Financial crisis closes GTV

Gateway Broadcast Services, the fledgling satcaster that threatened to challenge the dominance of Multichoice in the African market, has closed its operations blaming economic conditions.

In a statement Gateway said the current financial and global crisis had “severely interrupted the company’s abilities to secure further funding”. Subscribers to GTV received the briefest of on air warnings that the service was about to close. “We have tried every possible step to keep the company going but we are all unfortunate victims of the current global economic crisis.”

GTV launched in June 2008 was broadcast from the Eutelsat W3 satellite (7 degrees East), uplinked from Arqiva’s Chalfont Grove facility into 12 French-speaking countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire.

An aggressive pricing policy, and PR campaign, had led Multichoice to resposition itself with new low cost packages.

GTV said it has invested $200 million into the business, only last September raising a further $35 million. Much of the investment went into football with a $500,000 contract with the Uganda FA, sponsors of the East and Central African tournament, the CECAFA Cup, and domestic leagues in Ghana, Tanzania and Uganda. Coverage of the English Premier League had also been secured.

Last month Scandinavian media group Kinnevik pulled out of the platform, selling its stake for $23.6 million (€17.36m), a return 1.8 times the amount invested in May 2007.