Canal + to Launch the First Ethiopian Pay TV Channels

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The French pay-television broadcaster Canal + is to launch the first Ethiopian premium channels in 2021.

Dubbed Canal + Ethiopia, the broadcast programs aired through Direct-to-Home (DTH) platform, will have some 50 channels in a mix of standard and high definition, with the addition of a selection of Ethiopian free-to-air content.

Canal + plans to start at least eight new exclusive local TV channels that focus on different issues in addition to its popular sports channels. The rest of the channels they will broadcast are up for grabs for those who want to air Tv programs through them.

People who want to see Canal + Ethiopia TV programs that will be aired next year will have to buy a Canal + satellite receiver and decoder and pay the subscription fee required, similar to subscribing to DSTV programs.

In addition to being only aired in Ethiopia, the Canal +Ethiopia broadcast programs are catered explicitly for an Ethiopian audience.

“The current satellites that are used to broadcast Ethiopian channels such as Arabsat and Nilesat were designed for Middle Eastern countries,” said Tewdros Abraham general manager of Bruh Plc, a local partner of Canal +

Most of the programs aired through these satellites do not correlate to an Ethiopian audience,” added Tewdros.

Canal + belives it can exploit this gap by creating an Ethiopian content and airing programs that relate to Ethiopians.

The French pay-TV company was able to create a premium DTH Ethiopian platform after signing a deal with Eutelsat Communications, a European satellite operator.

The European satellite operator launched a high-power broadcast satellite called Eutelsat 7C dedicated to Ethiopia. The positioning of the satellite allows broadcasters to only broadcast programs exclusively in Ethiopia.

Owned by worldwide content, media, and communications group Vivendi, CANAL+ Group has more than 20 million subscribers worldwide. It operates in around 25 African countries and its African subscriber base, estimated at 4 million.

The company partnered with local business, Bruh Plc, as its subsidiary in Ethiopia for the distribution and commercialization of the channels.

CANAL+ had been inking agreements with Ethiopian media companies over content ownership. A few months ago, Canal + signed a deal with Fana Broadcasting Corporation and the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC).

The agreement allows CANAL+ to broadcast FANA TV and EBC as one of the Canal + Ethiopia channels.

The company also signed an agreement with the Nolawi Film Production and the Ethiopian Film Producers Association regarding the airing of content created by the producers.

Canal + is expected to face competition from MultiChoice, the South African operator, who has currently dominated the Ethiopian market.