With probably over US$100 million in its purse, a new Pay Tv company
later in the month of June begins beaming its programmes in the five
East African countries before rolling out to 13 other African countries
in an ambitious project, writes Phillip Nabyama in East African Business Week.

The direct-to-home, satellite-based Pan-African pay-TV, GTV, a subsidiary of UK’s Gateway Broadcasting Service will be available from June 22, with a phased roll-out across sub-Saharan Africa.

Its signal, according to Mr. Daniel Kagwe the general manger for Uganda is currently being tested with four channels.

“Our aim is to demystify Pay Television and it is still too early to put a final cost to the project,” is all a guarded Kagwe could tell Business Week a fortnight ago when asked about the cost of the project.

The $100 million given by industry experts however, is a conservative figure required to set up such an ambitious project in 18 countries.

Viewers will have access to major international channels as well as GTV’s own channels screening news, sports, movies, popular series, music, and religious content.

Statistics show that in Uganda, of the 600,000 households with televisions, only 12,800 subscribe to a satellite service.

With the roll out of the second service provider, Ugandans who pay about $499 (Ush838,320) for a decoder and other items required to access Multichoice Uganda’s (Pay Tv pioneers in the country) varied programming and another $71.24 (Ush120,000) as monthly subscription will now have a second choice.

It is obvious that GTV’s entry into Uganda will check the Multichoice Uganda monopoly in the Pay TV market it has enjoyed over the last decade.

Click here to read the full report, posted on East African Business Week's website.