Issue No.120 / September 2018

Kenya’s Viusasa wants to be the one-stop shop for local content that Kenyans love but the data price barrier has yet to crumble

George Waititu is the CEO, Content Aggregation which has launched Kenya’s Viusasa. It wants to become the local content contender able to take on the other more Pan-African platforms in the market. Russell Southwood spoke to George Waititu about how things have worked after only 11 months in operation.

The latest video clip interviews from Smart Monkey TV can be found at the bottom of this e-letter

As a country, Kenya is one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s fast adopters but as elsewhere, VoD and streaming services are proving to be something of a challenge. At the premium end, there are tens of thousands of users but further down the price spectrum the amount people are willing to spend on content make the economics much harder.

The dominant mobile operator Safaricom has four pan-African VoD and streaming services on its platform: iRoko, Kwese iFlix, Showmax and Star Times. At the low end, there are services like Erik Hersmann’s Moja which offers a limited bouquet of ad-supported content targeted at commuters on mataus: it has around 250,000 monthly active users. So it may take longer for Kenyans to use mobile as their favorite viewing device.

The cost of data remains a key barrier as although Safaricom and other operators have brought down data prices, there has not been much regular content plus data bundled services. Safaricom experimented with this approach in partnership with for example, Kwese iFlix during the World Cup but has not yet adopted it on a longer-term basis.

Although there appear to be a lot of smartphones in the market, only about half of them use data and if you look at regular data users, the number drops quite significantly. 

Into this challenging market, former market research company Steadman Managing Director George Waititu has launched Viusasa in partnership with Royal Media Services. It went to market in the last week in October 2017 and has been exploring how best to tackle the market. It still experimenting with different price approaches but has firmly staked its claim to local Kenyan content, particularly content in vernacular languages.

Viusasa runs on an app:”It provides convenience. The service goes wherever the user goes. They can buy a daily package (KS30/US29 cents), a weekly package (KS50/US49 cents), or a monthly package (price yet to be set). So far a lot more people want a daily bite and there will be a higher content refresh rate in the future”.

So far there have been 1.2 million downloads over the initial test period during which time it has done significant marketing on Royal Media Services and with on-street advertising.

“This shows that there’s a good appetite for local content, especially comedy and drama but we need to invest more in aggregating vernacular content. That’s what works best but not much is produced.  RMS has produced (specific) local content for the platform and we want to offer content in several languages, including English, Swahili and other languages”.

It will soon be going to market with a premium model and it will also experiment with adding a bit of advertising to the basic service:”We think there are two different markets: ad supported and paid. Viusasa will also add other VAS services from banks and other players. It will not just be one thing”

“We want to create a one-stop for all the content Kenyans love with it all in one place. We’re also loading a new premium product with news and music videos. We want to foster the growth of the audio-visual sector in Kenya. We’re also offering catch-up services for Royal Media’s TV programmes and the heart of what we offer comes from them, things like comedy. The biggest challenge at the moment is content flow”.

He believes that streaming platforms like Viusasa will help develop the film and broadcast content producers by giving the industry structure and taking some of the load off of directors:”There are overlaps in function. Too many directors are having to act as distributors to monetize their content and this distracts them from the development of new content, which is what they’re good at”.

“What we’re saying is ‘Let there be a division of labor and we’ll do the distribution and promotion’. Directors can track revenues from their productions on the portal. We can take the burden off the content creators so that they can focus on production. If there’s a better structured market, that way it can attract global investment. People are used to free content from places like You Tube”.

Like most of those in the market we spoke to, high data costs are a barrier that has yet to fall:”The creative can begin to earn a living but the need for people to pay data costs remains an issue. In the fullness of time, data costs will drop. Two-thirds of mobile users don’t have smartphones but that’s a potential market because those people will get connected”.

Film and TV+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Kwesé iflix to beam boxing match on its mobile app

Kwesé iflix, has announced it will air live the World Heavyweight match between Anthony Joshua and Alexander Povetkin to millions of boxing fans throughout Africa on its mobile app. Kwesé TV subscribers can watch live blow-by-blow action on their satellite TV decoders. Subscribers can also have access through the Kwesé TV or Kwesé iflix apps to catch the fight on-the-go. Kwesé Free Sports will air a delayed broadcast of the fight on Sunday 23 September at 6.00pm for those who cannot watch the live action.

Through this offering, the pay tv operator is showing its commitment to bring to its subscribers the world’s most elite premium sporting competitions to watch the champion of the world, Anthony Joshua face the former WBA title holder Alexander Povetkin. Subscribers will be able to stream the fight live on Saturday 22 September from Wembley Stadium exclusively on the Kwesé iflix app, by purchasing a VIP pass.
Source: NextTVNews

Google Launches Data-Light YouTube Mobile App For South Africans With Slow Internet

A specialized data-light version of the the Google-owned online video service, called YouTube Go, has been made available to South African users through the launch of a mobile app in the country.

The U.S.-based company announced that the YouTube Go app, which is a data-light version of the original app, is now available for people in South Africa to download, according to TimesLive. Over 75 percent of all website traffic in South Africa comes from mobile devices, according to Qwertydigital.

This means that apps and websites which are designed specifically for mobile users will gain more traction than others that are primarily developed with a desktop audience in mind.

YouTube Go has been custom-designed with the typical African user in mind, and slow mobile internet speeds coupled with high mobile penetration are responsible for its functionality.

The specially-designed version of the online video platform allows users with slow internet to preview and save videos in various resolutions to watch later offline, saving data costs and providing a better experience regardless of speeds, according to Quartz. The users can then watch the saved videos at a later stage without the need for an internet connection.

In addition to being data-light, the YouTube Go app aims to be local and relevant to a South African audience. The app gives users a home screen that shows trending and popular videos nearby, allowing them to see the latest content that the people around them are watching and sharing, according to Businesstech.

YouTube Go is now available in South Africa, but Nigeria was the first African market to have access to the data-light mobile application. The app was made available for download in Nigeria a year ago, according to AllAfrica.

