2019 must be the year Africa’s mobile operators adopt “content+data” bundles to create a pay-for digital mass market of users for music, video and games

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Digital content and services have been slow to take off, even in Africa’s largest digital markets. The cost of data and the fear of running out of it still haunt’s Africa’s young digital natives. Russell Southwood looks at how things are going to have to change if there is going to be a mass market for pay-for music, games and VoD services.

In broad terms, there are two groups of Sub-Saharan African users for digital content and services: those who can afford them and those who can sometimes afford them. The former are the small number of reasonably well-off, middle class who have a debit or credit card and can afford to buy Netflix or Apple Music. However, in most countries the number of these people don’t yet really amount to a mass market.

The latter are a much bigger group of people who – given Africa’s demographics – are nearly always young and have much less disposable income. When they have the money, they look to find cheaper options to consume music, film and TV and games. The first of these options is still piracy. It may now come in a digital version as the seller now offers memory sticks but it’s still an analog process. Nevertheless, users are spending either several US dollars a week or a month on it.

The alternative for them is to find free content on the internet, the most obvious source of which is YouTube. In every key digital market in Sub-Saharan Africa, it has a mix of music, TV drama, comedy and news that is being watched by significant numbers of people. This content is free because it is advertising supported but there are no more than a handful of these “free-at-the-point-of-delivery” types of sites at a local or regional level with the kind of audience reach that will attract advertisers.

So in terms of potential business models, you’re back to “pay-for” services. The difficulty is that all the services eat data and other than general advice about levels of data required, it’s hard for the young data user to know how fast their data is going. The cost of data means that many users will hesitate before using a service, particularly for video content where data “overhead” is so high.

Unless something changes, Sub-Saharan Africa will be stuck in this two-lane market: fast and easy for those who can afford things and slow and difficult for the small spenders. It’s a classic high price, low volume market vs what could be a low price, high volume market. Operators are understandably loathe to lose the income from those high prices in order to commit to an unproven mass market.

One tactic to break through this logjam is for digital service providers to offer “data+content” bundles: in other words, when you sign up for a music, video or games service, the data you consume is covered in the price of the service. You know what it costs you up-front and you don’t have to worry about running out of data.

Currently there are very few of these kind of “data+content” bundles on the market and the majority are aimed music streaming users. As with everything mobile operator, the deals are often very complicated. They either restrict the number of tracks you can listen to or videos you can watch. Or they even restrict the amount of data you can use which rather defeats one of the key purposes of this kind of bundle: to kill the fear of not having enough data.

We’re hoping that 2019 will be the year that everyone begins to understand that there is a huge market for digital services out there but it will only become visible with a pricing and data structure that can open it.
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Sub-Saharan Africa’s Digital Landscape and its Top 11 Markets – data prices, smartphones, digital content and services and e-commerce will be published in Q2, 2019. The report examines in detail: actual levels of paid data use; data prices and how they are changing; current patterns of smartphone behavior use – going from small number of app uses to more complex, daily digital patterns; and e-commerce use.

It provides an overview of: Main Platforms Used and Advertising revenues; Social Media Platforms; Voice and Messaging Services; Media Platforms; Audio–Visual Services; Music Services; Payment and e-commerce Services and Other DigitalServices. It covers the 11 Top Digital Landscapes in Sub-Saharan Africa: Nigeria ; South Africa; Kenya; Tanzania; Ghana; Ethiopia; Cote d’Ivoire; Angola; Senegal; Cameroon and Uganda. The report concludes by looking at the new type of business models required to promote new digital content and services.

If you’re interested in either report, email me on info@balancingact-africa.com and I will email you details when it is published.

Film and TV+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Scoop Network launches on Kwesé iflix

Africa’s Kwesé iflix is launching international channel Scoop Network from FCCE on its content catalogue.

Kwesé iflix users can now watchs hours of showbiz from the Scoop Network, comprising of a mix of light entertainment magazine shows with movie, music, fashion and celebrity news. Scoop Network, which is already accessible in various territories around the world, will join Kwesé iflix’s entertainment line-up with an exclusive tailor- made feed.

The network will have a tailor-made feed for Kwesé iflix curated by FCCE’s Dutch production team based in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, for English speaking African markets.

The channel’s Daily Entertainment News will have an African anchor, and local shows will include Snoops, an all-African gossip show presented from Nairobi, and weekly magazine Entertainment Catch Up will showcase celebrity events, awards shows, and fashion weeks.

“The partnership with Kwesé iflix is part of our ongoing strategy to optimise relevancy to a digitally-focused audience, giving users greater freedom and flexibility over their viewing experience,” said Justus Verkerk, CEO of Scoop Network.

