Caneroon is one of the less well known film and TV content producing countries of Sub-Saharan Africa. Three year old start-up Wouri TV wants to change all that by raising the profile of local produced content. Russell Southwood talked to co-founder Paulette Fotsing Nodie about how it produces online content and how version two of its platform will be different.
Q: How did you get the idea for Wouri TV?
A: Wouri TV was founded in 2016 by two young Cameroonians, Patrick Kengne Kamga and myself, Paulette Fotsing Nodie. We started the company for the following reasons:
There was a lack of distribution outlets for local productions. The quality of available content did not often meet the standards required by international distribution channels. Local producers lacked the financial resources to create new productions. And lastly, Cameroonian content had very little visibility internationally and even at a national level. Wouri TV was created to provide solutions to these problems.
Q: How does Wouri TV work? What do you pay for your content?
A: Wouri TV specializes in the production and distribution of audiovisual content, particularly cinema. Our activities are as follows:
Production activity: Films (feature films, short films) & series. Here, we produce our own products, but we also help young producers in their own productions (co-production). For co-productions, our support can take the form of finance and /or the provision of our ownaudiovisual production equipment.
Webcast activity: Video On Demand (VoD). This consists of payment by Net surfers for a film and/or TV series or a subscription which gives them access to all our catalog of contents present on our platform www.wouri.tv. The contents are either ours, or those of producers who trust us and we distribute it on their behalf. We also have a YouTube channel WOURI TV on which we distribute some content for free.
TV distribution activity: This consists of selling broadcasting rights to television channels. Just like VOD broadcasting, our products are sold to television channels or those of other producers.
Advertising agency activity: This consists of the promotion of brands of companies of all kinds. In other words, if you are a business owner and want to increase drastically in a very short time your products, visibility on your brand, our door is open!
Q: How many people use Wouri TV?
A: Today, we record free traffic of about 2.5 million people per month, with about 15,000 people already converted to VOD. We are still in a very embryonic state, therefore, we do a lot of education with our followers with the aim of converting a maximum of free traffic to paying.
Q: Is it mainly on mobile or on a laptop? Any use of tablets?
A: Our content is available through our website www.wouri.tv, our mobile apps for Android and IPhone, our TV app, and our apps for iMac, Mac Book and PC.
The statistics in terms of means of connection depend on the location. Indeed, in the diaspora is about 70/30 in favor of the website and in Africa, it is 95/5 in favor of mobile.
The 70% of the diaspora include the connections on PC & Smart TV that are climbing more and more.
Q: How do you source your content?
A: In addition to our own productions and the products we co-produce, we have a base of local producers who trust us and entrust us with their new content on a regular basis; this base continues to grow with time. Apart from these, we keep abreast of the latest releases of films and series to approach the producers concerned to offer our services. It is interesting to note that we are increasingly being approached by producers outside our borders, which is a very good thing.
Q: What types of content do you have?
A: We mainly have films (feature and short films), series and documentaries.
Q: What is the local vs. international percentage?
A: At the moment the majority of our contents are local products, however, we aim to cover all of Africa.
Q: How does it compete with the MTN and Nexttel TV offers?
A: The telecom operators are in a process of popularizing video consumption in Cameroon. For this, they offer a wide offer (TV channels, some Cameroonian films, many foreign films, etc.). With our Wouri TV "Lite" offer for Africa, we are focusing on the development of the African film market (Cameroonian for the moment), which is why our offer is very targeted.
Q: What are you doing to grow in the next 12 to 24 months?
A: In the coming months, we will continue the deployment of our mobile applications, especially Wouri TV "Lite" in Cameroon, then we will start deployment elsewhere in Africa.
We will also put a focus on the development of our advertising network being structured.
Q: Do you raise funds to grow?
A: For the present, no, we don't. It's worth noting here that we launched this entrepreneurial adventure with our own funds and currently, the generated income is reinvested in the development of the service
Q: What are the three main obstacles to your service in Cameroon?
A: First of all, the internet connection which is not good enough. Secondly, data costs are high and this does not allow as many people as possible to take full advantage of our products. Thirdly, there is also the lack of payment methods such as credit cards or PayPal.
Q: What are you doing to overcome them?
A: The mobile application Wouri TV "Lite" has been designed to remedy these problems, as we are not a mobile operator and therefore we do not have the possibility of offering data deals to people who want to consume our products.
So we've developed an intelligent algorithm that checks the data connection to ensure minimum data consumption. Anyone for example already accustomed to go on YouTube will not be disturbed by (the speed and quality) on our service. Furthermore: In a version two (currently under development), we will be offering downloads and offline viewing to further enhance local online viewing, and we have opted for mobile money as a payment channel.