SAVuka TV, created by Pencil Productions, joins the quickly getting crowded subscription video-on-demand services (SVoD) in South Africa.
Currently Times Media Group's struggling VIDI which just lowered its prices is battling with MTN FrontRow that just rebranded to VU and lowered its prices as well. Then there's Naspers' ShowMax that is set to expand beyond South Africa's borders very soon, and China's PCCW Global's ONTAPtv.com - all competing for customers in a country where broadband penetration is not just limited and slow but also still prohibitively expensive compared to other countries.
Meanwhile everyone's awaiting the television tsunami of the global streaming giant, Netflix, which is set to launch in South Africa sometime during 2016.
SAVuka TV, running through an app just like ShowMax, ONTAPtv.com and VIDI, says it will bring viewers "groundbreaking television" from Wednesday 9 December and will target township users with content focused "on the rural and township life" and provide "innovative, edgy and probing local content, directly on their mobile phones".
SAVuka TV users will use PayGate through vukatv.com paying R9.99 for a day's access, R19.99 for 5 days and R35 for a monthly subscription. Besides these packages, SAVuka TV will also allow pay-per-view options: R5.50 per view for "Premium" content, R3.50 per view for "Fresh" content and R1.50 per view for "Lite" content.
SAVuka TV will initially only work on the Android platform.
SAVuka TV will include new reality shows and says the SVoD service will give content providers ownership of the content they produce through the "Sidla Sonke profit share model".
""SAVuka TV is groundbreaking in that it not only gives people entertainment anywhere, anytime; it also gives multimedia creatives the freedom to be creative. The Sidla Sonke production funding model ensures mass ownership of content, with rights holders keeping them in perpetuity," says Siphamandla Kunene, SAVuka TV's creative producer.
SAVuka TV will start with 6 reality shows and the former SABC2 Morning Live and e.tv Sunrise presenter Sindy Mabe is working on a breakfast show for SAVuka TV. Other magazine and lifestyle content is also in the works but won't be available or ready at launch, while some "entrepreneurial and spiritual content" will be available when the service starts tomorrow.
"SAVuka TV content primarily seeks to engage and entertain our viewers with content that is intriguing and filled with high drama and parables," says Percy Mthethwa, SAVuka TV's head of content.
"The content projects a positive image of black South Africans and provides them with free educational information they desperately need to make informed decisions," says Percy Mthethwa.
The 6 reality shows that SAVuka TV will launch with are:
A reality show reflecting the lives of South African soap stars following Motlatsi Mafatshe, Thato Molamu, Sisa Hewana, Maurice Paige and Tony Oseyemi. All is not what it seems in the South African celebrity scene, as we all found out during the SABC's Generations' actors strike and the show reveals soap actors' lives away from the spotlight.
A reality show set in the hair stylist Xoli Ntshingila's salon in Diepkloof, Soweto. Every episode shows sis Xoli Ntshingila and her ill-experienced and outspoken staff transforming women's heads into silky crowns of glory, with Themba Mkandawira who believes in hair glue and Thuli and Nosipho who are lazy.
Zoli Ntshingila and Babalwa Mneno transform small salon owners into balck hair dressing professionals by giving these township businesses facelifts. They visit salon owners who reached out, fearing that their businesses are going down the drain.
Out Living It
Three struggling gay artists in search of "fabulosity" with Bujy Bikwa, Albert Khoza and Olwethu Mlotshwa all running between auditions, rehearsals, shoots, bad agents and industry parties.
Diski Hits and Mrs
A show following soccer wives: Charnelle Paulse (married to Nathan Paulse of Ajax CT), Mpho Mulenga (ex-wife of Clifford Mulenga of SuperSport FC) and Hlengiwe "Sharon Dee" Dlamini (separated from Peter Ndlovu).
Behind the Pulpit
A show following female pastors Stembiso Mtshali, Robert Byalungu, Phindile Nzimande and Thiva Lidzhade opening their homes and ministries to the public. How do divorced pastors navigate the dating game? How are women pastors treated and viewed in the church? An honest account of the day-to-day demands and confrontations on the private and public lives of women of the cloth.