Google chief executive Sundar Pichai and his team visited Nigeria in July last year to unveil a selection of products designed specifically for people in the West African nation, and one of those was a YouTube version built for Nigerians with slow internet speeds. Nigerians could download the app from September.
Source: Moguldom

Africa’s entertainment and media industry enters dynamic new wave of convergence – 3.0

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, September 19, 2018/ -- Africa’s entertainment and media industry has entered a dynamic new phase - a third wave of convergence. The borders that once separated the entertainment and media (E&M), technology and telecommunications industries are blurring in the battle for the attention of the consumer in a world that is rapidly digitising. As the mobile device cements itself as the pre-eminent source of the E&M experience, the most disruptive, forward-thinking companies are striving to create an integrated ecosystem suited to this consumer-driven dynamic. This is according to PwC’s ‘Entertainment and media outlook: 2018 – 2022: An African perspective’ released today.

By 2022, total E&M revenue in South Africa is expected to reach R177.2 billion, up from R129.2 billion in 2017. Internet (access and advertising) is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.3% over the forecast period to reach R91.2 billion, up from R53.4 billion in 2017. Overall E&M growth will be less reliant on Internet access revenue as organic growth opportunities in Internet connections start fading towards the end of the forecast period. Internet advertising will greatly exceed TV advertising in terms of growth, leading the way with a 13% CAGR over the forecast period to reach R9.4 billion and overtake TV advertising spend in 2022.

The Outlook is a comprehensive source of analyses and five-year forecasts of consumer and advertising spending across five countries (South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Tanzania) and 14 segments: Internet, data consumption, television, cinema, video games, e-sports, virtual reality, newspaper publishing, magazine publishing, book publishing, business-to-business (b2b), music, out-of-home (OOH) and radio.
Press Release:  APO Group on behalf of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC).

New TV African Heritage TV channel AfrikayaTV to launch on Heritage Day

Tuluntulu, the African Cultural Heritage Trust (ACHT) and Zindala Zombili Productions (ZZP) have partnered to launch AfrikayaTV on Heritage Day, 24th September 2018. AfrikayaTV is the only 24/7/365 TV channel dedicated to Indigenous African Culture and is available on the free Tuluntulu app which can be downloaded from Google Play or the Apple App Store.

AfrikayaTV will provide a platform for artists and content producers with the opportunity to broadcast their material globally on the unique Tuluntulu platform. The channel will feature unique performing arts content including music, dance, storytelling and poetry from SADC countries, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania and Kenya. It will also include Talk shows about different aspects of African culture and their relevance in a modern Africa. Content will also be sourced from festivals and key role players in the music industries of South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania and Kenya.

The ACHT was established in 1984 and is the largest and most representative community based cultural organisation in South Africa, with over 10,000 participating traditional music and dance groups and thousands of individual poets and storytellers. The ACHT stages the annual African Music & Dance Festival in partnership with Zindala Zombili Productions. The festival is South Africa’s premiere cultural event that hosts an annual series of local and provincial elimination competitions in over 30 different categories. The winners of these categories then perform at the Pan-African Festival alongside invited groups from Africa and BRICS countries.
Source: Press Release

In Brief

Kenya: The DStv now app is now available for LG smart TVs It is specifically available for 2017 and 2018 models running webOS 3.5 and 4.0. DStv Now is an internet streaming video service that allows DStv customers watch Live TV, enjoy DStv Catch Up and view the TV Guide via the Internet enabled devices.

Array recently announced it has acquired the film by Nigerian filmmaker Akin Omotoso with a national screening tour to come. Ava DuVernay's ARRAY has acquired Vaya—a South African coming-of-age drama from Nigerian filmmaker Akin Omotoso, Deadline reports. This is the independent film distribution and resource collective's 19th feature to pick up, as it's set for a national screening tour starting in October and is due for a November 1 Netfilx debut. Watch Akin Omotoso on his two new films Vaya and A Hotel Called Memory:

Netflix has recently secured Genevieve Nnaji's yet-to-be released movie titled "Lion Heart". Netflix has acquired the worldwide rights for the film on the eve of its world premiere at the 2018 Toronto Film Festival.


SAMRO: We were misled about UAE investment

The Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) has released a report on the loss of R47m ($3.2) that the body invested to establish a collective management organisation (CMO) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The organisation says it will take legal action against those who were directly involved in the matter.

The report, which was not availed to Music In Africa upon request, comes after SAMRO members pressured the CMO to provide details about what had happened in the UAE and whether the organisation had followed the proper procedures before investing the money.

“We have recently completed a forensic audit into the investment from which it appears evident that the board was misled into believing it was possible to successfully establish a music rights management agency similar to SAMRO in the UAE, to be known as the Arab Emirates Music Rights Organisation (AEMRO),” the SAMRO board said in a statement.

“The audit has shown that the board was not made fully aware of the potential risks involved in the initiative. There were numerous occasions on which the board was not fully briefed on AEMRO, or possibly even misled.

"Crucial details on costs and contracts were not disclosed, and the board was therefore unable to provide full oversight. The board shut down the initiative when it became clear that the funds spent on trying to establish AEMRO were wasteful and fruitless expenditure.”

SAMRO says it is taking the matter seriously and that it will attempt to get the money it had invested back. “We are currently investigating a series of legal steps to recover the funds and, where possible, to take action against those involved," it said. "We are totally committed to ensuring this happens, to ensure accountability and responsibility.

"We do not agree with all aspects of the forensic report, and have been constrained by the sensitivity of the process.We respect the findings and are already putting mechanisms in place to address possible shortcomings in the organisation’s governance and risk management processes.

"The board takes the forensic audit report’s recommendations to heart and is totally committed to resolving this matter and in particular, to recover the money in the best interests of SAMRO members and the music industry as a whole.”

The board said it would not accept the misuse or abuse of musicians’ funds in any shape or form. “We are particularly focused on determining how we can recover the money that was used for the AEMRO venture and to ensure that SAMRO members gain maximum benefit from their hard work. We have added additional financial controls and will use the lessons learnt from this project to introduce structural changes to the way management reports to the board, eliminating single points of failure and ensuring the integrity of information presented to the board.”

