Streaming service Viu is taking on YouTube over the platform broadcasting South African shows which it offers.
Viu launched in South Africa earlier this year, offering content which is available to watch for free, with adverts shown, while users are required to sign in and subscribe to the service’s Premium plan to access exclusive content.
Viu South Africa has also partnered with Etv and the SABC to host all of its online content on its platform – including episodes from popular shows such as Uzalo, Imbewu: The Seed, and Skeem Saam.
These shows were previously available on YouTube, but have now been removed from the SABC and Etv’s official channels and moved to Viu.
However, there are a number of “unlicensed” YouTube channels which continue to upload full episodes of popular SABC and Etv shows.
MyBroadband spoke to Viu South Africa marketing manager Neo Lekgabo about the streaming service’s plan to deal with these shows being uploaded to YouTube.
Fighting unlicensed YouTube content
Lekgabo told MyBroadband that Viu was working hard to track down and remove unlicensed shows from YouTube.
“We have a dedicated resource that tracks all the illegal pirate channels that pop up daily on various platforms, especially on YouTube,” he said.
Despite this, the proliferation of pirated content is a constant problem for the streaming service.
“We get YouTube to strike them down, but as many as we strike down there are new ones that pop up daily.”
Lekgabo added that the migration of content from YouTube channels to its platform has been well-received by fans.
“Once people realised that all those shows are still free on Viu and that Viu offers a better user experience journey in that our episodes goes back the entire season, we have seen growth in both reach and engagement, and we are also starting to see people binging on previous season and much older episodes,” Lekgabo said.
Viu’s freemium payment model has also proven popular in South Africa due to a high demand for local content, said the company.
“The uptake of Viu in South Africa has surpassed our expectations and our freemium model service is proving to be the right strategy for our audience,” he said.
“This is because South Africans love their local content and Viu offers an unparalleled catch-up service for this local content for free.”
Going forward, the streaming service aims to continue focussing on local content, including premium shows.
“Our plan is to continue to offer local premium content, partnering with broadcasters and producers to tell South African stories that the majority of South Africans can access on a free basis,” Lekgabo said.
“We also plan to continue offering premium content to niche audiences in our SVOD section, including Bollywood, Pakistani titles, and Pan-African content.”