HD to drive Middle East pay-TV

The demand for high definition TV services will drive the growth of pay-TV in the Middle East, according to Mohamed Youssif, the CEO of YahLive, the partnership between satellite operator SES Astra and Yahsat to offer Direct-to-Home (DTH) television capacity and services to more than two dozen countries in the Middle East, North Africa and South West Asia.

Under the YahLive brand, the company will own and commercialise 23 BSS-transponders on the Yahsat 1A spacecraft to be positioned at the 52.5 degrees East orbital position and operating in the Ku-band frequency.

Youssif said that the free-to-air culture in the Middle East meant that pay-TV had not performed well in the region, but that with spectacular growth in HD channel availability forecast up to 2012, YahLive would activate the market of some 9 million HD-ready TV sets looking for content..

"We will target HD, pay-TV, interactive and video-on demand, working with new content providers and leveraging our parent and sister company capabilities," Youssif said. "There will still be demand on capacity that doesnít exist today. Iím a firm believer in pay-TV and it can survive in the Middle East if itís done right."