London — African content creators - whether TV and film production companies or TV channels - are increasingly faced by a strategic choice: do they distribute widely across multiple online platforms or do they run their own platform? Russell Southwood talks to Nam Mokwunye about his platform Public Vine that puts the control in the hands of the creators for those who want to run their own platform.
Public Vine is a cloud-based software company founded by Nam Mokwunye. Its flagship product is a streaming platform-as-a-service ("PaaS") technology that it licenses to enterprise clients so they can launch their own branded, streaming telemedia platforms-faster, cheaper, safer.
Although a diaspora Nigerian living in Florence, Alabama, Mokwunye has been round the block in Africa, having worked doing Business Development for Busy Internet when it launched and for various broadband providers in Nigeria subsequently.
The idea of Public Vine "came from the work I'd done in the Internet, telecoms and content industries. I started it while I was a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University, launching it in 2009. It was software to allow people to launch a channel and we turned it into a company in 2010 and got funding in 2014". Investment of US$5.6 million came from Joe Anderson, Chair, Anderson Media:"He understood the implications of what I was trying to do."
For content creators and broadcasters, its biggest selling point is that it allows them to create their own platform and "go direct to the consumer and make more money. Clients having their own platform means its their choice how to promote their content and whether they do streaming or VOD. It also gives them access to a lot of other capabilities, including monetization." Other capabilities include social media, chat and mail.
It also two African content owners to have interconnected platforms:"Cross-aggregation allows two clients who have individually branded platforms to interconnect their content. One might have more content and the other might have more users."
Public Vine currently has five client users (primarily in the USA but also in Asia) who use it for music and film. Noir TV, which is an African diaspora channel that goes out over cable in the USA, is a user: it has a channel that includes entertainment, movies and music which it wants to take to Africa.
"We're about to make a major foray into the African continent and our technology will make a major shift in different industries, including film and TV, music and telecoms. One of the larger telcos is considering our technology against Ericsson and Huawei. Project Fame has also used out technology at one point or another."
"We're looking for the type of clients we have anywhere else: corporates with access to content, who have the marketing dollars to drive access to the platform and have the management to run it, and want to do their own branded platform."
In financial terms, Mokwunye has designed the business model so that it's easy for people to get into the market:"There's no CAPEX. You revenue share with us through its internal finance system and provide support services at a fee.