A new, low-cost pay-TV service could soon be available to South African subscribers, on the news that Gateway Broadcast Services, a subsidiary of Gateway Telecommunications, has raised an additional $40-million to finance the roll out of its pan-African pay-TV service, GTV.
GTV will be Africa’s first widely accessible pay-TV service, providing a choice of high quality television programming at an affordable subscription price.
The service will address the growing popularity of European football in Africa and will include exclusive live broadcasts of 80% of the UK’s Barclays’ Premiership football games to 48 sub-Saharan African countries. The service will be available across the continent but will launch initially in East Africa later this month.
The additional $40 million was invested directly into the Gateway Broadcast Services, a separately managed subsidiary of Gateway Telecommunications, a leading provider of pan-African communications services. This is the third significant fund raising programme completed by Gateway Telecommunications in the last seven months.
The Group raised $115-million from the European high yield bond market in November 2006 and a further $32,5-million in May 2007 to finance the acquisition of GS Telecom, a leading African provider of data connectivity services to corporate customers and telecommunications operators.
Among the new group of investors in Gateway Broadcast Services is Kinnevik, the Swedish investment company, as well as Citigroup, Noonday Global Management and Avenue Investment Management.
Julian McIntyre, president of Gateway Broadcasting Services, comments: "This $40-million investment has demonstrated the excitement that is growing around GTV and we are delighted to bring new notable partners aboard to help drive forward our ambitious expansion programme across Africa.
“The continent currently represents the least penetrated pay-TV market in the world, and there is huge appetite for the premium news, sport and entertainment that pay-TV offers. Monopoly pricing and programming with no relevance to viewers’ lives has put pay-TV out of reach of most television-owning households. GTV is committed to providing African viewers with the service they want at a price they can afford.
“Millions of Africans want to watch the Premiership at affordable prices and we are delighted to launching a new service which will deliver this to them as well as quality news and entertainment.”
Mia Brunell, president and CEO of investment at Kinnevik, adds: "We have seen a great deal of success in Africa with services aimed at increasing consumers’ access to communications technologies. The GTV service attracted our interest because it has been designed to leverage those technologies to radically expand the pay-TV market.”