A Call to Action: Empowering Africa to Leverage Platforms in Creating Local Content

Africa is experiencing a digital revolution, fueled by investments in infrastructure. However, a critical gap remains – the lack of locally relevant content.

Africa has witnessed a revolution in recent years. Mobile internet infrastructure has boomed, with some countries boasting coverage exceeding 90%. Affordability is being worked on and has also seen a significant improvement, making internet access more attainable. Yet, despite these advancements, internet adoption (the usage gap) remains sluggish across the continent. The usage gap persists at nearly eight times the magnitude of the coverage gap. The paradox is clear: people have the means to connect, but they aren’t logging on. 

The answer, as revealed by the recent GSMA’s State of the Mobile Internet Connectivity Report 2023, lies not just in the technology itself (or independently), but in the content that flows through it. Africa, rich with vibrant cultures and traditions, boasts an incredible linguistic diversity. The continent is home to over 2,000 distinct languages representing a third of all languages spoken globally. This vast range of languages starkly contrasts the limited availability of local content online. 

Relevance: A Key Barrier to Mobile Internet Adoption in Africa 

Relevance, not just affordability or digital literacy, is a major barrier to internet adoption.  Across Africa, a significant number of people who are aware of the internet choose not to use it due to a lack of content that resonates with their local languages and cultural contexts and also affordability constraints. People are hesitant to invest their time and resources into accessing the internet when it fails to offer them content that is both accessible and relevant.  This reliance on foreign services that delivers content with a one-size-fits-all approach, fails to resonate with local sensibilities.

People are more likely to embrace the internet when they find online content and services that are relevant to their lives and culture. This trend holds true for both urban and rural populations, signifying a continental yearning for content that reflects their lived experiences.

Simultaneously, the lack of relevant content can also worsen other key barriers to the adoption of the Internet in Africa. For instance, the perceived value of the internet is directly tied to the availability of content that addresses their specific needs and interests. This, in turn, impacts their willingness to pay for internet access, a crucial factor in affordability.  

Content that Connects: Building a Thriving Content Ecosystem in Africa 

Beyond being a bridge in the usage gap, Local content serves as a powerful tool for fostering social inclusion. By providing diverse representation across stories, films, and educational materials, local creators ensure that all segments of African society see themselves reflected in the digital world. This fosters a sense of community and belonging, while also challenging stereotypes and promoting cross-cultural understanding. 

Local content creation is also a powerful economic driver. It fosters entrepreneurship opportunities, as platforms emerge to host, distribute, and monetize this content.  By nurturing a thriving local content ecosystem, we unlock a new avenue for economic growth across Africa. 

The significant investments in broadband infrastructure across Africa have created a fertile landscape for video-based services like local content platforms.  MwareTV, for example, offers a cloud-native solution that is ideally suited for the African market, delivering essential scalability and cost-effectiveness for operators.  This aligns perfectly with the African market’s need for affordable and accessible digital services.

There’s been a lot of investments in Africa in 4G, and 5G networks, and broadband infrastructures, and now all these companies are searching for value-added services to utilize the network and monetize them. We facilitate live TV, video-on-demand, and some other media services. An important thing for scalability and we have a cloud-native solution that is completely designed based on cloud technologies —we have unlimited scalability at a very low cost.

Cees van Versendaal, COO of MwareTV

Addressing Challenges and Leveraging Opportunities

While impressive strides have been made in infrastructure development, significant challenges remain before local content can truly flourish.  

The complex web of copyright and licensing regulations can be a significant hindrance for local content creators.  Cloud-based platforms with pre-built legal frameworks can simplify rights management and licensing procedures. This removes a significant barrier to entry, especially for smaller players, by streamlining content distribution and ensuring creators retain control over their intellectual property.

Interestingly, the spectre of piracy looms large over the local content landscape.  Widespread internet piracy allows viewers to access content illegally, depriving creators of revenue and hindering their ability to reinvest in future productions. Secure, state-of-the-art content delivery networks (CDNs) coupled with robust anti-piracy measures can protect content and ensure creators receive fair compensation for their work. By investing in these solutions, operators can foster a sustainable environment where content creators can thrive.

The rise of international streaming giants like Netflix and Disney+ presents a unique challenge for local content creators. Platforms offering user-friendly, no-code app builders empower businesses and creators including educational institutions, faith-based organizations, and even individual creators to develop their own mobile and web applications for content distribution. This eliminates the need for complex coding expertise and empowers a wider range of voices to enter the digital space, promoting a richer and more diverse content landscape. 

Creating a level playing field for local content creators requires a multi-pronged approach.  Firstly, fostering collaborations between local creators and platforms can help them leverage international expertise while maintaining a distinct African voice.  Secondly, promoting and advocating for local content through targeted marketing campaigns and partnerships with educational institutions can raise awareness and encourage audiences to embrace local stories.

By addressing these challenges and fostering an environment that empowers local creators and distributors, Africa can unlock the immense potential of local content. 

Giving Africans the Content They Deserve

It’s time to address these challenges and give Africa the content she deserves. By harnessing the power of innovative platforms like MwareTV, African operators can empower local creators, deliver high-quality content, and ensure a vibrant digital future that reflects the continent’s rich culture and stories. 

MwareTV lays the foundation – Owning the platform and controlling the content unlocks the power of true digital autonomy, offering a significant economic advantage. This autonomy translates into full flexibility for monetization. African operators can design business models that work best for them and their audiences, maximizing the value of their content.  They break free from the stranglehold of major tech giants, charting their course in the digital world. Controlling their platforms empowers them to build potent, sustainable businesses that foster long-term growth.

MwareTV specifically addresses these challenges with a suite of tools designed to empower operators to become full TV as a service provider. Their cloud-native platform offers scalability and cost-effectiveness, perfectly aligning with the need for affordable digital services. MwareTV’s innovative no-code app builder allows operators to create customized, Telco-grade apps that cater to diverse market demands.

MwareTV also goes beyond just the platform. They offer a white-label OTT solution, supporting live TV, video on demand, and other media services – all tailored for affordability and accessibility. MwareTV’s commitment extends to marketing and user engagement. By integrating marketing tools and analytics, they help operators reach and retain audiences, fostering a thriving local content ecosystem.

By collaborating, African operators have the power to bridge the local content gap and unlock the true potential of the digital world.  Let’s be diligent in fostering a future where African voices take center stage in the global digital landscape. 

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