SAMRO said the investment was championed by former CEO Sipho Dlamini and the then chairman of the board, Abe Sibiya, in 2014. The CMO was looking to turn a profit after the body's biggest licensee, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), had failed to pay millions in royalties.

"SAMRO’s mission statement clearly states that the organisation should invest funds to generate more revenue for its Southern African members," it said. "This was the rationale behind the board’s decision to approve the AEMRO, coupled with the fact that we were losing revenue because of the SABC’s mounting losses at the time."

SAMRO said Dlamini left the top job in March 2016 without informing on any material concerns surrounding the investment. Sibiya, who took over as SAMRO acting CEO, also did not raise any concerns regarding the UAE venture.

“The initial investigation took place 18 months after Dlamini’s resignation and further investigations are under way into the relationship between all the persons directly involved in this project. The nature and reason for payments, if any, made by SAMRO to Dlamini after his resignation, also need further investigation.

“Although the forensic audit initiated by the current board has taken some time, we believe it was best to ensure a full and proper understanding of what happened, particularly as some of the current board members were not involved with SAMRO at the time. It is clear that the AEMRO investment was a failure, and we have spent a lot of time and resources getting to the bottom of it, in the interests of our members," SAMRO said.
Source: Music in Africa

Fak’ugesi Festival 2018 explores music and gaming in its final week

The Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival enters its final and closing week from 24th – 29th September with a special focus on gaming and beats. With the theme of “Tap Your Afro Source Code”, this year celebrates technology, creativity and innovation from across the African continent.

Dr Tegan Bristow, Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival director, says that the theme centres on African visions of technology by tapping into the sources of African tradition and culture alongside technology, creativity and innovation: “This year we are exploring how local culture can move and change the future of technology. How would you understand and unpack the source code of your African identity?”

In its final week, the Fak'ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival explores music culture via the annual Beats Programme curated by WeHeartBeat, which will descend on the Tshimologong Precinct with a six-day takeover of Braamfontein's tech hub. The program comprising of workshops, experiences and performances, facilitates the meeting of mind and spirit in an environment geared around the festival's theme, “Tap Your Afro Source Code”.

The Fak’ugesi Beats Lab, running from the 24th to the 28th of September will host international electronic artists and explore the connection between music, technology and culture with local and international artists. The outcome from these sessions will result in an EP release, a short documentary and a live showcase performance at the Fak’ugesi Beats Bloc Party on the 29th. The artists featured in the 2018 Beats Lab are S.Fidelity (Switzerland), Zikomo (USA), Morena Leraba (Lesotho) and South African artists Bonj Mpanza  and Hlasko.

In partnership with Ballantines Whisky and Business Arts South Africa, the programme includes panels on: ‘The Future of Music’ facilitated by Tefo Mohapi from and featuring guest panellists Riky Rick and Thibaut Mullings; ‘Managing Health Amongst Creatives’ featuring psychologist Thembi Mashigo and panel guests Ayanda Seoka, Mx Blouse and more. The day will include a Masterclass with Black Milk (USA), The Art of Remixing with Zikomo(USA) and close with a ‘Power of Collaborations’ session featuring Zikomo, S.Fidelity , Morena Leraba and Bonj Mpanza.

The last week of Fak’ugesi Festival also hosts a special session on the Future of African Gaming on the 28th and 29th of September. A full day on gaming, this will take place in collaboration with Red Bull Basement and focus on the theme of Tech for Good. The programme includes an Indie Games Arcade; a ‘Games for Good’ workshop focused games that address issues in South African urban environment.

The workshop will be followed by a “Futures and Networking” session, inviting the gaming community in the Southern Africa region to contribute to an understanding of what and how the Fak’ugesi Festival can develop and better support African games. This invitation comes after Fak’ugesi Festival in 2018 says farewell to A MAZE, Johannesburg, which has supported its program since 2013 as the gaming partner.

A MAZE, under the leadership of its creative director, Thorsten S. Wiedemann, linked the Johannesburg gaming scene to an international network of indie developers for six years from 2012 until 2017. The two-way bridge between A MAZE. / Berlin and A MAZE. / Johannesburg inspired other projects like Super Friendship Arcade in Cape Town and Glitch Face in Johannesburg and was a huge impetus in the development of the Game Design programme in the Wits School of Arts. When the Fak’ugesi Festival was established in 2013, A MAZE fell under Fak’ugesi Festival support as the gaming partner. Weidemann added: “It’s been amazing meeting, working and learning from the local and national game and playful media community.  We definitely made history together.”

The week's activities culminate in a celebration at the Fak'ugesi Beats Bloc Party   on Saturday 29 September. This event will reignite the energy and spirit created at the inaugural party in a union of performance, music, technology and digital innovation. The Bloc Party aims to showcase the best in underground talent, both local and international - etching its name in the cultural textbooks as an inspiration to future generations of creators, producers and innovators. The second instalment of this ground-breaking event will host performances from the Beats Lab participants, as well as Black Milk and a strong local contingent including Langa Mavuso, Mx Blouse, Symatics + Ramz, and Micr.Pluto.

Tickets for Thursday 27 September are R50 per session and can be purchased via WeHeartBeat. There will be a limited run of R200 student tickets available for Fak'ugesi Beats Bloc Party, upon presentation of a valid student ID. Workshop and student tickets can be purchased throughout the week at the reception of the Tshimologong Precinct.

Take note of the following links for further information: Event Page: Ticket Sales:
Source: Press Release

In Brief

EIB Network, in collaboration with Omnis 2131, will introduce Fiesta, an entertainment music video channel focused on Africa. It will be available on DStv 329 and GOtv 159 on 05 September, NewsGhana reported. Available on DStv 329/GOtv 159, Fiesta is a 24-hour TV channel which delivers a wide range of programming genres including lifestyle, music, events, entertainment news bulletins among others. Fiesta will broadcast 24 hours a day; its content is also be available on, Twitter and Instagram.

