Cape Town – PrideTV has launched as South Africa's first gay video streaming service.
PrideTV.co.za charges R79 per month for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) films and TV shows, or R790 per year (meaning two months free).
PrideTV says the streaming service, now available in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa, will reverse the trend to restrict access to LGBT themes by South African and African broadcasters where “homophobic and transphobic viewer complaints and repressive censorship laws across the continent, devastate diversity”.
The service that launched with 200 content titles, requires a credit card with some current account and debit cards also accepted. People who don't have or don't want to use a card will be able to pay using cellphone airtime.
PrideTV says membership is a month-to-month subscription and subscribers can easily cancel anytime, online, 24 hours a day with no long-term contracts or cancellation fees.
PrideTV, owned by STS that took over Time Media Group's failed VIDI video-on-demand (VOD) service, says it's an “all-you-can-eat buffet to a library of movies and series” where users can stream TV shows and movies across multiple devices.
In the case of load shedding, users with an unlimited subscription, will have their series or movie saved to automatically pick up once connected to a power source.
PrideTV recommends a minimum of 1MB speed for stream viewing but says the higher the speed the better the experience and automatically creates a watch list so a user can go back and watch right from where they've left off, as long as the title is still within its licences window.
The service says it carries “comedies, sexy college boy thrillers, horrors, love stories, gripping dramas and doccies about LGBT issues and personalities”.
New content will be loaded onto PrideTV on a regular basis, including big-screen classics, new independent releases and TV series, with selections from top producers and film makers that have won awards and festivals.
Now competing with Naspers' ShowMax, PCCW Global's ONTapTV.com and MTN's VU, PrideTV says it’s unique because "it is the most affordable VOD service currently in the marketplace where you can binge-watch marathon sessions of your favourite TV series and movies as and when you want".
About 65% of PrideTV's streaming content is aimed at gay males, with 35% having a lesbian and transgender interest.
"Traditional TV channels have historically offered only small smatterings of one-dimensional LGBT content that ironically reinforces stereotypes instead of shattering them. PrideTV reverses the trend to restrict access to LGBT themes by South African and African broadcasters," says PrideTV content manager Joanne Raphael Katz.
"We believe that there is a gap in the market. It's about time that the neglected LGBT community has a voice, with content that spans all the issues that people can relate to. We know that LGBT people are early adopters of technology, so we’re confident that they will join the online streaming revolution".
Alicia Antill, PrideTV marketing media officer says it plans to add local content and produce its own original content like talk shows and streaming live from events in future, with producers and filmmakers who can contact the service at email@example.com.
"We want to create not just a movie site but also a lifestyle site for the LGBT community that works with and supports the community," says Antill.