“And the localised African feed is really delivering an up to date entertainment experience! The ever-changing media landscape has provided opportunities for us to deliver authentic features from Africa and around the world, bringing viewers high-quality content on-the-go, anytime, anywhere on any device!”

“Scoop Network captivates super-fans around the globe with high-quality content designed to inform, entertain and inspire,” added Mayur Patel, CEO of Kwesé iflix.

“We are excited to add the cutting-edge channel to our extensive portfolio of African favourites from top local shows, celebrity gossip through to international hit series, bringing our users the very best in streaming video on demand.”

New users can download the Kwesé iflix app from Google Play or the Apple App Store. Customers can watch the Kwesé iflix service without a decoder, or even a television, just their mobile device.
Source: Broadband TV News

Sony Pictures Television Networks yanks Sony Channel and Sony Max from Cell C’s black.

Sony Pictures Television Networks has decided to leave South Africa with its Sony Channel and Sony Max channels that have now also been removed from the Cell C black video streaming service after the channels went dark on MultiChoice’s DStv pay-TV platform since November 2018.

The Sony Channel (Cell C black 203) and Sony Max (Cell C black 204) both disappeared from Cell C black’s subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service where they remained available as linear TV channels after their removal from DStv.

It means that Sony’s channels are now no longer available anywhere in South Africa.
Cell C black didn’t release a public statement but was asked for comment on Monday morning about the absence of the Sony channels on its offering.

“We did not release a press statement but informed active subscribers,” Ntombi Gama, Cell C black spokesperson told TVwithThinus, noting that Sony Pictures Television Networks (SPTN) decided to exit the African market and that Sony’s channels are no longer available anywhere in South Africa.

“Sony Pictures Television Networks has made a decision to exit the African market. This means that their channels are no longer available for broadcast anywhere in South Africa. Sony Max and Sony Channel are therefore no longer available on Cell C black’s live TV offering.”

“With more than 60 live channels available on Cell C black, including new seasons of Lee Daniels’ STAR and The Gifted on FOX Cell C black 201), subscribers still have access to the best entertainment on offer.”

TVwithThinus also reached out to Sony Pictures Television on Monday, with Sony Pictures Television Networks that responded by saying “As part of a review of our channel portfolio, we have decided to revise our offering in sub-Saharan Africa. We are actively examining other possibilities in the territory and remain excited about future programming opportunities there.”
Source: TEEVEETEE

Advocacy group urges Multichoice on ”pay-as-you-view” software

The National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS) has urged Multichoice, the Digital Satellite Television (DSTV) operator in Nigeria, to adopt a software that would ensure the pay-as-you-view billing.

The President of NATCOMS, Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Lagos.

Ogunbanjo said it was unfortunate that Multichoice felt it was not possible to offer the pay-as-you-view service in the country. ”It is unfortunate. The question is ‘Is pay as you view available in South Africa where Multichoice originated?’ That we have to find out before we start to fight.

”So, let us do some research. If we can see any country that the pay-as-you-view billing is currently on, then we will challenge Multichoice to also give us the service.

”Let them find the software that will ensure the pay-as-you-view billing, otherwise we will boycott them,” he said.

Ogunbanjo said that in 2003, MTN had started per second billing in South Africa and yet said it was impossible in Nigeria.

He said that the association filed some cases in court against MTN Nigeria which made Globacom to opt for per second billing.

The president said that the same services should be applicable to any satellite television company desiring to operate in Nigeria.

According to him, the association will align with whatever demands the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has requested from Multichoice concerning its services.

NAN recalls that Multichoice, through its Chief Customer Officer, Martin Mabutho, had said it would not operate the pay-as-you-view tariff system in Nigeria in spite of demands for it.

”We are not going to introduce pay-as-you-view system. Our contract with our suppliers is on month-to-month basis. The channels do not belong to Multichoice. The issue of not introducing pay as you view remains. Nothing will change it. What we do is to slash our prices in half to make our customers enjoy our services,” Mabutho said. (NAN)
Source: News Diary Online

Showmax to launch first travel-comedy show ‘Trippin’ With Skhumba’

South African streaming service Showmax has recently declared its Original show ‘Trippin’ With Skhumba’ is underway and will soon be available. ‘Trippin’ With Skhumba’ is Showmax’s third original show after ‘Tali’s Wedding Diary’ and ‘The Girl from St Agnes’.

In each 30-minute episode, Skhumba Hlophe and fellow South African comedians will take us in their hometown and explore places with a touch of South African humour.