Unlimited LA, a Music video director, has described his colleague Clarence Peters, as the “hardest working music video director in Africa”. Unlimited LA, whose real name is Buari Olalekan Oluwasegun, stated this in an interview with Hip TV, revealing that he has nothing but respect for him. “When I was the errand boy or production assistant, Clarence was already a DOP. Even before I learned what record is on a camera,” he said. “I respect him so much because he is older than I am and he has got more work experience. “If I am stuck with a particular project, I always call him anytime, ask him questions. I don’t see us competing. “He is a bigger man. He is the hardest working music video director in Africa. I have been to a few countries in Africa and Mr Clarence Peters is the hardest worker I know. I respect him so much.” Unlimited LA also spoke on his working relationship with rapper Olamide, with whom he has shot several videos. “We have no contract binding us together. We just enjoy each other’s vibe,” he said.

The African Union Commission (AUC) has announced Ghana as the host country for the 5th All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA).

Social Media++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Snapchat just invested R2 million in a South African social media startup

Snapchat has selected South African social media startup Hashtag Our Stories to be part of its inaugural startup accelerator, giving the 11-month old company $150,000 (or roughly R2.2 million) in funding, Techcrunch reported.

Hashtag Our Stories, founded by former journalist Yusuf Omar and his wife Sumaiya, is a network of mobile journalists reporting from over seven countries, creating video content optimised for Facebook.

“We are mojo’s: we are mobile journalists; we are selfie journalists; we are jeans journalists. Everything I need to tell a story fits in my pockets,” Omar previously told Business Insider South Africa.

Yusuf and his wife Sumaiya will move to Snapchat’s headquarters in Los Angeles where they will join eight other startups in Snapchat’s accelerator called Yellow.

It is anticipated that Hashtag Our Stories could help fill up Snapchat's Snap Map with citizen news broadcasters.

The other startups include augmented reality, lifestyle brands around weddings and fashion, as well as aesthetic-focused marketplaces like ConBody, which pairs people with a muscular ex-convict for workouts.

Snapchat’s investment gives the struggling social media network, which lost three million users in its last quarter, a stake of between 7% and 10% in each one of the startups.

Yellow describes itself as “a launchpad for creative minds and entrepreneurs who are looking to build the next generation of great media companies”. “We are excited about the future of storytelling and the creators who will push the artistic boundaries of what's possible with mobile content,” the incubator said on its website.
Source: Business Insider

In Brief

PRETORIA, South Africa, September 11, 2018/ -- The Ministry of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) wishes to alert social media users and the public about the existence of fake and fraudulent facebook accounts under the name of COGTA Minister, Dr Zweli Mkhize. The Ministry condemns this fraudulent and mischievous use of the Minister’s profile, name and photographs. Dr Mkhize does not have a personal Facebook account. The Minister is reachable on social media through his twitter account: @DrZweliMkhize or through the CoGTA social media platforms - @NationalCoGTA (Twitter) and National CoGTA (Facebook).


Reuters launches mobile-first news video service, Africa Journal

LONDON – 19 September 2018 - Reuters announced today it is expanding its African video offering with a mobile-first news video service, Africa Journal.

Africa Journal tells the stories of today’s Africa from a local and global perspective, bringing together the best of Reuters unrivalled pan-African coverage through comprehensive video reporting. This format reflects growing mobile and digital consumption of news on the continent.

Launching this week, it is available to broadcasters and digital publishers through a series of daily ready-to-publish video packages, offering the best of Reuters lifestyle, social, entertainment and sports news, alongside its authoritative general news, business and political coverage.

The new service – developed in response to feedback from clients across the continent – provides an unmatched quality and quantity of video footage, narrated in English, provided in digital-friendly formats and available in short, bite-sized edits.

It brings the best of Africa to African audiences, as well as putting the continent ‘centre stage’ globally, where Africa Journal will provide international news organisations and digital publishers with unique insights and perspectives from the continent that they’ve been reporting on for over 150 years.

Serena Chaudhry, Editor, Africa Journal, said: “Reuters covers Africa more completely than any other international news agency, and through African Journal we’re drawing on our journalistic expertise to offer a fresh way to report African news – both in Africa and worldwide. The growth of the African digital mobile audience has been phenomenal and with the launch of Africa Journal, Reuters is providing an exciting product to tap into this very lively market. Our stories are ready-to-publish for digital, broadcast and online platforms. We have a wide footprint across the continent to report on all the latest news, covering everything from science and technology to arts and culture, politics and business. Africa is the world's fastest-growing region and Africa Journal will showcase what a diverse and vibrant continent it is through a wide range of multimedia stories."

Recent Africa Journal reports which illustrate the breadth of coverage and stories include: a South African artist celebrating women through his work; a report inside Sierra Leone’s chimpanzee sanctuary; how boxing remains the best hope for some Ghanaians; the cashew crisis in Ivory Coast and AB InBev eyes Africa with Nigerian brewery. Further details on Africa Journal can be found here:

The move follows the strengthening of Reuters editorial coverage of Africa, with new appointments including former sub-Saharan bureau chief Ed Cropley’s move to become Breakingviews columnist focusing on Africa. and the addition of three new roles in sub-Sahran Africa earlier this year:
Source: Press release

How pidgin English became the voice of international media in West Africa

As global media brands push to expand their reach and audience, Pidgin English—a language spoken by millions across West Africa—is gaining currency.

The language, a mix of English, words from local languages and a range of street slang depending on which country you’re in, has some of its roots in the trans-Atlantic slave trade: it is believed to have developed as a way for foreign merchants to communicate with locals in West Africa at the time.

But it has endured through colonial times till present and is currently spoken by millions in the sub-region as an informal alternative to English particularly in urban areas with the working classes. While the use of Pidgin, also called “broken English”,  might once have been a clear signifier of the speaker’s education level and class, popular culture has changed that over the decades since independence.

Afrobeat star and activist, Fela Kuti played a key role in bringing the language of the masses to the global stage in the 1970s and 1980s by using pidgin lyrics to take down Nigeria’s leaders and educated elite while speaking to the common man. Today Pidgin is adopted everywhere from Nigeria’s popular Nollywood movies to the lyrics of modern Afrobeats pop music.

