ethiopian TV audiences who wish to access Ethiosat, should simply turn their dishes to face NSS-12, or contact their local installers. There is no need to buy a new Set-Top Box (STB) or antenna, as all Ethiopian households that currently have an antenna and TV will be able to gain access to Ethiosat.

“We are pleased to announce this strategic partnership with SES on Ethiosat that will bring a completely new television experience to Ethiopians,” said Abdissa Yilma Tiku, Director General of Ethiopian Space Science and Technology Institute. “This alliance also confirms our commitment to support the space sector in Ethiopia, and we are confident that this dedicated Ethiopian TV platform will fuel a bright future for the Ethiopian media sector.”

However, only time will tell whether viewers do make the switch. For example, Canal Plus announced its own premium DTH bouquet for Ethiopia back in July 2020 on Eutelsat’s 7C craft (at 7 degrees East) and due to start transmissions at the beginning of 2021. A recent study carried out on behalf of Eutelsat reported that some 200 channels were available (including 70 dedicated Ethiopian services) and that “90 percent of satellite homes in Ethiopia already pointed to Eutelsat 8 degrees West position”


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