SES BOSS SPEAKS ON EDUCATIONAL TV CHANNEL IN GHANA
Clint Brown of SES Africa, a leader in global content connectivity solutions, has opened up about his company’s operations, revealing it has provided free-to-air TV channels of high-quality content to millions of African homes, including the Joy Learning channel.
Speaking in this exclusive interview with NEWS-ONE’s Francis Addo, he mentioned that SES is committed to supporting society in this Covid-19 era; hence SES recently launched an educational channel to help high school students in Ghana.
BLOW IS THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW:
What is SES?
SES is the leader in global content connectivity solutions. We are able to broadcast high picture quality content via satellite to millions of households and deliver high-quality connectivity solutions anywhere on land, at sea or in the air. Our customers include world’s leading telecommunications companies, mobile network operators, governments, connectivity and cloud service providers, broadcasters, video platform operators and content owners. SES’s multi-orbit satellite fleet combines the wide coverage of geostationary (GEO) satellites and fibre-like O3b medium earth orbit (MEO) managed services. SES’s video network carries over 8,300 channels and has an unparalleled reach of 367 million households, delivering managed media services for both linear and non-linear content.
Tell us a little about your operations for the benefit of those who don’t know?
SES leverages a vast and intelligent network that spans satellite and ground infrastructure to create, deliver and manage video and data solutions that connect more people in more places with content. Through satellite technology offering, we provide seamless connectivity around the world, which provides a flexible network that is quick to deploy, and where distance simply doesn’t matter. Satellite connections go beyond geographical limitations to cover large areas of land better than ground-based networks. We can establish these connections—almost immediately and virtually anywhere—without the need for you to invest in costly infrastructure. Our high-performance satellites support direct-to-home, cable and terrestrial operators with the services and bandwidth they need to deliver the latest digital TV technologies from HDTV to Ultra HD. Our satellite network enables companies to establish corporate networks and deliver broadband access and mobile backhaul services.
SES In Africa
We provide coverage over Africa via more than 10 GEO satellites and the entire O3b fleet of MEO satellites. Our video business—which I am in charge of— sees us providing satellite capacity and video services to customers such as StarTimes, TNTSATAfrica, Zuku, Multi-TV, Canal+ and Cell C flash out figures of reach in Africa. We reach 35 million households across the African continent. On the connectivity business, we serve both the mining and telco industries, working with Ivanhoe Mining, Resolute Mining as well as customers such as Orange, Airtel, Millicom, RCS and Vodacom. We also work with various governments in Africa to deploy connectivity services.
What is happening in your space at the moment as far as Ghana is concerned?
When it comes to our video business, SES has steadily built up its presence and has been enabling the delivery of over 200 channels to over four million homes via satellite. This is great news especially since our own research has shown that there is an increase of HD screens in Ghana and that 90% of the viewers expect and require high-quality picture content. SES is responding to that need by encouraging HD content on our platform. Second, together with other media partners, SES has also recently launched an educational channel to help high school students. Aside from our video business, we are also providing some data connectivity services through an internet service provider that we work with. We provide connectivity in Ghana through mobile backhauls and WiFi hotspots, as well as enterprise connectivity business.
What does it mean when you say satellite TV reception is now the preferred choice?
This means that increasingly more TV viewers in the region are opting for satellite over other reception modes (terrestrial, cable and IPTV). According to the latest monitor results, 70% of TV homes in Ghana opted for satellite in 2019—an increase from 64% in 2017. This is because satellite continues to be the most optimal infrastructure to deliver high-picture quality, while offering an affordable solution in the transition from analogue to digital TV.
Monitor findings confirm that end consumers in regions going through digital migration are choosing satellite TV for its better value proposition and variety of free-to-air offerings rather than purchasing new hardware and switching to digital terrestrial TV.
What are the benefits of your satellite platform?
Satellites can cover more distance than terrestrial networks, provide more bandwidth, are more cost-effective than laying a cable and one satellite can cover an entire continent. SES has the highest reach with 99% global market penetration. We combine the strengths of both GEO and MEO satellites to provide reach, reliability and low-latency connectivity for our customers.
How are you positioning yourself to respond to market demands?
More than one billion people receive their video content via our satellites, allowing us to gather a wealth of information about how viewers are consuming content today. Each year, our research team conducts the satellite monitor survey to measure our reach in various markets, track the development of TV reception modes and assess market readiness for new video formats. Our satellite monitor team also conducts a roadshow every year to engage in one-on-one conversations with our customers. Together, we delve deeper into the data provided by our satellite monitor tool to guide critical business decisions—like switching a channel from SD to HD, or expanding to fast-growing markets in Africa. Over the years, the satellite monitor surveys have set the benchmark for the entire industry.
How can people get access to your platform?
Anyone with a TV and satellite dish can gain access to over 200 SES TV channels on SES 22.2 degrees east.
What are some of the innovations you are introducing out here?
Several national broadcasters across Africa are facing the challenge of remaining relevant to the younger audiences who have different ways of consuming content. Given that SES offers end-to-end services, OVP and OTT solutions to customers, we are looking into how we can help these national broadcasters launch their own VOD app for catch-up or live content for young audiences across the country.
How are you engaging Ghanaian government to shape the digital future here?
It is, indeed, interesting to work with the Ghanaian government and play a role in helping shape the digital future. In fact, SES is helping the Ghanaian government with the digital switch-over in Ghana.
What sets your platform apart from others in the market?
Our West Africa Media Platform (WAPS) is hosted in the fastest-growing direct-to-home position for Anglophone West and Central African DTH. This means that from our satellite in space, we are increasing the number of TV households we reach much faster than anyone else. We are reaching 10.5M DTH TV homes and broadcasting 227 TV channels in West and Central Africa. The millions of households that we reach over West Africa are really important to our broadcasters because they still have access to millions of people/eyeballs.
Additionally, having a readily available West Africa Platform Service (WAPS) makes it easy to commercialise single channel access, where barrier to broadcasting channel is not as high and single channel can just come on board the platform.
This is all possible because we provide end-to-end operational solutions in cooperation with local teleport partners in Ghana and Nigeria.
Beyond Ghana, where else do you operate?
As the leader in content connectivity solutions, we are able to provide all of our services across 99% of the globe. We have 10 satellites covering Africa and regional offices in Accra, Lagos and Addis Ababa. Aside from Africa, we operate in parts of North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and the Asia Pacific region.