The South Africa-based company, MeTVAfrica.com, has decided to target a pan-continental audience with their video on demand services.
Most African VOD sites are only successful within African borders—Nigeria, East Africa, and South Africa. Ever since its launch in December 2011, however, MeTVAfrica.com has made efforts to reach out to a broader audience than the typical African VOD site. All of the content on the relatively new site is currently free, but in about a year the company hopes to offer premium content that consumers would have to pay for.
“We want to get people used to watching things on their computers. There’s a lot of pirate sites out there but we want them to do it legally,” said Nyasha Mutsekwa, the CEO of MeTVAfrica.com. “All the content we stream has either been paid for or we have a revenue share with the content owners. We give them another way to monetize their content and get it seen, which is very important to them.”
The other major VOD service in Africa is Nollywood Love. What sets the two companies apart is Nollywood Love’s primary focus is on the Nigerian Diaspora while MeTVAfrica.com puts emphasis on the entire continent.
“We do stream to users in the UK and USA but we are focused on a continental audience,” said Mutsekwa.
The majority of the online content consists of indie productions which have not been seen on TV, but viewers want to have access to more mainstream content as well. Mutsekwa is trying to find a way to get his hands on shows and films that were successful in their local markets.
The other issue MeTVAfrica.com faces is the lack of advertising. Since the site is not funded, they can’t afford expensive marketing techniques and promotions so they largely rely on social media. Mutsekwa hopes to gain more revenue by appealing to advertisers who can place their ads in the beginning and the end of each show or movies on the website.
The challenge is trying to keep the site free.
“We don’t want to put a pay gateway on the site as we think this will discourage high levels of usage,” Mutsekwa explained. One way around this is to gain hundreds of thousands of viewers, which would make the spot more appealing to advertisers.
The majority of MeTVAfrica.com’s viewers are from South Africa. The next largest audience resides in Kenya and then Nigeria. The site has decided not to focus so much on Nollywood content, which is already readily available in many other markets. Instead, MeTVAfrica.com focuses on content from other African countries, including East African, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.
So far the network’s three biggest hits were the reality show on SABC with Jozi hip-hop group Ghetto Rough, Isicoco, and Rocket in Flight.