New streaming service to launch in SA will mean no more Uzalo and Skeem Saam on YouTube

Viu TV. (Screengrab)
Viu TV. (Screengrab)

Cape Town – Another video streaming service, Viu, is launching in South Africa, scooping up the digital playback rights to the SABC's most popular locally produced shows.

PCCW Media is giving it a second try in South Africa. This comes after their failed attempt with the streaming service ONTAPtv in mid-2018.

The SABC has signed a 24 month deal with Viu and will remove some of its most popular local shows like Uzalo and Skeem Saam from YouTube.

The streaming service will offer a hybrid of both free and paid content has launched in South Africa with the app now downloadable, amidst the growing subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) streaming wars.

Viu will try to duke it out in a crowded field with the likes of streaming services like Netflix South Africa, MultiChoice's DStv Now and Showmax, Amazon Prime Video, Acorn TV, TV2GO and others in the increasing battle for digital eyeballs. 

The service launched in October 2015 in Hong Kong for the Asian market and has since expanded into other countries and is now available in India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt and Jordan, besides South Africa.

Ryan Solovei, Viu country manager for South Africa, says Viu has over 20 million monthly active users, had 1.2 billion video views in 2018, has over 70 Viu original titles, and is now in South Africa.


In a deal between Viu and the South African public broadcaster, some of the SABC archives has been licensed exclusively to Viu, along with shows that are in-production like Uzalo, although the programmes remain the property of the SABC.

The price of the content licensing deal isn't being disclosed by the SABC and Viu.

The digital rights to Uzalo, the most watched show on SABC1 and in South Africa as well as Skeem Saam are moving to Viu as part of a 2-year deal. It means that viewers will no longer be able to watch episodes of these shows on YouTube from 28 February.

From March - Viu's official "launch date", although it's already accessible to consumers - digital playbacks of episodes of the latest seasons of Uzalo and Skeem Saam will only be viewable on the Viu app as a catch-up service.

Besides Uzalo and Skeem Saam Viu also acquired the rights to 18 other shows from the SABC catalogue, including The Docket on SABC3, as well as Yizo-Yizo, Single Galz, Taryn and Sharon, Ngempela, The Sober Companion, When We Were Black and Emoyeni.

The SABC's content will be carried on Viu under the header "SABC Collection".

SABC collection


Viu currently offers over 2000 hours of content. Users can watch free videos on Viu without having to register, but to access premium content users must register and log in. Viu however provides a 30-day free sampling period to watch premium content.

It's not clear whether all of the SABC Collection of content like Uzalo and other shows will remain free to watch on Viu as is currently the case, or move behind the pay subscription.

"The SABC is proud to have partnered with Viu SA in this exciting new initiative," says Madoda Mxakwe, SABC CEO. "As a broadcaster, it is imperative that we continuously move with the times and ensure that our programmes are available through video-on-demand platforms".

"With its experience in delivering and successfully monetising over-the-top (OTT) and VOD services across the globe, Viu SA will assist the SABC's mandate of ensuring universal access for South Africa's rich, home-grown content. This strongly aligns with our strategic objective to identify new revenue streams and in this particular case, increasing revenue through sub-licensing SABC-owned intellectual property, specifically in the video entertainment space."

Solovei says Viu SA is "proud to partner with the SABC to provide a digital platform for the broadcaster's incredible shows. We believe in the power of South African stories and we look forward to increasing access to these stories to as many people as possible through our digital platform".

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