Commenting on the production, Skhumba declared, “As much as we love South African comedians, we are only exposed to what they do on stage as opposed to their backgrounds. So, on Trippin’ With Skhumba, I wanted to dig deeper into their lives and where they come from – far more than what I could ever get out of them by doing a normal interview, like on my radio show on Kaya FM.”

Showmax emphasized that the show will display “places that won’t make any tourism brochures and stories that would be edited out of any authorised biographies.”

The first season’s guests are Celeste Ntuli (Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal), Siya Seya (Walmer Township, Port Elizabeth), Salesman (Pretoria), Mashabela Galane (Moletjie, Limpopo), Tumi Morake (Bloemfontein) and Schalk Bezuidenhout (Kempton Park, Gauteng).

The Director of the travel-comedy show, Vincent Moloi, declared, “It’s real. It represents, to me, the ultimate exploration of South Africa’s humour in a very honest and truthful way. It has an uncompromisingly authentic texture. Be ready to laugh at our misfortunes and our greatness.”

The first season will conclude with an hour-long stand-up special, featuring Skhumba and his guests, as well as one new comedian from each hometown visited.

The show will debut on Showmax on 28 February 2019 and a new episode will be available every Thursday.
Source: Press Release

In Brief

Forbes8 Network, a digital channel and app-based service that will inspire entrepreneurs and those with great ideas to promote new businesses and improve life, has been introduced by Forbes and AW3 Media – with Busy Internet as their Ghanaian partner. The platform enables users to log-in to watch/listen to seminars, interact with business leaders, and offer an opportunity to be mentored by leading business executives. It also covers 100 vertical topics and industries, which allows entrepreneurs to receive breadth and depth from story-telling and the opportunity to hear some of the industry’s best speak on how they got started. To access the platform, users can sign up within Busy data plans or directly on Forbes8.com or iOS App Store Forbes8 application; the network is currently on iOS and can also be accessed on www.forbes8.com. With Ghana being the first country to benefit from the Forbes8 Network, this allows entrepreneurs a chance to join and watch streams from live business events and interactions around the world.

The Girl From St Agnes, the first Showmax Original drama, broke an important record on its debut on 31 January. The number of unique viewers in the first 24 hours exceeded that of the previous record-holder, the Showmax Original comedy series Tali’s Wedding Diary. In addition, the number of views was more than double that of the most popular Hollywood series on its debut. Speaking about this, Candice Fangueiro, head of Content for the Connected Video division of MultiChoice, which houses Showmax, said: “We’re over the moon. This shows without a shadow of a doubt that local content is a major differentiator, and it also shows that African productions can not only hold their own against the best in the world but they can actually come out on top.”

Music+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Orange Liberia seeks fresh music talents

Orange Liberia has recently announced the launch of a project tagged Orange Talents.

“We know that there are a lot of amazing talents in Liberia and so we want to use this platform to expose those talents and give them an opportunity to make a big entrance on the national stage,” said Noel Chateau, the company’s chief marketing and communications officer.

Orange Talents is open to young people between the ages of 18 and 35 from the country’s 15 counties and is set up to discover Liberia’s “next big musician and fashion designer”.

The project intends to give provide new talents the support and exposure needed to reach the next level. “The participation of young people from every county is very important to us,” Chateau said.

Billikon Entertainment, as represented by its CEO Lyee Bility, will take care of the music aspect. Ahead of a grand event in Monrovia on 18 May, auditions will take place in other locations: YMCA Gym in Monrovia on 8 and 9 March, Methodist Gym in Ganta on 22 and 23 March, Gboveh High School in Gbarnga on 5 and 6 April, City Cinema in Kakata on 19 and 20 April and Elizabeth Village in Buchanan on 3 and 4 May.

One winner will receive production and marketing for an album and a cash prize of $1,000. The fashion part of the project will have a single audition on 30 March and contestants will be selected.

“For many of these young people, it will be the first time for their designs to be included as part of a major fashion show, and that alone is an incredible achievement.”

The winner will also get $1 000 along with a chance to display their work at House of Fashion in Liberia.

Interested individuals can submit their applications here: http://www.orange.com.lr/OrangeTalents

Kenya: Singer Kendi regrets selling her car to record new album at Main Switch Records

Singer Kendi has come out to deny that she was broke, sold her car and moved to a cheaper house so that she can survive. The singer, however, said that the reason behind selling her car and moving was all in the effort of recording her album. She however regrets the decision mightily because it went horrible wrong.

“I didn’t sell but moved house. But it is true I sold my car. I did both as I wanted to scale down and raise enough money to record an album but that turned out so badly after Mainswitch failed me. I am still bitter with what Philo of Mainswitch told me on the last day we met over the deal. I invested my time in studio recording songs that were never released. To record a song, one has to part with like Sh20, 000 for audio recording and Sh250,000 for a serious video, so you can understand why artistes are giving up especially when one cannot raise such money.

