Gateway Communicationshas launched GTV, a pan-African pay-TV satellite delivered service. It will provide a bouquet of high quality international and local entertainment content with a subscription price aimed at penetrating the chronically underserved African television market.

Africa represents the least penetrated pay-TV region in the world with less than 1% of television-owning households in sub-Saharan Africa currently subscribing to pay-TV services, compared to 15% in Eastern Europe, 36% in Western Europe and 93% in North America, However, with over 46-million TV sets and growing at well over 10% per annum, Africa represents a large and rapidly growing market for subscription television which Gateway’s own independently commissioned research estimates will grow to over $3-billion by 2015.

GTV will provide a variety of quality content at an affordable subscription price comprising a wide range of sport, movies, popular series, music, education and religious content. The service will carry both major international channels as well as a number of in-house channels, including “G Prime”, a general entertainment and movie channel, and “G Sports 1” and “G Sports 2”. The latter will focus on live sports events, including the major European football leagues. The service will also focus heavily on promoting African content.

Julian McIntyre, president of Gateway Communications and founder of GTV comments: “The African market has been artificially constrained by monopoly pricing and non-relevant content. Consumers across Africa want to watch the latest high quality television programming that combines international and local content which is relevant to their lives and at a price that is comparable to a utility. GTV will be a pay-TV platform for Africa, not simply rebroadcasts of European or South African content.

“Gateway has a proven track record of developing and launching innovative communications services across Africa and will leverage our experience, expertise, infrastructure and resources to ensure that the growth in television mirrors the phenomenal growth experienced in communications.”

The GTV service will be available from the middle of 2007, with a phased roll-out across sub-Saharan Africa. GTV will be targeting customers who have previously been unable to afford subscription based services and have been limited to a small number of national Free-to-Air television stations.

The GTV service will be a Direct-to-Home satellite-based service delivering the highest quality digital reception across the continent. GTV will substantially reduce the cost and ease of set-up by using the most advanced and efficient delivery platform. GTV has partnered with market leaders for the delivery of these services, including NDS for encryption systems and content protection and Tandberg for video compression.