In Africa's crowded VoD market, it's hard to find a content space that will mark you out. Nigeria's eFluxz thinks it's done it by taking comedy seriously. Russell Southwood talks to eFlux Mobile Solutions' Gideon Esurua about the launch on 4 February and its other plans.
The idea for LaffHub came from Esurua's partners in the business:" He saw this gap in the market and saw an opportunity where we could add great value, especially through mobile. Comedy has great traction in Africa and we saw another avenue where it could be monetized."
Esurua started life working as a geologist for Chevron but describes himself as a serial entrepreneur:"I've started 12 businesses and I know about failure and how it's a great motivator."
It's laying claim to being Africa's largest comedy hub. The content available covers the best of Nigerian comedy and has some acts from East Africa. Nigerian comedians include high profile acts like Basketmouth, AY and the acts on Buni TV. 70-75% of the content is Nigerian but they also have Nigerian content that has been produced outside the country.
"The service will be national in Nigeria and we want to be the Netflix of Comedy in Africa. We're looking at all African comedy acts coming on board. We're recruiting them fast by the end of Q2 there will be 10,000 different pieces of content."
When the platform is operating, as on You Tube, comedians will be able to operate their own channel and upload their content:"Editors will vet it before publishing and there will be a revenue share with each of the content producers." And what will the revenue share be?:"I'm not able to discuss that."
Initially the service will start with a streaming model but further down the road there will be a download option. The service is a subscription service on mobile: N20 daily; N100 for one week for 15 videos; N200 for a month for 40 videos; and N500 for a month of unlimited videos. The web service will cost N1,000 monthly for unlimited videos. Internationally the service will be available for US$5 per month.
So what does he see the potential market as being?:"We think there's upwards of 2 million subscribers and in the long-term 20 million subscribers. We're working on a sports platform and that will come at the end of Q1 or early Q2 and our third offer is a Health platform which we will launch in February in partnership with the largest pharmaceutical group in Nigeria."
And when will the service expand across Africa?:"At the beginning of Q3 we will go to Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda and other countries like that."