SABC, Etv shows now have dedicated online video service

Read time 3min 10sec
The catalogue of SABC shows currently available on Viu.
The catalogue of SABC shows currently available on Viu.

Fans of locally produced dramas and soapies, such as Scandal, Imbewu, Uzalo and Skeem Saam, can now enjoy these shows online and on-the-go.

This after Viu, a Showmax equivalent, officially launched its "freemium" video-on-demand service for the South African market. While Showmax showcases DStv content, Viu has the exclusive digital rights to SABC and Etv shows.

The service is accessible via a range of smart devices with an Internet connection. This includes mobile phones and tablets via iOS and Android apps, laptop and desktop computers using Web browsers.

Speaking at the launch event on Thursday night, Ryan Solovei, country manager of Viu SA, said South African viewers want access to local and relevant content.

Solovei pointed out that audiences watch content everywhere, including other video services such as YouTube, Netflix, Facebook and Amazon.

We tried to determine where viewers can watch local content, he said. "Why go to YouTube and not to a local platform? That is the gap we identified.

"We are excited to be bringing a truly freemium video streaming service anchored on local content to South Africa. Through our partnerships with Etv, SABC and Vodacom, we have built an ecosystem that makes it easier for audiences to engage with our platform. The app is available in the iOS app store, Google Play and in the Huawei app gallery."

The Etv collection of shows available on Viu.
The Etv collection of shows available on Viu.

Pay for premium

Making Viu available in SA has been a collaborative effort, not only with SABC and Etv, but also players like Vodacom and Huawei, according to Janice Lee, MD of PCCW Media.

Operated by Hong Kong-headquartered PCCW Media, Viu has been operating in 16 countries, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar and the Middle East countries of UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.

The launch of Viu in SA makes the country the 17th market for Viu.

Although Viu describes itself as a freemium video service, not all of the content will be made available free of charge. There will be a premium subscription available at R69 per month, R20 a week or R5 per day.

According to Viu, the freemium business model and premium local, regional and original content offering brings accessibility and affordability of its premium content to a much wider audience. This will be achieved through its partnerships with Etv, SABC, Huawei and Vodacom.

Viu says its premium app, which offers a hybrid of both free and paid-for content, has long been enjoyed globally, with over 30 million monthly active users and more than 37.5 billion minutes consumed.

The partnership with Vodacom looks to give customers seamless access to Viu premium in the near future.

Zunaid Mahomed, Vodacom's group digital and fixed services officer, said. "Vodacom entered into a strategic partnership with Vuclip over three years ago with the aim of providing a wide range of quality entertainment across various customer segments.

"Based on the success of Vuclip short form content as well as our video play service, we have made the strategic decision to enhance our video portfolio though the launch of Viu, to continue providing local and international premium content to our South African market. We look forward to a successful partnership with Viu."

Solovei concluded by saying plans are also in place to foster local story-telling through the production of original content.

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