Adding:“Mainswitch only managed to release one of my songs and when I made a follow-up, Philo was rude to me as he told me off, saying he would rather work with more promising artistes. From 2016 to 2018, I have nothing much to show in my music career because of all this even after I moved to a single room to cut living costs and make music.

Kendi said that this is a problem most artists go through and that’s why the always end up broke. “This is what many Kenyan artistes go through. I have had many coming to ask for food and also ask for money as they can hardly afford to take care of basic needs.

“The problem is that local recording stables sign-up artistes yet they cannot afford to produce them. I even asked my new partners to try work from Mainswitch studios but Philo was unwelcoming.

“That is why I have hired my own producer who is on a retainer all year. We plan to do about eight songs per year. Thing is, if this comeback does not work, then I am done with singing. I have been in this industry for 15 years now.
Source: www.ghafla.com

Hip-hop Africa to launch with maiden concert

The official launch of Hip-hop Africa’ will take place with the brand’s maiden concert at Efua Sutherland Park in Accra, Ghana on Saturday, February 16, 2019.

The show is expected to host top-notch hip-hop artist from the African continent; Chocolate city boys AQ, lose canon led by their CEO, M.I, alongside top Ghanaian rappers.

The genre comes with a lot of fun activities, and for the day will be exciting activities such as skating, rap battles, basketball, gratifies and dance competition.

Fashion designers won’t be left out as they will have the chance to exhibit most of their product at the various stands at the event.

Speaking with the CEO of Hip-hop Africa he mentioned: “this is an experience and an event coming to Accra and across the continent but the birthplace is our motherland Ghana”.

Hip-hop Africa is dedicated to promoting urban African culture via the web Just like BET, Hip-hop Africa is here to shed more light on the genre and artist related to it, Hip-hop Africa as a brand is here to take the genre to another level.
Source: Pulse.com.gh

In Brief

Tanzanian R&B artist Juma Jux in an interview with Buzz:” Music is paying pretty well in East Africa and it’s notable through several artistes whose lives have changed drastically. Maybe we are not making as much as they make in the US but we are headed towards a safe direction; each time our artistes go overseas for performances they stake high and are received well. We shouldn’t copy anything at all from other regions. Let’s just be keen on quality as well concentrating on our own languages”.

Social Media++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Facebook to open first sub-Saharan content review centre in Nairobi

Facebook is set to open its first sub-Saharan Africa content review centre in Nairobi.

The centre is expected to employ 100 reviewers by the end of the year to support a number of languages, including Somali, Oromo, Swahili and Hausa.

In a statement on Thursday, Facebook’s Public Policy Director Ebele Okobi said he is happy that they will be opening the review centre in Nairobi.

“This further highlights our commitment to serving the community of people using our platforms across Africa, as well as our commitment to continuing to invest and partner locally across the continent,” he said.

Public Policy Associate Fazdai Madzingira said they have made significant investments globally, and locally in ensuring that people see the content they want to see

Madzingira said they want Facebook to be a place where people can express themselves and freely discuss different points of view, whilst ensuring that it remains safe for everyone.

Samasource Program Director Carolyn Komen said giving work is the most powerful solution to ending global poverty.

“We use technology and private sector methods to measurably improve access to work and job training,” she said.

“Our team will receive extensive training and support, benefit from industry-leading facilities, and have the opportunity to advance their careers in tech through this partnership.”
Source: The Star

Facebook partners with NGOs in 15 countries for Safer internet

This week social network Facebook announced its collaboration with non-profit organisations representing over 15 African countries to mark Safer Internet Day 2019 today, and drive an awareness campaign together for a better internet.

Several countries are involved in the campaign to promote safer internet and draw attention to concerns such as cyber bullying and cyber crime. They include Benin, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky Lab, said of the campaign: “The early concept of the internet as a tool for bringing the world closer together is being eroded, with pressure on companies and governments to shore up their defences in the face of increasingly sophisticated threats from multiple actors. With increased attacks against government organisations and infrastructure, as well as against supply chains and individuals, nations are going to want to protect their citizens and industries, and the easiest way to do that is by shutting the door. As a result, our industry – cybersecurity – faces being broken up and separated along geopolitical and regulatory lines, making it much harder for us to protect anyone and everyone.”
Source: ITWeb Africa

In Brief

Vodacom Lesotho has partnered with Facebook to launch Facebook Flex, which is a connectivity service allowing people to stay connected with news all free of charge. This means, customers will be able to switch between free and data modes where users will still be able to like, comment, share content all without paying any additional charges.

