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SES, CWG Launch Maiden Digital TV Platform for West Africa

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Bankole Orija
   (L-R): James Agada, Chief Technology Officer, CWG PLC; Stéphane Goebel- Head, Sales Africa and Middle East, SES Services; Jean-Pierre Kabanda, Vice-President Business Development, Africa SES; Wilfried Urner – CEO, SES Platform Services (APS) and Dayo Abegunde- Associate Vice-President, CWG PLC during the Broadcast Summit in Lagos yesterday.
(L-R): James Agada, Chief Technology Officer, CWG PLC; Stéphane Goebel- Head, Sales Africa and Middle East, SES Services; Jean-Pierre Kabanda, Vice-President Business Development, Africa SES; Wilfried Urner – CEO, SES Platform Services (APS) and Dayo Abegunde- Associate Vice-President, CWG PLC during the Broadcast Summit in Lagos yesterday.

SES, a global satellite company, in cooperation with Computer Warehouse Group Plc (CWG), a leading pan-African ICT company, launched a new digital television platform, on SES’s ASTRA 2F satellite, at 28.2 degrees East that would provide access to a greater number of stations to households in Nigeria and across west Africa, at a relatively low cost.

The Launching which took place alongside the Broadcast Summit, 2014 at the intercontinental hotel in Lagos yesterday witnessed the attendance of broadcasters, IT professionals, advertisers and administrators from different parts of the country.

In his opening remark, Mr. James Agada, chief technology officer, CWG Plc,  noted that true to her vision, “CWG Plc is evolving away from the traditional IT Company in the Nigerian context to becoming a utility enabler, under the CWG 2.0 initiative. 

According to him, “The brand new digital ‘Direct To Home’ (DTH) free-to-air platform is ultimately designed to help accelerate and alleviate the challenges broadcasters and content owners face in the digital migration process. The platform is packaged as an innovative approach in order to address the challenges of the cost of migration, operation, operational and support challenges, platform agility and flexibility and platform neutrality”.

The digital TV platform is a product of a collaborative effort of SES and CWG. SES will provide the space segment and specific ground services, while CWG will manage the teleport services required to project the signals to users, using high operational standards.

According to Russell Southwood, CEO, SES Balancing Act, “SES shares a partnership history with CWG that spans about ten years and CWG has proven to be a dependable teleport partner for this project”.

The SES Television platform will be the country’s first free-to-air (FTA) DTH digital TV platform.

According to Theodore Asampong, SES sales Director, Africa, “All that the subscriber is required to pay for is the cost of acquiring a decoder and installing a dish to receive broadcast signals. After this, they will have access to all channels available on the platform, without subscription fees”.

In addition, the new digital TV platform will afford broadcasters the opportunity of reaching a broader audience; millions of satellite homes in West Africa that receive broadcast signals with their dishes facing 28.2 degrees East.

This will in-turn extend their frontiers of influence and enhance their bargaining chances with prospects advertisers.

Speaking on the importance of the project, Mr. Austin Okere, founder and chief executive officer of CWG Plc, said, “For years, the majority of households in West Africa has been shut out of the digital broadcasting experience. Together with SES, we are excited to enable broadcasters to deliver their content cost-effectively, and in excellent technical quality to millions of households across the region.” 

“With the technology and platform  that SES is bringing  to Nigeria and West Africa, content can be made available to millions of household and with this system we will have over 400 channels available from the existing hundred and ten” , he said.
 
Ferdinand Kayser, chief commercial officer of SES, said, “Broadcasting via satellite provides High Definition (HD) picture quality and a100 percent coverage of even the most remote areas and regions. The long-term partnership with CWG will open up new possibilities for local and international broadcasters and allow them to drive digitalisation and reach their audiences across West Africa quickly and cost-effectively.”

The platform offers end-to-end contribution, ground and space services to local, regional, national and international TV broadcasters across West Africa at cheap rates. It will also afford broadcasters the privilege to migrate from analogue to digital TV to meet the digital migration deadline of June 2015.

Moreover, the inception of the SES TV platform will have broader social impact on the region.

According to Andy Anderson, Marketing head for Africa, SES, the project is also aimed at providing employment for unemployed youths who will be trained to install the dish needed for signal reception, for free.

According to him, “being able to perform physical activities and communicate effectively at a minimal level is all an individual require to qualify for the training”.

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