South African ODM signs with Astra

By Robert Briel
April 19, 2010 08.08 UK

SES Astra has announced that it has signed a capacity agreement with the South African pay-TV operator On Digital Media (ODM) for three transponders on its Astra 4A satellite, and has also contracted to provide the related broadcasting services via its affiliate Astra Platform Services.

ODM will use the capacity on Astra 4A to deliver TopTV, a new pay-TV bouquet that will be offered to South African viewers from in May. In 2007, ODM was one of the four consortia that have been awarded a broadcasting license by the South African regulator Icasa. ODM is 20% owned by SES Astra.

Astra 4A carries six transponders for the African market, covering Southern Africa from Nigeria to Cape Town. The contract with ODM brings the total capacity contracted on the satellite to five transponders, with ETV and Globecast previously having signed one transponder each.

Vino Govender, CEO of ODM, said in a statement: “With a staggered launch from May 2010, TopTV has recognised the need for value through choice TV, and as a result will offer different pay-TV packages which have been created to meet the needs of subscribers with quality programming at affordable rates. TopTV will offer up to 55 channels at prices ranging from ZAR99 to 249 per month covering a broad variety of genres including general entertainment, news, sport, movies and gospel, to name a few. With our differentiated multi-channel subscription TV service, we will significantly expand the viewing choices for a larger portion of the population in South Africa.”