The National Assembly, yesterday, February 5, transmitted the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill to President Muhammadu Buhari for his assent. The Bill, which had been in Parliament since 2016, was passed by both chambers of the Parliament in 2018.

Paradigm Initiative, a social enterprise that has led the advocacy campaign in support of the bill, commended the National Assembly and urged President Buhari to immediately sign the Bill into law. This is according to a statement signed by its Communications Officer, Sodiq Alabi. According to ‘Gbenga Sesan, Paradigm Initiative Executive Director, “We are happy the Digital Rights and Freedom Bill has now been transmitted to President Buhari. Mr President now has a unique opportunity to position Nigeria as a leader in rights-respecting laws in Africa by signing the Bill into law.” The Africa Regional Coordinator of Web Foundation, Nnenna Nwakanma also added, “As the World Wide Web turns 30, Nigerians can not wait any longer for digital rights, freedoms and opportunities. The President’s Assent is urgently needed to secure fundamental rights, to support a stronger digital economy, and to build a more secure internet.” The President will have 30 days from the day it receives the communication from the National Assembly to assent to the Bill.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Thursday mocked his opponents’ use of social media to mobilise protesters against his three-decade rule, saying that Facebook and WhatsApp can’t replace presidents. Organisers of the anti-government protests that have rocked Sudan for weeks, have made routine use of social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter to get out the crowds. “Changing the government or presidents cannot be done through WhatsApp or Facebook,” Bashir told a televised rally attended by hundreds of loyalists in the eastern town of Kassala. “It can be done only through elections. It’s only the people who decide who will be the president,” he said. Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/world/sudan-s-bashir-whatsapp-facebook-don-t-replace-presidents/article/542162#ixzz5fJN9rLQ6

Media++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Publications drop like flies as beast of social media gobbles up advertising revenue

I found out about the final closure of Elle magazine in a Sowetan article. I had been the food editor — yes, I love both tech and eating — and was proud of what the team had achieved over the course of the previous year.

For most of that year editor Kelly Fung had done pretty much everything herself; with precious few resources, she worked tirelessly to scrape together a magazine that was not only beautiful but meaningful in the way it was trying to position itself in the SA market. Finally, a little more than a month before it was announced that Ndalo Media was in financial trouble, a cracking assistant editor was brought into the mix. We finally had a solid, rounded-out team and I was excited to see what we would achieve. But as of last week, Elle is no more.

The start of 2019 has been rough for people in the media industry, and we have only just hit February. Four magazines went down with Ndalo, and Associated Media has just gutted a nice chunk out of their mastheads. And this after Marie Claire in effect disappeared into the ether towards the end of 2018 after not having an actual editor for the past two years. How does one produce a magazine without an editor?

We are not the only ones feeling the burn. In the past two weeks there has been a similar culling in the US media and more than 2 100 people have lost their jobs. Although people often gleefully tell me that print is dead, it was the online outlets that accounted for the bulk of the retrenchments. Internet sensation BuzzFeed cut 15% of its workforce, 200 people, and closed several verticals and sections. According to CEO Jonah Peretti, BuzzFeed is “restructuring” so as to “focus in on the content that is working and achieve the right cost structure to support our multi-revenue model”.

It’s a move echoed by television and online liberal darling Vice Media, which is seeking to “decrease spending and increase profitability” by laying off 10% of its staff on February 1. A spokesperson from Verizon, which owns Huffington Post and Yahoo, announced that 800 members of staff — including Pulitzer Prize finalist Jason Cherkis — had been “let go” because it’s “investing its talents and resources to areas that have high audience engagement, differentiation and are poised for growth at a time when our mission means more than ever”.

So if print is dead and even the biggest names in digital media are “restructuring”, where will the media be in 10 years? It’s hard to say. It’s true that there has been a long, slow decline of print media as advertisers and readers shifted their focus to digital platforms. The high cost of print advertising built up through the golden age decades of print media doesn’t seem to stand much of a chance against its cheaper digital counterpart.

What started as a nice-to-have add-on to an advertising campaign has remained, relatively, cheap despite the shift of the consumers’ focus. It’s easy enough for the old media guard to blame digital for their downfall as they fumble to make up lost ground, but nowadays the reality is not so simple.

People haven’t stopped consuming news, but the way they are doing it is ever-changing, and they want to do it on the cheap. Other culprits often blamed for the decline of serious journalism, blogs, have morphed from over-long URLs such as “ihaveanopinion.blogspot.com” to pithy yet beautiful Instagram posts and Facebook updates. And that is where the problem lies.

“[These rapid-fire layoff’s aren’t] happening because of market inefficiencies or consumer preferences or social value,” HuffPost senior reporter Zach Carter tweeted. “It’s happening because two very large companies have taken the advertising revenue that journalism outlets rely on and replaced it with nothing.”