Now, as international broadcasters look to better connect with local audiences, they’re making a big bet on Pidgin. Last year, as part of a $370 million expansion in Africa and Asia, BBC launched an online Pidgin news service which publishes news reports and stories via text, audio and videos. Within a year, it has garnered 7.5 million readers, according to Oluwatoyosi Ogunseye, BBC’s head of West Africa languages, with its biggest audiences in Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon. “The response has been beyond what we sought but there’s still so much room for growth,” Ogunseye tells Quartz.

During the World Cup, DStv, Africa’s biggest pay TV company originally from South Africa, also offered viewers in Nigeria and Ghana a Pidgin commentary feed for every game for the first time. The move proved a popular enough for DStv to consider more opportunities to offer Pidgin commentary on popular European club soccer matches, an insider tells Quartz.

The attraction of Pidgin media as a business opportunity lies in its ubiquity and authenticity. In a broad West African region that’s home to hundreds of languages—Nigerians alone speak over 500—Pidgin has the potential to cut across board. It also connects with the audience in an informal, convivial way that English does not. ”That’s the beauty of pidgin,” says Tatiana Moussalli, deputy managing director of AIM Group, parent company of Wazobia FM, Nigeria’s first all-Pidgin radio station. “It’s very casual, there are no boundaries, no prejudice, it just flows.”

As pidgin is often regarded as a sub-par alternative to English (it’s hardly adopted in formal business or academic circles), broadcasting in pidgin might be seen as a play for the mass lower-income market in West Africa. But that’s not the case. ”It’s a language for everybody, it has nothing to do with class,” says Chris Ubosi, chief executive of Megalectrics, parent company of Lagos-based Naija FM, another popular Pidgin radio station. Indeed, in some parts, speaking pidgin fluently enhances street cred. Beyond West Africa, pidgin is also bound to stir some interest. Ogunseye says BBC Pidgin is piquing interest among non-speaking audiences abroad who are likely fascinated by its quirky structure and grammar.

Despite growing wise to the promise of pidgin, international broadcasters are already a few years late to the party. Local Pidgin radio stations have become popular in Nigeria since Wazobia FM went live in 2007. Given their pull and appeal, some of these stations have also become lucrative businesses. Wazobia, for example, is consistently highly ranked in media advertising agencies’ ratings, a source tells Quartz. (In the absence of reliable listener rating numbers in Nigeria, ad agencies’ ratings of popularity—based on their surveys—are a measure of success.)

But things have not always been rosy for Wazobia, Moussalli tells Quartz. While Pidgin programming had been around for decades on government-owned stations and in radio advertising, a Pidgin-only station was an entirely different prospect. In its early days, Wazobia faced doubters from advertising circles and even among some of its own staff.  Indeed, as professional broadcasters  seemed unsure of taking up Pigdin, Wazobia’s first radio hosts were cleaners hired from the restaurant business owned by its parent company.

After its initial teething problems, Wazobia has since gained a foothold and a decade later (Wazobia also launched a Pidgin TV channel in 2014), its success is no longer in doubt. “Our Wazobia airtime is beyond choked. We’ve got to a point where we have to turn down adverts,” Moussalli tells Quartz.
Source: Quartz

South Africa: The hard sell of online radio

Like most other industries, media is going through tough economic times. Media planners and buyers are increasingly looking for maximum return on investment along with thorough campaign feedback for their clients. This makes selling advertising space more difficult, particularly for the online radio platform, which is still trying to prove itself as a reliable, worthwhile investment.

Unofficially measured listener numbers, scepticism from agencies who are still stuck in the traditional buying mindset, the high cost of data in South Africa, unfamiliarity from people about where they can find the platforms, and many who are scared of the unknown, are all problems plaguing online radio platforms, specifically when it comes to trying to convince agencies and clients to part with their ad spend.

CEO of the Liberty Radio Awards, Lance Rothschild, summed it up perfectly when he said, “Online-only broadcasters are not making any real revenue, and to the best of my knowledge, this is a global trend.”

Radio management and programming consultant, Tim Zunckel, shares Rothschild’s view saying, “Online radio hasn’t been very successful in figuring out a revenue model that best suits the medium. We’ve approached it from a very traditional point of view, where we have a product and we try and sell traditional advertising… People need to think about their programming and how their content is attractive to advertisers. We’ve taken the old FM model and just changed the delivery platform and that’s disappointing,” he reckons.

Jon Savage, founder of The Eye, tells how they have been “deep in pitches for over a year now, from agencies to brands, big and small – from all different levels and if I’m honest, we are yet to close an advertising budget with any real legs”, he says.

“It’s VERY frustrating as we now host one of the biggest shows in the country and believe we have one of the biggest digital listenerships by FAR, but we are still struggling to find brands who are brave enough to spend money in the digital radio space… Brands still feel more comfortable spending money on well known personalities as opposed to meaningful content.”

Busisiwe Ntuli, founder of TransAfrica Radio, says, “Advertisers are still more comfortable advertising through paid for interviews and on our website, rather than the online radio platform”.

Both TransAfrica Radio, as well as Gareth Cliff’s online radio offering, CliffCentral, have been on drives to educate agencies and clients about the medium and the opportunities it presents.  National, traditional radio sales houses have noticed all the effort online stations are putting in; United Stations is now selling advertising for both The Eye and CliffCentral. 

Awake Online, South Africa’s first online radio sales house, is also making big moves, adding TransAfrica Radio and Massiv Metro to its portfolio of 11 online stations, and forming partnerships with big agencies and direct clients. “It hasn’t been very easy selling ourselves, not having someone independent who can verify what we’re actually saying, so agencies have been quite sceptical,” explains Ntuli. Awake Online offers integrated packages across multiple online stations in its portfolio.

Aside from selling traditional radio advertising formats, including the 30-second ad spot, all the online stations spoken to are creating integrated advertising packages, offering more than just the online radio space in a bid to boost the attractiveness to agencies and brands.

“We’re still selling traditional radio advertising, while we’re setting up our digital streams and getting the statistics on the digital side,” explains Tony Mallam of Massiv Metro. “Ultimately we want to be a digital radio station with a very large electronic database, but right now we are going the traditional radio advertising methods, coupled with an integrated approach, tucking it into the rest of Massiv Media as well,” he adds. This includes the out of home and digital television assets that Massiv Media owns.

