Afrikaans streaming service wants to take on Showmax

A South African video streaming service focused on Afrikaans content is aiming to become the biggest of its kind in the world.

NET Afrikaans, short for “Netwerk Afrikaans”, made its debut at the end of May, offering access to a number of original productions at R79 per month.

The service is currently available on its website and in an Android app for mobile devices and TVs available from the Google Play Store.

MyBroadband spoke to NET Afrikaans spokesperson Retha van Rheenen to learn more about the service’s background and its plans in the coming months.

Van Rheenen said that NET Afrikaans was established in August 2020 by a group of experienced film producers and directors who were passionate about the Afrikaans language and culture, and saw an opportunity to bring these to a streaming platform.

“We believe the future of ‘tv watching’ lies in streaming services because it allows people to watch what they want when they want, as many times as they want,” Van Rheenen stated.

She said that NET Afrikaans aims to be the biggest Afrikaans video-on-demand subscription service in the world.

NET Afrikaans library

Its biggest rival will be MultiChoice’s Showmax streaming service, which already offers a wide range of Afrikaans content from its popular DStv channel kykNET.

This includes more than 150 Afrikaans series and 190 movies.

NET Afrikaans only has 15 titles, and none of these are fictional movies or TV shows.

Where NET Afrikaans already has an advantage, is that its maximum streaming quality is 1080p (full HD), as opposed to the 720p resolution on Showmax.

NET Afrikaans said that it is available globally, but most of its users are based in South Africa and are generally located in Pretoria, Bloemfontein, and Cape Town.

“According to our latest data, we have viewers in Namibia, Botswana, Australia, Netherlands, Egypt, Portugal, France, Spain, Italy, Saudi Arabia, England, Germany, and the USA,” Van Rheenen said.

While she did not disclose specific viewer numbers, Van Rheenen said the service saw its biggest uptake in the first three days of launching.

Since then, “a large number” of viewers have been joining on a daily basis.

The NET Afrikaans mobile app had over 500 downloads at the time of writing, while the TV app had more than 100.

It’s not clear how many people are using the browser-based platform, but it is interesting to note that the NET Afrikaans Facebook page had around 8,700 likes by the time of publication.

Running a successful streaming service requires a high-capacity network infrastructure that can support the flow of large amounts of data traffic to numerous users.

To support its growth, NET Afrikaans is supported by an international over-the-top platform provider hosted overseas.

Although most of its library will be in Afrikaans some shows, such as its country music content, will feature English.

All of NET Afrikaans’s series are produced by either its own or third-party production companies with which it works closely.

“We believe in creating fresh and original exclusive content on a daily basis, and we are working incredibly hard every day to reach this goal,” Van Rheened said.

“We have strict production schedules in place to ensure we can upload new content on a weekly, sustainable basis, to keep our viewers entertained,”

“At present we don’t buy any existing content because much of the older Afrikaans programming has been uploaded to platforms like YouTube, often illegally,” Van Rheenen said.

The streaming service’s library currently consists only of scripted lifestyle programming.

Two of its most-watched shows are Slagpen, a series focused on firearms, and Hallo Dolly, a cooking and lifestyle show presented by Afrikaans singer and chef Kevin Leo.

Other titles include:

  • TwakPraat – Celebrity gossip show.
  • Smiley see Sport Grotes – Sports talk show hosted by Werner Swanepoel and featuring various South African sport legends.
  • Ouma se Raad – Cooking show showcasing the favourites dishes of South African grandmothers.
  • Optimum Sukses – Financial talk show
  • A variety of kids shows.

Now read: DStv Premium — death by a thousand cuts

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Afrikaans streaming service wants to take on Showmax