According to a paper published by the Pew Research Center, 68% of Americans now get their news on social media. And one can imagine that SA does not fare much better. The report also found that 57% of social media news consumers expect their news to be inaccurate, a percentage that jumps to 72% for Republican voters. That’s understandable given that Facebook in particular has by and large been the biggest perpetrator of fake news.

It had a heavy hand in Pizza Gate, a mass shooting caused by the “news” that Hilary Clinton and other senior Democrat Party officials had formed a child sex and human trafficking ring at a Comet Ping Pong pizza parlour. And the UN concluded that it was the main spreader of hate against the Rohingya people in Myanmar, leading to their mass exodus and possible genocide. UN investigator Yanghee Lee went so far as to state that “Facebook has now turned into a beast”, calling the social media site a vehicle for “acrimony, dissension and conflict”.

And yet Facebook reported revenues of almost $17 billion for the last quarter of 2018, while news outlets are dropping like flies. And it’s mostly thanks to the site’s advertising positioning. Facebook and Google’s monopolisation of digital ad revenues is due to the amount of data the companies are able to collect and control. This is made all the more daunting by Facebook’s plans for a messenger service that bridges Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram to create a nightmarish hybridised data superhighway.

All this data allows the mega companies to be highly calculated in their advertising positioning, so brands can align their products more effectively. Essentially, the death of journalism won’t be brought about by screens but by algorithms.

Or as the Guardian, which begs ever so politely at the bottom of each article for public contributions, put it: “It was not the deliberate intention of Google, Facebook and Twitter to drain the advertising pool that supported journalism, but they did not particularly care whether publishers survived.”
Source: BusinessLIVE via The Media Online

Egypt launches website in six languages to communicate with Africa

Egypt’s State Information Service (SIS) launched on Sunday a new website in six languages- Arabic, English, French, Swahili, and Hausa- to communicate with Africa in light of Egypt’s presidency to the African Union (AU) in 2019.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took over the chairmanship of the AU on Sunday from Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

The head of the SIS Diaa Rashwan said on Sunday that the website is the largest serious attempt to communicate with other Africans in their local languages and in European languages commonly spoken in Africa.

Rashwan said that the website (africa.sis.gov.eg) is part of a range of media activities carried out by the SIS to strengthen Egypt’s relations with the peoples of Africa, especially in light of President Sisi’s chairmanship of the AU.

Rashwan said that the new website has 10 categories that will be updated daily, the most important of which is the ‘Egypt’ category, which provides information about the country’s language, population, currency, national holidays, flag, national anthem, capital, major cities and major tourist attractions.

The category also provides an overview of Egypt’s history and political system, as well as daily news about the country in all areas.

Other categories include ‘Africa Today,’ which contains the most important news in Africa, and ‘Press Review,’ which displays daily headlines from newspapers in different African countries as well as the most important articles and reports.

Another category titled ‘Egypt and Africa’ deals with Egypt’s relations with African countries and daily news on the topic.
Source: Ahram Online

Meet the JamLab Accelerator Programme teams for 2019

JamLab is proud to announce the 2019 cohort for the Journalism and Media Lab Accelerator Programme which starts in January. This six-month hothouse accelerator initiative for journalism and media innovators will provide teams with tools, facilities, contacts and support to help realise their ideas and ambitions.

The teams were chosen by a team of adjudicators including JamLab director and Wits Journalism adjunct lecturer Indra de Lanerolle, Caxton Professor of Journalism Anton Harber, Lesley Williams, Chief Executive of the Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, Tshepo Tshabalala, editor of JamLab publications and JamLab journalist Melissa Zisengwe.

Here are some brief introductions to the teams:

Club Readership is a book and digital book publishing outfit. The team’s aim is to of get African’s on the continent and in the diaspora to engage on African books written by African authors. Their focus is to grow and scale their initiative.

Credipple is an online agency that connects clients to professionals in the creative and cultural industry. This team of three friends, Kgololo Lekoma, Sibusiso Manentsa and Lethabo Sekhu, through their digital platform, help young professionals in the creative industry to find work through portfolio management to enhance client trust in employing new talent.

Media Hack Collective is dedicated to quality data journalism, visualisation and the craft of digital storytelling. The team, made up of Alastair Otter and Laura Grant, match traditional journalism with data analysis, programming and design skills to produce high-quality social interest journalism that is compelling and accessible. They hope to build and start realising a viable business model.

Politically Aweh is a news satirical show produced by Bouncing Biscuit Studios. The team, led by Stephen Horn aims to build their video satire show into a big media brand in South Africa. They hope to scale content and to develop viable products they could sell to make their work sustainable.

