African film and TV companies are still trying to figure out how online changes what they do. This week Russell Southwood talks to Abel Kouame who is the co-founder of Afrika Toon about how it sees online.
Q: How did you get the idea of Afrika Toon and when was it launched?
A: Originally I was a comic book author who wanted to see his characters in motion so in 2005, decide with a group of friends to open the studio.
Q: What kind of content do you produce and what types of outlets?
A: We make feature films, TV series and short programmes for digital platforms.
Q: What is your online content strategy?
A: In addition to our website, we have a YouTube channel which we feed daily with short programmes. To publicise our content we use Facebook (where we have more than 100,000 likes) our website and other social networks. We also use our website for our news any content related to the animation sector.
Q: How did you build your YouTube channel? How many subscribers and how many monthly views?
A: We started with very short programmes. Today our YouTube channel has 650,000 subscribers and between 4-10 million views per month.
Q: What is the percentage of access on mobile, PC and laptop?
Currently we have 86% of access is via mobile; 7% on tablets, and 4% on digitally-enabled televisions. The rest comes from other types of platforms.
Q: What financial contribution does it make to Afrikatoon?
YouTube and digital is 2% of our overall turnover.
Do you have short or long content?
We do everything from feature films to shorter digital programmes for our online platforms.
Q: Are there other ways to show your content online?
A: Yes, internet and social media allow us to promote our productions through a teasers or documentaries.
Q: What is the relationship between your profile and the African TV channels that buy your work?
A: At the moment very few African TV channels buy animation. However, some Ivorian channels like the public broadcaster RTI have bought existing work or we have done co-productions with them.
Q: What are the main obstacles to the visibility of your work online?
A: The main barriers are the poor internet connections in some countries and the issue of language (the current programmes are in French and English).
Q: What new things have you got planned for the next 18 months?
A: We are working on new feature films and have a TV series in production.
To see Abel Kouame, Afrika Toon talk about its 2015 production Poku - Ashante Princess, click on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkSrvXqECBk
To see the full range of Afrika Toon's online animation, click on this link: https://www.youtube.com/user/Afrikatoon