“Online radio is still a hard sell,” says Mallam, “But we’ve managed to bring on seven or eight mainstream advertisers … The biggest problem is media buyers, strategists and planners are using Telmar, and if you’re not on Telmar, you’re not even on their radar. You’ve got to sell yourself and be a lot more visible and make a huge amount of noise to get their attention; you’re not an automatic buy”.

The end game for Massiv Metro down the line is to get to programmatic buying, with a hybrid of that and traditional radio advertising.

For CliffCentral, advertising options include podverts and podvertorials (words the station’s coined to include live elements, interviews, and branded content made in an authentic, conversational style and distributed as podcasts), amplified by social media and live events.

TransAfrica Radio has paid for interviews, along with outside broadcasts and activations, and amplification on its social media channels and website. It has also introduced a ‘cost per listen’ revenue model as opposed to a broad cost.
Real engagement audiences vs. mass reach

One of the major selling points of online radio is the niche, targeted audience that stations serve, with Ntuli commenting that online radio guarantees listener numbers, while traditional radio works on estimates.

“Brands are slow adopters for things that are cutting edge and The Eye is edgy as hell! We are playing in the content and culture space in a way that a lot of traditional brands would never dare to,” Savage explains. “Our business proposition is focused on real engagement audiences and genuine numbers – we try not to deal in ‘reach’ because we feel that the term is too unspecific. You can buy reach but you can’t buy engagement … Our whole goal at The Eye is to show that 30 000 genuinely engaged fans is a hundred times more powerful than a 3 000 000 reach.”

CliffCentral founder Gareth Cliff has a strong message for brands and agencies: “More than ever before, business is driven by constant, relentless change, and if advertisers don’t embrace that change they will get stuck and become irrelevant. CliffCentral isn’t a platform for the future anymore; it’s the platform of the moment.”

Take notice everyone, online radio is here. It will only become more prevalent as time goes by, and it looks like it will increasingly eat more and more of brand ad spend.

Another non-traditional way of listening to radio, although this is for traditional radio stations, is through the DStv audio platform. There are currently 58 radio channels and 36 audio DMX channels on this platform. They are offered as a value-add to DStv’s customers and the media group does not sell airtime on them. The costs involved in delivering the channel to the DStv platform are negotiated with the radio stations involved.

While DStv refused to give a breakdown of listener numbers, the group in a statement said, “The DMX audio channels are the most popular among our DStv Premium customers, whereas the radio channels are more popular with our customers on the other DStv packages.”

Asked how audio channels are chosen to appear on their audio platform, DStv replied “We look at the listenership and audience for the channel, and whether our customers are interested in getting the channel. As this is very much driven by our customers for our customers, the process is usually kicked off by the radio channel themselves. There is a cost involved to the channel to deliver their feed to us, but a reward in that their listenership is not limited by geography and they become accessible to all DStv customers in South Africa. Our DMX Audio channels come from a single supplier that curates the playlists for each channel based on the music rights available in South Africa.”
Source: The Media Online

In Brief

Video streaming service iflix is set to launch a 24-hour news hub with aggregated live news streams, clips and linear feeds localised for its services across Asia, Africa and the Middle East.It will feature amalgamated feeds from familiar international and regional news authorities, including CNN, Al Jazeera, DW, CGTN, and CCTV 4.

APO Group, a leading media relations consultancy for Africa and the Middle East, today unveiled a new version of its media monitoring service for press releases. The new version goes far beyond what is available in the press release distribution industry today. Reports now offer deeper insights to Africa Wire and MENA Wire customers, helping them better understand the media impact of their press releases and offering even greater visibility on the R.O.I. of their campaigns.

Digital Advertising+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Ringier Africa’s media & marketing business venturing further into Francophone Africa

DAKAR, Senegal, September 14, 2018/ -- With headquarters in Dakar, Senegal, Ringier Africa Digital Publishing (RADP)’s ( Ringier Digital Marketing (RDM) Afrique & Pulse Live Afrique have now been established to serve users and clients in Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire and further countries in French-speaking Africa.

Over the past years, Ringier Africa Digital Publishing (RADP -, Ringier AG’s African integrated media group has grown rapidly to develop quality publishing and creative, data-driven digital marketing solutions in Africa - with offices across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Its two major initiatives are on the one side its new media publisher Pulse with its mass media publications and social channels in Nigeria (; Ghana (; Kenya ( and Uganda ( Pulse now reaches over 175 million unique users across its platforms and channels combined and over 170 million video views per month - covering news, sports, entertainment, lifestyle and more. Its license brands New York Times, Business Insider and Men’s Health/Women’s Health hosted on the Pulse infrastructure in Africa complement this content offering.

On the other side, Ringier Digital Marketing (RDM - is Ringier’s complete digital partner, merging technology, media and creativity to provide corporates and SMEs alike with cutting-edge, 360-degree digital-first marketing and digital enterprise solutions. Its sister brand Play Studio ( is focused on creative content solutions with dedicated video, graphic and editorial teams across the continent.

This set-up is now officially being added to by the offerings being made fully available also in Francophone Africa. Specifically, the marketing offering Ringier Digital Marketing (RDM) Afrique has been established with a careful build-up over the past year - gaining experience with clients in the markets Senegal and Côte d'Ivoire and beyond. Pulse Live Afrique has been established with a dedicated curator, bringing its unique content approach to the markets too. With an initial focus on social distribution, it will grow its social channels on Facebook(, Instagram(, Twitter ( and Medium ( to reach users across the region - and also bring content from the region to its other African presences and beyond.