Quote This Woman+ aims to build a database of credible experts of women and under-represented voices that newsrooms can easily access. Women and other marginalised voices are under-represented in South Africa’s popular media. Quote this Woman+, led by Kathy Magrobi, aims to broaden the pool of experts from which news organisations rely on.

The New Era is an initiative that seeks to bring seven community newspapers together on a digital platform. Based in a small town of Bushbuck Ridge in Mpumalanga, about 400km north-west of Johannesburg, the initiative wants to take advantage of the reach of digital media in a struggling community or local news environment.
Source: Press Release

In Brief

A study found at least seven out of 10 women journalists in Kenya have been harassed online in the course of their work, a fact that organizations in Kenya are addressing through trainings and more. The research, conducted by the Association of Media Women in Kenya (AMWIK) and Article 19 Eastern Africa, reveals that common attacks targeting women journalists were cyber stalking, sexual harassment, surveillance and unauthorized use and manipulation of personal information, including images and videos. Researchers collected data through questionnaires, phone interviews, online shadowing and written publications. Sixty-one journalists sampled from Nakuru, Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa took part in the study. To get more on the findings: https://ijnet.org/en/story/report-finds-kenyan-women-journalists-face-online-harassment-makes-recommendations

South Africa: Co-founders of M&N Brands, Zibusiso Mkhwanazi and Veli Ngubane, believe their 51% stake in Zkhiphani.com will allow them to grow into TV and content publishing.

BBC World News is launching a new weekly programme, In Business Africa, to look at the trends shaping Africa’s future. In Business Africa will be presented by Nancy Kacungira and Lerato Mbele-Roberts.

Digital Advertising+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

DottsMediaHouse unveils first-ever Influencer Marketing Report in Nigeria

Nigerian digital agency, Dotts Media House, DMH has released the first ever Influencer Marketing Report in Nigeria. The maiden edition of the report, which gives a detailed overview of Nigeria’s social media landscape with a comprehensive data analysis and facts about influencer marketing with focus on perceptions, trends, challenges, misconceptions, and projections within the industry will continuously explore industry trends and genuine data analysis for a yearly report.

With over 500 respondents and a combined effort and contribution of relevant stakeholders in the industry, who represent brands / agencies, CEOs, content consumers, content creators, social media influencers and marketing professionals, the major goal of the Influencer marketing report is to put the Nigerian social media landscape on the global map with the objective to majorly express the state of this form of marketing in Nigeria.

Speaking on the Report at the social media week 2019, Tiwalola Olanubi Jnr (Founder/CEO, DottsMediaHouse) stated that the aim for The Nigeria Influencer Marketing Report is to serve as a reference material to brand managers / advertisers / social media enthusiasts and of course Influencers in any future industry analysis. “The research will help brands/advertisers understand the need to take influencers marketing as a serious part of their marketing plan, while also helping influencers themselves build a better career model, and push individuals who are fit to be influencers across the nation realise their potential”, Olanubi added.

DottsMediaHouse is a foremost digital marketing agency based in Lagos Nigeria, with specialization in delivering digital solutions to leading brands across Africa. Launched in 2014 with a vision to provide a platform that creates digital success stories through effective campaigns.

Source: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2019/02/dottsmediahouse-unveils-first-ever-influencer-marketing-report-in-nigeria/

In Brief

Uh..Oh. P-Mobile employed Ghanaian comedian and TV personality, Afia Schwarzenegger as Brand Ambassador back in October 2018 and in an Instagram post she claims she’s still not been paid 4 months later:” “I really don’t know what people want from me….you will work for people wholeheartedly but they won’t pay you…Good morning Tv Africa and P Mobile…I have been quite for some months now but as a single mother I NEED ALL MY MONEY!!!! I swear you people are not ready for my video. I need my 16,000 cds and $15,000 respectively. I can’t sell my pussy so please pay me my money….I’m tired of begging you people for my own salary . We will leave this here and term it as last warning …..I need my money!!!!”.

Digitas Liquorice has appointed Jared Kushner as creative director for Johannesburg. Kushner has worked as a CD at Wunderman, VMLY&R, TBWA, Leo Burnett and Arc for a range of clients such as Amstel, Ford, MTN, Coca-Cola, VISA, Unilever, Standard Bank, Fiat and Mercedes Benz.

The year 2019 has started on a good note for the Zambia Rugby Union (ZRU) (www.ZRU.rugby) as it introduces a MAGAZINE, Twitter handle and a WEBSITE for the first time ever in its history. Announcing the breaking news to affiliates, ZRU President Gen Clement Sinkamba said the Union was breaking new ground in its quest to effectively interact, update and communicate with all stakeholders.
“We believe we are on the right track in ensuring visibility across many different social mainstream platforms, our presence is now being engraved in stone and future generations will highly appreciate & benefit from our initiatives”, he said.

