Today I'm the very first to break the news of a brand new Afrikaans TV channel starting in November. Afrikaanse Satelliettelevisie (ASTV whose website is already up and running) will be free as a national TV channel across South Africa and plans to have its official broadcast launch on Monday 2 November.
Although the channel's free, viewers will still need a DStv decoder to receive the signal, since ASTV will be broadcasting digitally and not in the analogue way the SABC does. Viewers will also have to retune their decoders to rescan for the new additional channel that has already started with test broadcasts.
ASTV already has an impressive program line-up (the schedule is still under wraps), with several programmes ranging from talk shows, to lifestyle programmes, education shows.
It's exactly a decade ago that kykNET started as an Afrikaans TV channel on DStv, and I spoke to Jaco Ferreira (disclaimer: no family relations), one of the directors of ASTV about the new venture. Jaco has been working in the local TV production industry for the past 14 years as director and producer and decided that the time is right to start something like ASTV.
''ASTV is for anybody looking for programming in Afrikaans and who wants to be entertained. Afrikaans has largely fallen by the wayside on the SABC and kykNET does exist, but people are looking for a bit more than that. I saw the gap and ASTV will try and fill that gap.''
''ASTV is a full-on national TV channel for all Afrikaans speaking people and will concentrate on entertainment,'' says Jaco. ''We're not a tabloid or sensationalistic channel. There will be reality shows, but it will all be positive. We want to present something to the whole family, just good entertainment everyone in the family can enjoy, and where you can find a bit escapism.''