Caroline Mbodj, Head of Ringier Digital Marketing Afrique, based in Dakar, Senegal said:“In Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire and beyond, the digital revolution is being felt by both people and corporations. We are here to help companies use the internet to their advantage - marketing effectively and efficiently to grow their sales. The content expertise of Pulse will additionally help us to tell great stories for our clients.”
Source: Press Release

How digital is driving media growth in Africa

Ipsos recently celebrated the fifth release of the Affluent Survey Africa. Released on 13 September, Ipos revealed that:

• Despite internet penetration in the continent lagging behind other regions of the world, Africa’s Affluent population have embraced digital technology more rapidly than their European counterparts: many more of them are watching TV on their tablets, computers and smartphones and more of them read their newspapers digitally.
• International TV channels now enjoy a higher reach amongst the Affluent population than national channels
• Social media is now considered the first port of call for news amongst a substantial proportion of the Affluent population

The biennial study measures the media use and consumption behaviour of the top 15 per cent of income earners in Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda.

Growth of international media brands: In the past two years, there has been a major roll-out of digital television broadcasting services across the continent, increasing the availability and reach of many international media channels. On a monthly basis, 96 per cent of the African Affluent population watch an international television network. In fact, on a daily level, the combined reach of international television channels – at 81 per cent – is now higher than that of national channels, watched by 71 per cent of this select group of people.

While all types of international media are popular amongst Africa’s top 15 per cent, the survey results show they are heavily business-news oriented. 69 per cent of the African Affluent look at business-news media brands on a monthly basis, compared to just 44 per cent of the Affluent in Europe.

Digital minded: Although internet penetration in Africa still lags much of the rest of the world, this has not stopped the Affluent population there from embracing the digital revolution. Two-thirds of Affluent Africans claim to watch television on devices other than their TV set; far higher than the 41 per cent claiming to do the same in Europe.

Four out of five Affluent Africans claim to read digital versions of newspapers some of the time, compared to a little over 70 per cent in Europe and the Middle East. One-fifth claim to mainly read their newspapers digitally.

Social media: This year’s survey contains more detailed information on Africans’ use of social media, which is the top feature used on a mobile phone. Four out of five Affluent Africans consider social media influential. Nine out of ten African Affluents use social media several times a day. 12 per cent consider social media to be their first port of call for news and current affairs. This number is highest in Kenya, where social media are the primary source for news for 25 per cent of the Affluent.

Mobile-first: Africa stands out as a mobile-first continent. With the exception of South Africa and Kenya, the African Affluent spend more time visiting websites and apps on their mobile phone than using their desktops or laptops. Practically all (96 per cent) African Affluent now own a smartphone, with the highest penetration in Kenya and the lowest in Morocco.
Source: Screen Africa

In Brief

Burson Cohn Wolfe (BCW) has announced the launch of its new website. This follows the rebrand and merge of Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe to Burson Cohn Wolfe. The site focuses on the work BWC does for its clients.

Other Digital Content and Services++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Report: Africans spent more than 4 million hours reading online in 2018

African mobile users have spent more than 4 million hours reading books on their mobile phones in 2018. This is according to Opera and Worldreader, a global non-profit organization that provides people in the developing world with free access to a library of digital books via e-readers and mobile phones

This milestone represents an increase of 32 percent from the same period last year. Nigeria, South Africa, and Ivory Coast record highest mobile and online reading populations in 2018.

A study conducted by Worldreader, called Reading in the Mobile Era, also showed that 65 percent of mobile readers in Africa are men while 35 percent are women. However, women tend to spend 11.5 minutes reading on average while men read 6.5 minutes per session, making women more frequent readers. Moreover, the report notes that African mobile readers prefer books related to love and romance, especially those that come from local authors and publishers.
Source: TechTrendsKE

Platform established in Tunis for visual arts, video gaming

TUNIS - Tunisia’s gaming community has struggled to build up an industry that remains largely under the radar but the creation of a platform could move visual arts and video gaming in the spotlight. Tunisia’s Ministry of Culture has established a department for visual arts and gaming in Tunis’s City of Culture, a move seen by gamers as an important sign of support.

Chiraz Latiri, general director of the National Centre of Image and Cinema, said a creative digital lab and gaming lab would open for participants to exchange expertise and training and develop projects and technical skills.

“This is a place that will provide a platform for freelancers, start-ups and anyone who has a project relating to the artistic digital industry,” Latiri said. “Students too can develop their skills using the counselling. For me, this centre is not just for cinema but for image too, which could dwell on all including the image of the film and the game.”

“Today, video gaming is the most consumed cultural product in the world,” Latiri said. “There is a strong Tunisian industry. Why do they have to leave the country to work while they can do it here? I want to protect the value of Tunisian intelligence and competences in gaming development.”

While Tunisia’s gaming industry only recently received government recognition, NGOs have long worked to promote e-sports in the country. One of the most influential associations is the Tunisian Association of Game Developers, whose founder, Houssem Ben Amor, said that, despite limited resources,

Tunisia has a vibrant gaming scene. “As a group of people who were interested in the gaming industry and developing games, we wanted to start working on creating and organising events to promote the culture of gaming in Tunisia and to introduce the community,” Ben Amor said, adding that the organisation hosted the country’s first international gaming event — “the gaming challenge” and the “Tunisia Game Awards.”

“Our role is to promote the industry of gaming in Tunisia, to unite the community, to create opportunities for the community,” he said.

Tunisian gamers also seek to work with developers to build the industry and encourage others to participate in national and international tournaments.

“As gamers, our objective is to organise national competitions of electronic sport,” said Amine Ghaddab, co-founder of the Association of Tunisian Gamers. “Tunisian champions have participated in international competitions since 2013 and we have organised many competitions of electronic sports, mainly the E-sport Tunisian Cup, which helps select players to represent Tunisia in the international championship.

“It must be noted that Tunisia was the champion of the world in the strategy game Hearthstone in the International e-Sports Federation (IeSF) WC 2014.”

He said: “The Association of Tunisian Gamers is focused on restructuring the gaming industry and submitted a request to create a federation for electronic sports, which is being studied by the ministry.”

Among the obstacles facing the gaming industry is the social and cultural divide between generations, Ghaddab said.

“The majority of people over 50 didn’t live (through) the genesis of the sector of video games in their youth, a sector that only appeared in America in the ‘90s. This discrepancy between Generation X and the following generations explains why many people don’t understand the sector, including parents and decision-makers (politicians, governmental officials),” he said.

He added: “This will disappear with time but meanwhile the community is making more effort to communicate better and explain the economic and political influence that this sector could have on the country.”

