StarNews Mobile has announced a group-wide agreement with Orange Content of Orange SA to provide its high-quality video platform to Orange’s 150 million subscribers across 15 countries in Africa.
StarNews Mobile is a network of mobile video channels that allows celebrities and brands to monetise their fan bases in Africa. It works with popular local and international stars in Africa to create exclusive short videos that fans are willing to pay for. The company uses proprietary technology to create a two-sided marketplace, helping content creators make money while allowing consumers to enjoy steaming content at affordable prices. Content from a variety of channels can be viewed, including daily news, entertainment, sports, fashion, cooking and more.
The company initially launched in the Ivory Coast in 2017 and today is available in Cameroon, Congo, South Africa and Nigeria. It has established partnerships with large pan-African mobile operators such as MTN (see StarNews and MTN bring Black & Sexy TV to Africa), Moov and now Orange, as well as with entertainment giants such as Universal Music and Sony, in addition to hundreds of home-grown African creatives. In its next phase it has plans to rollout in Ghana, Benin and Senegal.
This latest partnership with Orange is a significant step in StarNews Mobile’s expansion according to CEO Guy Kamgaing – helping it better address the francophone markets of Africa. “As StarNews services become more accessible and provide a one-of-kind streaming experience to people through an affordable subscription fee, we believe consumption of local content over mobile in Africa will take off in a massive way. Having now worked with Orange in Cameroon for over a year, they have shown us their dedication to support this movement and with their pan-African footprint, we will be able to quickly offer this same opportunity to any local content creator from Douala today to Abidjan, Dakar, Bamako, Conakry or Madagascar tomorrow.”
The potential for services such as that provided by StarNews Mobile is huge. Africa has 650 million mobile customers with the vast majority receiving their daily news and information via their mobiles. At the end of 2019, 45% of Sub-Saharan Africans subscribed to mobile services (477 million people) but the GSMA forecasts this will expand to 1 billion connections by 2024, with operators spending $52 billion expanding and enhancing their networks in the region and smartphone penetration doubling to 678 million by the end of 2025.
The stereotype of Africa not being innovative either in absolute or relative terms is both untrue and needs robustly challenging. In fact, African creativity is often expressed in the way it overcomes both the technical and commercial challenges on the continent. There is massive pent-up demand for creative content in Africa, and huge creativity waiting to be unleashed. Both are being constrained today not by lack of network connectivity per se, but by lack of affordable smartphones and data. A decent internet-enabled phone is still prohibitively expensive for many Africans – up to 400% of a customer’s monthly income in some countries – while data prices remain high. The GSMA notes that average data costs are higher in Africa than on any other continent.
What Omnisperience loves about what StarNews Mobile is doing is that it is overcoming the barrier of affordability to bring fresh continent to Africans – both home-grown and international – using commercial and technical models specifically designed for the African market. We see significant opportunities to do this across Africa, with an ever-wider range of content partners, and by moving into adjacent markets such as gaming.