Other Digital Content and Services+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Uganda: First Fully Digital Bank Launched in Uganda

Uganda becomes the second country in Africa, after Côte d’Ivoire to get a fully digital bank.

The new bank allows customers to open up an account using their phones or computers within a period of 15 minutes without stepping in a banking hall, comes at a time when banks are leveraging on technology to recruit new customers.

The system, operated by Standard Chartered Bank was first launched in Côte d’Ivoire in March.

Speaking at the launch in Kampala, Mr Albert Saltson, the Standard Chartered chief executive officer, said the system was a key milestone on the bank’s journey, which underlined its commitment to digitalise.

The banking sector has both locally and internationally embraced the use of technology to serve customers fostering convenience as well establishing a paperless banking industry.

This is expected to match with the changing environment in banking due to technological advancements taking place around the world in the banking industry.

Standard Chartered bank started preparing the way for digital banking in Uganda way back in 1991 when it started computerised banking in the country.

Mr Emmanuel Tumusime Mutebile, the Bank of Uganda governor, said it was important for new innovations to be introduced in the sector, saying: “Technology represents the future of banking and evolution”.

However, he said that while innovation has benefits, it “presents associated risks which if not well managed could have potential out layers”.
Source: The Monitor

FNB unveils new Easy account with medical, legal and financial advice for consumers

FNB has launched its new Easy Smart Option bank account making it the first bank to combine medical, financial and legal advice as additional value to consumers who earn between R1 000 to R7 000 per month.

Dr Christoph Nieuwoudt, FNB Consumer Chief Executive says “The introduction of our new Easy Smart Option expands our range of cost-effective and helpful solutions for consumers who earn below R7 000 per month. Our comprehensive range includes eWallet send money capability, eWallet eXtra which has no monthly fee to help irregular income earners as well as the pay-as-you-use Easy account for consumers with minimal transactional requirements.”

“Consumers are looking for help to stretch their limited household budgets and we are responding adequately to their plight. Traditional bank accounts do not always service the range of needs of consumers who earn below and slightly above South Africa’s minimum wage. We believe that the combination of a suitable bank account, free and helpful value-added benefits will go a long way to helping consumers with money management,” says Dr Nieuwoudt.Related image

The new FNB Easy Smart Option helps consumers with 24-hour telephonic professional medical advice from a team of registered nurses who will assist accountholders to manage chronic, life-threatening, maternity and other everyday medical conditions. This account also offers consumers help with basic financial planning, debt management, garnishee support, and debt counselling from qualified financial advisors. The value adds include telephonic assistance by professional attorneys and paralegals to advise consumers on wills, pension, third-party claims and labour matters from Monday to Friday during work hours.

Furthermore, accountholders will get a range of free benefits including R3,000 of both deposits and withdrawals at FNB ATMs, R15 worth of airtime every month, free card swipes, a free savings account, 10 free online purchase transactions and free balance enquiries on FNB’s electronic channels such as the FNB App, Online and Cellphone Banking.
Source: Press Release

In Brief

South African operator Cell C has signed a partnership deal with sports gaming platform SportPesa to give their customers easier access to sports betting. Cell C customers using the SportPesa platform by dialling *120*47773# on their mobile phones will be able to play and manage their accounts through USSD for free. SportPesa launched its operations in South Africa in April 2018. The sports betting company says it hopes to replicate its success in Kenya, Tanzania, the UK and Italy by seeking to lower data costs for users while on the SportPesa platform.

South Africa: The Naked Economy, a new podcast series on CliffCentral.com, takes listeners behind the scenes of SA companies that are doing things differently and taking new approaches to business that aim to ensure that everybody wins.

Spotify , the world’s most popular music streaming service, today also announced that it has entered into definitive agreements to acquire Gimlet Media Inc. the renowned independent producer of podcast content, and Anchor the company leading the market for podcast creation, publishing, and monetization services. Terms of the transactions were not disclosed for more information visit here: https://investors.spotify.com/financials/press-release-details/2019/Spotify-Technology-SA-Announces-Financial-Results-for-Fourth-Quarter-2018/default.aspx

If you’d like to subscribe to Digital Content Africa send an email to info@balancingact-africa.com with Digital Content Africa in the header. If you think that there are African creators and innovators we should be interviewing, send me a message on twitter @smartmonkeytv

Yours sincerelyDATADATATA

Russell Southwood
Smart Monkey TV

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