Despite these concerns, the Tunisian government’s introduction of gaming labs in the National Centre of Image and Cinema was applauded by gamers. “It includes a highly developed laboratory and equipment for game developers,” said Ben Amor. “It will serve as a workshop and a platform for ideas and projects for people interested in game development. This will be a great place especially for beginners and novices who do not have the means but can work in the lab.” Ghaddab added that one of the lab’s most important features is the “gaming factory,” which will provide funding for top game developers.
Source: The Arab Weekly

In Brief

The Nigerian government in collaboration with human right groups has created an electronic platform to reach vulnerable people in need of legal assistance. The platform,, was unveiled during a meeting of the organisers in Abuja, on Thursday. Speaking during the unveiling of the platform, the Solicitor-General of the Federation, Dayo Apata, said the portal was created to connect lawyers with socially disadvantaged members of the society and reduce the challenges usually connected with rendering pro-bono services. Read the full article on Premium Times here:

In a fresh move to galvanise Nigerian youths towards participating in process of governance, a non-governmental organisation, Youth Alive Foundation (YAF) has launched a mobile game, which seeks to help them understand their civic rights. YAF produced the 3D civic mobile game app, the first of its kind in Nigeria and known as: “Your Excellency” with support from Innovation Spread the Word Fund (ISWF), an arm of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Your Excellency is an adventure civic mobile game app which is a learning tool for young people on governance. It is expected to build capacities of young people to engage in governance.

Nasper’s owned OLX Group has invested ZAR 1.4 billion ($94m) into South Africa’s specialised car buying service, Webuycars which runs a used car marketplace in South Africa offering a specialised car buying service to sellers.

10 Countries are Expected to Attend Abidjan for The Electronic and Video Game Festival of Abidjan (FEJA), The Biggest eSport and Video Game Event Powered by Paradise GameFor this second edition, Paradise Game and its official sponsor Orange Côte d’Ivoire are putting the emphasis on job creation through the video game industry. The FEJA is also an event adapted to the youngest and to families.

Accenture Interactive has established its first design and innovation studio in Africa, Fjord Johannesburg. Fjord is the design and innovation consultancy of Accenture Interactive. The Johannesburg location marks its 28th design studio globally, with several others in London, Germany, US, Dubai and Hong Kong. The Fjord Johannesburg studio, according to Accenture, is part of the company's strategic move to establish Fjord as the design leader for Africa. Using the latest technology and innovative approach to design, the studio will be a consulting hub aimed at helping Accenture Interactive's clients to design digital products and services to meet customer requirements, enabling businesses to transform and thrive in the digital economy.

If you’d like to subscribe to Digital Content Africa send an email to with Digital Content Africa in the header. If you think that there are African creators and innovators we should be interviewing, send me a message on twitter @smartmonkeytv

Yours sincerely

Russell Southwood
Smart Monkey TV

PS Izu Osuigwe, CEO, Forest TV on its African channels VoD platform and its new satellite offering:

PPS To subscribe to our web TV channel Smart Monkey TV, click on the link below and press the red Subscribe button below the monkey with the camera on the logo:

Adekunle “Nodash” Adejuyigbe on his film The Delivery Boy about a child suicide bomber

Nigerian film-maker Adekunle “Nodash” Adejuyigbe talks about: the story in his film The Delivery Boy; how he uses the film to help him understand the protagonist’s motivations; and his next project looking at depression in Nigeria.

Aibee Abidoye, 5ive Music on the challenges facing mobile music services in Nigeria

Aibee Abidoye,  General Manager, 5ive Music talks about: 5ive Music’s role as a distribution platform; the artists it has on the platform; the mobile operators it is working with; the regulatory issues it faces on pricing; and continuing issues around the revenue share with operators.

Hruy Tsegaye, iCog Labs on creating Africa’s 1st robot: a child speaking Amharic to tell stories

Hruy Tsegaye, iCog Labs talks about: the work of iCog Labs and iCog Natives; the aims of iCogs Labs as an incubation platform; the first African robot; the involvement of Chinese investors; and a self-driving tractor project.

Serge Kalu, TV Zimbo on how the new President is opening up the TV and media space in Angola

Serge Kalu, Contet Manager, TV Zimbo talks about: how private TV station TV Zimbo is programmed; how things are changing in media and news terms in Angola; and the expansion of the TV broadcasting space.

Dayo Akinrinade & Ray AjikeAjoke on start-up Africlick, a dating app for global Africans

Dayo Akinrinade, Founder and Ray AjikeAjoke, Head of Growth, Africlick talk about: why Dayo Akinrinade launched Africlick; how the app works, the business model for the app and its functionalities; the potential size of the market; the balance of users between Lagos and London; and raising investment.

Abdulai Awudu, Multi TV on its TV comedy show Kejetia vs Makola

Abdulai Awudu, General Manager, Multi TV talks about: how the idea transferred from one of its radio stations; how it has built local comedy talent; what the show’s set-up is; its audience ratings; and its impact on social media.

Ema Edosio on her new film Kasala! about 4 slum brothers who wreck their Uncle’s car

Director Ema Edosio talks about: her new film Kasala!; the story of brotherhood in the film; the actors in the film; the lack of a distribution deal; her next film project; and the barriers faced by Nollywood film-makers.

Jade Osiberu on her film about a women who has to choose between marriage for her or her family

Film-maker Jade Osiberu talks about: her latest film Isoken; the story about the pressure on women to marry in Nigeria; whether this pressure to marry is changing; what identity means; and her next film project.

Raymond Honu, Soronko Academy on storytelling, 360 deg cameras and the education of a rural girl

Raymond Honu, Soronko Academy talks about: teaching young people tech skills; the experience of a rural young girl called Patience in one of its workshops; a diversion about Yaa Asantewaa; and how 360 degree cameras can be used for education.

Neo Maditla, on design trends in Africa and her favorite African designers

Neo Maditla, Editor in Chief, talks about: what Design Indaba is as both an online publication and events organiser; its new international design events; her favorite African designers; trends in African design; and Cape Town as a UNESCO Creative City for design.