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The Netflix of Africa?

AfroLandTV: the ‘new Netflix’ for Africa?
The US-based streaming service with a mission to bring pan-African stories to the world.

The US-based streaming service with a mission to bring pan-African stories to the world.

Similar to digitally native platforms like For Africans By Africans, there is a conscious effort by African content-driven platforms to counter and reject imagery that some claim have harmed Africa in the global media.

“TV is the biggest influencer and programmer in the world,” says Maponga. Developing thrillers as well as showcasing historical documentaries and fictional stories on Africa’s pre-colonial era are important components of the platform’s content offerings.

Taking on giants

While the startup lacks the funds to licence content, they have “grown from nothing to something with very limited resources,” said Maponga. Afrocentric VOD start-ups have previously grappled with the cost-intensive process of licensing content, which contributed to the premature demise of Afrostream, as it struggled to license major Hollywood, European and African titles.

“This approach was detrimental to the cash flow, said Maponga. “Licensing Hollywood content is very expensive especially for a start-up and requires large upfront cash investments,” Maponga added.

AfroLandTV says it adopts a leaner approach to its business development strategies. It is instead dedicated to developing a loyal following by distributing and monetising smaller, local African productions.

“We are not trying to be like Netflix,” said Maponga. “We’re collecting these stories globally. You can consider us a niche platform, but we are a global niche platform.”

AfroLandTV also does not aim to acquire market share from large TV and streaming  corporations. New entrants in the digital streaming and TV market have struggled to compete against South Africa’s TV giant DSTV’s reign in the African media landscape due to over ambitious licensing deals. It has become increasingly difficult given the popularity of its VOD platform DSTV Now.

SVOD start-ups also face the disruptive nature of illegal streaming sites that offer content for free. AfroLandTV’s value proposition rests on its dedication to providing original content at what it considers to be an affordable price of $3.99 per month, allowing users to diversify their streaming content. “On average people subscribe to 2-3 video streaming services. People are building streaming bundles for what they like to watch,” said Maponga.  “We picked this price point because we want to make it easy for people to add AfroLandTV to their streaming bundle.”

This compares to Netflix’s recently launched a $3-a-month mobile-only subscriptions in Nigeria (less than a third of its US subscription price) and iRoko’s less than $1 a month charge.

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