Published: 18.52 Europe/London, May 30, 2011

SES has announced it has joined forces with Kenyan television and broadband operator Wananchi to launch a new DTH service called Zuku TV in East Africa. Zuku TV is East Africa’s newest and pay-TV offering, set to provide affordable and quality TV options to the mass market in Africa.

Zuku TV is set to launch in July using SES capacity. Zuku TV will be rolled-out in such countries as Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi and Malawi. Each of these countries has a pay-TV penetration level of less than 1%.

In addition to providing capacity, SES has developed a training programme for installers called Elevate to help ensure that Wananchi’s Zuku TV subscribers receive the best service for the installation of their satellite reception equipment. The programme began in April in Nairobi and is planned to be rolled out to other regions, with installer training programmes planned for Uganda and Tanzania in July.

“The launch of Zuku TV demonstrates the strong dynamics and the growth potential of the African television market. By providing capacity as well as installer training, we combine Wananchi’s access to great content with SES’ expertise and know-how in creating audience reach. Our cooperation with Wananchi shows our strong commitment to the African broadcasting market and clearly demonstrates the benefits for TV operators to work with SES,” said Nicolas Baravalle, regional VP of SES in Africa.

“An Elevate accreditation is a prerequisite for all Zuku TV installers whom we regard as partners in our business,” commented Mohammed Jeneby, Managing Director, Wananchi Satellite. “Not only does it allow our installers to provide superior service to our customers, it also gives them the opportunity to generate more income and grow their own businesses. Given the success of the training programme so far, we are very happy to be working with SES and look forward to a wider regional roll-out of ELEVATE in the near future as Zuku TV takes off.”

SES also said it exhibits at SatCom, Africa’s largest satellite communications conference and exhibition, taking place from May, 30 to June, 2, 2011 in Johannesburg.