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Thinking TV: Shining the spotlight on Afrikaans

by Inge Hansen (@mecnotabene) Lekker. An Afrikaans word that is so entrenched in our local vocabulary that it is used in commercials about South Africa to describe just about anything great – from a slice of cake or the weather to your general mood ahead of the day. Yet, as with many cultures, the Afrikaans-speaking population is often subject to being stereotyped.

In reality, Afrikaans culture is diverse, with a strong and proud heritage which is conveyed through the love that people have for their Language, which is our third most-spoken locally. The latest AMPS survey confirms this, showing that Afrikaans-speaking people wish to interact with others and read in their home language more than those who speak English or isiXhosa; and on par with isiZulu speakers.

Challenge for advertisers

Due to fragmentation and the digital age, gone are the days of mass reach easily being achieved through a FPFC in Rapport or a 30-second TVC in Nuus. Previously, a large weekday drawcard for viewers and advertisers, Nuus on SABC 2 at 7pm was often achieving 30+ GRPs into the Adult Afrikaans audience in 2013 (October data), as viewers caught up on the day’s events in their home language. However, since scheduling changes moved the programme to a new timeslot on SABC 3 in 2014, subsequently reversed in early 2015, Nuus has not yet enticed all of its viewers back. In October 2015, Nuus rarely raised above 20+ GRP’s into the same audience while, in the same timeslot, eNuus on KykNET attracted well over 100 000 Afrikaans adult viewers on most days, with DStv catering to its consumers’ needs.

However, expanding viewer choice has led to fragmentation for the kykNET channels, with it currently being difficult to reach audiences cost-effectively. The September primetime (5pm—10pm) 30-second ratecard CPP increased by 19% year on year to R16 318 for KykNET, with a reduction in GRPs clearly visible. This increase could also be seen for KykNET NOU (+49% increase) and kykNET & Kie (+6% increase), which means that’s it is becoming increasingly more expensive to reach these targeted audiences.

New kid on the block

Hoping to attract both viewers and advertisers is the new kid on the block, VIA TV, which is a new Afrikaans channel that launched in November 2015 on DStv channel 147. Via aims to entice audiences with fresh content, to be found in 22 brand-new programmes at launch. The channel aims its content primarily at women and their families, and is available on DStv Family, Compact, Extra and Premium, which should allow the channel to maximise reach into the Afrikaans market. The channel is being promoted via Media24 properties, ensuring that potential viewers were reached with news of the launch, as well as already having had a social Media presence with behind-the-scenes content.

Although considered niche by some, the Afrikaans population in SA is not insubstantial at 5.2m adults, which is nearly 20% higher than the adult English-speaking population. Within this, the white adult Afrikaans-speaking population sits at 44% of the total and, although much of the Afrikaans media available appears tailored to this market, the coloured Afrikaans market is notably larger, at 53% (2.7m adults). Add to this the LSM breakdown of more than 51% of all Afrikaans-speaking adults being LSM 8-10, and you have some purchasing power on your hands.

Time will tell if the pace of fragmentation may be slowed by the production of fresh local language content to entice viewers, and the advertisers who want to reach them.


  • AMPS 2015 Main Branded BA (Jul 2014-Jun 2015)
  • Arianna: Post Campaign & Programmes, DStvi / TAMS


Following two years at Media24 scrubbing for insights within the magazine division, Inge Hansen joined Nota Bene as an A&I analyst in March 2013. Working across multiple clients, including FMCG, alcohol and petroleum, she has the luxury of working with teams to develop robust insights that drive strategy while keeping abreast of media trends the world over. Inge loves having her pulse on the media landscape but far prefers raising her pulse mountain-biking on weekends. She contributes Thinking TV, a monthly analysis of South African TV viewership figures, to MarkLives. Follow @mecnotabene for regular media updates.

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Thinking TV: Shining the spotlight on Afrikaans


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