Content Shift // 6 Platforms Happy to Localize Programme Line-ups
Over the last decade, there has been a shift in how the world’s largest entertainment conglomerates put out their content. A major defection happened recently when blockbuster movies have been released on online platforms rather than at the theatres.
Mulan bypassed the cinema halls and streamed directly on Disney Plus. At the same time, Warner Brothers just broke the news that all their 2021 movies would be released on cinema in tandem with streaming services.
As more people are forced to stay at home to try to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, there has been a rapid progression of at-home entertainment like Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, HBO Now, HBO Max, Flixify, and more rack up millions of subscribers.
With the rise of streaming platforms, everyone can watch the same thing at the same time. One can even go that extra mile to rent the content for a period. All that is needed is a reliable Internet connection, and a smart device to consume the content.
Kenya has not been left behind in this content shift, there has been an upward growth of content consumption online. Gone are the days when we would line up at local movie shops, and wait for months to see a just-released movie or series.
These are some of the most popular streaming platforms that you can enjoy watching local content on:
We live in the era of Netflix & Chill. Netflix is more than a platform, it is pop culture. Netflix has 193 million subscribers globally and is quite keen to crack the African terrain. In 2019 the global streaming giant appointed Kenyan award-winning TV Producer Dorothy Ghettuba as its manager for International Originals. A year after the platform committed to investing in original shows from Africa by 2019.
True to their word, they launched ‘Queen Sono’ the platform’s first African original series. Kenya has also been a beneficiary with a few locally produced films such as Sincerely Daisy, Disconnect, and more recently 40 Sticks have graced the platform
Netflix has a wide selection of the world’s best TV shows, movies, documentaries, and original Netflix content. One can Netflix and chill from approximately KES 1,200 per month, and stream Ad-free content.
One Netflix account can even be connected to multiple users without it affecting anyone. It helps keep Adult and child-friendly content separate. Netflix also offers you a free 30-day trial period. Netflix also provides Netflix Kids, where they avail content suitable for children
On 26th September 2019, after nearly 5 Years from Idea to Service, MyMoviesAfrica went live in Kenya. The platform is a proprietary, and proudly Kenyan, mobile-first Digital Cinema Extension. It offers movie content on Smart Devices, including Phones, Tablets, and Laptops, via the Internet, as a 48-hour Rental and #OwnForLife.
The platform is set to improve the retail of movies throughout Africa, as well as the retail of African movies to the Diaspora. MyMoviesAfrica allows subscribers to choose from a wide array of movies by either buying or renting the content one pleases.
It specializes in an offering of Blockbusters, Features, Shorts, Documentaries, and animations. Customers enjoy the content on android apps on phones, tablets, and set-top boxes, via Chromecast on TV as well as via Web on Laptops, Smart Televisions, and other Smart Devices.
Some of their popular titles include Disconnect & Family Meeting alongside You Again, award-winning Lusala, and Jonarobi.
One of the more popular streaming platforms in Africa launched in South Africa in 2015. The platform employs a localization strategy to take on established video-on-demand competitors.
Kenyans can watch the best of local, and international entertainment from anywhere. Programs such as Selina, Njoro wa Uba a fan favorite, and a Kalasha Nominee, alongside Maza, and Ma’Empress.
Showmax content is uploaded weekly and one can stream their favorites on TV, Computer, Smartphone, or tablet. One can also download up to 25 episodes to watch later without data. The app offers the option of high, medium, or low streaming qualities so that you can save on data.
Subscribers can check the Showmax data calculator beforehand giving an estimate on the data you may use. There’s a 14-day free trial period after which you can choose to subscribe or not. A standard Showmax subscription costs KES 750 per month, and you even have an option to pay via M-Pesa.
The youngest niche content creator on the block, Akili Network saw an opportunity in 2012, and after 8 years of research, the company launched the first and only dedicated free-to-air children’s television network in Kenya. It has become the second most-watched daytime TV channel in the country just 6 months after launch.
The platform has disrupted the Kenyan TV landscape by focusing on 24/7 children’s educational programming. It has become the number one way to reach parents and children in Kenya. Akili Kids! is a safe, fun, and supplemental educational destination that focuses on entertaining and inspiring children of all ages and stages.
They feature programs such as Teke Teke Haiya, Boom na Wabi, among many more entertaining shows not just for the children but the whole family as well. Akili Kids! also has a comprehensive child-protective advertising policy that ensures that children are not exposed to unhealthy or potentially harmful marketing messages.
Children, their parents, and caregivers can live stream the channel on the Akili Kids website. The platform has 5.4 million children, and 4.3 million adults watching every week (Geopoll).
Recently, Akili Kids announced a partnership with ZUKU on channel 602 for all existing ZUKU subscribers; and with ZUKU being in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Malawi it will help extend Akili Kids! reach across the continent.
Akili Kids! which was one of our first members at our Spring Valley location, has a comprehensive child-protective advertising policy that ensures that children are not exposed to unhealthy or potentially harmful marketing messages.
Viusasa is a Video on Demand platform that allows users to live stream local content for as little as KSH 10. The platform lets you stream music and Kenyan content in English, Swahili, and vernacular.
The App showcases Kenyan music and delves into the lifestyles of artists. The streaming service also allows you to watch your favorite TV shows, sport, and TV news on the go.
The platform also allows you to watch programs aired by Royal Media Services TV Stations i.e Citizen & Inooro TV, way ahead of their scheduled time.
According to Sensor View Platform, in October 2020, Viusasa was downloaded 30,000 times worldwide; and is now gaining over 30,000 subscribers monthly.
In 2018, Kalabars was launched to fulfill its founder’s allegiance to Africa to offer an opportunity to tell its story, in its own words, within a platform that widens its reach to an audience that craves quality African productions.
Kalabars is a subscription view on-demand platform that offers quality content; Films, Series, Documentaries, Music Videos and listen to Audio on smart devices via the internet. Kalabars exists to offer African creatives a chance to share their quality content to an audience that craves African productions.
As Africa continues to use mobile phones as the primary means to access the Internet, it is important that the focus remains on removing barriers to content availability. The cost of access, distribution mechanisms will have significant impacts on what platforms garner huge followings.
International content becomes more accessible, while also providing opportunities for local entrepreneurs to meet the gaps in their markets, helping also to create income, and jobs.