When AfricaXP launched PremiumFree TV in West Africa in late 2018 the service instantly made waves in Ghana and Nigeria. It was a 13-channel bouquet that looked and behaved exactly like a high value Pay TV service in all respects except one, it was free and transmitted unencrypted.
On May 1 2021, it was available on more satellite dishes than any other multichannel bouquet in Sub-Saharan Africa, due to the reach and neighbourhood delivered by a transponder on Intelsat’s IS20.
“Broadcasting unencrypted not only means that the service can be offered free of charge, it also means that the channels can be instantly received on dishes and decoders already owned, installed and connected. It’s all about instant reach for us and with no extra equipment or cost for the viewer,” explains Craig Kelly, CEO of AfricaXP.
In eliminating the need for a service specific decoder, marketing and distributing the PremiumFree model seeks to emulate other territories, who have pioneered free to air DTH TV in the late 90’s. Over 90% of TV homes in this region can now have access to free to air satellite TV.
Intelsat’s decision to seek out AfricaXP as a partner and allocate one of the few available transponders on IS20 to PremiumFree, is a clear vote of confidence in the PremiumFree project. Intelsat has clear conviction that multichannel free to air TV delivered over satellite has a big role to play in the future of the African TV market.
“Many countries dealing with economic disparity or smaller populations struggle with making fibre and mobile broadband work. Satellite can play a vital role in delivering rich media content to all corners of the continent well into the future,” said Christell Meyer, Director of Senior Account Director for Intelsat.
To recall, the new Premium Free bouquet of FTA channels comprises a diverse range of content from sports to movies, telenovelas, kids, factual, drama series, gospel, comedy and reality programming which are custom-made for African viewers. Channels are accessed through unencrypted set top boxes via satellite.