South Africa: Launch of new Afrikaans channel questioned by Starcom MediaVest boss


Following the announcement of the imminent launch of the new TV station Afrikaanse Satelliettelevisie, Gordon Patterson, group MD of the Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG), questions the feasibility of dictating culture to an audience segment.

Patterson says that there can be no doubt that Kyknet and other content providers servicing the Afrikaans market have attracted considerable advertising support and have done well. There can also be little doubt that programming in this particular mother tongue sustains culture - but here is the challenge.

“It is easy to think that television viewers want culture but they do not, at least not the majority. The principle need is entertainment pure and simple. Content that is overtly forcing a historic perspective on a culture, in my belief erodes the culture rather than sustains it,” he says.

“To launch with the last interview by P W Botha as a "draw card" is in my opinion, a limiting strategy and one that undermines the progressive nature of the current and future Afrikaans community. For a culture to survive it must live and to live, it must evolve rather than go backwards.

“Commercially, as attractive as this segment might appear, I have no doubt that there are significant ‘school fees' that will need to be paid so I really hope that they have equally significant backers. From an advertiser's perspective, the more competition the better since it lowers rates, increases innovation and improves service offerings in general,” says Patterson.

Biz-Community 26 Feb 2010