he contract provides sister company Platco Digital with the satellite capacity it needs to launch the free-to-air OpenView HD satellite bouquet.

European satellite operator SES has signed a 15-year contract with Platco Digital, the company controlled by Hosken Consolidated Investments through subsidiary Sabido Investments that plans to launch a free-to-air satellite bouquet in South Africa in October called OpenView HD.

Platco Digital, which is sister company of terrestrial free-to-air broadcaster, revealed earlier this week that it plans to launch the free satellite service later this year, offering about 15 channels in a mix of high-definition and standard-definition formats. It hasn’t said what content it intends carrying.

SES says the deal it’s signed with Platco will allow the broadcast carrier to provide OpenView HD in South Africa and later across Southern Africa.

The contract involves the lease of two satellite transponders, with an option to purchase additional capacity in 2014. SES will provide the capacity on the SES-5 satellite at five degrees east, one of the company’s “flagship orbital slots”, which supports customers developing the digital direct-to-home (DTH) television markets in Africa, the satellite operator says.

“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,” says Sabido Investments CEO Marcel Golding. “This new multi-platform initiative will provide South African and African viewers more entertaining, informative and educational programming for free.”

Source: (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media – Duncan McLeod