PARIS, January 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL) today announced the signature of an historic contract with MultiChoice Africa, the pioneer in multi-channel pay-TV across sub-Saharan Africa. MultiChoice has signed for a total 20 Ku-band transponders for 15 years on Eutelsat's new W7 satellite that is now fully operating at the 36 degrees East position. Ranking as one of the largest contracts concluded by Eutelsat, this new agreement extends to 2025 a relationship between the two companies that began in 2000 with the positioning of Eutelsat's W4 satellite at 36 degrees East to support MultiChoice's DStv platform which now reaches into more than 800,000 homes in sub-Saharan Africa, excluding Southern African subscribers.
Since the beginning of January, MultiChoice has been carrying out the transfer of television channels onto the new satellite from the 14 transponders used until now on W4 and SESAT 1 at 36 degrees East. This majority of transponders were successfully migrated by 18 January, with the last transponder scheduled to move to W7 on 1 February 2010. The additional six transponders leased on W7 will be progressively activated by MultiChoice Africa to support new services, including High Definition channels.
With the move to W7, MultiChoice Africa has consolidated all of its Ku-band pay-TV activity outside Southern Africa onto one Eutelsat satellite. In addition to benefiting from better signal levels and improved coverage for all the regions already served from Eutelsat's 36 degrees East neighbourhood, MultiChoice Africa has extended its Ku-band service to additional countries, notably Ethiopia, which has been receiving DStv in C-band, requiring large domestic antennas.
In a further step to consolidate the relationship, Eutelsat will actively support the MultiChoice Resource Centre (MRC) programme which uses the digital satellite platform to enhance the learning and teaching experience in over 710 schools across Africa. Eutelsat will further support MultiChoice's objectives and will deliver additional educational content focused on building knowledge and understanding of satellite applications and engineering.
Collins Khumalo, President of MultiChoice Africa said: "The launch of the W7 satellite will enable us to significantly improve our DStv services on the continent while remaining at the cutting edge of African pay television entertainment. This new satellite will deliver a better DStv signal, a greater selection of channels and allow us to introduce exciting new High Definition services."
Michel de Rosen, Eutelsat's Chief Executive Officer, responded: "After ten years of strong collaboration at our 36 degrees East neighbourhood, the Eutelsat / MultiChoice Africa partnership can now move into a higher gear with W7. In terms of capacity, coverage and power, the long-term requirements of this leading player in Africa's buoyant pay-TV market were one of Eutelsat's core priorities when we initiated this new satellite programme. We are delighted to welcome MultiChoice Africa on board W7 and that this is their satellite of choice to deliver a compelling range of digital services to African homes in 38 countries."
About MultiChoice Africa
MultiChoice Africa Limited is a multi-channel pay television platform providing services to 47 countries and reaching into more than 1 Million homes across the African continent and adjacent Indian Ocean islands. Through a range of DStv bouquets, the company provides quality television entertainment to Africa's rich diversity of cultural and language requirements.
Operations include subscriber management services and the management of a digital satellite television platform (DStv), which consists of wide selection of video and audio channels 24 hours a day.
MultiChoice Africa operates from two satellites over Africa, this includes the KU Band Eutelsat W7 satellite which stretches from Senegal in the West to Mauritius in the East and the KU Band IS 7 satellite which covers Southern Africa.
Through continuous innovation in technology and assembling an excellent range of DStv bouquets, built around compelling news, as well as premium movie and sports channels, MultiChoice Africa has succeeded in adding significant value to television consumers in Africa.
MultiChoice Africa Limited is a registered company based in Mauritius and is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Naspers Group.
About Eutelsat Communications
Eutelsat Communications (Euronext Paris: ETL, ISIN code: FR0010221234) is the holding company of Eutelsat S.A.. With capacity commercialised on 27 satellites that provide coverage over the entire European continent, as well as the Middle East, Africa, India and significant parts of Asia and the Americas, Eutelsat is one of the world's three leading satellite operators in terms of revenues. At 30 September 2009, Eutelsat's satellites were broadcasting 3,300 television channels and 1,100 radio stations. More than 1,000 channels broadcast via its HOT BIRD(TM) video neighbourhood at 13 degrees East which serves over 123 million cable and satellite homes in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The Group's satellites also serve a wide range of fixed and mobile telecommunications services, TV contribution markets, corporate networks, and broadband markets for Internet Service Providers and for transport, maritime and in-flight markets. Eutelsat's broadband subsidiary, Skylogic, markets and operates services through teleports in France and Italy that serve enterprises, local communities, government agencies and aid organisations in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. Headquartered in Paris, Eutelsat and its subsidiaries employ 615 commercial, technical and operational employees from 28 countries. http://www.eutelsat.com
For further information MultiChoice Africa Press Caroline Creasy Tel: +27-11-289-3081 Carolinecreasy@multichoice.co.za For further information Eutelsat Communications Press Vanessa O'Connor Tel: +33-1-53-98-38-88 firstname.lastname@example.org Frederique Gautier Tel: +33-1-53-98-38-88 email@example.com Investors Gilles Janvier Tel: +33-1-53-98-35-30 firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Eutelsat Communications