20 October 2017

Zimbabwe: Subscription Video Firms to Boost Local Content Creators' Fortunes

interview

IFlix is another subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) service provider that a few months ago announced the launch of iFlix Africa which has been bringing its world-class service to sub-Saharan Africa. iFlix Africa is headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa and trades commercially as 'iFlix'.

According to the press statement from the company, "launches are planned in Nigeria, Ghana Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe iFlix Africa will increase iFlix's global footprint to 23 territories worldwide, with additional regional markets to be added over the coming months".

The commercial launch of iFlix's SVoD service across Sub-Saharan Africa has seen it showcase its vast catalogue of thousands of TV shows, movies and more, including many first run exclusives and award-winning programmes available to hundreds of millions of consumers across the region. IndependentXtra's Admire Kudita (AK) spoke to Kathryn Mechie, who is the company's regional public relations and communications manager, to understand how the company is handling its business, especially regarding the carrying of local content.

iFlix has partnered with Econet Media for the Zimbabwe territory. Local content producers may find their fortunes changed by the entrance of iFlix onto the content distribution terrain, alongside Kwese, DSTV, Mighty Movies and Zimbabwe Newspapers Television.

AK: Can you share with our readers what your company has in store in terms of commissioning projects from independent producers.

KM: Still no news announcement (as I am) waiting on a few regulatory things to be signed off. I do not have anything to do with the plans of commissioning projects, only reporting. It is better to speak to our local content teams who work in that area.

AK: Names and contacts?

KM: Well, in each country we have a different content development team, who are already working on projects. We do not have a team in Zim, only Ghana Nigeria and Kenya for local content as we are properly live there.

AK: Any news regarding your Zimbabwe launch?

KM: Still pending regulatory approvals (we do not want to face legal issues). I promise as soon as we get the green light I will call you first)

AK: Ok. Maybe a general business question. How are you doing in Ghana, Nigeria etc, in terms of subscribers and competition from the likes of Netflix and IRoko?

KM: We are actually doing insanely well. We are in the process of signing a telco partnership in each market too so that we can launch with their subscribers.

We will then advertise and promote iflix in the market; right now we are live, but no marketing until the big partnerships.

AK: Qualify "insanely well".

KM: We have a very high number of subscribers in each market without any marketing campaign. So it shows that we have a product that fills a niche in the market. We are not competing with Netflix or Iroko.

AK: What are the figures and to what do you attribute the success?

KM: We are a third SVoD model. We are unable to release figures, but I attribute it to being an affordable product for the masses that has content for everyone with a nice mix of local and international different genres for different preferences.

AK: Okay.So maybe we can talk about carrying local content in those countries and local productions?

KM: They have already started commissioning local content in those countries. I am not sure to what extent they are looking for more projects but Bonolo (South Africa) is the person to contact in that regards as she knows the game plan for local content.

AK: Wait, are you doing this as iFlix or with Kwese?

KM: Only as iFlix, we only work for iFlix.

AK: For Zim are you partnering Kwese?

KM: We have partnered with Econet Media; iFlix is a separate product to Kwese. We will collaborate where we can across the region.

AK: Okay, so whatever commissioning you will do will be separate from Kwese's own?

KM: Yep.

AK: Okay.

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