Platco Digital, a sister company of the South African independent broadcaster, is to broadcast a new free-to-air service in South Africa, with future plans to expand across Southern Africa.

The broadcaster has signed a 15-year contract for two transponders with SES, with an option for additional capacity in 2014, will allow the DTH transmission of a new TV channel platform by Platco Digital to audiences in South Africa’s urban and remote areas.

SES will provide the satellite capacity on the SES-5 satellite at 5 degrees East, one of the company’s flagship orbital slots, which supports customers developing the Digital DTH TV markets in Africa.

Platco Digital and are owned by Sabido Investments (Pty) Limited, a South African media group with holdings in a variety of broadcasting, content, production and distribution businesses.

“This agreement is an important step for the growth of the major South African free-to-air broadcaster and the development of Direct-to-Home TV reception in Africa’s dynamic emerging markets,” said Ferdinand Kayser, CCO of SES.

“It shows that satellite can help broadcasters overcome the challenges of terrestrial coverage, reach large audiences and extend their services with free-to-air programmes. Based on our extensive experience in other parts of the world, SES is well established to provide broadcasters with the highest quality satellite capacity to build a high-value neighbourhood and grow DTH satellite TV across the continent.”

Sabido Investment’s CEO Marcel Golding said, “Platco Digital will offer local and international television businesses the opportunity to broadcast free-to-air channels on the DTH platform, in addition to the Digital Terrestrial Television and Mobile TV platforms. Sabido is excited about this new multi-platform initiative, which will provide South African and African viewers more entertaining, informative and educational programming for free.”

Source: Broadband TV News – Robert Briel